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DFW - Nonna

  • j

Had the opportunity to dine at Nonna last night. Finally, finally, Dallas has an authentic Italian resto. Firstly, it's very undallas, if you will. It's small, not overlly designed, friendly, and professional. It's one of the better meals I've ever had in Dallas.

We began with a cocktail of Prosecco with fress Blood Orange Juice. The brought a small plate of various olives to nosh on with the cocktail. The menu has about 3-4 different choices of starters, pizza, pasta, mains depending on the season. They brought a 8x8 in. foccacia type bread right from the wood burning oven. It was crispy on the outside with some of the black crust you get with really hot ovens. It was topped with the right amount of sea salt. We split the roasted asparagus finished in the wood burning oven with an egg and parmigano on top. It was truly spectacular.

Next, we opted to split a pizza. We choose the white pizzia which had clams, shallots, pecorino, and herbs. Again, it was perfectly cooked and perfectly adorned. We moved to the pasta course. The Mrs. had gnocci with pancetta, sage, and pamigano. The simplicity and the quality of the ingredients and the preparation made it as good as Italian food can be. I had Angiolli (sp.) filled with Lobster set in a bowl of Lobster broth with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms. The homemade pasta, lobster, and broth again, the simplicity of the dish is what honest Italian food is all about. Since we were on a roll, we thought we'd give the desserts a spin to see if they were on the same level, and indeed they were. We ordered a Meyer Lemon Cake that was made from polenta and had just the right amount of citrus, sweetness, and texture. We also had a goat cheesecake which was much richer, but was more like a cross between traditional cheesecake and a mouse.

The wine list was short, all italian, and very well choosen and reasonalble. We had a bottle of Gaja Gavi Blanco for $45 which I thought was really reasonable. Ok, for the bad news. It's small, and generally booked out 2 weeks, but its worth it. There is a small bar that has 7 or 8 seats where solo's can dine. The crowd was older and noticeably more casual which was a nice change of pace. Hope this helps.

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  1. Great review!

    How were the prices? What was the price range of the mains?

    How was the service?

    Was it crowded?

    Did anybody just walk-in and sit at the bar to eat?

    Was it a typical Parkie crowd in there?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Scagnetti

      Prices- We spent $150 including tip for the above (including 2 cocktails and $45 bottle of wine)

      We didn't have mains per se, but they were around $25, Pasta were $13-$18, Pizza was $15 or so.

      Service was perfect, not too much, not too little, and our waiter was extremely knowledgable and we took his suggestion and they were right on the money.

      If was full on a rainy Tuesday night.

      People did eat at the bar.

      I would say it was an a-typical Parkie crowd (full disclosure, I live there) It was and older, more refined type, not the hey, "look at me" crowd. My wife and I commented that it was obviously a crowed who knew and apprecaited cuisine and not the scene, if you know what I mean? It was also Tuesday night.

    2. I couldn't agree more. This is my favorite spot for Italian. Wasn't that clam pizza just heavenly? I haven't found a spot that reminds me more of the food we had in Rome. I could eat there every night!

      1 Reply
      1. re: margiehubbard

        Yep, my wife and kids went out of town today, so I will be sitting at the bar eating the next 2 nights.

      2. A buddy of mine bartends there (what's up, Dennis!) and does nothing but rave about how kick-arse everything is. He should know - he tends to bartend at the better spots in town. I've been meaning to go in for a while and this thread did nothing but bump Nonna to the top of my list.

        Once again, my fellow Chowhounders have unwittingly filled in the gaps of my to-do list. Thanks!

        1. Only been able to eat there once, so far. But the meal I had was somewhat schizophrenic. Salads were out of this world. Pasta and main course dish (one each between us) was not as good. I was very primed to like the place as the chef had worked with Paul Bertolli from Oliveto, my favorite Italian restaurant in the U.S. The two less than stellar courses, however, are not enough to keep me from trying the restaurant again. But the pasta and meat course were just frankly, not very good. I certainly hope that I caught them on an off night.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mike C. Miller

            What did you have that you didn't like? I was surprised that I was least impressed with the Carbonara. I can actually make Carbonara better than what I had there. Although, everything else has been excellent!

