My roommate is Italian, and she’s not trying to hide it from anyone. First of all, her name is Domina DiBiase. (Who even knew that was a name?) Plus, she looks super Italian, with a personality to match. Although our relationship is just great, I’d be downright scared to get on her bad side. I lovingly refer to her as “full of Italian rage”—especially on the roads, where Domina becomes “Rage-ina” due to her habit of yelling at anything that moves. Despite all this, the most essential part of her Italian identity is her shameless love for pasta.
Now, let me be clear: I fully appreciate a bowl of carby, cheesy, marinara-loaded goodness. In fact, pasta has always been one of my favorite foods. But Domina’s love for the stuff is refined.The stuff in our dining hall just won't cut it. Ever since Domina arrived at Wesleyan she has been whining about the lack of good pasta, that is, until we went to Fiore II.
For some reason, people don’t seem to talk about Fiore II as much as other Italian restaurants like Amici or Luce, but it has become one of my favorite “make-your-parents-pay” spots in Middletown. The atmosphere is intimate and romantic, featuring low lights, small cozy tables. The service has been fast every time I’ve been there, and the whole place just feels authentic. But let’s be honest: all we really care about is the food. Fiore starts out on a good note, foregoing the plain old breadbasket for a delicious basket of garlic knots. I would go here just for the garlic knots. They smother doughy, warm pizza dough with lots of olive oil, garlic salt and Parmesan. Perfection. Oily, garlicky perfection.
But don’t fill up too quickly. I’ve been to Fiore three times and the entrees have never failed to please. Last time we went, Domina ordered the Penne Pomodoro, which is sautéed with tomato and oil. It’s a slightly lighter dish if you aren’t in the mood for something creamy and super-filling. Our other dinner companion, my brother, ordered the Baked Ravioli.
The Eggplant Fiore was incredible. Trust me, once you see this dish you won’t be able to help yourself. I happened to choose it because I was craving eggplant parm (my go-to) but decided to branch out just a little. The Eggplant Fiore seemed like a safe bet, because whenever something on the menu includes the name of the restaurant it just has to be good.
There was no actual pasta in this dish, although there was the option to get a side of penne (which I refused since I was too full from eating 10,000 garlic knots). Instead of pasta, the delicate eggplant is layered with sundried tomato and spinach. The whole thing is doused with the perfect amount of pink vodka sauce. The sauce makes the dish; it is tangy, cheesy and sweet all at the same time. I practically licked my plate clean.
I highly recommend Fiore II. It gets the stamp of approval from my favorite angry Italian, and that’s good enough for me!
- Sarah Koppelkam ‘15
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