Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cafe Paesan

If you live anywhere near the Utah Valley area, or if you know anyone in the Utah Valley area, you surely have heard the fame of Cafe Rio. But many less people know about their Italian counterpart - Cafe Paesan. There is only one location for Cafe Paesan currently, but it's a nice change of pace if you like the Cafe Rio attitude and Italian food.

Where: Cafe Paesan, 69 S State Street, Orem

Who Went: Chelsey & Owen

Number of Visits: 3

What We Ordered: Siena Spicy Chicken Pizza, Spicy Apple Braised Pork Salad with Creamy Pesto dressing, Homemade Pasta with Paesan Italian Sausage and Rosa Sauce

What It Cost: $15.91

What We Thought:

There are two things that I almost never order at restaurants -- Italian food and salads. Normally I feel like these two things are relatively easy to make at home, so why would I pay way more for someone else to make it for me? But of course I broke all of the rules when we went to Cafe Paesan since I know of the wonder of Cafe Rio salads. Since their pork is so amazing at the Mexican counterpart, I went with the apple braised pork, and the salad comes with fresh tomatoes, other vegetables (like zucchini), a piece of flatbread (I went with whole-wheat), croutons, and toasted sweet potato strips on top. I thought the creamy pesto was a good choice -- a nice compliment to the sweetness of the pork. Though it wasn't quite as juicy and saucy as the Cafe Rio pork, it was still pretty tasty, and the guy who made my salad LOADED on the meat, which is always appreciated. In the future, I would probably ask them to mix the dressing in, since the bowl is a little small to do it on your own. I'm still not sold on which way to have the flatbread -- at Cafe Rio I love it in the base of the bowl so I can wrap up the final remains of my salad into a little burrito. But with this salad, the flatbread got a little soggy towards the end, and wasn't as satisfying as I had been hoping for.

The pizza crust is rolled out and grilled right there in front of you, then they load it up with toppings and toss it into the oven. The whole process is a little slower than Cafe Rio, but since the restaurant is WAY less busy, you don't mind. Plus the decor is much more cuter and cozier, with Italian paintings and lights strung around the shop. The spicy chicken pizza has great flavor, is loaded with cheese and pesto, and they serve it with these sweet and hot peppers on the side. The pasta is also admirable -- freshly made, soft and rich. Owen always begs for us to get the pasta with Italian sausage and the creamy red Rosa sauce.

What You Should Do: Go! The Cafe Rio franchise, though sometimes deemed overrated, knows how to do fresh, flavorful food fast. This Italian twist keeps up that reputation, and is definitely worth a visit or two.

Cafe Paesan on Urbanspoon


  1. This place is one of my favorites. I love the salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette, but my favorite is the Kobe beef sandwich...seriously crave-worthy!

  2. I've never tried one of the sandwiches but will certainly have to try - I'm glad that you've heard of this place!



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