Monday, March 9, 2009

Mambo Italiano

ahhhhh Italian food. How do I love thee?
Made from scratch, that's how!

I can't stand chain Italian restaurants. They never give me the genuine old-world flavor I'm looking for. This is why my favorite restaurant is a family-owned joint here in Cameron Park called Papa Gianni's Ristorante.

The hubby and I decided to invite our friends Jess and Andy out for a tasty dinner at the Papa's. It's the perfect atmosphere for a double date; candlelit with cozy private booths. The boys especially enjoy it because they serve liters of beer. No joke.

We settled down in our booth, looking forward to a couple of hours of good food and conversation. Our waitress seemed to be new to this concept. She apparently thought she was employed at McDonald's, and wanted to take our order before Jess and Andy even arrived! We managed to calm her down by the time we ordered appetizers, and were soon lost in animated conversation.

For an appetizer, we ordered the Bruschetta, since everything else offered was a bit heavy. Sometime I would love to go in and order 3 or 4 appetizers to share. Mussels, Calamari, hello!

The Brushetta was good, but it needed just a bit more pizazz. I felt as if it was an Italian version of salsa. I like a lot of garlic, so this could just be my problem, but all I could really taste were the tomatoes.
We nibbled on the appetizer for a while, then on to our salad courses. Papa Gianni's has the best salad dressing I have ever had. It's called simply "Creamy Italian" but it should be called "Creamy Dressing from the Gods". It's amazing. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to pry the recipe from many a waitress.....
It's a good thing I explained to Jess and Andy that I would be writing a review about our visit to the Papa, because I'm sure they didn't appreciate me snapping pictures of their meals as soon as they arrived. I want my readers to have the full experience! I'm telling you, if computers had Smell-O-Vision, I would have bottled you up some garlic bread, that's for sure!

From Left to Right:
Fruta de Mar, Fettuccine Gorgonzola, Scampi Alfredo.

The hubby and I shared the Fettuccine Gorgonzola. I always always get the Fettuccine Alfredo, but this time I thought I'd branch out a bit. So I got basically Fettuccine Alfredo with Gorgonzola sprinkled on top. I'm telling you, I'm gettin' crazy!
I literally can't explain to you how good this food is. I know it doesn't look as pretty as a 5 star restaurant's presentation, but this is Italy!! Trust me, once you have Italian food like this, you'll never go back to Olive Garden. Ever.

Moving on to dessert.....

Well, this used to be Tiramisu. And what a Tiramisu it was. Andy and I split the gi-normous concoction of lady fingers dipped in espresso, marscapone cheese and whipped cream, and we finished it off in about five seconds. It was that good. Nothing more to say.

All in all, this is the best restaurant for good, old fashioned Italian food in the Sacramento area. If you live in Sacramento, it is plenty worth the 20-30 minute drive to Cameron Park. You won't be disappointed!! Ciao Bellas!

Papa Gianni's Ristorante
3450 Palmer Dr # 1
Cameron Park, CA 95682
(530) 672-2333


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