Ristorante di Palermo is, as one Palermitan Yelp reviewer made clear, not a Palermitan restaurant. It’s not even a Sicilian restaurant, though they have a couple of Greek/Mediterranean dishes which I assume may be found in Sicily. Ristorante di Palermo is your basic Italian restaurant, and as long as you don’t have higher expectations than that, you shouldn’t be terribly disappointed.
We went there for Christmas Eve dinner and we had a rather good meal. It was nothing extraordinary, but it was solidly executed and I would go again.
We started by sharing the “fungi de portabella” ($12), a grilled portobello mushroom cap in a gorgonzola sauce. The only thing I can fault this dish is the price – $12 is too high -, but flavor-wise it was a real winner. The grilled portobello had a meaty, somewhat smoky flavor and it went very well with the sauce. This isn’t a complicated dish, however, and it’s one I’ll try replicating at home.
For our main dishes, I had the chicken marsala ($16), Mike had the salmon special for the night, and the girls had the gnocchi de la casa (in tomato sauce – $12.25) and in gorgonzola sauce ($12.25). Both girls liked their gnocchi, though I didn’t taste them so you may want to take that with a grain of salt. The one in tomato sauce seemed to have plenty of cheese, and I assume the other one shared a sauce with the mushrooms. My chicken marsala had a very nice sauce, it was a little darker than I cook it myself, which I thought was good, and there was some smokiness to it as well. The chicken breast, however, was pretty dry in the manner of chicken breasts everywhere – I wish they would make it with chicken thighs instead. Mike’s dish of salmon with shrimp in some dark sauce was probably the least successful of the evening. He felt the sauce, whose specific flavor he can’t remember, overpowered the seafood. My main complaint about the entrees is that they were in the small size. None of us were left hungry – but I had had an appetizer, the girls don’t eat much (but they cleared their plates) and Mike wasn’t hungry when he started. I think they could increase the portions without hurting their bottom line and make customers’ happier.
For dessert, I got the cannoli ($6?). It was quite good, though nothing out of this world, pretty much your standard cannoli. I’d say the same about the tiramisu ($6) that Mika got. Camila ordered the blood orange sorbet ($5), I didn’t taste it but I suspect it was Ciao Bella. It’s a great sorbet and Camila didn’t complain.
I had two glasses of the sparkling Barbera ($9 each), which was basically sparkling grape juice with a kick. I liked it, but it’s extremely sweet.
Service was very good, our waiter was very attentive. The restaurant is quite nice, but more of a casual place. It’s very roomy, so it’d be a good place to dine when you don’t want to be overheard.
Ristorante di Palermo
22532 Foothill Blvd (b/t A St & B St)
Lunch daily: 11 AM – 2:30 PM
Dinner: Su-Th 5-9 PM, F-Sa 5-10 PM