What makes a great Italian restaurant? This is simple to answer really.
What its not:
It’s not about atmosphere. The smells and visual sights, even the feel of the tablecloth and weight of the dish are important to the experience, but even that fantastic, spicy, rich smell is not what makes a great Italian restaurant.
It’s not about the location. I’ve eaten in Little Italy in New York. I’ve eaten in Rome and Florence and Naples. I’ve eaten at the little coney island restaurant down the street from me, that makes “spaghetti”. I’ve eaten at the chain restaurants (Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, etc). Each one of these places has an appeal of some sort (convenience, tourism, etc.). Even the little place in Rome with the street-side tables is not necessarily a great Italian restaurant.
It’s not about the professionalism of the staff, or the training of the chef, or the wine list, or the lighting, the entertainment or even, (stay with me here) the freshness of the pasta or the crustiness of the bread.
So what makes a great Italian restaurant?
It’s the same thing that makes eating Italian food at home…..great.
It’s the sauce!
The sauce is what makes a great Italian restaurant!
The Marinara, or the meat sauce.
A great sauce can even make “Prince” spaghetti, a treat! (I know, that might be stretching it).
If the sauce is not great, the rest of the meal falls apart.
It’s all about the sauce!
You know I’m right.