Cave & Ive's: Sanitas Bona on The Second Floor

Second story patio dining in Phoenix is as rare as rain. Lucky for us, a bit of it fell this month in Arcadia thanks to the opening of Cave & Ive's Portico Grill at Indian School Road and 44th Street.

A new concept from the folks at Sacks Art of Sandwicherie, Cave & Ives, open for dinner, resides on the second floor of a recently-built orange building while its sister Sacks (which recently moved from its strip mall digs down the street) gets the bottom bunk for the lunch crowd.

Cave & Ive's is a come-as-you-are, friendly place in a part of Arcadia desperately needing an alternative to the hour wait at La Grande Orange. Stairs leading up to the second floor reveal a surprisingly warm and intimate indoor scene that continues to the patio. If you've come for a relaxing dinner of tasty Italian and Mediterranean fare, you're in the right place.

Make a selection from the solid wine list or a local brew from the likes of San Tan Brewery, Four Peaks Brewery, and Papago Brewing, then order up an appetizer of the Cave & Ive's caprese or white braise de clams steaming in an aromatic broth of garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes, lemons, and herbs in a buttery white wine sauce. (Extra crusty artisan bread for soppin'? Of course.)

The menu includes a selection of Italian and Mediterranean entrees such as piadinas, (flat breads), featuring lamb kefta, -- a char-grilled Lebanese spiced lamb topped with fresh vegetables, herbs, and feta sauce -- pizzas with light and crispy crusts (The Tuscan Pie, a creation of smoked proscuitto ham and crunchy apple slices was a salty meets sweet sensation.), and pastas like the Pasta Ragu, a flavorful bowl of bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, basil, red wine tomato sauce, and slow roasted Italian beef topped with Parmesan cheese.

Seasonal tartlets, chocolate pecan pie, and cheese cake with fruit topping make the dessert list, but if you've come hungry or with a friend, two sweet crêpes of bananas foster bursting with cream anglaise and pecans and drizzled with caramel sauce is a good excuse to sit a while longer.

The prices are fair, the food is tasty, and the service is fabulous. I'm looking forward to another visit to Cave & Ive's, and their second-story patio, before the evening heat drives me indoors to dine.

Cave & Ive's
4247 E. Indian School Road
Open Monday - Thursday 4 - 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 -11 p.m. Closed Sunday.

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