Clemenza’s at Uptown Station takes the cannoli
I love Italian food, so when it came to this restaurant feature, I jumped at the chance to eat at Clemenza’a at Uptown Station. Although I have been there before in the past, I have always ordered the wood-fired pizza, so I was excited to try something new.
I went hungry. I meant business. When it comes to Italian food, I don’t kid around. As soon as we were seated, we were presented with some toasted artisan bread and olive oil dip. It took all the willpower I had not to eat the entire basket of bread, but I told myself the wait would be worth it. Spoiler alert, it was!
For our appetizer, my guest and I ordered the shrimp scampi. When it came out we split the six plump and deliciously buttery shrimp between ourselves, and I sneaked in another bread slice, this time dipped in the salty, parmesan shrimp scampi sauce.
When entrée time came around, I was overwhelmed. With 22 pasta dishes to choose from, 18 pizzas, seven meat platters and four calzones, I was stumped. Thankfully, the chalkboard special came to the rescue. I merely looked up and saw my meal in the writing on the wall — the walnut-crusted chicken over fettuccine with a pesto cream sauce.
My guest chose to try a wood-fired calzone called the pugliese. Inside the piping hot pizza dough pocket was tomato sauce, mozzarella, fresh spinach and grilled chicken. The calzone was the size of a medium pizza folded in half. Needless to say, my guest was not able to finish the meal in one sitting.
We also ordered from the kid’s menu for out pint-sized guest. He was very pleased with his personal cheese pizza, which was a 10-inch pizza and yielded plenty of leftovers.
As for me, my stomach was growling loudly when our meals finally came out, but one bite into my entree and I was hooked. The chicken was perfectly seasoned and thin, the noodles were oh-so-creamy, and even the presentation was perfect with edible flowers and all.
When dessert came around, we were almost too full to order, but I never pass on a good tiramisu. My guest decided to try a delicacy called the coconut bomba, and we both indulged in some decaf coffee.
My tiramisu was light, fluffy and delicious. For good measure, I tried a bite of the coconut bomba, a coconut layer cake with a warm coconut cream center. It was equally delicious.
Of course, we took home heaping to-go boxes, equaling about half of our meal, and half of our dessert, but that only meant I was excited for lunch the next day.
Clemenza’s at Uptown Station has a fancy evening out vibe. The low-light look paired with cloth napkins and a wine wall add to the upscale dining atmosphere.
Although the restaurant is family friendly, with children’s menus to boot, the atmosphere lends more toward a cozy date night, or ladies night out.
Our server was very helpful in explaining the menu and had a very friendly banter. He was also very attentive, so much so that when he asked how our meal was tasting, I had actually just taken my first bite.
A FINAL TASTE
I have found a new favorite date night spot.
For an Italian foodie, Clemenza’s takes the cannoli on authentic, delicious and creative menu items. And if you are wondering where that term comes from, just take a look at the servers shirts at Clemenza’s which sports a quote from "The Godfather": “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
And, yes, they do also serve cannolis. I just have a soft spot for tiramisu.
Clemenza's at Uptown Station
Location: 75 Eglin Pkwy. Suite 126, Fort Walton Beach.
Hours: Monday-Friday lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday-Friday dinner, 5-9 p.m. Saturday 5-9:30 p.m., Sunday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Children's Menu: Yes, $7. Options of pizza and spaghetti.
Price Range: Dinner menu — appetizers, $10; soups and salads, $10-$15; pasta, $20-$30; pizza, $15-$20; dessert, $7.
Payment: Cash or credit