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Jan 29, 2009 12:45 PM

Authentic Italian in Athens, Georgia

Sup Fellow Chowhounders...I was wondering if anybody can turn me on to any Authentic Italian restaurants in Athens, Georgia. If not Italian...any decent, reputable restaurants in Athens (NO CHAINS). Thanks.

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  1. La Dolce Vita. Downtown on Broad Street, upstairs from Broad Street Bar & Grill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hillarybrown

      Yes. Good food at LDV. GREAT lasagna. Great service.

    2. I ate dinner at la dolce vita last night. Bruschetta, mushroom carpaccio, seafood linguine and lasagna. The seafood linguine was ok, the starters were very good, but the lasagna was transcendent. Almost absurd, really, that's how good it was. Great tiramisu as well and the service was friendly and attentive.

      I definitely recommend la dolce vita to any italian food lover. or just someone who likes great food in general.

      1. I'll echo the comments here.

        I went to La Dolce Vita for the first time about 2 weeks ago and it was very good. I had the lasagna and it was pretty decadent. I was pleased with how large the portion size was for the price. Very filling. My girlfriend got a dish with penne and Italian sausage, mushrooms, and a pink cream sauce. I can't recall its name, but it was also very good. I didn't like it as much as the lasagna, though. Tiramisu for dessert did not disappoint.

        I thought overall the service was pleasant and attentive, but our waitress actually forgot to bring us focaccia. She ended up bringing it once we got our entree, right before I was going to ask, so she recovered. Better late than never.

        I also saw one of the cooks in the kitchen (it's more or less an open kitchen even though we weren't sitting near it) chewing gum. It's been a few years since my servsafe certification, but that doesn't seem like good food safety to me. I could be wrong.

        Otherwise, a great restaurant and I'll definitely be back.

        7 Replies
        1. re: foodfechter

          Seriously, chewing gum? While it may very well be a regulation (I have no idea), the idea of prohibiting gum chewing for food safety reasons is kind of comical to me.

          1. re: Dax

            Yeah, I'm with Dax. Having spent most of my life in the restaurant bidness, I don't recall chewing gum ever being an issue with health inspectors, and trust me: they have issues with almost everything. I'm not sure why a cook chewing gum would be a concern to a patron of any restaurant.

            But I'll say it once again: the lasagna at LDV is fantastic, one of the best things I ever ate, just a pure expression of culinary perfection.

            1. re: uptown jimmy

              I don't really see the problem with my statement. It just didn't sit well with me, and I shared with the readers here. I'm glad it doesn't bother you, but that wasn't the case for me. Big deal.

              I still gave the restaurant a very positive review and will definitely return. I also recommended it. As far as I'm concerned, we all agree here.

              1. re: foodfechter

                Foodfetcher, getting off topic here, but certainly one of the best aspects of chowhound is the ability to engage in food discussions and agree or disagree about certain things. I value your opinion and welcome and sincerely appreciate your review even if I may disagree about one minor comment. Maybe I can get to LDV on my next visit.

                  1. re: Dax

                    I'm really not trying to be belligerent here or anything, but I recently found my old servsafe certification book and had to post this.

                    According to the book:
                    "Small droplets of saliva can contain thousands of disease-causing microorganisms. In the process of eating, drinking, chewing gum, or smoking, this saliva can be transferred to the foodhandler's hands or directly to the food they are handling. For this reason, managers must implement the following policies in their establishments:

                    Foodhandlers must not smoke or chew gum or tobacco while preparing or serving food, while in food-preparation areas, or while in areas used for equipment and utensil washing.

                    Foodhandlers should eat, drink, chew gum, or use tobacco products only in designated areas, such as an employee breakroom."

                    Now, this book is from 2002, but I don't think this would have changed. I also realize that nothing is perfect in practice, and it would be naive to think the suggestions in something like a servsafe certification course would be followed completely in real life. However, this does prove that I had a reason to be bothered by it, and I think somewhat justifies my comment.

                    Thanks, and sorry for dragging it out.

          2. Mirko's on the Eastside. It is cheap. The pasta is freshly made, the sauces are made when you order (except the ones requiring all day simmering). It is always packed on Friday night. I eat at the bar. They have a good wine and beer selection as well.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chow_dawg

              It's "Mirko". Just sayin'.

              And the food is usually great. Not my favorite style of service, not the best atmosphere at either location, but good food. Sometimes REALLY good food.

              But the lasagna at LDV is waaaaay beyond anything the cooks at Mirko could ever imagine preparing. That lasagna is just amazing. I need it now.

              1. re: uptown jimmy

                Do you have any particular suggestions about what is really good at Mirko? I've only been to the one on the eastside, and only twice. I just wasn't that impressed with some of their more basic cream sauce+pasta+protein for the price, compared to what I could very easily make at home.

                I did enjoy their gnocchi, though, and their bolognese.


                1. re: foodfechter

                  Well, honestly, I'd rather just got to LDV.

                  But at Mirko, we've had a crab and marinara sauce that was very nice. The calamari is usually good. The ravioli was excellent.

                  But we've had a few bad experiences, come to think of it. one time we had some food to-go from the Watkinsville location and it was pathetic, just unimpressive little puddles of mediocre food. And we've had bread there that was just sad, which of course made the bruschetta sad as well. Inconsistency is turble thing. We've not been back to Watkinsville location.

                  I've never made pasta at home myself, that's surely one of their major draws.

                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                    Mirko is good (I've only went to Watkinsville) but La Dolce Vita is a different experience. Sit down, have a glass of wine, read the menu, smooze with the wait staff the whole nice restaurant vibe instead of order at the counter, find a table and wait with a flag on your table fro them to find you. Just not the same thing.
                    Also I think the food quality at LDV is better. The pink sauced penne with sausage is alla buttera
                    and I think it was done better at Bischero (which I lament) but it is done well at LDV
                    I love the beef carpaccio and the lasagne at LDV and the service has been excellent each time Ive been there. Over all the best Italian restaurant in Athens