Villa Italia Menu
Italia Ristorante is in the Duarte Target shopping center, 1028 Huntington
with bruschetta comes with the meal
Carbonara, with pennete pasta
a family recipe from Sicily
DOT COM DINING
A Look At San
Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com
Villa Italia Ristorante Brings a
Touch of Class to Shopping Center
By Bill Coburn
trying to decide on a nice place to enjoy a meal, one would probably not think
to themselves, hey let’s head over to the Target Shopping Center. In the case
of the Duarte Target Shopping Center, one might want to give it a second
thought. I went with my wife to a place called Villa Italia Ristorante, at
1028 Huntington Drive in Duarte. That’s between the Buena Vista and Mountain
off ramps, just north of the 210 freeway.
greeted immediately when we entered the restaurant, and taken to a nice table
near the front. Shortly thereafter, we were given a bowl of bruschetta with
four slices of bread (seconds were delivered promptly when we ran out). The
bread was delicious, and while the bruschetta is largely tomatoes, (which
regular readers know I tend to stay away from), I did dip the bread in the
bruschetta sauce, and it was a delicious way to start getting my garlic fix.
a cup of minestrone to start the meal, and received a good-sized bowl of a
classic Italian vegetable soup, featuring potatoes, carrots, zucchini, celery,
onion and parmesan cheese. For our main courses, Katie ordered the Pasta
Carbonara, with pennette pasta (pasta dinner choices are fusilli, spaghetti,
linguine, fettuccini, rigatoni or angel hair). I ordered the chicken marsala.
carbonara, which features pancetta ham, a white cream sauce and egg, was a good
size portion that Katie didn’t come close to finishing. Carbonara is a fairly
regular choice for Katie, and she really enjoyed it here. She was surprised,
and mentioned several times, that it was so hot. If I remember correctly, she
even made the comment that she’d never had pasta served so hot. I tried it
halfway through my meal, and it was still pretty hot, and delicious, and when
she was done, I was glad she didn’t finish it, as it gave me the opportunity to
have a few more bites.
chicken marsala (boneless skinless chicken breasts sautéed with mushrooms and
marsala wine) was served with sautéed vegetables: carrots, broccoli and zucchini
with parmesan sprinkled on them. Everything was good, quite hot, and I even
enjoyed the zucchini, which I never eat. The chicken was well cooked, the sauce
was delicious, and, while I usually push the mushrooms off to the side, I ate
every last one of them at Villa Italia. Owner Rosetta DiPiazza attributed that
to the fact that they use fresh mushrooms, and I think she might be right. They
were tasty, and I’m not the biggest mushroom fan around.
of Rosetta, she opened this place four years ago. She had owned a sandwich shop
and market in La Crescenta for ten years, and sold it and retired. For about
six months. She says she was going crazy, so she decided to open, with her
husband Bernardo, Villa Italia, and uses many of her Sicilian family’s recipes,
particularly the red sauces.
Italia is open for lunch and dinner. Their lunch and dinner menus both include,
pizza, salads, antipasti, chicken, veal, and baked pastas, and the lunch menu
also includes hot and cold sandwiches. You can find their complete menu at
www.sangabrielvalleymenus.com/villaitalia.htm, as well as a coupon good for
½ off an entrée with purchase of an entrée at regular price, Monday thru
Thursday. Villa Italia also participates in the Nite on the Town program. If
you don’t yet have your Nite on the Town card, you can order it from the
SGVMenus.com website, but I’d say go ahead and stop by Villa Italia with the
SGVMenus.com coupon, and go again, when you receive the NOTT card. The food’s
that good, the atmosphere is comfortable, relaxed, and family friendly, while
still fairly upscale in its presentation and quality.
can’t finish this review off without discussing the desserts. The dessert tray
has several different delicious looking offerings; Katie ordered the traditional
Tiramisu, I had something called Semi-Frotte. The Tiramisu is a little
different than most, Rosetta told us, because she uses brandy rather than rum in
its preparation. While I tried and liked Katie’sTiramisua, and she raved about
it, I didn’t think it was as good as my Semi-Frotte, which was described as
featuring toasted almonds in a heavy cream with orange bits and a Gran
Marnier-like flavoring. Rosetta told us she picked this recipe up from her
niece when she went back home to Sicily last year. While I’m not in a position
to travel to Sicily for dessert, I can definitely make the trip over to Duarte
for this dessert, which I thought was a great ending to our meal. It was quite
Italia offers a nice selection of wines, as well. I tried a D’Aquino merlot
from Italy, while Katie had a glass of Chardonnay. The wines were a little
pricey for our usual taste, but you get what you pay for, and we both felt that
they complemented our meals well.
Italia does catering as well, and can “deliver the taste of authentic Italy
right to your table.” As the holidays approach, keep them in mind, they offer
full Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with all the trimmings. And you can
always call Rosetta during business hours at (626) 357-3938 to order Pasta Trays
and Vegetable Platters (or other items) created to order for your special
celebration. They are open 11-3 for lunch, and 5-9 for dinners Monday thru
Thursday, till 9:30 Fridays and Saturdays. They are closed Sundays.
to mention, it’s not just me that like’s Villa Italia – by the hostess stand
there’s a big framed picture of a guy who’s known to like good Italian food,
signed with a note that the food was great. And if Tommy Lasorda liked it, what
better recommendation can you get?
Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a
restaurant website featuring dozens of restaurant’s menus, as well as
downloadable coupons. He has nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant
business, and has been eating for much longer than that.