Address: 7120 Bercasa Way (Del Mar Shopping Village)
Type of food: Italian
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Dining facility: Stained glass-style light fixtures and pale yellow walls with stenciled grape clusters create a welcoming ambience, coupled with a great show by the counter staff preparing orders behind the main counter.
Service: To-go orders placed at the counter. Full service for dining in. Patrons are treated like friends at this spot in business for 21 years.
Delivery: Available for minimum orders of $10 from Glades Road to SW 18th Ave and State Road 7 to I-95.
Our choices from the sizable menu are stromboli ($9 small, $16 large) and antipasto ($9 small, $15 large). The small turns out to be a misnomer as the portions are so huge, we think the counter guy gets our order wrong. He assures us, with a smile, that it's right.
The stromboli is ham, Italian salami, pepperoni, provolone and mozzarella encased in homemade dough. There's neither too much meat nor an overwhelming amount of cheese. Everything blends well.
Best of all is chopped garlic topping the dough almost makes it seem as if we're noshing on a giant garlic roll. The accompanying sauce is slightly sweet with small chunks of tomato and a hint of basil.
The antipasto is another winner. The large tin is loaded with ham, Italian salami, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, pepperoncini and black olives on a bed of fresh greens and slices of ripe tomatoes. The contents are decoratively arranged too. It comes with two small tubs of creamy house Italian vinaigrette with flecks of red pepper. It tastes smooth with a hint of garlic.
If our stromboli and antipasto are any indication, we're betting the kitchen's pizzas, pastas, calzones, hot and cold subs as well as its veal, chicken, eggplant and seafood dishes are good, too.
If there's any room after the meal, choose from a nice selection of traditional Italian desserts such as cannoli ($4.75), cheesecake ($5.25) and tiramisu ($5.75). — Beth Feinstein-Bartl