La Trattoria Oceanside, Key West

One of the new wine flights at La Trat.
One of the new wine flights at La Trat.

After not having been for quite a while, friends wanted to meet at La Trattoria Oceanside earlier in the week. The downtown spot is a quick 15-minute walk from our house, but this one is much closer for our friends (and the parking is far less annoying). This location, near the Key West airport, is a large space with windows overlooking the water. At sunset, it is particularly lovely. 

I've always loved the stuffed mushrooms.
I’ve always loved the stuffed mushrooms.

Instead of trying the new wine flights, I was suckered by the extensive martini list and opted for a Cuervo Cosmo. It is essentially a margarita in a martini glass and is delicious. FKGuy ordered the flight of pinot noir, but at $19 for three half-glasses of wine, it is no bargain. Plus, the wine is served in small, too-full glasses. I expected better from the effort that clearly went into creating these choices. Note that the wine flights are less expensive on Wednesdays. With our main courses, we opted for a bottle instead of individual flights.

Half orders of pasta are the perfect size.
Half orders of pasta are just perfect.

La Trat, as it is affectionately known, doesn’t disappoint and consistently turns out good food. Not mind-blowingly awesome, but reliable, and not crazy expensive. Bread service seems to be an afterthought in many places. Here, hunks of crusty bread come with a plate of olive oil, balsamic and grated parmesan for dipping, and while the bread is good, the oil-vinegar-cheese combination is truly addictive. Our meal started with an order of breadcrumb stuffed mushrooms in a cream sauce (always yummy), as well as salads and one friend had a tasty potato soup.

Mmmmm... cannelloni.
Mmmmm… cannelloni.

For main courses, I ordered a half order of spaghetti with garlic and oil, and it was simple and exactly what I wanted. Plus a half order of pasta for $9.50 is hard to beat. I love that nearly all the plates of pasta are available in half orders.  FKGuy enjoyed the veal Marsala (delicious), and our friends loved the hogfish Francese and veal cannelloni. To report accurately, I tried most of the dishes, and they were all very enjoyable.

Delicious veal Marsala.
Delicious Veal Marsala.

By the time we finished dinner, none of us had any room for dessert. The tiramisu will have to wait until next time, and there most certainly will be a next time. As we formulated this plan, I had a brilliant idea: we’d take a taxi there, and because we hadn’t gotten any exercise for the day, we will walk back.  I can tell you that a post-dinner 3.2-mile walk was overly ambitious. I needed to make a pit stop at the Casa Marina to use the bathroom. It was sweltering out, even at almost 10 PM. But it was the right choice. My Fitbit buzzed with delight as I reached my 10,000 step goal when we were only halfway home. We finally arrived home, sweaty, tired and in need of a shower. It was totally worth it.

La Trattoria Oceanside is located at 3593 South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West and opens for dinner nightly at 5 PM.