The Willamette Valley doesn’t lack for Italian cuisine, but finding a restaurant that infuses tradition with something new is harder to locate.

Moving from its former River Road location in Keizer last year, Caruso’s Italian Cafe moved down a few blocks, to the shore of Staats lake. The restaurant now boasts a picturesque view that fits their dark, Italian fine dining decor.

A Northwest twist on Italian is the heart of what this local establishment offers on their menu.

“Caruso’s offers authentic northern Italian cuisine with a fusion of Pacific NW flavors, featuring fresh local seafood, lamb, veal, steaks, poultry and pasta,” President and Executive Chef Jerry Phipps said. “We only use the finest imported Italian products (cured meats, pasta, olive oil, cheeses etc..) in our menu preparations.”

With a variety of hearty dishes to choose from, Phipps thinks that their Ossocucco alla Milanese is the very best. In layman’s terms, the meal is braised veal shank with risotto alla Milanese.

Wine and coffee are classic complements to Italian food. Caruso’s is no different in this aspect.

“We have a large selection of cocktails, after dinner drinks, an extensive wine list as well as Italian sodas, and great coffee,” Phipps said. “Our best after dinner drink is a “Caffe Bocci” meaning “Coffee Kiss.” It consists of coffee, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Crème, and Triple Sec with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.”

With additional lunch hours available throughout the week, their courses may be sampled in smaller portions at a more budget-friendly price.