Authentic Italian at A.J. Tomaiolo’s
By Margaret Locher, Contributing Writer
Northborough—Every town should have a restaurant like A.J. Tomaiolo’s Italian Restaurant. The restaurant, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is owned and operated by three sisters, a brother and their father. They are dedicated to serving fresh, authentic Italian food to their community.
They updated the menu recently to include even more traditional dishes and flavors. My boyfriend and I, each with our own Italian grandmothers’ cooking in our memory, had a lot to choose from. After dipping fresh bread in oil, we started with something we’d never heard of: Italian nachos. They are like an extremely thin crust pizza, topped with a blend of cheeses, pepperoni and salami and served with a generous bowl of dipping sauce ($8).
A.J. Tomaiolo’s has spacious seating and a lovely bar area, separated nicely so it won’t disturb diners. The bar has its own menu of small-plate items, and the martini options are popular with patrons. There is a large wine menu with options by the glass and the bottle, and there are more than 15 beers to choose from.
The dinner menu has grilled pizzas ($12-$14), fresh sandwiches on Italian bread ($8-$16) and all of the Italian classics like cacciatore, parmigiana and marsala. House specialties include a porterhouse served with wild mushroom ravioli ($22) and tuna cartoccio grilled and topped with tomatoes, scallions, capers and basil.
Wednesdays are seafood nights at A.J. Tomaiolo’s, and on Mondays and Tuesdays, there is a dinner-for-two special. For $26, you and a friend can order one of a dozen entrees, like veal parmigiana, chicken pompei or baked stuffed sole, with soup or salad and dessert included. Since it was a Monday, we considered that option but I wanted to try the Haddock Demauro, stuffed with feta, spinach and tomatoes ($19). And my boyfriend liked the sound of the Veal Siciliano, with sausage, carrots, garlic and scallions served over pasta ($20).
We ordered those house specialty items. Each came with soup and a side dish (potato, rice, pasta or vegetables). We both opted for a bowl of escarole soup, which was delicious. It is rare to get authentic Italian food that tastes so fresh, flavorful and homemade. We wanted to eat more of our meals than we could fit, but were happy to have enough left over to take home and enjoy again later.
The dessert menu is as enticing as the meal choices: the new white and chocolate mousse, the caramel fudge pecan cake, chocolate lava cake and spumoni. There is also a nice variety of coffee selections, including “the Northborough,” which is coffee with Baileys, Frangelico and Amaretto. We ordered the cannolis. They had obviously been filled just before they were served. The filling was fresh and creamy and the shells were perfect. They were just the right amount of sweetness to end a delicious Italian meal. Our grandmothers would be satisfied.
A.J. Tomaiolo’s is located at 411 West Main Street in Northborough, just off of Route 20. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, Monday-Thursday 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 12 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations or private parties, call 508-393-5245. For more information, visit www.AJTomaiolo.com.
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