We decided to go to Appleton for the day, and based on the great reviews, and the wonderful menu posted on their website, we decided on Carmella's.
The restaurant is in a shopping center, but the interior is nice, and the outside patio is wonderful....roomy, nice cool breeze, with a very nice timber trellis providing some cover and shade. The patio looks over a street and the back of a big box store, but it has nice, tall, green evergreen trees that really do a good job of screening noise and the poor view.
We ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc, and it was a very nice full pour...nearly a full glass.
There is only one menu, so for lunch you either order a salad or panini, or order a dinner sized entree with a dinner sized price. Appetizers are $9-12, pastas are $12-16 and entrees are up to $28. We wanted "the good stuff" so ordered as if having dinner.
We ordered two appetizers.... fried calamari and beef tenderloin carpaccio. Both of the appetizers were off the charts good. The calamari might be the best I have ever had...tender, crispy, flavorful...served with garlic aioli and a spicy marinara. The carpaccio was tender, flavorful, with wonderful EVOO and garnished with nice greens and pine nuts. The bread served was excellent, with nice EVOO and herbs. At this point everything was fabulous, and we looked forward to our entrees.
I ordered linguini with clams. The linguini was home made, and had a wonderful chewy texture. There were lots of clams, but unfortunately it was a little salty (and I like salt). Normally I would dip bread in the broth, but didn't because of the salt. Too bad...fundamentally a good dish.
My wife ordered rigatoni with white wine and vegetables...kind of a primavera. She did this on the spur of the moment because the server recommended it, after she had studied the menu for 10 minutes and liking three other entrees. Anyway, she thought that there were too few vegetables, too much rigatoni, and that the dish was bland. The rigatoni are a big, heavy thick pasta which is best served with a hearty ragu. The more delicate vegetables needed a thinner, lighter pasta....angel hair, maybe linguini. My wife makes a very good primavera, and this dish didn't compare too well in her eyes.
There were a number of other entrees that we would love to try. The ambiance is so nice, the menu is so good, and the couple of excellent dishes we had mean that we definitely will give this restaurant another try....it is so close to being great......