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SYRACUSE — $20 or Less: Dorian’s Caesar Salad & Eggplant Pizza Parmiziana Pizza

My take-out order ready to go!

Dorian’s Gourmet Pizza and Deli

534 Westcott St.

Syracuse, N.Y. 13244

(315) 472-2697

HOURS:

11 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. (Sun. through Thurs.)

11 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. (Fri. & Sat.)

Last night I was looking for a quick and easy meal to pick up, bring home and eat.

I was over in the University area and immediately thought about Dorian’s Gourmet Pizza & Deli in the Westcott district.

Dorian’s is home to delicious buttery-crust pizza: crunchy, light and airy crust with lots of great options of toppings to choose from. They also have the Twelve Greek God sandwiches, wraps, sides (the jalepeno poppers are wonderful: creamy melted cheese mixed with the spicy jalepenos in a crunchy breading), and more!

My meal last night was only $13.60 (tax included) and was just the right portion for a dinner-for-one.

Here’s what I got:

Caesar Salad ($5.10): This Caesar salad packs alot of goodies. The dressing had a beautiful golden hue and had a tang to it that enhanced the salad’s taste. The bitter olives brought out the salad dressing’s tangy taste as well. I’ll admit, I only had a few bites of olives because I’m usually not a huge fan of them. But the few bites I had were good. The croutons were fluffy, yet crunchy. The lettuce had a gorgeous green color and had a crunch that crisp, fresh salad leaves should have. The onions and cucumbers balanced the salad, bringing out the sweetness from the tang of the Caesar dressing. I loved this salad! Very different from most Caesar’s I’ve had (white, creamy dressing and darker leaves).

Small Eggplant Pizza Parmiziana ($7.49): The crust is the star of the show at Dorian’s: light, airy buttery crust with a crunch as you bite through the slices. But what gives the pizza it’s extra kick are all of the fresh toppings. This pizza in particular brought a whole new meaning to Eggplant Parmigiana. While I was expecting more marinara sauce, the pizza didn’t need it. The meaty mushrooms and herb-filled breaded eggplant mixed with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese made the pizza what it was. The sweet cheese with the more bitter Parmesan enhanced the pizza further. I love eggplant pizza and this was definitely one worth trying.

To conclude, here’s a k@vlog of me trying the pizza and salad last night!

SYRACUSE — $20 or Less: Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl//Chips & Guac

Since its opening (and debut to the Syracuse area) in October 2010, Chipotle Mexican Grill in the suburb of DeWitt, N.Y. has been drawing in several people. Its website discusses the use of fresh cooking. Its motto: Food with Integrity.
According to the website: “Making delicious food that you can order, pick up and eat quickly actually takes quite a bit of time and preparation. All of the food at Chipotle is prepared using classic culinary techniques – no shortcuts.”

If you haven’t checked out Chipotle yet, Syracuse, definitely take the trip over to Erie Blvd. E. There have many fresh-mex options to choose from, including burritos, burrito bowls (the insides of a burrito put together in a bowl, minus the wrap), tacos and salads.

You have a choice of picking the meat/veggies you want:

-chicken

-steak

-barbacoa (pulled beef)

-carnitas (pulled pork)

-fajita vegetables (green bell peppers and red onions)

All of the above is freshly made on-site.

Then you can add lots of goodies, including different salsas (with variations of heat), sour cream and guacamole.

Plus, the meals are reasonably priced.

Here’s one of my favorite meals to get there, and it’s under $20!

(I spent $10.26 including tax.)

(pictured above) Burrito Bowl with cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans, steak, tomatillo-red chili salsa, cheese and sour cream. When the ingredients are mixed together in the bowl, my mouth first picks up the hot and spicy tomatillo-red chili salsa. What then cools it down, to balance the meal, is the cheese, sour cream and beans. The tender, flavorful steak hits the spot. ($6.50)

(pictured above) Chips & Guac. If you’re looking for something to go along with your entree, try the chips & guac. The house-made chips have a tang of fresh lime in them, along with some salt on top. The guac is creamy and has a beautiful lime green hue. Besides the fresh, light taste of the avocados, what gives the guac the extra kick is the fresh cilantro. The red onions give it a great texture as well, giving it that hint of sweetness over the avocados. ($3.00)

—-

Chipotle Mexican Grill — DeWitt

3496 Erie Blvd. E.

Syracuse, N.Y. 13214

(315) 446-3530

Hours:

11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Mon. through Sat.)

