Located on 1431 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880 is Bar Lupa, a new Italian restaurant. The sophisticated and intimate vibe is alluring, with elegant but simple furniture, hanging lamps and Italian pictures donning the walls. At six pm on a Friday night, a round table in the corner is the future setting for a meal of calamari fritta, campagnola and cavolo salad, gnocchi alla checca, ravioli al pesto, linguini alla vongole, penne alla vodka and chocolate lava cake.
When we first arrived, Bar Lupa was sparsely populated. However, at around eight o’clock, the crowds start to pile in and by the time we left, the restaurant was packed.
Although the waitstaff was quite nice, when we asked if they had any recommendations, our waiter proceeded to read off more than half of the already hefty menu, without describing any of the food.
To begin, a nice stack of warm bread was placed upon our table, but, like most restaurants these days, the bread lacked the perfect crisp crust and doughy inside. The rest of our courses were brought out rather quickly, and the meal experience was enjoyable.
Perhaps our biggest piece of advice is more of a cautionary one; the parking situation is bad. So bad we recommend arriving early and parking in the back; the spots in front of the restaurant border the Post Road, and we doubt anyone wants to back out into the Post Road.
Overall, we enjoyed the meal, but felt that the serving size was skimpy. The menu was split into Italian Tapas with prices ranging from $6.95 - $14.95, Antipasta Freddi, Antipasta Caldi, Insalate, Pasta, Thin Crust Pizza, Paninis, Carne and Pesce. The main dishes were generally around the high teens and low twenties, with meat and fish dishes taking the higher prices.
- Service: 8/10
- Food: 6.5/10
- Atmosphere: 9/10
- Rating: 6.5-7/10
- Price (out of 5): $$
To start off our meal, we began with fried calamari, which ended up being rather stringy and too fried. While it was tasty, it had an uncomfortable similarity to fishsticks. It would have been nice if there was more fish and less fried dough encasing the calamari. However, the marinara sauce was a nice addition, as it covered up for the lack of calamari.
The campagnola salad was hefty in size, but lacked true flavor. It was a very traditional, and I was disappointed in the watery taste of the hearts of palm. The one saving grace of the salad was the balsamic dressing; with just the right consistency, the dressing evenly coated the arugula and romaine, but did not overpower the other toppings. The salad was topped with corn, hearts of palm, tomatoes and prosciutto.
Compared to the campagnola salad, the cavolo salad is definitely the better option for a pre-main course dish. The lettuce was fresh and topped with a nice, but not overly powering, mustard dressing. A mix of artichoke hearts and shaved parmesan topped this baby kale salad, which slightly resemble the traditional caesar salad.
Penne Alla Vodka
The penne alla vodka was, by far, the best of the pasta dishes. The pasta was perfectly cooked and coated with a creamy vodka sauce that added a delicious burst of flavor. The herbs in the vodka sauce also created savory accents.
Gnocchi Alla Checca
The presentation of the gnocchi alla checca was well done, and the overall flavors of the dish complimented each other well. The mozzarella chunks were especially delicious. The pasta was all well cooked, however the tomato sauce was a bit watery. The dish was overall tasty.
Linguine Alle Vongole
The linguine alle vongole scored high remarks among our group. The clams were very flavorful and I enjoyed the combination of the wine sauce, olive oil and cilantro. The pasta was also well done. The only criticism I had was that it was a little difficult to eat, as there wasn’t an extra dish provided for the clam shells. Overall a delicious dish.
Ravioli Al Pesto
The plating of the Ravioli Al Pesto was lovely and appealing, however the measly portion of six raviolis was not sufficient in conquering hunger. To be fair, a skimpy portion size for ravioli is typical at many Italian restaurants. The cheese ravioli themselves were delicious. They were perfectly cooked and I enjoyed each cheesy bite. The pesto sauce was also good but a little oily. While I overall enjoyed the dish, I was a little underwhelmed with the simplicity of typical cheese ravioli with pesto sauce.
Chocolate lava cake