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Finally tried Mina Cucina in Springhouse

Loved, loved, loved it! Very quaint little BYO in an unassuming shopping center, friendly service. As a little extra they put delicous fried spagetti on the table (crunch, salty, peppery). My husband and I started with the antipasta platter, in included some of the best homemade roasted peppers I've had in a while, marinated portabello mushroom, grilled zuccini, really high quality sharp cheese and proscuitto. They have a number of house made pastas on the menu (hooray!), and since home made pasta is my weakness I had the tagiatelle bolognese. Its a simple dish, but it was done perfectly, the sauce was so meaty with a slight creaminess to it, the pasta was perfectly cooked. My husband had a chicken with a spinach and gorgonzola sauce which was good (though really heavy on the spinach), the portion was so big the plate was as big as a serving tray! It was served with garlic-y green beans which were so good. We ended with a lemon ricotta cheesecake, it was so good, my husband and I were going to share but I did not let him get one bite in! We got there early, we had a little one in tow so wanted to be done before prime dinner hours, it started to get really full as we were leaving, word of mouth must have really spread about this place, there seemed to be alot of regulars. Thats why I love chowhound, I would never have thought to try this place and I had a bad experience with them before (wrong hours posted on their website) so I almost gave up on them, but I heard such good things about this place I thought I'd give it a try, I'm so glad I did.

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  1. Yes, Mina Cucina has become a favorite of ours. I love the pappardelle and get it every time I go. I guess I should try something new, but it's really good. My husband recently tried the chicken cacciatore and said it was delicious. The caesar salad (I think they call it roman-something) is great too. Grilled romaine, sharp cheese, roasted peppers. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, the olive oil is high quality. Makes it hard to pass on the bread. On a weekend at least, you need to get there by 6pm. The place gets mobbed after that.

    1. Where is this restaurant? Is this the "Mina" from "Taste of Italy"?

      1. How are the prices at Mina Cucina? Where in Springhouse is it?

        3 Replies
        1. re: MontcoPeep

          Yes it is Mina from Taste of Italy. It is right near Taste of Italy on Bethlehem Pike. It is in a small shopping center across the street-ish from the Drafting Room. Prices are very reasonable, entress seem to be mostly below $20. My husband and I each had dinner and split an app and dessert for less than $50.

          Taste of Italy
          5172 US Highway 9, Howell, NJ 07731

          1. re: AmblerGirl

            AmblerGirl, by chance is it in the same shopping center as Vic Sushi? Thanks!

            1. re: Hellolaura

              No. It is across from the Wawa on Beth Pike.

        2. Tried Mina Cucina last night - loved it - Pappardelle Pasta with Porcini Mushroom Sauce and Lobster Appy with Mango and Papaya. Wonderful place - great staff - attractive food presentation and reasonable prices. Took a bottle of Limoncello along to enjoy after dinner and talked our waiter into joining us - great finish to a terrific meal.

          8 Replies
          1. re: curly girl

            How much was the bill and how many people?

            1. re: Den

              Our bill for four - all of us had appetizers and entrees and two had coffee after dinner - came to $143 before tip. I thought this was very good value. Also, our appys included Lobster Bisque and Stuffed Lobster Tail. I brought home half of my entree for lunch the next day as the portions are ample. If you go, I have heard great reviews for the Pappardelle Bolognese and plan to order that the next time we visit, which will be in the next few weeks. If you go, would love to read your review.

              1. re: curly girl

                Definitely try the pappradelle! We went there for dinner tonight and it was so good. I shared with my 10 month old and she could not get enough of it, I have never seen her so excited about food. Hooray, I am raising a little chowhound!

                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  That's funny - a friend and I almost went to Mina's last night, but she chose From The Boot instead. Had a great meal there, but would have been funny if I ran into you at Mina's. Glad you enjoyed the Pappardelle.

                  1. re: curly girl

                    I don't like From the Boot as much as Mina's. Both are good but I think Mina Cucina is better (although FTB is cheaper). For instance, I went to FTB last night and got a favorite of mine from Mina, eggplant rollantini. FTB's version wasn't nearly as good. I still like FTB (and their very friendly service). Just think the food at Mina Cucina is better.

                    1. re: JanR

                      Hi, Jan - I agree - loved Mina Cucina and have been recommending it to all my friends and acquaintances. We went to FTB as that's where my friend chose for her birthday celebration. Next time we have a girl's night out, it will definitely be at Mina's.