10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Sun.)

—-

And get ready, Syracuse. If you want more, another Chipotle location is coming soon to Marshall St., right near Syracuse University’s campus!

SYRACUSE — Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts

Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts:

121 W. Fayette Street 
Syracuse, N.Y. 13202

Hours:
Monday – Wednesday: 11am – 12am
Thursday – Friday: 11am – 2am
Saturday: 4pm – 2am
Sunday: closed

Phone:
(315)474-WINE(9463)

Email address:
bittersweetofsyracuse@gmail.com

Website:
http://bittersweetofsyracuse.webs.com/

—-

If you take a stroll through Armory Square, you will notice a new sweet spot there: Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts.

At the Bittersweet Wine Bar and Desserts Grand Opening Event.

Its name speaks for itself. If you head to Bittersweet, wine and desserts will be in your future.

But that’s not all Bittersweet offers. According to owner Patrizia Barbieri, Bittersweet is like a one-stop shop.

“If sweets aren’t your thing, choose from an assortment of scrumptious grilled Panini or salad creations,” said the website’s home page.

Originally wanting the new restaurant to be a café, Barbieri came up with the concept after speaking with her friend.

“He said, ‘Well you should really open a place where you yourself would want to go,” Barbieri said.

The desserts on the menu are the creation of Patrizia’s sister, Lucia, who is a pastry chef. Lucia went to pastry school in New York City at the Institute for Culinary Education.

Patrizia said she added a few items to the menu as well. As far as the creation of the menu, Patrizia said both sisters wanted to tailor the menu to what customers would like.

Patrizia is the business woman of the operation. Patrizia attended SUNY Buffalo for business, and said she originally wanted to work in a big corporation. Opening Bittersweet, she said, brings her into the business world minus wearing a suit. She said she loves numbers, organizing things and being busy.

Bittersweet’s Grand Opening Event was on Saturday November 6, 2010 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. I attended with a friend of mine and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we talked, tasted dessert samples and tried some wine.

The cozy, warm colored room was constantly packed when I was there, from 7 p.m. until around midnight when I left. The bar seats were constantly filled, tables were full and there was even one table at the entrance where two ladies shared the one seat available at the table! They were quite content, however, as they shared desserts and conversation.

The atmosphere was very warm and relaxing: dim pink and white lights hanging throughout the restaurant. There were dark tables and bar counters and white stools and chairs.  Pink candles were lit at each table.

One of the "Death by Chocolate" samples I had at Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts.

The friendly staff brought several mini dessert samples for partygoers to try. These were on hot pink plastic trays with white doilies.  Some of the ones I had were tiramisu, carrot cake, chocolate mousse, regular and brownie cheesecake.

While every dessert absolutely wowed me that night by appearance and flavors, the number one dessert in my book was the “Death By Chocolate” mini-cake (pictured). These fudgey, gooey little morsels melted in my mouth. It came in a white doilie, with chocolate drizzled on top.

If you love sweets, this place is for you. If you’re not into desserts, try the other selections. Wash it all down with one of the many wines or bottled beers. Regardless of what you have, Bittersweet is open into the late night hours for people to come by and relax.

SYRACUSE — RAW FOOD at Green Planet Grocery!

When you think of “Raw Food” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

I think of raw meats, fish, vegetables and fruits.

My last post was about different “Green” food items. This post will talk about a “Green” grocery store: Green Planet Grocery. It recently opened just off of Route 5 in Fairmount, N.Y. My friend Deandra told me about the supermarket and how they have a Vegan Raw Food Cafe there as well. She was telling me the other day about their Raw Food Nachos that were AMAZING, and I was immediately very curious about this “Raw Food” and what it’s all about.

What is raw food? Here are some bullet points about it, from the website http://www.thebestofrawfood.com :

“We call food raw if it is:

  • Uncooked – never heated above 42 C/118 F degrees.

and preferably:

  • Unprocessed – as fresh (or wild) as possible
  • Organic – no irradiation, preservatives, pesticides or GMO.”

