24190 Alicia Pkwy.
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Doing nice things for people can sometimes payoff. We drove my old friend Chuck to the airport recently, and he repaid us by taking us out to dinner. That's a steep price you say? Well it was LAX, at 7 on a Sunday night. Luckily traffic was light. Don't tell Chuck, but we did not need to be paid off by dinner, but it was nice though. I was of course in charge of picking a restaurant. I picked one that was local for both of us, and got a good rating online. That restaurant would be Antonucci's.
Antonucci's has been a local institution since 1976, and been in the same location since 1986. It was bought from the original owner in 2001, by Bob Canori. Bob has been known to hug his guests on entering. We must have gotten here on his day off, but the restaurant was still inviting. The decor was dominated by the color white, and the staff was very friendly. The restaurant seems a lot larger on the inside, than it appears from the outside. The menu here is dominated by the usual items you would find in an Italian restaurant, but they also feature a good many seafood items as well. Chuck and Stephanie were ready to order, so let's see what we came up with.
Before our meal began we were presented with this Garlic Bread. This bread came out hot, and was pretty garlicky. A little mushy in the middle, but it was free bread, so it was no big deal.
The waitress informed us that there was a special on the Bruschetta, so we ordered it. Toasted garlic bread, topped with tomatoes, basil, even more garlic, and olive oil was the lineup for this dish. I am usually not too big of a fan of bruschetta, but this one was not too bad. The bread was softer than most bruschetta's, and the tomatoes really had the garlic flavor going on. Everyone at the table really enjoyed this.
When ordering an entree here, you can opt to get a salad for $2.50 more. This dinner salad was a good sized portion, and the dressing was very good. Your basic greens were accompanied by a slice of salami, tomato, and olives. I really enjoyed the amount of dressing here, but I could see that it would be too much for some people.
Chuck, true to his nature, went old school with his choice for dinner, when he chose the Homemade Lasagna. This brick of pasta, cheese and meat sauce came out scalding hot. He liked the sauce a lot, and was surprised at how light this dish actually was. He had no problem at all finishing this plate, and enjoyed every bite.
Chuck's wonderful wife Stephanie jazzed it up with her selection for the evening, the Chicken Tequila Fettuccine. This dish featured a great sauce made up of a tequila-lime and jalapeno cream sauce. The sauce featured a kick at the end of each bite. The chicken was tender, and this dish was a perfect pick for this chilly night.
I had a harder time than normal picking what I wanted from the menu at Antonucci's. Not sure why that was the case, but I finally ended up with the Mostaccioli Calalora. A classic pasta dish made up of chicken, garlic, mushrooms, red chili pepper, and marinara with a touch of cream. The marinara here was very good. Very smooth and not too acidic. The chicken was tender, and the pasta was cooked well. Not a bad pasta dish at all. I would have liked this even better if it was offered with sausage, but I would definitely get this again.
Probably my favorite item of the night was Katie's dinner, the Tortellini Boscaiola. Here cheese tortellini was blanketed by a great cream sauce, with ham and mushrooms added. Katie enjoyed the saltiness of the ham, along with the smoothness of the sauce. She claims that this would be her go to item when we return to Antonucci's.
This is a very solid choice for Italian in south OC. We really look forward to exploring the rest of their menu, and some of their seafood plates. The prices here were a little on the high side, but nothing too out of the norm for a sit down Italian restaurant. The service was pretty good, and the food came out hot and fast. Don't plan on eating here for lunch, because they open their doors at four. Don't tell Chuck, but we would be happy to drive him back to LAX for another chance to eat here on his dime.
Out of five torches, (because the city seal of Mission Viejo has the Olympic torch on it because the city hosted road cycling events during the 1984 Olympics), five being best to zero being worst, Antonucci's gets 3 torches.
For more information on Antonucci's, click here: http://www.antonuccis.net/index.htm