The first thing you’ll notice about Casa VittoRe is that it is really beautiful. Gallery-style lighting, dark woods against red brick, soft, textured pillows and bean bags lining the walls. You just want to sink into something and unwind.
The cafe and bistro opened at 212 E. Yakima Ave. — next to the Sports Center, formerly the Tuxedo Place — earlier this month. Offering a light menu of crepes, paninis, salads and a full complement of espresso beverages, smoothies and shakes, Casa VittoRe has an upscale hipster vibe with a slight gothic edge.
Panini sandwiches and savory crepes range in price from $5.75 to $8.25 and come with a green salad. My husband tried the ham, bacon and sausage panini, which was like a gourmet ham and cheese between perfectly crispy panini bread. I had a veggie crepe — mushrooms, green peppers and two kinds of cheese folded into a light, flavorful crepe. You can also get the house speciality in both options — the VittoRe, which features chicken breast, mozarella, mushrooms, bacon and a spicy chipotle sauce.
A warning on the sauce: They aren’t kidding on the spicy. You can’t smell it ahead of it time, which is misleading, but even a titch on your tongue will set your whole mouth on fire in seconds.
Like the bistro’s seating, the food presentation is beautiful, and everything was delicious. Our two meals — with a can of soda and a fresh-fruit smoothie — came to under $20, making Casa VittoRe easily one of the most affordable and delicious downtown lunch spots.
My only caveat: They’re new and still working the kinks out, so service was on the slow side, but the staff was incredibly friendly and you know those growing pains will be ironed out quickly. The bistro will soon be offering wine, beer and liquor when its license comes in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a menu expansion as they find their groove — that ham panini just screams for a steaming cup of tomato soup.
Location: 212 E. Yakima Ave., Yakima.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.