Once a fairly popular dining destination is now a little joint in a strip mall. The Venetian Inn may have downsized to Little Venetian, but the food is still to die for.
This establishment has been serving the Twin Cities since the 1920s by a single family, the Vitales. Family pictures are proudly displayed in the restaurant.
The restaurant looks like a fast food place when you walk up to the counter to place your order.
Yes, you place an order with the cashier and the food is delivered to your table when it is ready. Why bother with menus when you can just post the menu on the wall like McDonald's does?
They have a small salad bar which is kind of cramped and hard to wrangle, but the salad was good, and I was especially impressed with the homemade french dressing. It was chunky! And delicious, I might add.
A bad photo, but you get the idea of the chunky french dressing
There is little better than authentic Italian food. Mama Vitale was also famous for her frozen entrees back in the day. Do you remember the jingle? "Let Mama Vitale come into your kitchen, she does the cooking, you get the praise..." Mama isn't doing the cooking at the restaurant anymore, but her kids have kept the tradition of mouth-watering cuisine in the downsized version of their parents' restaurant, no doubt using the same recipes as Mama did.
Our little group had lasagna, ravioli with red sauce and a giant side of sausage, chicken parmesan, and mushroom-stuffed ravioli. All were tremendously scrumptious.
Personally I favor Italian food with a white sauce, which usually contains wine and garlic and butter. Everyone had a marvelous time eating. Conversation was kept to a minimum so we could savor it all.
I'm going to remember Little Venetian for catering and take-out too. Everything on their menu is available for take-out and the entire time we were there people were lining up, ordering delicious food to go.
I think I speak for the entire group when I say Little Venetian is big on authentic Italian food. So very, very good. They also serve beer and wine.
As a little treat we went to another local dive for dessert ~ White Bear Lake's Cup And Cone. It's been around forever and it's simply the place to see and be seen. Okay, it's not really as uppity as all that, but truthfully, everyone in the area of White Bear Lake goes to Cup And Cone at least once during the summer.
One word of advice: when they say large, they mean large and don't predict the size of an ice cream cone on the size of the cone itself. See for yourself. Ruthie and Ray got a small- and medium-sized cones. They're gargantuan! (The cones, not Ruthie and Ray.)
I, unfortunately, got a large cone and felt downright piggish walking around with this mountain of ice cream in my hand. It was a pretty warm day too, so I had to eat it really fast. Delicious as it was, my eyes were much bigger than my stomach, especially after just having a rich Italian meal. The large size is for fanatics, that's for sure!
It was a really nice evening filled with delicious food; Little Venetian and Cup And Cone are a perfect pair.