Raw food is food that is uncooked and is very fresh. And chef Mariesa Pitonzo from the Raw Food Cafe stresses that in her blog Eye of Raw, where she writes in her bio page the following about herself and her transformation to the Raw Food Diet:

“My raw transformation has completely changed my life.  With in the first three weeks of my transformation, I lost 15 lbs and gained so much energy. I did this by eating many different foods, the only difference is that they are healthier for the body and contain so many enzymes that your body wants and needs!

So why not cook your food? Cooking your food kills all the enzymes and nutrients that it has to offer. Your body needs nutrients to function properly, different nutrients and vitamins affect different organs in your body. The enzymes are whats going to help the digestion process. I highly stress buying local organic fruits and vegetables so that you can get all of what your food has to offer you. If local is not available, still buy organic. This not only produces more nutrients, it is pesticide free and better for your consumption.

The benefits of being RAW: High Energy, you will be the weight your body desires to be, (never count a calorie again!) no brain fog, you will be chemical free, the list can go on and on.” — Mariesa Pitonzo on EyeofRawFoods.com

Deandra and I hopped in the car yesterday and drove over to try some of the “Raw Food” chef Pitonzo had to offer! I was extremely excited about trying something new and completely different from the average grocery store food.

Once we walked in, we were greeted by friendly staff at the cashier counters and headed straight over to the Raw Food Cafe, which is straight ahead as you walk into the Green Planet Grocery. Chef Mariesa was cooking up a storm in the cute kitchen they had in the cafe. The whiteboard had the Raw Food menu of the day, which included the entree, an Antioxidant Salad, and the assortment of smoothies you could get.

Antioxidant Salad (half size), $5.99, Raw Food Cafe @ Green Planet Grocery

We both decided to try the Antioxidant Salad, which certain was full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including Asparagus, mixed greens and herbs, a raspberry and kiwi salad dressing, pomegranate seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more. The half salad that we each got was $5.99, but you could get a full sized for $8.99.
Wow!! What a salad…What I really loved about the salad were the different flavors I had in my mouth. Between the sweet, yet creamy dressing (which Mariesa said she used things such as coconut oil and EVOO in it) , the actual fruits in it, the raw veggies and different seeds on top, it certainly filled me up for the afternoon.

"Green Machine" smoothie (small): Raspberries, Blueberries, Kale and Spinach, $3.99

The smoothie very much impressed me as well. I am a HUGE fan of smoothies, especially ones with lots of yummy fruits in them. While Deandra got an AMAZING smoothie called “Chocolate Banana” that had frozen bananas, almond butter and cocoa bits in it (it was a filling, delicious dessert-type-of-drink!), I got a “Green Machine” smoothie, which was DELICIOUS as well! I have heard this name for a smoothie before, with the “Green Machine” smoothies from the “Naked” juice brand. But this smoothie I had was great: For $3.99 I got to choose two fruits and two vegetables to make my “Green Machine.” I first chose raspberries and blueberries for my fruits, because I LOVE those two fruits dearly, and I know that blueberries especially have high antioxidants. Mariesa chose Kale and Spinach for me as my two vegetables, and my smoothie turned out delicious. While Mariesa said the fruits would overpower the vegetables, they didn’t at first for me: I tasted the leaves of the kale and spinach. But later, as I took sips, I tasted the berries and enjoyed my smoothie immensely.

Walking around the store afterward with Deandra, I also found a DESSERT made by Mariesa in a refrigerated case: a vegan, raw, gluten-free and soy-free Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake. One slice is $5.99.
Chocolate and Cheesecake = LOVE!!!

But lavender? In a dessert? This was new to me. I was once again, quite curious.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Please watch my video below to find out more about the cheesecake! I’ll tell you this: it was very chocolately and decadent, yet tasted very healthy and fruity. The pomegranate seeds gave it that extra kick of deliciousness!

While I am not a vegan or vegetarian ( I love eating meat!) I really enjoyed trying all of these new ways to prepare food, and you could definitely try them out too!

Check out Mariesa’s website:  http://eyeofrawfoods.com/

And if you want to check out Green Planet Grocery, here’s their information:

3514 W Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 488-7777

SYRACUSE — Back to DARWIN for lots of GREENs!

