February 15, 2012

No Creme Brulee Here!

Although "Burnt Cream", yes that's what it means, is still delicious, this one's all about cucina Italiana and a professional Italian tour guide is not needed for this experience. With a plentiful selection of great Italian food to choose from right here in the Twin Cities, I’m positive you’ll find something that will satisfy your cravings. Recently a reader asked me where they could find a good pizza or Italian cuisine around town that is not from a chain. Knowing a handful of great places in her area, I started to list them off one after the other and she was pleasantly surprised that there was plenty to choose from.

This got me thinking of some of the other eccellente Italian shops around town that serves more than just tasty pizza and some places that my fiancé and I have already paid visits to and have been very impressed with our selezioni. As more suggestions come in we will certainly try to check them out, but here is a good starter list that I promise you will NOT be disappointed with.

These are not listed in any particular order…

1. Old World Pizza (formally – Pizza Factory) moved out of their small quaint spot in South St. Paul a few years back and in to a brand new space that now sits on the corner of Upper 55th and Blaine Avenue in Inver Grove Heights. Owner, Brian, has been satisfying the communities’ taste buds for over 30 years and this resident hopes it goes another 30. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone that can make a pizza pie this good! Need a good lunch spot? Try their lunch buffet! To learn more, visit > Old World Pizza.

2. Our next destination takes us to a cozy corner of Rice Street and Front Avenue in Saint Paul. Mama’s Pizza and current owner Tony have been serving delicious Italian dishes for generations and on any given day, you could be waiting for a seat at one of very few tables and the residents will do just that, because they know it’s worth the wait. Of course you can always grab take out, but sometimes it’s about the atmosphere… There isn’t anything on the menu NOT worth trying and as the saying goes… “My Heart Belongs To Mama’s!” To learn more, visit > Mama’s Pizza Parlor.

3. We’re off to Mendota Heights where a place called I Nonni Osteria & Buon Giorno is serving some fantastic Italian cuisine. I Nonni may be on the higher end of the price list and if that’s a deal breaker for you, then stop for lunch and let Buon Giorno, their pasta bar and fresh Italian market make something delicious for you. There is plenty to choose from and you can even take some of it home with you from their fresh market. If you’re eating at I Nonni, I recommend their house special spaghetti and sausage and I guarantee that you WILL NOT find a better dish anywhere else that shares similar ingredients, period! To learn more, visit > I Nonni Osteria & Buon Giorno.

4. Situated in Downtown Saint Paul sits our next tour stop. Trattoria Da Vinci and owner Diane has been providing some of the finest Italian cuisine since 1999 and is doing an outstanding job. During a recent visit, my fiancĂ© and I had the opportunity to try something that MUST BE added to the daily menu. Their Gnocchi al Sapore di Aragosta or gnocchi and lobster in a brandy-cream and arugula sauce, is to die for! SERIOUSLY, not sure why they haven’t added it to the daily menu, but they really should and our server agreed! Want to play it safe? Go for the pasta bar experience and you can add whatever your heart desires. To learn more, visit > Trattoria Da Vinci.

5. This next one is an awesome place that everyone should swing by at least once in their lifetime. Cal’s Pizza Factory in North St. Paul  has been a staple in the community for generations and is one of my all time favorites. My meal at Cal’s consists of “The Charlie” and a basket of their famous potatoes! Are you asking why they’re famous? I challenge you to stop in, try them and find something better, that’s why! Cal has been a long time friend and has always treated me like one of his own kids. Cal’s currently does not have a website, but if you would like to stop by – He’s located on the corner of Century and 40th St/South Ave. in North Saint Paul at the end of the strip mall from Holiday gas.

6. Scattered throughout the Twin Cities are, you'll find Red's Savoy Pizza which is another great tasting pie and always a great choice if you have one near by and far superior than any chain that is near by as well. If you're going to eat pizza, you might as well enjoy it, right?

We can’t forget about places like; The Little Venetian or Ronnally’s Pizza and if there is a place you think we should stop to check out, please comment below and we’ll do our best to pay a visit to your recommended destination.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews. You may also want to try Broder’s Pasta Bar if you have not yet been.

Anonymous said...

Great place for pizza, but you should really try The Little Oven located in Maplewood. Awesome pizza and the prices are very reasonable and cheap. There is also always a wait for a table to dine there, but if you call for a pick up pizza, the deal is BOGO!

Anonymous said...

Come on Nick.....Jakeenos! We talked about this place!

Nicholas said...

Thanks for the posts! I do remember my "Anonymous" friend telling me about Jakeenos and I will have to make a visit as well as stopping by the other suggestions sometime... :)