I came to know about Joe’s Italian thanks to a good friend of mine who suggested it when I was home for the holidays one year. He and his family went there for dinner with friends as they were passing through and they fell in love with the food. I know why. Family recipes, family operated, family oriented, good, old-fashioned authentic Italian food. This isn’t Olive Garden or those chain Italian places. No…this is the real deal. This is the food that Giuseppe and Elvira Bertolone (Joe & Mamma) served when they opened up their first restaurant in California. It’s a family tradition…and so is their food.
The menu is authentic Italian. Pastas of every walk and flavor, paninis, soups, sandwiches, and yes…pizza! And because it’s Italian, plenty of options for a vegetarian. Always a plus!
Every other time I visited, I have gotten the eggplant parmesan. But I went for something different this time. The Spaghetti Aglio, Olio and Peperonicino (which I ordered with mushrooms and broccoli) sounded like spicy Italian goodness. I opted for the salad, rather than the soup, but my roommate ordered their tomato basil soup with her Tortellini al Pomodoro and I sampled it…delicious! Their salad, crisp and fresh!
Portions are big so come with a big, hearty Italian appetite. Savor the flavors, the atmosphere, the way the staff really wants to get to know you. And when you fill up on their delicious food, find a little more room for one of Mamma’s famous desserts. Keeping with tradition, we tried the cannoli…and it was different. Not as good as the one I had back home, but it was good. The prize however came on Mamma’s Sampler, a plate full of pieces of her homemade cakes. The Strawberry Cake is her most famous and the most popular for a reason. It was the most amazing cake I have ever had, and since I’m not big on cakes, that’s saying something. I even had a second sampling of that one.
Come hungry, leave full. That’s a good Italian motto. Even better…it’s a good Italian restaurant run by good people who really want to give you a good time and serve you a little bit of their history through their delicious food.
It doesn’t get any better than that. And I’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Italian restaurant anywhere where the food and desserts can leave you as full and satisfied as the story and the people who operate, run, and serve you there.
A little bite of Italy with big taste in an unexpected location – Alabaster, Alabama. It’s worth the trip.