            1. re: margiehubbard

              My girlfriend had a pasta with mushroom dish. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente, but there was a lack of something to bind the mushroom flavors to the pasta. It needed something, a bit of EVO, a touch of stock, mushroom broth, butter, etc. to bring the dish together. I can't recall my entre', but again, it was not bad, but was not up to the very high standards of the first course, or that I would have expected from a Paul Bertolli protege. However, neither were so off as to keep me from going back and hoping for better. We may well have caught them on an off night. The first course was spectacular.

          2. My favorite dish that I have had here was the Lobster Ravioli. It has a nice butter/broth sauce. This dish has me craving it at random times of the day! Nonna is a great place for a more upscale Cali-Italian. I say 'Cali' because of the use of fresh ingredients and the number of different vegetables that are used and the very little red-sauce based items on the menu (although i do love some NY-Italian red-sauced based dishes!). Everything is priced a lot less then I thought it would be - which was a very pleasant surprise. I just wish the reservation list wasn't so long for a weekend. Our reservation was two weeks out for an 8:30 reservation. This place does pack it in late - which i like to see here in the city of 7:30 seatings. People were still being seated at 10:30 when we were leaving.

            1. I finally had a chance to eat here last night. Walked right in to the empty bar with no problems. Guess the storm scared people off (or in rather). The bartender Dennis is a real friendly guy. Made some good recommendations for me. I wanted to try something that really highlighted the pasta, which the tagliatelle with bolognese sauce did really well. Great pasta, great sauce. Really simple and there must have been really good beef in the sauce. Really did enjoy the pasta, not sure if it was whole wheat or something but it was not boring. Also had grilled asparagus topped with a fried egg and parmesan cheese, which is a hell of a way to eat veggies. Everything was really simple so the ingredients really stood out. Can't wait to go back with a group.

              3 Replies
              1. re: luniz

                Reminds me of the classic presentations in Rome this past year. Just enough sauce to coat the pasta not swimming, fresh veggies usually acommpanied, and just high quality ingredients not matter where you went. Veal was big in a number of dishes but it was in small flattened portions to highlight the tenderness with very little seasoning. I will have to try this place out very soon thanks for the review!

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  We need to get together and talk about Rome! When were you there? Where did you eat? We were there for 10 days last October. Nonna really does remind me of the food you get there. Very scarce here in Dallas.

                  1. re: margiehubbard

                    Wife and I checked out Nonna last night and I have to say that we were both very impressed. I came in completely blind as the restaurant doesn't have an online menu that I could find. I was pleasantly surprised to see the menu so focused on seasonal ingredients (purslane, asparagus, favas, ramps).

                    We shared an appetizer of asparagus with a sunny side up egg and shaved parmesan -- classic and restrained. I had the branzino dish with capers, asparagus, ramps and baby shitakes (I am drawn to anything with ramps as they are a such a rare find in restaurants in Dallas). All components of this dish were spot on. My wife had the tortelli with artichoke, mascarpone filling and favas. Her dish was not as stellar as mine but it had what I think was a lemon oil on the dish that definately added a nice touch.

                    For dessert we shared the chocolate, ricotta fritters. Another winner that should be a menu staple. We were surprised to find out that this dessert isn't regularly on the menu as we would go back time and again for just that dessert alone.

                    Overall, I had very few quibbles about our dinner which is a rarity for me. I only wish getting a table at a convenient time were easier!

              2. While there is nothing authentic Italian about the food (just ask the owner/chef), it does capture the finest of what italian cuisine is all about: simple great ingredients presented simply, good fresh taste, plates that are not drowning in overly complicates sauces disguising blandness.
                Great atmosphere too. Highly recommended.

                1. This little gem continues to amaze me. Went there last night with 5 others in my group. The in-house artisan cured salumi platter equalled, or even bested what I've had in Tuscany.
                  The Lobster angolini with chervil was incredible. I'm still thinking about it today. All of us really enjoyed our dinner and wines. And of course, the service was wonderful.
                  Nonna's is the closest you'll ever come to a true Italian restaurant in Dallas. I might even say, it's better than some in Italy.