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RESTAURANT REVIEW – Nonno’s Ristorante

Buon giorno. The other evening found companion and I weighing our dinner choice from among several new restaurants in Murrieta. We had heard great things about Nonno’s Ristorante on Murrieta Hot Springs Road and a natural affinity for all foods Italian made this an easy choice.

We were seated in the cozy bar area but the main dining room isn’t that much bigger so it has a nice atmosphere. Being a Friday evening we were also serenaded by a mellow saxophone player who provided a nice background touch while not overwhelming our conversation. Old Italian movies projected on the back wall are also quite entertaining and a fun topic for conversation. (Sophia Loren has been hot for a long time).
For starters we ordered the Frittura del Golfo, a nice mix of fried shrimp, artichoke hearts and calamari. These morsels aren’t the over-battered, deep friend drek you get in a lot of places but lightly dusted with spice and presented in all their tender and succulent glory. Their calamari is meaty and tender steak strips, not those chewy tentacles and the shrimps were divine.
We followed that with a Del Nonno salad which is organic spinach with shaved carrots, berries, tomato, blue cheese, caramelized walnuts and maple vinaigrette. Maple vinaigrette? Sounds like a strange combination but our server assured us it was delicious and she was right. Just a hint of maple to compliment the earthy balsamic and slight bitterness of the spinach.
Companion’s Ravioli Pugliese were plump little pillows overstuffed with mushrooms that tasted like mushrooms and not filler. They were bathed in a white wine sauce with just enough sausage, artichoke, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes to be robust without overshadowing the delicate mushroom flavor.
My Tagliatelle al Salmone e Vodka was also superb. We’re talking fresh salmon tossed with shallots and herbs in a vodka cream sauce over a perfectly al dente pasta. If I was being critical, the vodka sauce was perhaps a touch too piquant and threatened to overpower the salmon, which was a shame because the salmon was really, really good. Don’t get me wrong – the dish was excellent and I would order it again, if there weren’t so many other mouthwatering sounding dishes to sample.
Nonno’s has a nice wine list featuring several local selection and they have several wines available by the glass or carafe. We were going to order carafes of a couple different wines just for variety but the merlot was so tasty we ended up with two of those. We finished with a nice Creme Brulee surrounded by fresh fruit for dessert. Their Tiramisu also looks delicious but we had to save something for next time.
Moderately priced with attentive and helpful service, stop by and visit Chef Luigi Mazzaro at Nonno’s Ristorante. You’ll find them at 40711 Murrieta Hot Springs Road, next door to Spelly’s. Peruse their full menu at  and reserve your seat at 951.461.7998 or through . Grazie mille! A thousand thanks.