There are 3 certainties in life as far as I’m concerned. Death, Taxes, and that Caicos Café is Provo’s best. Well at least in my book. This is by far my favorite restaurant in Provo. Since it opened in October of 2010 I’ve eaten here 9 times which is more than any place in NYC where I live and enjoy wonderful Italian fair. Caicos Cafe fits my taste like a glove.
Max Olivari, from a village by Lago Di Garda via NYC and Bermuda is the magician behind the scenes, dishing out some wonderful North Italian/Mediterranean/Caribbean influenced goodies. Its best to come here with a group to sample some of this stuff. To understand the menu you need to understand this.. The guy is a little crazy. While other establishments sport the same menu since WWII, this menu changes more often then Dennis Rodman changes harstyles (North Korea had to add 5 more to this list since his visit). Seasonal items vary at CC. Ate something good there in the 82 degrees summer night? Dont expect the same thing in the dog days of winter (81 degrees). With that said he keeps a few popular “classics” on the menu which are more or less stapled. But thats partly what attracts me to this place. Never boring! I always find something new and exciting and I have yet to try a dish that I didnt like. I’m sure some did, but not Ziggy.
Ok, lets get down to business and take a close look at the 2 amazing meals we had last week. Keep in mind its the 8 of us. I don’t want you to think I’m some eating freak. I am, but I don’t want YOU to think that.
Started the first night with a very pleasant Wahoo Carpaccio special. If you are not confused enough as far as what to order from the menu, take a look at the specials. I can come here and eat just the specials and be more than satisfied. This Carpaccio simply rocked with its simplicity and grace
The Tuna Tartar (top) with mango and black beans was a thing of beauty. Like eating butter. Beautiful, delicious soft butter.
Grilled Calamari on a skewer is a personal favorite. A must on every visit along with the Gnocchi. With such perfect texture hard to believe this was a frozen product minutes ago. Add some fresh mussels, cannellini beans and a sauce that makes you ask for more bread and you got yourself a glorious starter.
The Potato Gnocchi is another must. We’ve been eating gnocchi here prepared in various ways since day 1. What I love about this particular version is the Shiitake, Champignon, Porcini mushroom goodness that comes along. Forget the bread, eat this thing with a fork and a spoon (together!) and when no one is looking stick a finger or 2 (close your eyes for maximum affect). And I’m not even such a huge gnocchi fan. Rarely order it in NYC.
Cheese Pumpkin Ravioi was another surprise. Something I would never consider ordering normally but this was delicious. We ordered this as a starter (2 of them in our case) so a full dish is double thisHomemade Tagliolini (spaghetti on crack!) always gives me that Ratatouille moment, taking me back to Verona (where horse meat is actually preferred). Pernot flambéed with various seafood, spices and a hint of parsley and lemon juice. Love this dish!
Bread crumb and herb encrusted perfectly cooked scallops and shrimp skewers were as another popular island Max puts it, Marvelous! Sitting on top of this savory grilled polenta. I love Max’s use of the “I cant believe its not sun dried tomatoes, roasted tomatoes” on some of his dishes. A welcoming sourness at times.
Lobster Fra Diavolo is one of the most popular dishes on the island right now. This one is Brandy flambéed with chili (in the past he used jalapeno skins I believe). This is why you need to come during lobster season (Oct-March), otherwise you risking… Chicken Season!
Pork and Bean Cassoulet is one of those seasonal dog days of winter items. I didnt try it this time (Hummus Whisperer a guest writer on this blog did) but I’ve had it before and enjoyed it. The most popular meat dish in Caicos Cafe is the ribs
You cant leave the place without dessert. In fact we even came here just for dessert once after eating somewhere else. The Affogato (baileys, espresso, ice cream) and the Tiramisu are top notch here, and on this trip I discovered another favorite, Mango Apple Tart with honey. Crazy good. Chocolate Hazelnut cake below pretty much gone before I got to it
Caicos Café is the perfect example of why Trip Advisor rankings are such a joke. This is #16 while an award winner chef at Coyaba is even lower. Reservations are absolutely essential here.
Recommended dishes: Grilled Calamari, Gnocchi, Tuna Tartar, Tagliolini, Lobster Fra Diavolo, Affogato, Tiramisu, pretty much everything else