Thursday, May 5, 2011

MiraMare - Naples Elegant Waterfront Dining with Wallet Friendly Prices

For beautiful outdoor dining on Naples Bay with delicious food, MiraMare is the place to be. Add attentive service, live music or background music reasonable pricing and a nice breeze, and you just don’t want to leave your table.
Sal and Alyce Sinzieri’s elegant Northern Italy- style restaurant is filled for lunch and dinner during the season with happy campers. I’ve been back several times over the past two years since my first review, and found things just get better. The prices are great for the quality and amount of food, especially with the three course “First Seating” dining from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. for $20.11. Often, diners happily order an extra plate to take home with other portions. One can easily have two full meals from one. What rich Italian sauce doesn’t taste better the next day? At the 4-6 pm Happy Hour at the bar, drinks and house wines are half price. What a way to welcome the evening!
I went with friends to celebrate a birthday. When word gets out there’s a birthday here, the whole world seems to celebrate- your tablemates, servers and perhaps 30 nearby guests join in singing and wishing congratulations. This is a family friendly setting, especially with Sal’s son John Paul and his wife on site, too. Shy? There’s just no place to hide from friendly well-wishers!
Start with the boldly colored mixed salad’s rich mixed greens, slivered carrots and plump tomatoes ($8).
Share a bottle selected from numerous Italian wines, and some American or even New Zealand wines. They generally range from $30-75. We enjoyed the Swanson’s Vineyard 2009 crisply fruity Pinot Grigio. The glasses have MiraMare’s name etched onto the bowl. Toast to your friends’ and family’s good health, and being able to enjoy Naples’ wonderful setting.
Fresh thickly sliced small bread baguettes arrive with tulip-formed pats of butter on a MiraMare bread plate. Attention is paid to every detail.

Start with crispy fried or broiled Calamari (12), Eggplant rigatoni in a rich red sauce ($20); a huge plate of Medaglioni di Aragosta- lobster filled ravioli with scallops with a tarragon cream sauce (28). Taste Agnolotti di vitello ‘s ravioli filled veal and spinach in a mushroom truffle cream sauce (22). Pizzas are $11 to $19 for one with lobster, shrimps and calamari. They are baked in a special Italian hot brick oven.
The lobster filled ravioli are huge, and filled with real chunks of lobster.
The plate is piled high with the large raviolis. They are served piping hot, and the sauce is a wonderful complement to the ravioli.

My Spaghetti con frutti di mare (28) had people from other tables coming by to take a closer look!
This huge portion is pure seafood eye-candy with chunks of lobster, whole medium size shrimp, clams, meaty mussels, and calamari rings in a spicy tomato sauce on a bed of spaghetti.
I’m picky about having seafood cooked properly, and MiraMare’s chef could give lessons to other chefs on how to do it right. All was tender, and after sharing with my tablemates, I still took home a large amount for the next day.

The Pan seared salmon (28) arrives perfectly seared, with a light honey, apple and berry Dijon (mustard-based) sauce. (No sauce in this photo, to suit a guest’s allergy request).
The generous slice of polenta is rich, tasty and far better a starch than the mashed potatoes often served elsewhere. Searing gives an attractive appearance and another layer of culinary depth. The vegetables, (hidden in the photo), taste lightly grilled and are served still slightly crisp. Again, attention to details at MiraMare makes the difference.

I really enjoy the Sautéed shrimps with brandy and shallots cream sauce served with wild rice (32). Six large shrimp are pan sautéed till just tender, and a touch crisp on the edge. There’s a generous portion of nicely cooked wild rice.
The brandy and shallots cream sauce lets the shrimp’s sweetness shine forth with the sauce- a rich dipping delight.
There’s also veal chops, NY Strip steaks, Stuffed chicken breast, pastas and vegetarian plates.
Throughout our dinner we heard classics like  Sinatra's "Love and Marriage" and great live music by J.C., who specialized in musical memories of yesteryear.
Ready for dessert? There’s a good variety of gelati and sorbetti for $8. I enjoy the delicious Tiramisu Classico which is a steal of a deal for $3.50, and love the Chocolate layer cake with a rich chocolate cream, covered with chocolate ganache for $9.

The Limoncello flute, with a refreshing lemon gelato swirled with limoncelo liquor, is served in a flute glass,
birthday style! It’s light enough to follow the most filling meal, and there’s a generous pour of limoncello within. Elegant!

Want a beautiful spot to relax? A place that your guests will always remember for its beauty and delicious cuisine. MiraMare's your spot.

MiraMare Ristorante, 4236 Gulf Shore Blvd, Naples, 430-6273, miramarenaples.com

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