Lunchtime comes around quick.

Where’s one place can you go in Syracuse to find a great sandwich at a great price?

DARWIN!

I’ve been to DARWIN several times now, and the experiences I have had have been simply wonderful. In a cute, cozy building located across the street from The Post-Standard‘s building on N. Clinton St., you can come in for breakfast or lunch during the week and pick out food and drinks. Their menus are hand-written on chalkboards. Inside, one of the very friendly staff members will greet you and take your order.
What I love about DARWIN as well, as I have mentioned in a previous post, is that their menu evolves each week. This past week I went was week 23 since their opening this past summer. Each week there is a new message up on their website, http://www.darwinonclinton.com from co-owner Daryl McGrew as to what’s on their menu and what their latest updates are.  I also love that each sandwich comes with an Atomic Fireball candy! 🙂

"This Little Piggy Went to Utica" Sandwich, DARWIN. $8

This particular visit, which was a few days ago, I had the “This Little Piggy Went to Utica” sandwich for lunch. The sandwich is $8, and here’s what the sandwich contains, according to their website:

“This one comes from your suggestions.  Stephen Gullo, who is in fact working on his own sandwich shop in Boston, made this suggestion after trying our Utica Greens.  We added a little zip to our seasoned, shredded pork, top it with a healthy helping our of delicious homemade Utica Greens, and cover with a sharp provolone cheese.  It all comes piled high on a fresh DiLauro’s sub roll glazed with our roasted garlic aioli.  For those of you ready to take a break from your diet…this one’s for you.”

Utica Greens are a popular dish around here. According to a blog on Smithsonian Magazine, they consist of escarole , and then some prosciutto, garlic, chicken broth and hot peppers.

This sandwich was delicious! I loved the seeded sub roll that it was on from DiLauro’s: there was a bit of a crunch to the bread and then the soft fluffy dough part in the middle gave the sandwich a nice texture. I very much enjoyed the Utica Greens – they were spicy yet sweet at the same time. There was also what appeared to be ham on the sandwich. I’m usually not a huge fan of ham, but I thought the ham made the sandwich as well, giving it that sweetness mixed with the spicy greens. I definitely recommend this to you!
Going along with the “Green” theme, I also decided to try one of their rotating side dishes, their “Fried Green Tomatoes.” These were absolutely incredible too. Like this blog on Smithsonian Magazine, I concur that I too did not hear of these green marvels until the 1991 film came out. Tomatoes? Green?

The blog on Smithsonian Magazine says the following as to their origin. Food historian and writer in S.C. Robert F. Moss said to their blog that they actually started in the Northeast and Midwest and “perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants.”

I finally got my hands on some, first at Dinosaur BBQ. Then trying them at DARWIN, I have become hooked.

The batter was crispy: not too greasy and not cooked too light. They were just right. The tomatoes were not too thin or thick either and they came with delicious Ranch dressing on the side which gave them that extra kick.

Fried Green Tomatoes from DARWIN.

I washed my lunch that day down with a Diet Dr. Pepper, which

the staff at DARWIN have told me is a very popular drink among the customers.

Please watch my video for my full review on my lunch! They now take credit cards too!

DARWIN. 211 N. Clinton St. Syracuse

HOURS: 9:30am till 2:30pm, Monday thru Friday.

http://www.darwinonclinton.com

(315) 373-0484


SYRACUSE — Cupcakes & Smiles

Ever since I have moved to Syracuse this past summer I have been on the lookout for a cupcake store.

Chocolate Lava Explosion cupcake from Cupcakes & Smiles, $2

These little cakes first appeared in an American cookbook in 1826, according to Scientific American. While we may never know the name of the first “cupcake” cook, according to them, they write that the “cup” didn’t refer to the cake’s shape, but referring to a downsized English pound cake.

Cupcakes have been all the rage, with stores introduced in the city (NYC!) such as Magnolia Bakery (the Sex and the City ladies went here on the show) and Crumbs Bake Shop. Both of these two places pack the punch of a great cupcake: the cake is not too dry and not overly moist, the frosting is not überly sweet where you want to stop eating, and you get your money’s worth.

