Bruno’s Pizza and Pasta

Bruno's Pizza and PastaBruno’s has been a Tyler staple for years now, yet I don’t find myself venturing over that way too often. In fact, before this week I had only eaten at Bruno’s once and that was several years ago. That being said, I’ve always known Bruno’s to be a Tylerites favorite and have yet to hear a bad word uttered about the place. Lucky for me, and many of the other south-siders, Bruno’s opened a new location on Old Jacksonville just north of the four way intersection in Gresham.

Bruno's Pizza and PastaI met my sister at Bruno’s for dinner this past Thursday evening. Their new location is shiny, big, and new and is a fantastic choice for families or friends or couples. It is BYOB so I brought a bottle of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio which I’ve been fueling with all summer. Bruno’s is known for their pizza, but I was more in the mood for pasta so I turned to that page in the menu. There are no creative dishes on the menu at Bruno’s. Your options are limited to marinara, meat, or Alfredo sauce. Of course they also offer ravioli and lasagna, and everything comes in either full or half sizes. I took this as a sign to order with caution and ordered the half order of spaghetti with marinara and one meatball. My sister did not pick up on the warning and ordered the full portion of lasagna.

Bruno's Pizza and PastaSoon after we ordered our dinner salads were delivered.  Talk about yum!  The salad came with thick, freshly sliced mozzarella cheese, green olives, and a porchini pepper. I ate all the cheese off mine and waited anxiously for my entree to arrive, though I was starting to get full after that salad.  Not long after, our dinner was delivered to our table. I dove right into mine. Spaghetti and marinara with a meatball is a pretty simple dish, and Bruno’s does it right. The noodles, the sauce, and the meatball all tasted great. I sampled a bite from my sister’s vat of lasagna and it too was delicious.

Bruno's Pizza and PastaI am certainly happy that we decided to venture over to Bruno’s.  Good food, friendly service, and a nice but casual atmosphere make for an experience I am sure to come back for again and again.  Not only is the food good, but it is also very reasonably priced.  I hope a few other Tyler restaurateurs will follow Bruno’s example and expand south!

Bruno's Pizza and PastaBruno’s Pizza and Pasta
15770 FM 2493
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 939-0002

Little Italy

Little ItalyOk everybody, it’s time to get back on track and talk about what I love most…   Good food.   Case in point – Little Italy.  Little Italy has been around forever, but I had never eaten there until this week when a colleague suggested we meet there for our business lunch.  I love Italian food and happily agreed, eager at the chance to try a new (new for me, at least) restaurant.

Little Italy’s longevity alone led me to believe that there must be some pretty good food there, but as soon as I walked in and took in the no-frills decor I knew I was in for some Italian food that meant business.  Lately, I’ve been noticing how often fancy decorations overcompensate for so-so food.  And honestly I don’t really mind.  Sometimes it’s worth dining on blah food to hang out in a place that makes you feel cooler just by being there.  I most definitely did not feel like cool while dining at Little Italy.  Instead, I felt like a total moron for have never eaten there before.

The menu at Little Italy is pretty impressive.  Even the lunch menu has a great selection of pasta dishes, though I had to refer to the main menu to look up the definitions of several offerings.  I seriously pondered opting for one of the ‘lighter’ options, or, more specifically, the dishes that had at least one vegetable in addition to the tomato sauce.  The spinach lasagna was a good enough compromise (it’s got spinach in the name, so it must be healthy, right people?). Had I been alone or in the company of wolves I would have eagerly eaten my way through the bread basket.  However, I was trying to portray as much professionalism as possible, so when my salad was delivered I was thankful for the distraction.  After a few moments my spinach lasagna arrived, and I was astounded by the proportion.  It looked like almost half a whole lasagna!  No problem here, though.  I don’t really know what else to say other that it was absolutely delicious.  I could only eat about a quarter of it, but don’t believe for a second that I didn’t take the rest of that bad boy home with me.  It had layers of noodles, creamy spinach infused cheese, and a layer of melted mozzarella all swimming in delicious tomato sauce.

My experience at Little Italy could not have been more delightful.  The service was polite and attentive and the food was delectable. This is one place that I know, without a doubt, I will be visiting again soon.

Little Italy
3320 South Broadway Avenue
Tyler, TX 75701-7818
(903) 595-1184

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Oliveto Italian Bistro

DSC05015On a whim, we decided to have lunch today at Oliveto, Tyler’s new Italian restaurant.  After hearing several good mentions, I had my hopes up that this could perhaps be a decent replacement for my beloved Fiore (RIP).  Located on Troup, across from Chick-fil-A and next to Cafe Frontera, Oliveto has a cool, corporate bistro-ish appearance that appeals to young urban professionals such as myself.  The hostess greeted us instantly upon walking in the door, and I took a moment to take in the tasteful decor and the many different varieties of wine on display.  At this moment, I was pretty impressed.  But, would the food measure up to the hype?

DSC05017The hostess sat us at a tall bistro table near the bar and handed us our menus.  Although I was not planning on having wine, a quick skim of the wine list revealed a pretty impressive selection of wines not commonly found in Tyler restaurants.  I gave serious thought to scrapping my planned afternoon workout and ordering a glass, but ultimately will power won, and I chose water to drink.  I wish I would have taken more time to browse the menu as I can’t recall many of the choices, but this is because as soon as my eyes came across the specialty pizza section I had to look no further.  I’m not sure what the name of the pizza I ordered was, but it had chicken, cheese, artichoke hearts, and jalapenos.  It was one of the best pizzas I have ever had.  My sister ordered a bowl of the tomato bisque, and it was equally fantastic.
DSC05020I honestly can’t think of one bad thing to say about Oliveto.  The service was superb, the food delicious, and the atmosphere inviting.  If I had to compare Oliveto to any restaurant in town, I’d say it’s like a cross between Newk’s and Fiore.  I love Newk’s and Fiore, so obviously, now I love Oliveto too.  I am looking forward to my next visit already.

Oliveto Italian Bistro
3709 Troup Hwy
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 581-2678

Fiore Tuscan Grill

fiore-tuscan-grillJimmy Lynn has done it again! Unveiled late last year (2008), Fiore is the third of Jimmy Lynn’s eating establishments in Tyler, and like Dakota’s and Cimarron, it is definitely worth checking out. Located in the former location of the San Francisco Oven next to Karen Horton and Company and across from Premier Fitness, this location is tucked away from the bustle and traffic of Broadway Ave.

The menu features many of the same items you’ll find at Dakota’s and Cimarron like the salmon crepes and seared tuna. Of course since this is an Italian restaurant, you will also see a variety of pasta dishes such as their acclaimed lasagna and my husband’s favorite, the bacon and corn infused fusilli. For lunch, try one of the pressed paninis or light salads (these items are also available on the dinner menu).

Fiore offers a fantastic wine list and a full bar, but don’t expect to see the same bar scene you will find at Cimarron. Fiore offers a much quieter, intimate experience with more focus on the dining experience. The staff is polite and friendly.

Fiore Tuscan Grill
5617 S. Donnybrook
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 581-7248