Italian Dilemma

I…HAVE…HAD…IT. In this city, I can get Thai food, Japanese food, Mexican food, Moroccan food, Chinese food, African food, French food, Carribbean food, and junk food. I have dined on every ethnic cuisine one can imagine. And yet there’s something missing from my life: an Italian restaurant.

I am a woman without a country. Do you know what we (Italians) do on Sundays? We eat a giant family dinner, that’s what we do. It gives us an opportunity to spend quality time with our family so that we do not miss them the rest of the week. Food is very central to our lives–bad for the arteries, yes, but good for conversation and the pure joy of eating. Oh, sure, we can cook. We do a LOT of that. But is that really enough? When a crisis hits, or a celebration is in order, or I’ve got way too many aunts trying to cook in the same kitchen, where are we supposed to turn? The Olive Garden? Please.

There’s a restaurant called Cariera’s in Dr. Phillips that’s OK in a pinch. They have three locations around the country (one in Dearborn, Michigan, of all places), but I am not enamored of their prices. We stuff people with pasta expressly because it’s cheap. I have a problem paying top dollar for glorified fettucine. Where are the real Italian restaurant, the holes-in-the-wall run by two generations of family members who will remember what we always order? I found one in Naples…I know one in Largo…I know one in Tampa..even freakin’ Jax has one, for heaven’s sake! What happened to Orlando? In a city where a person can order something as exotic as Ethiopian cuisine, is it really asking so much to find a place that can make gnoccis and wedding soup? (West and south Orlando locations are preferred…sometimes we have to get there in an emergency.)

Please help me. Does anybody know a place? The relatives are invading soon and I’m desperate!

5 Comments so far

  1. Cindy (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 6:07 am

    Have you tried Cafe Italiano ? It’s off of 436 south of Underhill. It’s a very small place been there 30 plus years…

  2. Solonor (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 7:27 am

    How about Buca di Beppo on 17-92 across from the Enzian? There’s also a good pizza place on 434 up near Longwood called Carmela’s.

  3. Carol Thompson (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 10:43 am

    My Father is Italian and I love the food at Guissepe’s Italian Restaurant in Kissimmee. The owners are from outside of Naples where my family is from, and the sauce, meatballs, etc. taste like homemade! I’ve never found a wedding soup that tastes like Grandma’s yet, but I’m still looking. If you go, the Eggplant Rolantini is to die for….

  4. FryGuy (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

    Try Bravissimo in Downtown. Great atmosphere, food, and wine of course.

  5. Julie (unregistered) on August 23rd, 2006 @ 7:22 pm

    Cafe Italiano Definitely! I’ve been going there with my family since I was crawling! Sal and Anne are the owners and chefs, their son James is the main server – wonderful food and people!
    You must try it. The food does take awhile, they prepare and cook as you order, so be patient and enjoy the time with your family – it’s worth it!
    ps, I believe they are closed for 2 weeks in Aug…

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