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While in Galena, Illinois, my friends Jill, Mickey, Marcia and I ate at Vinny Vanucchi's "Little Italy" on Main Street. We were told by the locals that this was the place to eat. It's always good to listen to the locals, as we found out.
This restaurant is an old world Italian neighborhood kind of place that is located up the cobblestones where Washington Street meets Main Street. There's an old fashioned deli and import store, which you walk through to get to the restaurant. The restaurant has lots of beautiful wood, a fireplace, imported artifacts and signs, and the tables are covered with checkered tablecloths. There is an outdoor Cappuccino Garden for warm summer days and evenings.
There are many house specialties and supposedly the Meat Lasagna is the best because it is an old recipe from Vinny's Nana Lu who is about 88 and lives on the northwest side of Chicago. A picture of her on Taylor street at age 16 hangs on the wall. Also Auntie Nancy's manicotti recipe is still used as well as Uncle Paulie's baked mostaccioli and Tortellini Carbonara.
The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Favorite Dish: I made the reservations on-line for Saturday at 7:15 pm. We were seated immediately, and escorted to the top floor. I have to state up front that the food was out-of-this-world; however, our waitress was slow, rude, and not very efficient.
Mickey and I shared the famous Baked Mostaccioli, [5.50 to share], and Jill and Marcia shared a baked dish with seafood and pasta [5.50 to share]. The House Salad is served "family style" and is delicious. [See photo].
The garlic bread was quite a hit with the four of us. It was decadent. Jill and Marcia order wine, and I had a diet Coke, while Jill was satisfied with the Ice Water. [However, she had to keep asking for more water; the waitress never offered it].
At the end of this delicious meal, the waitress asked if we wanted coffee and dessert. Three of us wanted Cappuccino, if they had decaffinated. This waitress assured us that they did.
I can't believe that we thought she was truthful. [That night, I did not sleep at all!]
So, I have to give just a "Satisfied" rating, even though the food was top-notch
Return trip to Galena, and I returned to Procento's to meet Tammy and Jack, owners. I had received an e-mail from Tammy thanking me for my review and asking to meet me. They are such hard working, wonderful individuals, and it was wonderful meeting them.
My friends and I all agree that the pizza is really good at Procerto's. We all four gave it a "thumbs Up" and we also thought our waiter, Jack, was excellent. He suggested the Cannoli, which we shared. It was truly outstanding.
The first night in Galena, Jill and I were looking for a good place to eat after a full day of touring. We were told that the pizza at Procento's was very good and that the locals ate there. That made up our mind; we proceeded to venture to Franklin Street.
You have to walk down a bit to be in the main dining room. It was pretty crowded; fortunately, we were able to be seated. The menu includes such appetizers as Calamari, Onion Rings, Deep Fried Mushrooms, Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Garlic Bread, and Chicken Fingers. In addition, you can order Sicilian Grilled Tomatoes [Thick tomato slices w/melted gorgonzola cheese], Brushetta, and Chicken Drummetts. Whew!
They offer Minestrone and Chicken Tortellini soups as well as several choices for salads.
Sandwiches and Pasta are also available:
Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Meatball Sandwiches, Italian Submarine, and a Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
Spaghetti with Marinara, Fettuccine with Alfredo Sauce, Mostaccoli or Baked Mostaccoli, and Ravioli with cheese or meat.
The Pizza is the star, however. They offer several types.
Favorite Dish: Procento's Pizzeria is famous for their Double Decker Pizza [a thin pizza with toppings and then another thin pizza with toppings. They also have what they call Gourmet Pizza such as Broccoli and Grilled Chicken, Chicken-Alfredo Pizza, Taco Pizza, Texas-Best, and The Great-Hawaiian.
Jill and I shared a Thin Crust Pizza [12 inch] with Onion, Mushroom, and Green Olives. The crust was fantastic, and we really enjoyed it, although we could not eat the whole thing. We also had side salads, which filled us.
Procentos's Pizzeria also offers Cannoli, Tiramisu, Spumoni [Gelato], and Eli's Cheesecake. Surprisingly, we declined the dessert. That might be a first!!!
My second time eating at The Courtyard was during "Ladies Weekend with my friends Mickey, Jill, and Marcia. We had breakfast one day, and Sunday Brunch the next. See photographs
The Courtyard was the first place that we ate in Galena. We were hungry, and since I had eaten here a few years previously with my husband, I suggested it. It was a good choice for the two of us. It is not crowded at lunchtime; the service is stellar, and the food is delicious.
We debated about having The special buffet, but decided against it. Instead, we decided to share a meal.
They have delicious appetizers such as Onion Haystack, a house specialty which is thinly sliced Onions hand dipped in Seasoned Batter and fried to a golden brown. They serve it with a side of Barbecue Sauce and Ranch Dressing for dipping!
They also have several Salad choices that come with fresh Baked Rolls and butter. Besides the usual Caesar, Cobb, and side salads, they also have a Fresh Seasonal Fruit Plate.