                      1. re: curly girl

                        Is Mina working at only Mina's and her husband staying back at A Taste of Italy?

          2. Ate at Mina Cucina last night. Shared the calamari app which was good but a small portion (compared to FTB). Entrees were Chicken Toscana, Lobster Ravoli and Farfalle alla Rustica. We each liked our own choices and we all liked the tastes from each other's plates. Took a nice bottle of Chianti and had a great time. Will definitely be going back for more!!

            5 Replies
            1. re: bucksguy14

              I took my daughter to lunch yesterday at FTB. We ordered the calamari. While the portion was generous, the calamari was too tough to eat.

              1. re: crazyspice

                Wow! Have never had that experience at FTB, and I'll bet I've had their calamari about 50+ times. The only complaint I've ever had was/is they don't give me enough lemon slices.

                1. re: bucksguy14

                  It was the first time we have had their calamari. Based on your comment, we will try it again. I really love everything else we have had there.

                  1. re: bucksguy14

                    I agree with bucksguy on the calamari--we've had it many times and think it's wonderful! I love that and their chicken marsala. Have never tried anything else on the menu because I'm stuck on those two dishes, but my husband's tried lots of different dishes and is always happy.

                2. re: bucksguy14

                  Had another terrific meal at Mina Cucina last night. Two of us had the pappardelle with bolognese sauce (a favorite), another had the veal special. All enjoyed. The chef had tried his hand at a red velvet cake for the first time and I ordered it. Delicious!

                3. Went to Mina Cucina on Friday evening with my daughter and her boyfriend. In a word, fabulous! We shared two appetizers-- the clams in white wine sauce and the bruschetta. Both excellent, but the clams were the superior dish. The broth was so good that we couldn't stop spooning it up. Our waitress asked us if we wanted to take the broth home since apparently, many people do. We declined and I regretted it the next day. It would have been great for lunch over linguini. . For my main dish, I had intended to have the pappardelle bolognese, but our waitress urged me to try the penne with vodka, so I did. Now, I have had this dish many times, including making it myself, but this was almost addictive. Their pastas are all made in-house and the difference is remarkable. Now, for the only glitch in the dinner. My daughter had ordered the casareca (shrimp, zuccihni and pasta) but was brought the rigatoni instead. She decided to take the rigatoni since it would have taken another 20 minutes to have the kitchen prepare the original dish. Her pasta turned out to be wonderful anyway. Her boyfriend had the lobster ravioli which he preferred to our choices, although I liked my choice better. For dessert, we were all boring and had the same thing--the cannoli.. The shells were definitely not prepackaged, but were thinner and flakier than those offered in most Italian restaurants and the filling was creamy and delicate. I write this review, knowing the danger that this place may be overrun with eager suburban diners, but it certainly deserves to be recognized. I shall return.

                  1. The other week my husband said he was hungry for pasta, so I suggested we try Mina Cucina, since it always gets great reviews on this website. Unfortunately we were really disappionted with both the service and food.
                    We got there early and noticed that they had cards on the table advertising a happy hour that they have where they have special appetizers and a free fizzy drink. We inquired with our waiter about what the specials were and he looked at us like he had no idea what we were talking about. We pointed to the card on the table (which was also on every other table) and he said he'd find out. He went to ask ask, but the comes back and says that they don't have any specials that day. Since you can see (and hear) into the kitchen, we later hear a waitress asking him about the happy hour and asked if we had inquired about it. They then talk about this for like 15 minutes and never once came out to tell us anything about it. It was so strange, I felt like I was on candid camera or something.

                    My husband ordered the Pappardelle Bolognese, which was unusual to say the least. The sauce was not good at all and was cream based, which bolognese shouldn't be, nor is it mentioned on the menu. I got a chicken dish, the specifics of which I forget, and it was ok. It was nothing memorable, but definitately tasted better then the bolognese. For an appetizer we ordered the brushetta, which was the highlight of the meal.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: b1979

                      We had high hopes, but the food wasn't very good and the service was just terrible.

                      1. re: b1979

                        Actually, authentic bolognese sauce usually includes milk or cream. I happen to love Mina's bolognese (which is served with homemade pappardelle) and I'm surprised your husband thought the sauce was "not good at all", but chacun a son gout!

                        I'm sorry you had bad service the night you were there.

                        1. re: b1979

                          My sister-in-law was born & raised in Rome. Her bolognese absolutely has milk. I think if you check legitimate Italian recipes (read - not Italian-Americanized), you'll find either milk or cream as an ingredient. Tasted a dinner companion's chicken and thought it was good. Maybe you hit one of the proverbial "bad nights"! Give it another shot and see what happens. .

