There is this Italian restaurant, some people refer to it as a hidden gem. I have been there a handful of times, always with the regular, so we receive an excellent, friendly service at all time. This is not a quick lunch grab kind of a place, more of a nice, relaxing, long lunch (or dinner) spot. So don’t venture out there if you are in a rush.
As you enter, you see the antique fireplace with all sorts of interesting items on top. Right above them is a window, where you can peak into the kitchen. The restaurant has two dining rooms, one to the right of the fireplace, a bit smaller, and another room to the left which is much larger.
The smaller room to the right, you will notice a large artwork on the wall, with an interesting symbol, called Trinacria. It has three legs around a head of Medusa. It is also indicated on a flag of Sicily, and the three legs represent the three capes of Sicily. It is said that the “native Sicilians, left breathless by the beauty of Sicily’s shores, likened and compared them to those of a women.” And the Medusa head, with wings, represent the protection of the island by the goddess Athena. So, why use Medusa instead of Athena in the symbol? Well, here is why – “in early mythology, when Medusa was renowned as Athena’s destructive aspect, slain and beheaded by Perseus, the Medusa head was accessorized in the center of Athena’s shield.” Pretty cool, right?
The larger room to the left, which is where we usually sits, is more than twice as bigger than the smaller room, and has many more seating, with larger tables.
Their complimentary bread is nice size, fluffy, soft and tasty. They of course have olive oil on the tables for the bread as well. The bread is not spectacular, but is really comforting and delicious.
When I visit this restaurant, I almost always order their specials, they always have about two of pasta, fish, and meat special each day, and they all sounds really good. That is the reason why I can’t resist them… When we are there with a group of 4 or more, which we usually are, we get the assortment of antipasti. These are always excellent! We get some prosciutto, cheese, sausage, grilled veggies, tomato & mozzarella, and few other things. They are all very fresh, delicious, satisfying and delicious. This dish alone can be a reason for the visit. They have high quality meats, cheese, and veggies so that each items are flavorful.
Then, the main course. Few of us ordered the Today’s Special, while one of us ordered from their regular menu. The regular menu item was Linguini alle Vongole ($16), comes with clams prepared in a red or white sauce over linguini pasta, this one is with white sauce. It came with lots and lots of clams, and it had great aroma and flavor. Simple but yet very well executed.
Then, the special menu items. One of the pasta special was Four Cheese Ravioli, and it looked great. The raviolis were really huge. I was expecting regular size ones, so I was surprised to see them. The pasta was soft, the filling was creamy, and the sauce was very nice.
Another special menu was a fish, a White Fish with Roasted Green beans, Tomatoes, and Garlic in White Sauce. The fish was tender and flaky, but yet moist. The veggies were nicely cooked with good amount of seasoning. The garlic over the fish was great, especially for garlic lovers. The sauce had good flavor, went well with the fish.
After the pleasant meal, we ended with a nice cup of coffee. I had Cappuccino ($4.50), which was creamy and smooth.
The service is warm and friendly, but slow. It is a perfect spot for relaxing, long lunch without being rushed out. The food is fresh and good quality, and I haven’t had a single thing that I didn’t like here. Everything is really good, tasty, and most of all, I enjoy the homey atmosphere. One thing to mention, they are BYOB, so bring a bottle of your favorite wine (or two) to go with your lunch or dinner. I always have pleasant time here, very relaxing.
Trattoria Mediterranea – 2472 Lamington Rd, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921