The narrow restaurant features a bar on one side; tables for four arranged down the longer side; and clean, white walls on which paintings provide colorful pops of color.
The décor is simple – dark wood tables and chairs – and the crowd is convivial, further giving the feeling of a neighborhood bistro where everyone knows everyone else. Waiters wear plaid shirts paired with jeans, and the upscale casual atmosphere is inviting.
The cozy interior of Ecco includes a bar area and tables that can be rearranged for larger parties — Photo courtesy of Ecco on Overton Park
Owner Sabine Bachmann grew up in Germany and spent years in Italy, which is clearly where she defined her culinary vision for straightforward and fresh Mediterranean fare.
"Modern European" is how the restaurant's website refers to its cuisine, but we would argue that European comfort food with an upscale twist might be a better fit, as the menu offerings scream home-cooked and remind us of our Italian grandmother.
Bachmann's son is the chef here, and their culinary talents combine for a memorable meal. The huge Berkshire Farms orange-glazed pork chop with apple chutney quickly became Ecco's must-order dish at dinner when the restaurant opened. But the simple roasted skin-on chicken breast over orzo and root vegetables is smashing, too.
House-crafted sausage is the highlight of Ecco's sausage and cheese plate — Photo courtesy of Sally Walker Davies
Pasta plates (All the pasta is house-made.) can be ordered in small and regular sizes; the spaghetti with kale peso is another favorite.
Ecco uses local producers when possible – including offerings from its own garden out back, when available – and in addition to making its own pasta, the restaurant makes its own bread and mozzarella, too.
The drink list at Ecco is also delightful, with wine offerings that are a combination of nicely priced selections from both European and California wineries, with a few South American choices as well. There's a short and locally focused beer list and a short but interesting list of craft cocktails.
There's patio seating when weather permits, and the neighborhood is quiet on any given night, making it a great place for intimate conversation.
Lunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with a twist on the weekend brunch on Saturdays only from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m., but happy hour starts at 4:30 p.m.
Ecco only takes reservations for parties of eight or more. But you can call ahead and put your name on the list when you're heading that way.
A seasonal dish of roasted chicken and vegetables — Photo courtesy of Sally Walker Davies