I love exploring neighborhoods. I’m fascinated by driving to different places and seeing what there is to offer. One day I decided to drive further out on Route 5 than usual. I discovered a Super Wal-Mart, a Cheeburger Cheeburger, an Edible Arrangements and a store called “Cupcakes and Smiles.”

“Cupcakes and Smiles!” When I googled “cupcakes” in Syracuse this place came up. This was a place that I needed to go try.

Which brings me to two days ago.

After I picked up some groceries, I took my friend Avantika down the road to get a cupcake (or two!) from “Cupcakes & Smiles” in Camillus, N.Y. She had mentioned in the grocery store to me how she wanted something sweet, and I immediately thought of this place, just down the road.

We pulled into the plaza and walked into the cute little store front.

I was surprised. There was a huge glass case that greeted us when we walked inside. However, it didn’t look like many cupcakes were inside it. Thinking about going to places such as Magnolia and Crumbs, their cases are stuffed with cupcakes. While it was a Saturday afternoon, I was curious as to why they didn’t have tons more cupcakes in the case. But the amount they had was certainly alright for our short visit.

The cupcakes there are $2 per cupcake, which I have seen at places like Magnolia and Buttercup.

From their website, they say the following about their store: “Cupcakes & Smiles is a from scratch bakery that provides gourmet cupcakes, cookies, cakes and wedding cakes. All of our baked goods are preservative free! We bake fresh every morning! We also bake for speciality dietary needs such as gluten, dairy and vegan!”

Taking a look at the board of the different flavors they had, I saw two cupcakes that really struck my eye: “Cookies & Cream” and “Chocolate Lava Explosion.” I ordered both, and paid $4.

When I got home, I opened my small white box and tried the “Cookies & Cream” first. I split it with Avantika. The only other similar cupcake I have had that I could compare this one to is the “Cookies and Cream” cupcake at Crumbs, which is a large chocolate cupcake topped with their vanilla cream cheese frosting with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies mixed in and a whole “sandwich cookie” on top. I loved the one at Crumbs. Unfortunately, the “Cookies & Cream” at “Cupcakes & Smiles” didn’t have the same effect on me. The cupcake was more dry than I expected, however I’ll give it credit for having a nice crunch on top with the vanilla frosting. I unfortunately do not recommend trying this cupcake.

Now the one that completely blew my mind (in a good way!) was the “Chocolate Lava Explosion.” First of all, I have never seen a “lava” cupcake before. I have seen chocolate lava cakes before, but this was different from the rest. When you put your fork through this cupcake you will find the chocolate, gooey lava in the middle dripping out. This was DELICIOUS: the lava was light, airy and filled with sweet chocolate. The cake was nice: not too dry, not too overly moist and not super sweet either. The frosting was very nice too: not overly sugary. I DEFINITELY recommend this one if you check this place out.

If you want to check this cupcake bakery out: they are open Monday thru Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cupcakes & Smiles
5380 W. Genesee St.
Camillus, N.Y. 13031
315-488-1291

http://www.cupcakesandsmiles.com

SYRACUSE — Restaurant/Food Suggestions?

Hi everyone!!

Welcome to my new blog, KAT EATS SYRACUSE. Join me as I take you on my food adventures throughout Syracuse, N.Y. through pictures, video and text! Please leave me a comment if you have any restaurant/food suggestions I should try/review!!

Have a wonderful night!

Kat

SYRACUSE — GANNON’S ISLE

Photo courtesy of strathmorebythepark.org

GANNON’S ISLE:

1525 Valley Drive, Syracuse (Valley), NY // (315) 469-8647

4800 McDonald Road (Shadybrook Plaza), Syracuse (Onondaga Hill), NY // (315) 475-1250

—–

A few nights ago I was craving an ice cream sundae.

It was very warm out this week, and as I sat in my apartment, I started to dream about ice cream. I wanted it. It was the mission of the evening. But where to get it? I had a choice to make.

I had tried a place with three of my friends before in the Hawley-Green district that was amazing, but this time I wanted something different, something new that I haven’t tried yet.

