The Cuisine Scene
Napoli Italian Restaurant
Loma Linda, CA
I enjoy most cuisines, I feel theres something special about Italian food.
Spaghetti, for instance, makes me think of friends and family gathering
around a table, relaxing and having fun while sharing a meal, sharing
part of their lives.
Perhaps it gives
me the warm fuzzies because of the fond memories the dish evokes, as
its one of the easier and less expensive dishes to prepare for several
people and was frequently on the menu when I was a young married woman
raising my son. But no matter the dish, the combination of pasta,
tomato sauce and cheese makes the perfect comfort food.
We have some
wonderful Italian restaurants in the Yucaipa/Calimesa area. I know
because Ive tried them. After moving here, I read Bill Irvines
reviews and also explored on my own.
However, I love to venture out and try new places, so I decided to visit Napolis in Loma Linda.
From the moment
Sheila and I pulled up to the restaurant, we felt the experience was
going to be a treat. Arriving around five in the evening, we were able
to park directly in front of the building, and the green canopy
covering the entrance provided a welcome shelter from the drizzling
But when we
entered the lobby, we knew we were in for a special evening. If a place
of business can be elegant, yet cozy at the same time, thats how Id
describe Napoli. So many delights greeted us: Light-colored tiled
floor, white columns supporting arches over wine racks, brocade side
chairs, statuary, live plants and potted flowers, and all accented with
soft lighting and a Christmas tree. Even more alluring was the waft of
garlic in the air. Even that delicious aroma seemed soft, as if
enticing instead of extreme.
Jesse, the host
and our server, seated us in one of the three seating areas. Linen
tablecloths decorated the tables and booths, and more bottles of wines
stood in groups in front of mirrored walls. Additional greenery and
statuary accented the white wine racks, and everything blended to
provide a lovely atmosphere to relax and enjoy a meal.
photos, I met Santokh, the tall, slim owner, who told me hed worked in
a restaurant in Germany before immigrating to the United States.
Originally from India, he loved Italian food and opened Napoli in 1994.
and dinner, the choices were extensive. And exotic. I wasnt familiar
with many of the dishes offered, but I suppose thats not unusual,
especially since Id moved from a small Minnesota town where Lutefisk,
whitefish preserved in lye, was a delicacy. While I consider myself
adventuresome, there are some dishes I approach with caution.
Not so at
Napoli. From their antipastos to salads, from pastas to baked dishes, I
was eager to try as much as I could. But with the selection so vast,
how could I choose? Jesse was gracious enough to explain some of the
dishes and make suggestions.
appetizer, he talked to Sheila and me to discover our likes, so he
suggested bruschetta for me and crab cakes for Sheila. Bruschetta,
sliced toasted bread topped with fresh tomato, garlic, oregano, basil
and olive oil, is available with fresh mozzarella cheese. Regular is
$6.95. I ordered mine with the cheese, alla Napoletana, for $7.50. The deep fried crab cakes are served in a brandy gorgonzola sauce for $8.50.
Our garlic bread
arrived and of course we had to munch. No grainy powder for Santokh;
the fresh garlic flavor was an enhancement instead of overpowering.
appetizers arrived, Sheila and I shared. Whatever concerns I had
evaporated when I bit into the bruschetta. Somehow, the toast remained
crispy underneath the moist toppings, and the delicate flavors of
tomato, cheese, oregano, and basil blended beautifully with the toast.
I could have made a meal out of the appetizer, but I wanted to taste
the crab cakes and save room for dinner. As with the toast, the crab
cakes retained their crispiness in the sauce and were delicious.
Four more pages
on the menu offered dinner choices from pastas such as spaghetti with
marinara sauce, meat sauce with mushrooms or meatballs or sausage, to
fettuccine several different ways, ravioli, and linguini, with prices
ranging from $12.50 for the spaghetti to $21.50 to the Linguini
Pescatore with shrimp, calamari, scallops, clams, mussels, salmon and
garlic for $21.50. Dinners include soup or salad and garlic bread.
dishes are offered as well as veal, lamb, seafood, chicken, and a
selection of bakes dishes including lasagna, ziti, and manicotti, and
those dishes range from $12.50 to $22.50 for the seafood.
Grilled rack of
lamb with Chianti wine sauce, and filet mignon sautéed in brandy is
available for $24.50, and as with the veal, seafood, and chicken
dishes, soup or salad is included, along with a side of pasta and
eggplant parmigiana, lightly breaded and baked with marinara sauce and
mozzarella cheese for $14.50. Even with all the tempting dishes on the
menu, I selected the angle hair pasta with shrimp, scallops, salmon,
asparagus, tomatoes and spinach, one of the four chefs specials.
Another was grilled stuffed salmon with eggplant and mozzarella in a
champagne lobster cream sauce.
After Jesse took
our orders, he served the romaine lettuce salad.
I didnt think Ive
have room for dinner, but of
course I had to try both selections, even if simply a taste.
When our dinner
was served, I was surprised by the generous helpings. My pasta included
chunks of salmon as well as shrimp and scallops, and I loved the mixed
flavors of seafood with asparagus and spinach. Melted mozzarella
covered Sheilas eggplant and a side of pasta accompanied the dish. It
was delicious, but either of us could eat more than a couple of bites,
but it was worth it.
presented the dessert tray. Oh, my goodness, how could we resist? They
had cheesecakes, cappuccino cake, spumoni ice cream and more, but even
if I had to waddle out, I wanted to try the tiramisu, a traditional
Italian dessert of sponge cake soaked in coffee, mascarpone cheese and
chocolate. Sheila and I split a piece, and the light creamy texture was
a perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
Thank you, Santokh, not just for a meal, but for an event. What an experience.
Lunch: 11am to 3pm.
Dinner: is 3pm to 9:30pm
Napoli Italian Restaurant
24960 Redlands Blvd.
Loma Linda, CA 92354
From the I-10 Freeway,
Exit Tippecanoe/Anderson in Loma Linda and go South.
Turn Left on Redlands Blvd.
Napoli is the third building on the left.