This review was first published in the online blog, Winemaker’s Journal
There’s good reason why Garlini’s Nepoletana is one of Wenatchee’s most popular lunch and dinner spots.
The food is deliciously traditional Italian, unpretentious and fresh. The atmosphere is casual, friendly and intimate with its high-backed wood booths.
Owner Craig Still treated us to two appetizers that, with a fine bottle of Martin-Scott Ravens Red, got us off to a great, chatter-inducing meal that did not disappoint.
Still added several nice touches when he moved the restaurant from East Wenatchee in 2010. Richard and Diane Garlini took over the restaurant started by Richard’s Italian-immigrant parents in 1983. Still purchased the restaurant from the Garlini’s and continued the family recipes and family-friendly atmosphere.
He added a wood-fired stone oven in the new location for true Nepoletana pizzas and rustic breads, and a relaxing open bar. Recently, he started making handmade pasta for several of his dishes.
Still is a bicycling enthusiast, so the restaurant is decorated in cycling motiff and his pizzas are named after his favorite famous cyclists, including local champion Tyler Farrar.
We had the crunchy crusted bread with our bruschetta. The simple Bartali pizza was brushed with olive oil and topped with mozzarella and Gran Pardano cheeses, prosciutto and a mound of fresh arugula.
The three of us split one of the restaurant’s signature Michelle’s Salad (named for Craig’s wife) and glad we did. It’s a meal in itself of fresh mixed greens, roast chicken, avocado, cranberries, feta cheese, pecans and a deliciously spicy balsamic-shallot vinagrette that we were tempted to sip on its own like fine port.
Our entree was a lightly blackened wild salmon over fresh made fettucini with a light Alfredo sauce. Still said the fresh fettucini is something new for the restaurant. We appreciated the extra effort. There’s nothing like fresh pasta and this was nicely matched with the mildly spicy salmon.
We loved the food and especially the casual atmosphere fitting for relaxed gatherings with close friends any night of the week.
Foothills magazine held its first Dream Meal competition last fall. I was fortunate enough to join Wenatchee World copy editor and former food editor Rochelle Feil and Annette Pitts, executive director of the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway, both serious foodies, in reviewing dishes at several local restaurants. The winners were announced in the January-February issue of Foothills. Here are reviews I wrote about each of the restaurants. I’ll be posting one review a week. We’re hoping several more local eateries will participate in this year’s competition. Rick