Saturday, April 17, 2010

Volare Italian Restaurant

One day I'll have a post entirely devoted to salads.. But today I have a few visits to my favorite hole-in-wall Italian-American eatery Volare that I wanted to share. This is actually my third post on Volare, part one and two here. The last visit was for dinner just this week. I never noticed the Cioppino on their menu so deciding what to order was easy this night. :)

Yay, Cioppino! ($14.95 with soup and salad.) Volare's version was served on a plate which I haven't come across before. Looked like a crazy kicked up spaghetti alle vongole but here in addition to clams were mussels, scallops and large shrimp, all simmered in a nicely reduced tomato based broth with a safe to say more than generous amount of chopped garlic.(!)

Man this was Really good and what a bargain. Everything was fresh and great, the garlic surprisingly wasn't overpowering despite the amount. I'm guessing a larger milder variety was used? Anyway I thought this dish was a winner.

If you never had their minestrone don't expect too much. It's fresh enough but not a wow bowl (though maybe I feel that way about most minestrone).

The small salad. Again basic but nice with an olive, pepperoncini and cherry tomato. Had it this night with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing.

Was a pretty busy night and with only two servers on the floor we thought getting a pitcher was a good idea. Only Michelob and Michelob Light is on tap but they have a better variety of bottled beer. It sufficed but not a big fan of the flavor especially when it looses its chill. I'll stick to Stella next time.

Had a taste of friend's Fettuccini Gorgonzola and it was quite good. Maybe the pasta could've been less cooked but still pretty tasty.

I think the full menu is available during lunch so I might be having their Cioppino during one of these days if I'm in the mood to splurge.

So Volare is usually a lunch spot for me when I get a hankering for pasta (and a meatball). Had a lasagna with eggplant ($5.50) off their specials board one day.

A scorching hot bubbling ooze of yumminess. Meats were very minimal if it had any but I had my side of meatball so a happy camper I was.

The free bread is very light but does a great job at sopping up the sauces. :)

It seems the lettuce in the salad is usually fresher during dinner, haha. But for $1.50 (used to be a buck) hard to complain. Blue cheese dressing... Is there a better match to the iceberg? :)

Volare's lunch specials are still a great bargain even with the few things I noticed that have gone up. Their side of meatball (and sausage) is now $2 from a $1.50.

Not an Italian meatball expert but it has a very nice fine but moist texture that isn't over fillerized with bread crumbs. But I think what really makes me order this is the lovely meat sauce that it is smothered in. The marinara is low in acidity and full of natural sweetness of tomatoes.

Decided to try a sandwich one day because I was curious. A half sandwich and soup is available as a special for $4.50. Had the Veal Parmigiana.

This was again simple but great. Did they remember to toast the bread? Definitely a yes. The entire sandwich seemed to have been placed in the oven to fuse into one hot crusty goodness.

Full sandwiches used to be $3.75 and a large for a dollar more. I think they were up to $5 now.

I'd be willing to try more if the pasta didn't always win me over come time to ordering..

I forgot I had already tried the Capellini Basilica ($4.25).

The flavors didn't seem as reduced as last time (which I think I thought was so good that I exclaimed a 'masterpiece of simplicity' haha) and maybe it could've used a little more olive oil. But still something I can't go wrong with when in the mood for a more rustic slow braised whole cloves of garlic and fresh basil type dish.

A few more random photos cause it's my hobby... :)

Mmm, (real) butter..

Had a side of sausage this day ($2).

Usually on the lean side but something I enjoy and definitely great with that meat sauce.

I think this was ranch dressing because they were out of blue cheese..

A random photo of the smog station next door..

Another item from the specials board, baked ravioli with mushrooms ($5.75).

Another hot bubbling ooze of yumminess..

The light was weird this day. It might've been a day after some rain.

Was really bright but with many large cumulus clouds passing by.

I take joy in collecting photos of Volare's meatballs.. :)

And eating them too of course..

