Due to great reviews on-line, we tried out Malara’s Italian restaurant.
The restaurant has been in a local Omaha neighborhood for the past 30-years.
There is ample parking behind and on-street. We entered the restaurant and were immediately in a nice bar setting with the hostess stand just to the left. We walked down a short ramp and there was a small, comfortable seating area which probably gets full on the weekends. On a Monday night, there wasn’t a crowd and we were immediately seated.
Our waitress promptly took our drink orders (a full bar) and was back in no time. Due to too much conversation, we asked her to return to give us more time to peruse the menu. We made our selections and ordered. Several of their dinner items have a half- or full-dinner option. So with a full-order dinner, there is plenty for a “to-go” box for lunch the next day.
Warm rolls were delivered to the table and we enjoyed those with our beverages and more conversation. So much to catch-up on with our busy summer schedules going in different directions. Conversation and dining are a great match.
Salads were delivered which received several comments; none of which would be considered nice. The lettuce tasted and looked old. Slightly soggy and limp. It truly is bagged lettuce which seemed to have been purchased from a day-old place. The dressing was sparse, not flavorful, not oily, and not vinegary. Just blah. Actually it was the worst salad some of us had ever tasted. This is an example of why some people think they don’t like salad. Another online review suggests skipping the salad and this is good advice to take. So, unless you will eat anything to get more vegetables in your diet, don’t bother to waste your time on this.
Next, an appetizer plate of French Fried Ravioli ($6) (available as beef or ricotta cheese) was delivered. The ravioli was homemade and fairly basic. Nothing exceptional, but not bad. The marinara sauce was homemade but nothing that would bring us back for more. Kind of sad for an Italian themed restaurant. There are many other appetizer options: French Fried mushrooms, calamari, cauliflower, deep-fried broccoli with cheese sauce (doesn’t sound that tasty), eggplant, mozzarella sticks, onion rings. If you like deep fat fried appetizers, you will find something here to please your palate. Most appetizers were in the $6 range.
Patty tried the Pasta Carbonara ($7.50/$10), a combination of prosciutto ham, bacon, green onions and chopped eggs in a butter-garlic sauce over pasta. The pasta was properly cooked to an el’dente stage. The flavor was good but Patty was expecting chicken in the mix. Guess the menu didn’t say anything about chicken, but this was her prior experience. Patty was fairly neutral about her meal, saying iIt was ‘fine’.
Sarah tried the Spinach Tortellini with Chicken Filling ($7.50/$10); their homemade chicken-filled spinach tortellini covered with a choice of red, white, meat or vegetable sauces. Sarah chose the white sauce, which was a very basic white sauce. Not Alfredo sauce. The half order was plenty. Wish I would have tried the vegetable sauce as I love my veggies, and the white sauce was very basic. VERY BASIC. The tortellini was good, tender, and full of chicken and cheese, prepared well.
Rick tried the Chicken Parmesan ($11), a breaded chicken breast smothered with a choice of red or white sauce and mozzarella & Parmesan cheeses. This was served with mostaccioli with red sauce and a choice of Italian green beans or cooked carrots. The chicken breast was deep fat fried, tender and tasty. The mostaccioli was prepared well and the red sauce was tasty. The Italian green beans were not at all what Rick was expecting. The green beans were served cold with chunky tomatoes mixed into them. Is that what Italian green beans are? They went back on the plate to the kitchen to the garbage disposal. Rick would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t have cultured taste. If this is authentic Italian food, I guess Rick and Sarah won’t be going to Italy anytime soon. Or ever.
Jim ordered the pasta with meatballs ($7.30/$9). The pasta was well cooked, the red sauce “wasn’t bad”-it was terrible, The meatballs did not impress Jim. There was too much bread crumb filler mixed into them, and the result was mushy meatballs. They were baked and well browned.
They had good food. . Overall, none of us were impressed with our dining experience. The best part of our evening was the conversation with long-time friends- always a dining benefit!
The meal was rated, by Jim, as one of the worst he ever had eaten. There were a few additional things that were disappointing in our meal. Although we declined dessert, the server never “merchandised” the dessert. We didn’t see a dessert menu which might have tempted us. And as we were leaving, another waitress was carrying out orders of cannelloni which looked amazing. If it had been offered, we likely would have tried it. The other item we would have liked to have seen done differently was that the waitress never offered us refills on our alcoholic beverages. She missed the opportunity to increase our sales ticket and we left needing more. We decided on ice cream-somewhere else- instead of alcohol.
Malara’s has an extensive menu and is obviously a local favorite. There is pizza, sandwiches, steaks, daily specials as well as a full menu of expected Italian favorites