Growing up, my parent’s always took me to Boccone’s, an Italian restaurant that had the best food of anything I can remember from my childhood (other than both my grandmother’s cooking). Although it closed down a number of years ago, I still remember the flavors of the food, the great atmosphere and the decorations that gave the restaurant its own personality. I am part Italian, from my mom’s side, so Italian food has always been a favorite of mine. Italian or not, I think most people just love a nice, big bowl of spaghetti every now and again. I am no exception and I am always looking for a great place to get some pasta or pizza.
Julian’s Italian Pizzeria & Kitchen on West Avenue always satisfies my cravings for pasta and, in a small way, helps me relive my childhood. The owner of Julian’s has some relation to the previous owner of Boccone’s and when I found that out a few years ago, I knew I had to try it. I ended up loving it and going often.
Walking up to Julian’s you always hear Frank Sinatra style music playing outside, setting the relaxing mood. Inside, Julian’s is dimly lit with red-brick accent walls. There are black and white checkered floors, red and white checkered table cloths and my favorite part of the restaurant are the hundreds of picture frames full of pictures of what I would assume are family members and frequent customers. Seeing these makes you feel like a part of the family too. Julian’s is wonderfully casual, so you can get good food in shorts and a t-shirt if you wish and it is family friendly.
In the last few years I have eaten at Julian’s more times than I can count and probably have tried most items on the menu. On Saturday evening, I decided to carry out food to my parent’s house to relax with my family. Everyone had a different pasta dish and we ordered a small spinach and mushroom pizza to share. I had the Pasta Primavera for my main dish with a Caesar salad. And for dessert, we shared an order of cannoli.
The pizza is pretty thin, but not crispy and has an awesome red sauce on it that has a strong flavor with a hint of tomato sweetness. They don’t overdo the cheese. I really love cheese, but I also like to taste the other ingredients on my pizza and Julian’s knows how to balance this. You can choose from their numerous toppings or pick from one of their selections. I always pick my own because it depends on my mood that day.
My pasta was delicious, as usual. The Pasta Primavera comes with fettuccine pasta, mushrooms, spinach and artichokes (apparently I was in the mood for mushrooms and spinach this weekend because they were on the pizza and in the pasta). It is tossed in marinara sauce and topped with a perfect amount of cheese to make it even better. The flavors are strong and mix well together and the pasta is cooked really well so that it isn’t mushy. When you actually eat at the restaurant, it seems like you get a bit more food, but it is still a decent sized serving.
After having a slice or two of pizza and a helping of my pasta, I was excited to have a cannoli. Whoever invented cannoli was a brilliant person because the dessert is basically amazing (although I have had cannoli that were not tasty at all, the horror!!!). Thankfully, Julian’s always makes them well. The filling is really creamy and thick, but not chalky tasting like some of the bad cannoli I have had. It is super sweet and there are two to an order, so I would suggest splitting with a few people. The ends are covered in miniature chocolate chips that I believe are dark chocolate, which adds a hint of bitterness to the sweet dessert. I really do love it!
Julian’s is just a place you can go get a good meal and relax with family or friends; you don’t have to worry about getting all fancy. The staff are always friendly and you can trust that the food will always be tasty. Satisfy your love of Italian food and go have a taste!
Julian’s Italian Pizzeria & Kitchen, 13444 West Ave, Ste 300, San Antonio, TX 78216