One of East Dallas’ best Italian restaurants is a nice, little place where you can enjoy good spaghetti in a romantic atmosphere while being treated like a king.

Ristorante Savino’s double-doors lead you into a foyer and to a maître d’, who will guide you through an airy, split-level dining room with adjacent patio.

The fun begins with the wine list, which is filled with a unique assortment of wines, mostly Italian. Some of the wines are so rare even experts will be surprised. The waiters are helpful in suggesting a wine, and new shipments often aren’t even on the list.

The antipasta range from traditional antipasto all’italiana to salmone affumicato (smoked salmon with capers). If you have a taste for mussels, try the cozze gratinate stuffed with herbs, bread crumbs and flamed with vodka. Prices range from $4.95 to $5.95.

Pastas offered include capelli d’angelo all’astaco (angel hair pasta with lobster sauce), which is presented with pale green pasta and a light lobster sauce. Truly impressive.

The fusilli pugnochiuso (spiral pasta with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and crushed red pepper), and tortellini della zia teresa (ham, demi-glace, cream and Parmesan) are good choices. All pastas include a light salad and are priced from $5.50 to $6.75.

We’ve all heard about wonderful French pastries, but the Italians aren’t far behind. For dessert, try the profitterol, which is a light puffed pastry covered with warm chocolate sauce.

Overall, the surroundings are pleasant, and the meal is both leisurely and fantastic. I would take my mother here. She may never make it to Italy, but Savino’s is a good representation.

Ristorante Savino, 2929 N. Henderson, is open seven nights for dinner only beginning at 6 p.m. Call 826-7804 for reservations.

If you want to sample other neighborhood Italian restaurants, look for:

Pietro’s Italian Restaurant, 5722 Richmond near Whole Foods Market. Pietro’s cooking is traditional, with lots of spicy tomato sauces. I am told he grows and picks his herbs fresh from the garden.

Pietro’s is open for dinner only from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and weekends until 11 p.m. The restaurant is closed Monday.

Al Dente Café, 1920 Greenville, combines traditional and new vegetable and seafood dishes in a long, narrow New York bistro setting. Al Dente is open for lunch weekdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and for dinner from 5-10 p.m. (11 p.m. weekends).

Mangia Italia Ristorante, 6334 La Vista next to the Lakewood Theater, is a new experience in Italian food. Mangia lends itself to lighter, healthier creations and less heavy, traditional sauces. The presentation is that of a new representation of an old Italian restaurant.

Mangia is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and for dinner from 5-10 p.m. (11 p.m. weekends).


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