Their Specialty Sandwiches are served with a Dill Pickle Spear and a choice of French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, or Gourmet Potato Salad The Reuben looked very good and was served on Marble Rye Bread and grilled.
They also offer DeSoto House Specialty Luncheons that come with Soup of the Day and Fresh Baked Rolls & Butter. The House Specialty is Tips and Spaetzle [Seared Tenderloin Tips, Mushrooms, and Pearl Onions in a Burgundy Sauce served over sauteed Spaetzle, with a Vegetable Medley.]
Favorite Dish: Jill and I shared anAppetizer as our main entree: Chicken Quesadilla minus the chicken; thus it was Cheese Quesdalla with diced Onions and Tomatoes, Monterey Jack and Cheddar that is sandwiched in Flour Tortillas with sliced Jalapeno. They had Guacamole and Sour Cream on the side. We also tried a cup each of their special Cream of Bleu Cheese Soup, which was tremendous.
The Generals' Dining Room is named in honor of Galena's Nine Civil War Generals:
John A. Rawlins
Augustus L. Chetlain
John Eugene Smith
John C. Smith
Ely S. Parker
Ulysses S. Grant
You walk downstairs to go to the beautiful and elegant dining room. They offer Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Seafood Specialties, Steaks, Chops, and Ribs, and DeSoto House Traditional Favorites.
All the dinners come with House Salad or Soup du jour; Choice of Potato, Vegetable du jour and Fresh Baked Cracked Wheat Bread with Butter and Honey. They also have Home-made Dressings.
There House Favorites are:
The Drunken Soldier [boneless, skinless Breat of Chicken marinated in Tequila, Lime Jice, and Lemon Juice; then it is seasoned with Garlic and Cilantro and sauteed with julienned Red and Green Peppers and Onions.]
Cornish Pasty is a mixture of lean Ground Chuck, potatoes, onions and carrots all rolled into a Pastry Pouch and served with a side of rich Brown Gravy and traditional Coleslaw.
Past DeSoto is Rotini pasta tossed with sauteed Chicken, Asparagus, Mushroom, Inion, and Sun Dried Tomatoes in a Creamy Alfredo Sauce.
Favorite Dish: When Allan and I ate here, I had General Grant's Filet Mignon [8-ounce Choice Filet of Beef, flame-broiled. Allan had a Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs [house specialty]. Of course, these came with wonderful salads, and we had the Cream of Bleu Cheese Soup.
The service was outstanding, and it was a romantic evening for our 40th anniversary.
If you are in the mood for a good old-fashioned supper club type Steakhouse, then Log Cabin Greek Steakhouse is for you. It is family owned and was established in 1937.
They use hand-cut aged Angus Beef and are hand cut daily by their Greek Chefs, and their offerings are vast. They have fantastic appetizers such as Greek Feta with Kalamata Olives, Flaming Saganaki, Shrimp Cocktail, Alaskan King Crab Legs, and Homemade Onion Rings.
They also have soups, Salads, Seafood, and Daily Specials.
Monday: Beef Filet Shishkabob with Rice Pilaf
Tuesday: Steak Sandwich
Wednesday: Steak Diane
Thursday: Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus
Friday: Seafood Platter
They also offer meals for the Lighter appetite, which is good.
The dinners include a Relish Tray, Salad or cole slaw, Bread and Butter, Choice of Potato, Baked, French Fries, or Hash Browns.
Favorite Dish: I had Flaming Saganaki and a Greek Salad [which was huge].
Jill hadWalleye Pike Broiled in Lemon Butter
The service was outstanding.
My only complaint was that the restaurant itself is so dark inside. Not the romantic kind of dark either.
The last night that we stayed in our Time Share Condo outside of Galena, it was raining, and we had toured all day and were exhausted. We had finished packing for an early morning take off, and had cleaned out the refrigerator. Thus, the perfect solution to our hunger was to "order out".
Each day we had driven by a restaurant called Happy Joe's on Highway 20 on the way to our condominium, and in our condo lobby, I had seen an advertisement saying that Happy Joe's delivered right to our room. It was quite easy to call the number, give the order, and give the room number. There was a $2.00 delivery fee, which was well worth it.
Favorite Dish: It took about 40 minutes, and then the knock came at our door. A friendly delivery man handed us our piping hot pizza and our big salads. The salads were so large that we decided to share one, and I gave the other one to the woman on duty in the lobby. She was so thrilled.
We ordered individual pan pizzas. Mine was mushroom, onion, and green olives; Jill's was mushroom, onion, and black olives. We made short order of those pizzas and of the shared, crisp salad.
What a wonderful way to spend night filled with rain, a night when going to bed early fit the bill.
Every time that Jill and I go on our Spring vacation [this is the 4th year], it's a tradition to find a good ice cream place. Then, Jill takes a photograph of me eating the ice cream [and usually holding her ice cream cone also!]
This year was no exception. On the first night of our stay in Galena, after dinner and after walking around the town "window shopping", we discovered Great American Popcorn Company and noticed people coming out with delicious-looking ice cream cones. So, we had to investigate.
