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What Makes a good Italian restaurant

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by mudfootball, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. mudfootball

    mudfootball

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    My area is covered in italian joints and my family is always debating over what makes one better than the other. Me I more or less judge by the calamari. What makes a good Italian joint good? The bread?
    kt
     
  2. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Although its not my favorite, I've found that a good Alfredo Sauce is a good benchmark dish.
     

  3. hispeedlodrag

    hispeedlodrag needs vacation

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    It has different names around the Med, but the quality of a fried smelt sandwich usually denotes the overall quality of an Italian restaurant. The bread, fish, and aioli all come together in a yummy, crunchy, garlic flavored package -- or a soggy, smelly, mess.
     
  4. nickg

    nickg

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    if the spaghetti sauce ain't as good as mine, it's NOT a good restaurant!!
     
  5. noway

    noway

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    I found out if the chefs names end with Smith,Kim, Brown and Sanchez then 9 out of 10 times it won't be agood Italian restaurant and btw Olive Garden is not a Good Italian Restaurant and neither is the Macaroni Grill ;Q

    I also too like to judge them by the way they prep marinara sauce and minestrone Soups, if they can't master these 2 simple items then theirs no way I would judge how well they can put together a Veal Scalopinne w/Marsala
     
  6. noway

    noway

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    I found out if the chefs names end with Smith,Kim, Brown and Sanchez then 9 out of 10 times it won't be agood Italian restaurant and btw Olive Garden is not a Good Italian Restaurant and neither is the Macaroni Grill ;Q

    I also too like to judge them by the way they prep marinara sauce and minestrone Soups, if they can't master these 2 simple items then theirs no way I would judge how well they can put together a Veal Scalopinne w/Marsala
     
  7. moeman

    moeman

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    Good Italian restaurants starts with the smell once you've walked in the door. When I was in fine dining management, we would walk thru the dining room with fragrant pans full of simmering garlic and herbs just to prime the pump before anyone even showed up. My assestment excludes the local pizza joint.

    A few things:

    1. Service has to be good-- in ANY restaurant.

    2. Fine Italian restaurants serve pasta as a side dish. A plate full of pasta is OK but it better be a seafood pasta or a primavera to get my attention. Alfredo and basic pastas go on the side of the entree.

    3. If it doesn't do really good veal dishes (and I don't mean veal parmigiano), cioppino, osso buco, lamb, fresh fish and tasty chicken then, "forget about it"(use your Italian accent here) .

    4. There should be a lot of choices for antipasti, soups and salads. If the salad is made with iceberg lettuce then the "chef" must have come directely from a school cafeteria. BTW, Ceasar salad come from Tijuana Mexico-- still tasty though.

    Man, do I love a great pasta e fagoli soup and aruguala based salads.

    5. Desserts list should have fresh fruit dishes too.

    6. The bread should good enough to want to buy some and bring it home. And there shoulb be good bread dipping olive oil, vinegar caponata.

    Did you know-- that in Italy, cheese is NEVER grated onto a fish dish. I once worked for a chef from Napoli that absoulutly forbidded any server to offer cheese to seafood clients. They had to "ruin" it themselves.

    And finally, The Olive Garden is as enticing as herpes.

    ;b
     
  8. Mild Bill

    Mild Bill Millennium Member

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    The Macaroni Grill near me makes spectacular Lasagna...
    Depth of flavor with herbs and quality cheeses...
     
  9. noway

    noway

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    Macaroni Grill sucks where am at, crappy food and wines and is only a step above Olive Garden.

    Using the herpes example , Macaroni Grill is as enticing as get the winter Flu. ;b
    ( not as bad as herpes but still undesireable )

    The last Italian restaurant I whent to was on Lincoln Mall road in Miami Beach ( aka South Beach ) named Tiramisu. It reminded me of why I don't go out for italian food that much. Over price, yuppy locations and piss poor service to add to it. ( That pretty much what must Italian American restaurant are outside of NYc and Chicago or Europe) I had some chicken dish at Tiramisu (IIRC Chicken Oregano ) and it was about as plain as a loaf of white bread. Server gave me a bowl of minestrone soup that had more oil in it then the Exxon Valdez and they didn't have my Moretti Rosa beer :(

    Combine with overprice food ( probably due to area ) and just plain crappy food = NOT 4 Me!
     
  10. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Pasta Connection on Harbor Blvd. in NewPort Beech used to be pretty good.
     
  11. Branspop

    Branspop Daddy X2 CLM

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    I think it varies at where you are at. The one here is actually decent as far as the food. The last one I ate at out of town was nothing to sneeze at.
     
  12. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    For me it's risotto. Nothing gives away pretenders like a lousy risotto. My personal favorites:<ol><li>Risotto mantecato con capesante e cuore di lattuga</li><li>Risottino al rosmarino e pepe rosa</li></ol>I will travel to a restaurant that can cook these right. Suffice it to say I haven't found one on the West Coast yet.
     
  13. moeman

    moeman

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    Have you tried San Francisco? I used to live in the Bay area and there were many excellent Italian restaurants from San Jose to Palo Alto and a ton in S.F.

    On the East Bay Berkeley has some fine digs too.
     
  14. pizzaaguy

    pizzaaguy

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    Grandma is working in the kitchen! ;)
     
  15. Zak3056

    Zak3056 NRA Life Member

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    I agree with this--the best italian places I've ever eaten were all family owned, had like 12 tables, and were in ugly buildings.

    *sigh* As much as I love the South, I pine for the food of New York. ;f
     
  16. mudfootball

    mudfootball

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    thanks for enlightening me on italy , man now you all got me missing my grandma in the kitchen ;1
    kt
     
  17. spetsnaz777

    spetsnaz777 Team 9mmx19

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    Well in the Northern Virginia area we have places called Bertuccis. They are by far the best Italian eateries I've ever been to in the USA.
     
  18. maxxx93

    maxxx93

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    BERTUCCI'S? You've got to be kidding me.

    I mean their pizza is passable, but as a Italian restaurant, they aren't even on the radar screen.

    If you ever make up to Boston, walk into any store front, hole in the wall, place in East Boston or the North end, and You will forget You ever even heard of Bertucci's.

    Someone above pretty much summed it up with "Grandmas in the kitchen"

    PS Bertucci's chain runs up almost the entire East Coast.
     
  19. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    Outstanding post! Having worked in a wonderful authentic Italian restaurant, I have to agree with pretty much everything you wrote! If you are ever in Atlanta, let me know and we can go to the place I used to work. You will love it. :)

    Shoeless
     
  20. moeman

    moeman

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    That would be cool! No plans for Atlanta at this time, although business can change that. If you are visiting Southern California I'd be happy to share some great places-- and on the beach you won't have to wear shoes :)