A Trip Down 'Cannoli Street'
The local-favorite Italian restaurant has menu items that are delicious and vegetarian-friendly.
Cannoli's Restaurant, 462 Lindbergh Blvd., offers Italian food that is both delicious and vegetarian-friendly.
The ambiance of the restaurant is great: the dining room is decorated with façades of houses and buildings that are designed to make you feel like you're eating on "Cannoli Street." As an added touch when we went there, they had Christmas lights and decorations added to the façades.
When I first looked over the menu, I was happy with the amount of food that was vegetarian-friendly. They have a fair share of appetizers, salads and pastas that vegetarians can order (in addition to several meat and seafood options, of course). Here's my restaurant warning, though: Be sure to read the descriptions, as some items that you might think are vegetarian do come with Cannoli's Homemade Meat Sauce.
To start, we ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Dip ($6.50) and had a garden salad ($1 with an entree).
The dip was delicious. My friend Sarah and I agreed that it was the best spinach-artichoke dip we'd ever had. The taste and texture were just the right blend of rich, cheesy and smooth, most likely due to the fact that the artichoke hearts were split up - not in big chunks like you might find in other dips. Their dip is served with crostinis - small slices of their homemade bread that have been lightly toasted. I enjoyed the dip so much that the next time I go to Cannoli's, I might even consider ordering this as my entree.
The garden salad came with lettuce, tri-color pasta, carrots and red cabbage and was served with their "Famous Sweet Italian House Dressing," which is a "sweet vinegar and oil dressing with a hint of garlic and other great Italian spices," according to the menu. The ingredients in the salad were fresh, and the sweet kick of the dressing made it that much more delicious.
We also dug into our mini-loaves of bread (included with the price of the pasta and other entree items), which were still warm from the oven and baked perfectly - not too crispy and not doughy. They have olive oil and parmesan cheese on the table (for you or your server) to make a dipping sauce for the bread.
For an entree, I ordered the Spinach Lasagna ($9.99), which is a newer item on Cannoli's menu. It's basically a traditional lasagna with ricotta cheese, spinach and marinara sauce, but instead of meat, they include mushrooms. I found my order to be slightly over-cooked, but it was otherwise good. The mushrooms and the spinach were both cooked well and quite flavorful.
Cannoli's is now offering "Pick-a-Pair" entrees that allow you to choose two half-orders from a selection of their pastas with your choice of sauces for $9.95. Sarah got their Manicotti and Pasta con Broccoli (which I tried as well) for the pick-a-pair deal.
The Manicotti was perfect. The tubular pasta was stuffed with delicious cheese and covered with their flavorful marinara sauce. The Pasta con Broccoli, while tasty, was not quite as good; it seemed to be lacking a little bit of the alfredo sauce and therefore a bit of flavor here and there.
Then, it was time for dessert. As both Sarah and I had eaten at Cannoli's before, we knew we had to get the restaurant's namesake, a cannoli. We ordered "The Original" Cannoli and a Cheesecake Cannoli ($2.95 each).
The menu describes the Original Cannoli as "a homemade delicate tubular pastry, filled with a creamy white Italian pudding with chocolate chips." Our Original Cannoli was served with powdered sugar over the top and what appeared to be maraschino cherries. Unfortunately, the juice from the cherries overpowered the flavor of the rest of the dessert, which made it not as delectable as it usually is.
The Cheesecake Cannoli, on the other hand, was incredibly delicious. It still had the same powdered sugar-dusted tubular pastry as the base, but it was filled with a blend of the Italian pudding and cheesecake filling and served with what we believed to be a little bit of cherry pie filling on the top. Fortunately, these cherries did not overpower the dessert; they just added a little tart to cut the richness of the filling.
Our server, who was friendly and attentive (he kept our water glasses full), suggested that next time we should request a cannoli that is half cheesecake and half double-chocolate, which is only one of the reasons why I'm sure I'll be going back there in the near future.
In addition to dining in, Cannoli's also offers carry-out service. More information about the restaurant, including their menu, can be found on their website, cannolisflorissant.com.