Besides ice cream, they sell, of course, all kinds of popcorn, candy, and small gift items.
It's a very large place, and it was quite busy that night.
Favorite Dish: They had many flavors to choose. We both decided to have Black Walnut Ice Cream in Waffle Cones. We asked for one-scoop cones. Thank goodness because the one-dip cones were gigantic.
After the mandatory photo, we resumed eating our delicious treats and were very pleased with our choices.
One of the most well known and famous restaurants in Galena is called Fried Green Tomatoes. It is quite romantic and the service is top notch. They have a huge selection of wines to accompany the exquisite dinner.
They have recently moved to downtown Galena on Main Street, and RESERVATIONS are really necessary. This restaurant has won so many awards:
Restaurant Award of Excellent 2003-2006
Wine Enthusiast 2006
Bon Appetit, July 2002
Midwest Living, 2000
Dining Out: Great Eating at Midwest Restaurants, June 1999
Distinctive Restaurants of Illinois from Gourmet Magazine
The building itself dates back to 1833. Before it was Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant, it was an iron stove shop, a live theater, a tombstone carver, and even the Jo Daviess County Courthouse!
Favorite Dish: You must try the Fried Green Tomatoes, which is their signature dish. They are lightly breaded and sauteed in olive oil and then sprinkled with mozzarella and parmesan on a bed of tomato sauce.
They have appetizers, traditional Italian favorites such as Fettuccine Alfredo, Chicken Primavera, Pasta Linquine, and Meat Lasagna. They specialize in Veal, Chicken, Fish, and what they call, The Great Midwest Cookout [Pork, Beef, and Lobster dishes].
It's a great place to eat; the ambience is just grand, and the eating experience is one you will remember.
Smokey bar doesn't intrude on dimly lit and intimate family style steak house. Decent bottle of Merlot ($25), NY cut steak and Walleye dinners ran up a $65 bill. Good service but get there early on busy weekends because they don't take reservations. Excellent greek salad and all meals can be prepared "Greek" style upon request. Opah! Had a good time. You won't be disappointed but keep your expectations reasonable. This is Galena, not NY.
Favorite Dish: My NY cut steak served medium rare was juicy and tender - and I'm picky. The walleye pike was fresh, flavorful and plentiful. Don't hesitate to order.
The pancakes, waffles and french toast are only available until 11 am and if you're a fan you'll want to get there in time. The pancakes are the largest I've ever seen, over a foot in diameter and half and inch thick. My ordering one seemed to cause quite a commotion with the tourists on the other side of my window seat. Friendly service too.
It was Valentine's day. A wedding was ending in the atrium, just outside the doors (interior atrium), and the place was comfortably full, without being packed at every table.
Favorite Dish: Let's see: Cornish Pasty, Salmon, broiled chicken
Excellent setting. High on a ridge, looking southwest over rolling vallies. Deep warm wood throughout. The interior appears to have been brought over from Ireland. Wonderfull setting.
Favorite Dish: Actually, only one of us eat. The rest had drinks. The menu had many wonderful dishes. Shepard's pie was one. It was the deserts that looked wonderful at the next table. The two dishes they orders, laid over with chocolate fudge on the one and fresh strawberries on the other, were eaten by two each. Everybody was satisfied.
The quality of the food at this restaurant is outstanding and a value for the price. It leans toward cajun, but not overly so. This is the only place in Galena serving oysters on the half shell and peel and eat shrimp. The atmosphere is white table cloth, exposed brick and romantic comfortable lighting and seating. All in all it is very elegant in a non stuffy way. I'd go back again and again.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish was Beef Tenderloin Medallions Montrachet. The Fresh Mushroom Bruchetta was also outstanding.
A little French, A little German, A little Bistro only touches the tip of the charm of this little neighborhood family owned restaurant. Located at the end of Main Street (across the street from Town Hall), this bistro has a fantastic selection of European food and drinks at a very, very reasonable price. There is a good selection of imported beers and wines. Menu and hours change seasonally.
Favorite Dish: Soups include onion soup with baked Gruyers and Parmesan Cheese crust and Soup Du Jour. Appetizers featured are Pate Maison (house-made chicken liver pate with cornichons, croutons and Dijon mustard), Steamed Mussels Mariniere, Charcuterie Plate (dry-cured sausages, ham and goose liver pate) and a soft pretzel (which go perfectly with the German beers). Salads are all made fresh and offer a house, spinach, Caesar and Chopped Salad which contains grilled chicken, smoked bacon, avocado, blue cheese, tomatoes, green onions, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce in a sweet vinaigrette. Classics include Wiener Schnitzel, Kassler Rippchen (smoked pork chop), Choucroute Garni (sausages and smoked meat) and Bratwurst and Rosti (potato and onion gravy). Bistro Specialties include Coq Au Vin (braised chicken with red wine sauce), Salmon with Lingonberry and Steak Ftites (ribeye steak with parsley butter and pomme frites) Entree selections range from $9.95 to $15.95!