SIDEBAR Fall 2019 - 9

MONTGOMERYBAR.ORG

RESTAURANT REVIEW

High Marks for King of Prussia's

North Italia
By Robert R. Watson, Jr., Esq.

W

e were happy to get a Friday
night reservation on relatively
short notice. Located just outside
of Macy's North Entrance, North Italia
offers both lot and valet parking. If you are
shopping in the mall, the restaurant is just off
the escalators behind the "new" upscale food
court.
Don't let this location in the mall fool
you. North Italia is worlds apart from even
the trendiest fast food spots by which it
happens to be located. The restaurant is
designed as one large open space, brightly lit when we first arrived
with more intimate lighting as the sun went down that evening.
Outdoor seating is available for sunny afternoons or warmer
evenings. Every seat in the house has a full view of the busy
kitchen.
The key to North Italia's success is tied to what happens in that
bustling kitchen - many dishes, including pizza and fresh pasta,
are made from scratch daily. As we were seated, we noted that the
hardworking kitchen and wait staff match the vibrant energy of the
entire restaurant.
Our first order of business was selecting an appropriate
wine to accompany our meal, and a bottle of Montepulciano
was reasonably priced for a restaurant wine list. As busy as the
restaurant was, our friendly and helpful waiter invited us to take
our time, review the menu, and (since this was our first visit)
ask him any questions we had before making our choices. We
were pleased to order two appetizers from the small plates menu,
without the all-too-often push for the rest of our dinner selections
at the same time. We had not been out without kids or baseball
teams in months, and gladly welcomed the chance for a slower pace
with our meal.
Arancini ($12) is a crispy mushroom risotto stuffed with
scamorza cheese. Served with a hearty red sauce, the lightly-fried
hors d'oeuvre was not heavy or overdone, and was a tasty start to
the meal. We also could not pass up the "Grilled Bread & Good
Olive Oil" ($4), which was dusted with grana padano cheese and
herbs. It was good bread and good oil, albeit thick and crusty.
A daily soup is fresh and on the menu everyday ($7), and other
interesting small plate choices include black Mediterranean Mussels
($14) the obligatory crispy calamari ($14), and a chef's charcuterie

350 Mall Boulevard, Suite 1000C,
King of Prussia, PA 19406
484.751.9000
www.northitaliarestaurant.com

($16), which claimed to be for two people, but
looked delicious and much more generous in
size and selection. In addition to our arancini,
we also really enjoyed the seasonal vegetable
salad ($13), which was our server's suggestion,
including kale, roasted cauliflower, dates and
other delicious elements perfectly balanced
with goat cheese and a sherry vinaigrette.
North Italia's starters were excellent, but
the restaurant shines with its fresh-made pasta
and entrees. After much debate, we settled
on the house specialty Bolognese ($19) and a
chicken dish featuring strozzapreti pasta ($19). The latter dish was
perfectly prepared with chicken, roasted mushroom, spinach and
pine nuts finished with a light parmesan cream. The Bolognese
dish was truly spectacular including tagliatelle noodle and the same
grana padano cheese we enjoyed in the appetizer. As we hoped,
North Italia's fresh-made pasta proved to be the standout in both of
our dishes. Firm and full-bodied, fresh pasta provides an entirely
different dining experience than most come to expect from typical
dry pasta dishes. This pasta is especially well-suited for heartier
sauces such as the Bolognese and mushroom cream sauces, and
North Italia prepared and served it perfectly. Whether you've
enjoyed real fresh pasta in the past, or maybe are new to trying it, a
trip to North Italia's fresh kitchen is one definitely worth making,
not to mention, considering the high quality of the food, North
Italia's prices and portions are reasonable. Gluten-free pasta or
vegetable noodles are also available.
As the reader might surmise based on our menu choices, there
was no room for dessert. Of course, the menu is tempting, with
Italian donuts called bombolini ($8), pistachio olive oil cake ($8)
and other tantalizing options. Every meal is properly completed
with espresso or cappuccino.
We knew North Italia would be a good choice for a rare
evening out - and it truly was. It is equally appropriate for families
with children and large groups. The restaurant is very popular and
busy, though, so reservations are a must, as the full bar is somewhat
small and often filled with folks dining, along with those having a
cocktail waiting to be seated. Be sure to put North Italia on your
list, after a shopping trip or when visiting just for dinner. It will
not disappoint.

FA L L 2 0 1 9 9


http://montgomerybar.org http://www.northitaliarestaurant.com

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