by Karen Huefner

ladolcevita1Hertel Avenue, the main commercial strip of North Buffalo, has been reborn and rejuvenated in recent years as Buffalo’s “Little Italy” and the center for restaurants, antiques and home furnishings.  This time around, hunger is what sent me to Hertel.  Living in North Buffalo, Hertel is the perfect location to fill the void in my stomach. 

Options are plentiful on Hertel Avenue.  Here’s just a few:

Empire Grill
DiGiulio & Company
Ristorante Lombardo
Fiamma Steakhouse
Shadow Lounge
La Marina

However I personally landed at a table inside La Dolce Vita at 1472 Hertel Avenue this past weekend.  Being a Friday night during Lent, I safely assumed that an Italian restaurant would have plenty of non-meat options and I was right.  To start we noshed on Sfogliatelle de Spinace (harder to say than it is to eat).  “Wow” is all I can say about this tasty appetizer.  It’s a combination of spinach, mozzarella and roasted red peppers wrapped in filo dough, then drizzled in pesto cream sauce.  Just incredible.  For an entrée, I went with the Pasta alla Julianna – a macaroni dish packed with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, goat cheese and olive oil.  The hearty portion they give you allows for leftovers the next day.  Now while I was stuffed full of Italian goodness at this point and eventually passed on dessert, does not mean that the list was not impressive.  From homemade Italian cookies to tiramisu, their namesake says it all….”The Sweet Life”!

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