Friday, February 12, 2010
Florentine Ristorante, 3245 28th St SW - 2/11/10
We spotted this restaurant en route to another and since it was Italian we decided to double-back later on. Finding a non-national chain Italian restaurant in Grand Rapids isn’t that easy (we have Noto’s, Pietro’s, and Tre Cugini - any others?). With twelve cars outside, we were surprised to find only one person in the restaurant (two men came in soon after and for some reason, took a booth right behind ours, with the rest of the restaurant empty; unfortunately, they were loud talkers :). The atmosphere is pleasant and welcoming. Textured, salmon-colored walls are complemented with wood trim and other warm colors. Throughout this fairly large restaurant on high shelves are interesting household items that we later learned were from every house our server (and decorator) ever lived in. Service was friendly and efficient; she let us take our time and was happy to make suggestions or answer any questions.
The one-page menu held no surprises and from the ten appetizers we chose the Italian Sampler: deep-fried zucchini, mozzarella sticks, and mushroom caps. All good, they were accompanied by marinara sauce, pizza sauce, and ranch dressing (marinara was the best of the three). Menu choices range from sandwiches ($5-8), burgers ($6.50-7.25, salads ($7-11), pasta ($7.95-8.95), subs ($5.95-6.95), and pizza ($7.95-13.95). A soup and salad bar is available for $6.95, and can be added to any entree for $2.99. Seeing as there was nothing special about the salad bar (except maybe the homemade soup), we opted for pasta dishes: lasagna and rigatoni. Pasta is made fresh at the restaurant each morning and was nice quality. The rigatoni was a little over baked so a few around the edge were hard and dried out. Lasagna was fine but the sauce on both could have been spicier and more flavorful. Portions are large with take-home boxes needed. On our way out, we saw where the owners of the other eleven cars were - in an attractive, little bar tucked off the entry way.
So it’s worth a stop, but just don’t expect anything out of the ordinary and you’ll be satisfied.