                          1. re: b1979

                            Really surprised - in fact astonished - that b1979 and DaisyM had bad service and were not happy with your meals. Have been to Mina's three times and each time our service and meals were outstanding. In fact, I was so confident in their service and food, that I held a small anniversary party there for good friends. All were very happy with the food, service and atmosphere. Please do give them another try. I'm sure if Mina reads this, she will take immediate steps to train her staff on the available specials.

                            1. re: curly girl

                              We really wanted it to be good. There is such a lack of great food in the burbs. There were only 3 other tables dining in the restaurant when we were there. My appetizer was completely forgotten and didn't arrive until about 15 minutes after reminding the waitress. It was the seafood salad. It just wasn't great. We had to ask twice for bread. (not a refill of the basket) My husband's chicken (I believe cacciatore) was very dry and overcooked. I had the pasta bolognese and thought it was good. The pasta was homemade and the sauce rich. But the both desserts were just a waste of calories. I really hesitated to write this. I realize from the postings that there are a lot of loyal customers. We just didn't have a good experience.

                              1. re: DaisyM

                                We really wanted it to be good too! We've ordered bolognese many times in the past, and a little milk is one thing. But this was too creamy, almost tasting like a vokda sauce. I'd give it a try again, but I don't think my husband will. He makes really, really good Italian food at home, so a place has to be outstanding for us to go back. And the service was completely unacceptable. And Mina was there (I only know this because she was on the phone and I heard her say "this is Mina.")

                              2. re: curly girl

                                I was taken to Mina's for my birthday celebration, at my request. I couldn't wait to try the place based on many positive CH reviews. First I was seated facing the open kitchen and glass door refrigerator.... a big turn-off while I ate my $17 lunch (bowties with crabmeat and shrimp). Note that one side of the restaurant is attractively decorated while the open kitchen half resembles a kitchenette. Then there was the FLY, an annoying sucker that made its home at my table for the full 60 minutes that I was there. Service was unsophisticated and seriously lacking finesse and warmth. My friend -- the one who was treating me to a birthday lunch -- was very dissatisfied with her Grilled Scallops and shrimp over spring mix in a white vinaigrette dressing. The dressing was distastefully heavy on the vinegar and the shrimps were rubbery. There were just too many mistakes here.

                                1. re: Enjoy Good Food

                                  I just read the entire thread. All I can say is that I've tried Mina twice. Both times, not so good. That fried spaghetti was a turn off and seemed to be just a way for them to put something very inexpensive on the table. I can't even remember exactly what we ordered because it wasn't anything memorable. I'd to to Il Giardino almost any day of the week instead. I say 'almost' because a Saturday night there is a disaster. To their credit, they get overwhelmed, but they cannot handle it. We tried takeout a few weeks back and not only did we find ourselves waiting for an hour in their little lobby with a few other families who were in the same predicament, but they messed up the order in the end anyway. Other than that experience, the food there is much better than Mina, in my humble opinion.

                                  1. re: foodie527

                                    Having eaten in both places more than a few times, I'll take Mina's. As my dear father liked to say "that''s why Breyer's make chocolate AND vanilla"!

                            2. I finally got there last night - with my dining buddies MB&B - they are regulars. The fried spaghetti is addictive. I had a special app - a smoked mozzerella in a crepe with a sweet spicy sauce - absolutely delicious. My friends had the calamari and the eggplant. Again, both delicious.

                              Since it was Lent - we all opted for fish entrees. I had the red snapper - also a special - that was served over a tomato and olive tapanade. The contrast between the hot fish and the cool tapanade was delightful. My friends had the whole branzino and the salmon. Again, empty plates all around.

                              The menu is very large so I am anxious to go back and try other dishes. The service was impeccable - very relaxed. The place is small but we had no trouble getting a table at 7PM.

                              Definitely on my new favorites list!

                              1. I really cannot say enough how much I love this place, we go as often as we can. WE have a toddler in tow so its typically for lunch or early dinner. We went this week and had a gorgeous antipasta platter complete with fresh grilled veggies, cheese and meats and our two favorite pasta dishes, the paparadelle bolognese and gnocci gorgonzola. We ended with homemade tirimisu. I think this has to be my daughters favorite restaurant. Every time we go she gobbles up everything in sight, I think she ate half of my bolognese dish!