Which then suddenly, an article from Syracuse’s newspaper, The Post-Standard, came to me. I had read this a few months ago:

Ice Cream Dream: Gannon’s Isle of Syracuse prepares new flavor for Strathmore homes tour (with video)

I remember watching the video of how they made their ice cream and thinking, “Wow, this place looks really great, I HAVE to try it!” Another friend of mine had told me about it too and how great it was.

This past Thursday was the perfect opportunity to try it.

I picked up Avantika and headed to one of their two locations: Onondaga Hill’s location. I had driven there before exploring the area a few weeks back and I discovered the Gannon’s Isle location happened to be there. I turned on my “Sacred TomTom” (as my mom and I call it) and Simon (the British male voice) led us there.

The drive to Onondaga Hill is very peaceful: once you leave the city vicinity of Syracuse, you enter a world of luscious trees and lots of hills. Because it was so dark outside as well (we went around 9 p.m. that night), we were wondering if we would actually find the place.

Lo and behold, we pulled up to Shadybrook Plaza on McDonald Road. The parking lot was PACKED.

This location of Gannon’s Isle is a very cute sized location: not too small, not too big. A white picket fence surrounds the building, as the line to get into Gannon’s took up the entire picked fence when we got there. It was an exciting experience.

There were lots of families and groups of friends there, getting their ice cream and eating outside. There are a few benches and picnic tables outside and there are also a few tables outside the deli in the plaza, where we ate. We also found people eating their ice cream in their cars, which is another great place to eat ice cream.

Avantika and I waited on line for a little while. The line was moving fast, but it was just a long enough wait for us to figure out what we wanted. We both knew we wanted a sundae.

The atmosphere inside Gannon’s is great; you are directed to walk in one side of the building and leave through the other, for good traffic flow.

The decorations made me smile very wide. The animated characters on the wall of different ice creams (in the picture above as well) on an island are so adorable. This is a very family-friendly atmosphere.

Avantika got a single scooped sundae with chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge, nuts and whipped cream. She absolutely loved hers, and it looked fantastic.
I decided to try one of their named ice cream sundaes versus the make-your-own. I tried the “Oreo Explosion”: crushed oreos with hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream and the ice cream of your choice. Going along with the Oreo theme, I got their Oreo Cheesecake ice cream.

WHAT A SUNDAE.

My sundae cost around $6, which was well worth the money spent. It came in a huge bowl, with my ice cream filled to the top and their thick hot fudge spread all over the sundae. Every bite I took tasted of oreos and fudge. Mmm. I cleared my bowl on this ice cream very quickly, and I didn’t feel overly full either: many times if you get a large ice cream like that you may end up feeling really full afterwards. I felt very comfortably content.

Gannon’s Isle, has two locations for you to check out, one in Onondaga Hill, where I went, and another in the Valley.  According to their website, they have over 200 rotating homemade ice cream flavors for you to try. Their website also tells the story of how the Gannon’s Isle locations came to be: siblings Eileen and John Gannon have been making ice cream at their business since 1982.

If you’re in the mood for some ice cream today, definitely check out Gannon’s Isle at one of their locations. It’s well worth the trip.

SYRACUSE — Attilio’s

Photo courtesy of syracuse.com

ATTILIO’S : 700 NORTH SALINA ST. SYRACUSE, NY 13202

(315) 218-5085

Lunch Hours: Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Dinner Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Bar is open between lunch and dinner.

http://www.attiliosyracuse.com

A great dining experience is not only about the food, but the complete experience that goes along with it. From walking in the door to sitting at the table, to that first meet and greet from the waiter to when you leave the restaurant. If you have a warm, inviting experience, it will make you want to go back there again and again.
I found this especially at Attilio’s last week.

Right in the heart of Little Italy in Syracuse, Attilio’s was a surprise find for myself and 6 of my friends celebrating our friend Avantika’s birthday. While we were first going to check out another restaurant, the wait time at the first place was a little long, so we looked into other options.
Walking around North Salina Street, we came across Attilio’s as it was right near where we parked. We walked in and checked out a menu and found everything on the menu to be delicious sounding and at reasonable prices. Attilio’s had no wait and set up a big table for us to sit at.

Once everyone in our group was situated at the table, we were greeted by our waiter. He truly made our experience what it was. He took the time to greet us, bring us water and bread and tell us the specials of the night.

