There’s one thing we absolutely love about going to Trattoria Saporito – hanging out with the guy who reads the specials. Specials Guy (pictured) is not a waiter, a bus boy, a host, a chef, or anything like that. He’s simply a stocky man with an awesome Italian accent who walks up to your table after you’ve been seated, asks you if you want to hear that evening’s offerings, and then lets ‘em rip. For like twenty minutes. And he’s been doing it for years. Sure, you’ve been to a bunch of old school Italian restaurants that have guys that do this. But Specials Guy at Trattoria Saporito does it better. The dude never stumbles or second guesses himself over a single dish, and makes each item sound like a work of art from the Michelangelo of chefs. It’s impressive. It also probably doesn’t hurt that the specials are pretty much exactly the same every night.
Even better, the food at Trattoria Saportio is pretty solid. Nothing you eat in this place will blow you away, but it all tastes good, feels authentic (to New Jersey), and there’s a fun atmosphere to the restaurant. Saporito serves your standard, southern Italian cuisine like the sixty or so other traditional Italian spots in town, but this one might be the best of the lot. The key to a successful meal? Keep it simple and stick to the basics. Anything with red sauce, and any home made pasta will do you right. Seafood of all kinds should be avoided. We’ve tried shellfish dishes like Linguini with Clam Sauce on a number of occasions and have been disappointed every time. Fish dishes, like Chilean Sea Bass have also been shaky. Saporito is also BYOB, so you’re going to want to bring a few bottles of your finest grocery store wine for the table. Because let’s be honest, you aren’t dusting off that bottle of Gaja from your cellar for this dinner. Save that for a more special occasion…like maybe a big night out at the Olive Garden.
A huge rocket salad with some nice goat cheese and olives off to the side. This is definitely splittable, and should be on your table as a starter to kick off every meal at Trattoria Saportio.
Pasta e Fagioli
A classic Italian soup, but more on the red side than you’d expect. They serve pretty good bread at this place, and you’ll want to dunk that right into the soup.
Rigatoni al Cuoco
As mentioned above, the homemade pastas are really quality here. Keep it simple and try this homemade rigatoni topped with some tomato sauce and mozz and you’ll be all set.
Linguine con Vongole in Bianco o con Salsa al Pomodoro
This is the linguini with clam sauce. We’ve tried this multiple times and the clams have never tasted fresh. Avoid.
Vitello alla Parmigiana
Veal parm. Solid and simple. Can’t go wrong with this or anything else parmigiana at Saporito. Feel free to swap the veal for chicken if that’s more your speed.
Orecchiette con Cime di Rape
This is homemade orecchiette pasta topped with Broccoli Rabe. You want this. And you want it topped with some fresh ground sausage, so ask nicely and they will most certainly oblige.