Aquilante's offers classic Italian

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By DON FOWLER

We wanted to show our Yankee relatives what classic Italian dining was all about, so we took them to Aquilante’s Bistro & Tavern at 701 Quaker Lane (Route 2), just over the Warwick line.

The former site of Pinelli’s, Aquilante has expanded its seating to include a large bar area and another large dining area. Although located in a strip mall, the atmosphere is very intimate and the décor is very Italian.

A basket of soft, sweet Italian bread is brought to the table with fresh seasoned olive oil. Being from Connecticut, my brother-in-law had to ask for butter.

While Aquilante’s has a fine assortment of Italian appetizers, including calamari, we ordered their most requested item, Italian egg rolls ($8.95), fried wanton wrappers filled with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto and basil, with a side of homemade marinara sauce for dipping.

Joyce ordered the Cruella Fra Diovala, a huge serving of jumbo shrimp, scallops and clams over angel hair pasta with a spicy marinara sauce ($19.95). There was enough for us to enjoy the following day.

Two of us ordered the veal Marsala, a most generous portion of veal cooked in a brown sauce and mushrooms that was tender, tasty and as fine a dish as we could hope for. A large side of angel hair pasta with marinara sauce complemented the dinner ($17.95).

Our daughter and her husband had introduced us to the restaurant and ordered their favorites. Mike’s was a chicken parm ($10.95), one of the many bargains on the menu, with a portion large enough to save half for the next day. Robin enjoyed the Chicken Sienna ($16.95) sautéed with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, black olives, lemon butter and white wine.

There are many chicken, veal and seafood dinners on the menu, plus specialty pizza. I watched a plate of spaghetti and meatballs pass by, with meatballs as large as a baseball.

Open for lunch and dinner, Aquilante’s has become a destination for lovers of quality Italian food at reasonable prices, proving once again that you don’t have to go to Federal Hill to find good Italian chefs.

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