Sunday, September 20, 2009

Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar, Review

Naples Flatbread and Wine Bar is a welcome treat. Their pricing on salads, pizza and flatbreads gives good value, combined with good sized portions and good made-to-order quality. There’s creative, harmonious mixes on the flatbreads that make one want to come back and try another. The well rounded selection of over 30 good wines by the glass, and over 22 beers befits a serious wine bar. Wine prices start at an affordable $6. While some wine prices by the glass are high by Naples’ standards ($12-14, and a glass costing close to retail for the whole bottle); dining during Happy Hour, 4-7 pm, gets beer and wine for half price. Happy Hour is a great deal!
At night, the atmosphere ranges from lively, with families early on, to couples and quartets after 7:30 or so. It’s a warm setting with comfortable low light. The red and gold walls are accented by stonework. Chairs are comfortable. The noise volume, when packed, is reasonable for conversation. We were quickly greeted, seated, and our drink and food orders taken promptly. The food soon followed, freshly made, hot and tasty. Servers are friendly and attentive. As pizza, flatbreads and sandwiches can be quickly made and served, this is a good spot for a quick meal. We had a leisurely meal, and were never rushed by staff. Naples Flatbread is comfortably in its groove. This will be a great chain, as this first spot only opened in February. Owner Ralph Desiano’s second restaurant will open in October at Estero’s Miromar Outlet’s east entrance.
People return for the prices and the quality. Daily lunch specials are $5.99. Pizzas, sandwiches and most salads are under $10, with fancier flatbreads fairly priced at $10-13. Kids have mac & cheese, chicken bites, grilled cheese, and 6” pizzas, all priced under $5. (Note: Actual prices are 10% higher on some menu items, compared to those on the handy “Dine in or Take out” flyer at the counter. The prices need to be updated.)

We started with the sausage Neapolitan style pizza, with pomodoro, sausage bits, carmelized onions, fresh basil, grated Parmesan and olive oil for $9.49 ($8.99 on the one page menu). The mozzarella cheese, called “fior di latte,” is made from cow, rather than traditional buffalo milk. The pizza is perhaps 12” in diameter, with thin crust and a lighter amount of toppings. The crust’s rim is crisp, and the center crust more moist, from the topping’s moisture. Two thumbs up! A small side salad can be had for $2. The “Tuffo” Tuscan flatbread ($14), below, has bits of duck confit, sautéed figs, gorgonzola, caramelized onions, caramelized pecans and a squirt of balsamic reduction. This is a creative mix, a synergistic success, as the flavors nicely form a pleasureable taste and textural delight. The lushness of the figs, the pecans’ sweet crunchiness and the balsamic sweet tartness offer a well balanced contrast. I could be happy with a salad and half of this! Highly recommended! The Roasted Veggie Tuscan Flatbread (10) is decent, just not as creative as some others. It has eggplant, zucchini, Portobello, peppers, onions goat cheese, mozzarella and balsamic reduction. Dessert has S’mores for two (8), Heavenly Cream Cheesecake, Chocolate Lava Cake (6), and Chocolate Pocket Cookie. We had to try the the Tiramisu Flatbread (8), with Mascarpone cheese, chocolate-hazlemut spread, and crumb topping. No, it didn’t make me think of any tiramisu, lacking ladyfingers and espresso coffee, I’ve had, however it’s still good! We had several wines. I like the assortment, with a Borsao Rose Garnacha ($6), Chilean Sant Alicia Carmenere ($8) Tuscan Sangiovese (12) , Paso a Paso Tempranillo (10), Peter Lehman Cabernet (14). Favor a white? Try Argentinian Zolo Torrontes (12), or the curious Teruzi & Puthod :”Super Tuscan” novel blend of four white wines (14)!. Soon to follow may be a “Champagne-style Super Tuscan”! Have a Port (8-22) or Schmitt Sohne Ice Wine (14) for dessert. Beers incude Bud, Miller Light, O’doul’s, blue Moon, Guiness, Bass Ale, and Paulaner Pilsner. The bases are well covered.

Live entertainment is currently on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I enjoy Bob Zottola’s Expandable Jazz Band, featuring Stu Shelton on piano and Patricia Dean on drums and vocals. Call for current lineup.

This is a refreshing concept, with great pricing, creative offerings, live music and a good selection of wine and beer. Check it out!

On Naples Blvd, just off of Airport, at 6434 Naples Blvd, 687-3454


Anonymous said...

We love this place! Glad to see that they got a great review. One of the best value oriented restaurants in Naples (or anywhere else). This is a must visit!

Unknown said...

The Best Flatbreads I Have ever tasted! and they are a whole lot more! Check out their varied international menu!

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

I loved this place as well. Their "tiramisu" flatbread was amazing. Any other new places I should check out?

Ivan Seligman said...

Hi Kika,

European Bakery, and Gracie's Cupcakes are 2 current delights. I'm glad you liked Inca's Kitchen-wow! I pigged out on Martin Fiero's.

Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe, east of Naples is worth a visit for ambiance and frog legs. Gator is not one of my favorites generally, as it has no fat to give it tenderness.

I've been checking out some mom and pops like Amigos, and some East of Naples spots , will let you know the few that are worth a visit!