The wine list at Attilio’s is very nice. When you walk into the dining room, there are two cases that were behind our table that had several different wines in them. There was a huge champagne bottle on top of the case to look at.

Avantika and I tried a glass of the house Cabernet wine. This wine was very nice, dry with a hint of oak in it, which I love.

The bread there is AMAZING. One of the things I love about eating at Italian restaurants is the bread– it’s a staple of the experience. Their bread in particular was light with a very fluffy dough- and a nice light taste as well. The bread wasn’t too heavy to keep you from eating your meal. The bread also comes with an plate with four different mix-ins with olive oil: garlic, herbs, sweet pepper flakes and cheese. You mix them yourself at the table and then the dipping plate can be passed around. The oil mixture there is DELICIOUS!

Going around the table, I heard several pasta dishes being ordered from the menu, including:

  • Red Pepper Penne: “A vegetarian delight! Pan seared penne pasta with grilled bell peppers, goat cheese, fresh basil, sauteed in a walnut-oil garlic sauce.” $16
  • The Original Chicken Riggies: “This dish was created in 1955 by Francesco Nesci. Imported Rigatoni pasta sauteed with sliced chicken breast, Bermuda onion, hot cherry peppers, tossed in a plum tomato and fresh basil sauce.” $18

I studied the menu carefully. While I kept thinking about getting a pasta dish, it came upon me to try their Veal Parmigiana. I haven’t had veal in awhile and I really wanted to try theirs to see how it was.

  • Veal Parmigiana: “A lightly breaded veal cutlet topped with Attilio’s marinara sauce and Grande mozzarella cheese.” $20

$20 is a good deal on Veal Parmigiana; you not only get free bread and oil mix with your meal, but you get a choice of salad or soup as well. I decided to try their Caesar Salad for an additional fee, which was well worth the money.
Their Caesar Salad was wonderful. With a Caesar Salad, you have to be careful about not having too much dressing but not having too little dressing either. This particular salad was a perfect mix of romaine leaves and dressing. Their dressing was a beautiful blend of creaminess and there were two lemon wedges on the side to squeeze on to your liking. I LOVE LEMON, so I squeezed both on. It gave the salad that extra kick. I would definitely recommend getting the Caesar there for the small upcharge!

Attilio’s timing of food was perfect as well: a few minutes after the salads and soups were taken away from our table, the main courses came right to our table.

What I look for with veal dishes is a nice, beautiful tender veal. A lot of times if you overcook veal it can get very tough and hard to eat.

The veal most certainly was beautiful at Attilio’s. The batter they used to bread and cook the veal was outstanding: a nice fresh fluffy batter with nice seasonings. The veal was very tender, melt in your mouth veal. The portion was a very wonderful size as well: two huge pieces of veal with a nice sized bowl of rigatoni on the side (you can choose your pasta with your meal). Their sauce was delicious: a nice sweet, tomato sauce blended with the mozzarella cheese on top. I could sure eat some more right now! My plate cleared very fast; I ate my whole meal and actually did not feel full either. This was exciting, because that meant I could try their desserts!

Dessert time comes around and there are a TON of delicious choices….Key Lime Mousse Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie, Tartufo (one of my favorites to get out at an Italian restaurant!) and another favorite, Tiramisu.

My friend Jessica and I shared the Tiramisu and it was incredible. It was a nice sized piece of cake with a great blend of the coffee flavors and ladyfingers. My friend Sarah tried the Key Lime Mousse Pie, which was a HUGE hit at the table, the lime flavor was outstanding and that is a pie I would love to try again. The Banana Cream pie was amazing as well, the fresh taste of bananas with the pie crust and cream…YUM!

But as I said before, it wasn’t only the food that made the experience. Our waiter was outstanding. He checked in on us throughout the night to see how our food was. He took the time to sing “Happy Birthday” to Avantika with us. He took the time to personally split our checks, including doing the math of how much we would each pay to cover Avantika’s meal and wrote it on each check. He gave us little chocolate candies as well at the end of our meal.

This was an unforgettable night, and if you’re driving through North Salina Street in Little Italy, I would definitely recommend Attilio’s.

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