NAPLES — There's a lot to be said for doing your own thing. That's why the owners of L'Angolo 5th ave have renamed and reformed their restaurant and are featuring a revamped menu. Previously called Rossopomodoro, the first U.S. franchise of the Italian pizza chain located in downtown Naples, the former name and menu was aligned with franchise limitations.
Now that the owners are free of the franchise, they have the freedom to change recipes and do as they please. They renamed the restaurant L'Angolo, which means "corner" in Italian, in a nod to the restaurant's location on the corner of Fifth Avenue South and Eighth Street South.
Each meal at L'Angolo begins with a savory little serving of hummus with olive oil and bread. It is a delicious start to the evening.
The server offered us grated Parmesan cheese to accent L'Angolo's bruschetta appetizer — otherwise it's the traditional variety made with fresh vine tomatoes, basil and oil extra-virgin olive oil oil ($8).
The carpaccio appetizer ($12) at L'Angolo's is prepared a bit differently than what many diners will recognize, with julienne zucchini in a citronette sauce. If I'm being honest, this wasn't the best carpaccio I've ever had and the tomato and vegetables were unnecessary. And instead of laying the beef out flat on the plate, it was positioned atop greens, making it challenging to eat without all of those added ingredients.
The sliced eggplant appetizer — which also struggled in presentation — is topped with mozzarella, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil ($11). The tomato sauce was the tastiest part of the dish, but it was served in a bowl that was too small to get some of the sauce with each bite.
L’Angolo 5th Ave
Where: 800 Fifth Ave. S., Naples
When: Noon to 3 p.m. lunch and 5 to 11 p.m. dinner Mondays-Saturdays; noon to 11 p.m. Sundays
Cost: $6-$15 starters; $9-$19 lunch entrees; $19-$35 dinner entrees
Information: 239-692-8480 or www.Langolo5thave.com
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the L'Angolo salad ($10) is both lovely and delightful with caramelized pecans, strawberry and Gorgonzola cheese. Arugula lovers will relish the arugula salad, with Parmesan flakes and cherry tomatoes ($9). And, it was nice to be able to order just a side of broccoli rabe ($7) prepared with garlic, chili pepper and olive oil.
The cheese ravioli with ricotta and aged Parmesan Reggiano is made fresh in house and served with a fresh pink sauce ($19). It was a flavorful alternative to cheese ravioli with tomato sauce. The tagliatelle — long, flat ribbons of pasta — which is served with a house-made Bolognese ($20) also works and the flavors held up in leftovers the next day.
The Italian sausage and broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and chili pepper ($20) entree is a good choice for something a little different from the typical pasta dish. And my favorite non-pasta item was the combination of capers, black olives and tomatoes on the cod livornese sautéed with those savory ingredients ($21).
Possibly the best food we had all night at L'Angolo's were the desserts. L'Agolo's little individual house-made tiramisu desserts with mascarpone, ladyfingers and Italian espresso was perfection ($8). Nutella lovers might want to give the Zeppola a try, a steal at $4. But the star dessert at L'Angolo has to be the panna cotta, a creamy Italian pudding, served with a zingy homemade berry compote ($8).