Cheap Eats: La Nonna Restaurant

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Where: La Nonna Restaurant, 117 SW 107th Ave, Sweetwater.

What $15 Gets You: Linguine with garlic, basil pesto sauce, salad, a glass of wine

I needed to find a restaurant near school that didn’t serve hamburgers, subs, or anything that even remotely resembled a sandwich, so I asked around. A friend of mine suggested La Nonna Italian Ristorante. She had never eaten there, but had always noticed it on the way to school. I decided to give it a shot, it was close to the Florida International University’s south campus and it was different.

As we walked in, we were greeted by the host in Spanish (yeah, that’s authentic Italian). The place was empty, and I don’t mean there were a few people, I mean we were the only other two patrons aside from two old guys eating at a table in a far corner.

It doesn’t seem like the fanciest of restaurants, but I can admire their effort in at least trying to keep up the illusions. The menu is small. Spaghetti, soups and lasagnas compose the majority of options, if not all of them. There are daily specials for around $5, but most of the regular meals aren’t more than $8 so the specials don’t seem to be that great, you do save a couple of bucks though.

I ordered the linguine with basil, garlic Pesto sauce. I was expecting either a small portion or bad quality pasta, but I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter brought over a plate heaped with linguine. The pasta wasn’t too oily nor was it drenched in garlic. The taste was just enough so that the basil and garlic didn’t overpower each other nor did it leave me reaching for the water after every bite. The meal comes with a salad, but it wasn’t anything special.

I was unable to finish all of the Linguine; I think that they gave me enough for two meals.

As I told my friend, this isn’t a place you’d bring a date to, but it is a good place to have lunch with your friends.

Final Verdict: If you’re tired of the food on campus, or just the standard fare you have for lunch every day, I’d recommend La Nonna. Sure it is small, but it has a nice atmosphere and the food is very inexpensive. I do recommend that you go hungry though, because the amount they give you approaches the absurd. Four hours later, I don’t even want to look at food. A decent-sized glass of wine is $3, which is pretty good compliment to the meal. -- Elvis Ramirez

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