Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Reunion Month-Week #3: Molinari's

322 E. Third St.
Bethlehem, PA  
Hours:  M-W 5-9 p; Th-Sat 5-10 p
Price Range:  $12-27/entree

Just over a year old, I have only been to Molinari's one time, but it has left a lasting impression.  I recall a cold, wintry night and the cozy atmosphere that facilitated dinner conversation and delicious cuisine for dates, birthday celebrations and other gatherings on Bethlehem's Southside.  Just another Italian restaurant in the Lehigh Valley & Beyond?  I think not.  Molinari's has set itself apart with its modern aesthetics, simple but complete menu, hospitable staff and a niche restaurant between your local pizza joint and the overpriced upscale Italian dining options.  

We received some fresh, delicious flatbread, seasoned with rosemary.  For our entrees, we settled on Funghi Al Forno pizza (roasted mushrooms, porcini and tomato ragu, smoked mozzarella and oregano, $14) and Pine Nut Crusted Salmon (Braised Liberty Gardens Swiss Chard, ceci beans, and melted leeks, $24).  Memorable and impressive meals that reflect their value of fine products, including some local produce.

For a more comprehensive review with a personal background of the owners and chef, check out Lehigh Valley Style's article.   Honoring Molinari's with the 2012 Favorite New Restaurant Award is just one blessing of return for the values that undergird their business.  From this article I learned that 2% of their receipts to orphanages in Haiti and Zambia.  Even more incentive to consider this spot for a date night in 2013.

Molinari's on Urbanspoon

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