Sorry about the marathon. The dinner came up last minute and decided to add it to the post. Anyway the last is a Cannelloni.

I accidentally ordered a full dinner order ($6.95) but came with their light garlic bread. The lunch order would be a single Cannelloni for $4.25.

Out of the three hot bubbling ooze of yumminess' I think I liked this the best with the generous ricotta and spinach filling.

And another meatball documented for my collection.. Sweet.

But ending with the salad.. Thank goodness!? ;)

Volare Italian Restaurant, 3528 Barnett Ave, San Diego, CA 92110


K and S said...

everything looks so good. what is a smog station for? I've never seen one before.

Anonymous said...

The cioppino looks like a tutto mare dish that I get at a local Italian place in Poway, except with fettucine. Ugh, it all looks so good and that is one gigantic meatball.

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S! No smog checks in Hawaii? Here it's where you get your car certified for registration.

Hi CAB! I just looked up tutto mare and you're right! This was pretty soupy though. I'm going to have to keep my eye open for tutto mare's on menus now! :)

K and S said...

I don't think we have this in Hawaii :)

Darlene said...

I've always wondered about Volare as the lone restaurant on the way to the post office. Your description of the cioppino is a reason why I need to visit.

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S, do you and Satoshi own a car? I just remembered shaken car inspection in Japan.. I guess we have it easy here compared.

Hi Darlene, I really liked the cioppino and at $15 it was the most expensive dish here I had, haha. The place probably isn't for everyone but I really enjoy visiting. :)

Marie said...

Cioppino is a dish I've been meaning to try for years. Thanks for the reminder that I really must order it sometime!

Sawyer said...

volare, oh oh oh oh lol

i've never tried cioppino before, but your posts now have got me in the hunt. is this your favorite italian place?

all those pictures and no canoli? lol =p

Dennis K. said...

Hi Marie! My experience with Cioppino is that they typically give you a lot, like enough for 2~3 people.. So if it's a great bowl you're in heaven but if it's only so-so, you're stuck with a whole lot of so-so cioppino in front of you.... I heard it's often served over spaghetti which I take is Volare's version and it was the perfect manageable size.. Anyway, good luck! :)

Hi Sawyer! Haha.. I don't have a sweet tooth at all, and I'm kinda glad honestly. I heard their canoli is good here though. Volare fits the bill during certain moods, that's all. It's a cool place that I wish would go on forever if possible.. :)

caninecologne said...

hi dennis!

I've always wanted to go here!

It looks like a hole in the wall and it's been there FOREVER!

we used to live in the naval housing there in the 70's and i remember seeing that sign when i was small.

now i've mos def gotta go here. plus it helps if you have a coupon (which i do) from the entertainment book. :)

the cioppino sounds great! as always, cool post!

caninecologne said...

by the way, looks like they like to drown their salad with dressing! :)

word ver:


Dennis K. said...

Hi CC! Thanks, your compliments always cheer me up!! Yeah if you don't like that maybe get the EVOO and balsamic dressing.. Also just a warning not to be in a hurry when visiting, and for dinner definitely come early before 7pm. I noticed they've gotten really popular over the years... and it's a small family run place.
I'm inspired to try to cap my Little Tokyo visit this week! :)

Michael said...

Hi Dennis,
This is one of my favorite underrated eateries in town. yummy stuff my friend and great pics!!

Dennis K. said...

Thanks Michael! I've been meaning to try the places you posted on in the past. Especially Gaetano's. :)

Cathy Doe said...

I'll meet you for lunch or dinner at Gaetano's. I love Volare though; it's been there forever. I need to drop by for lunch. One day. Soon.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Cathy!! Lunch at Volare is very mellow and I really love it. Gaetano's it is! Let's figure out a time.. would Michael be interested??

Cathy Doe said...

Three locations, which one? Sometime in the next 4 weeks? I assume you have my email. My hotmail was attacked and the address book was deleted...

Dennis K. said...

Hi Cathy! I hope your hotmail account is still active.. It's the only email address I have of yours! Please email me if it has changed.