The family Italian restaurant is an often done experience. Every town in America, no matter the size, has at least one Italian restaurant. This usually means you can get pasta covered in some form of marinara sauce. Throw some Italian bread on the table and some parmesan cheese out of a green can, and you have the local Italian restaurant. Recently, my family got to experience something totally different than that when we visited Polcari’s in Salem, NH.
Polcari’s is a local chain (3 locations in New England) that has been family owned for three generations. The decor is strictly that of a family restaurant. No ambiance or mood lighting here. But this should not deter any family looking for a great family meal. My brood of four started our meals with the bread and oil dipping sauce. The oil had a little red pepper zip, so that made my precocious daughter turn up her nose, but made my adventuresome son dig in!
After the bread round, we ordered the Polcari’s Signature Antipasto Platter, which came out as a heaping mound of sliced aged Provolone, Mozzarella cheese, imported mortadella, sliced pepperoni, thinly sliced prosciutto, Genoa salami, pepperoncini peppers, black olives and an assortment of homemade marinated vegetables, which include fire roasted red peppers, tender, quartered artichoke hearts, button mushrooms and ripe plumtomatoes. The presentation was pretty and the food was plentiful, but getting equal portions of each items was difficult.
For our main course, we went for some of the house specialties: Schiaffettoni (pronounced: ski-uf-fet-tony), which is rigatoni tossed in a rich sauce of sweet caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, fresh spinach and a garlic cream sauce. We also ordered Sweet Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Cavatappi Pasta which came in a light cream Marinara sauce. And lastly, a well presented order of stuffed shells was chosen. The theme of food at Polcari’s is to think big. All of the portions were huge and were enough for us to take home and continue eating for three days! Not only was the quantity amazing, so was the quality. Each of these meals was delicious.
My family loved Polcari’s, and we will be returning. If you are in New England and want to be well fed at reasonable prices, check them out.