My wife and I decided to end the week with dinner out on a Friday. A friend of hers had talked about Francoli, so she suggested we try it. Great find.
When I visit a new Italian restaurant, I usually go with the Lasagna as a good indicator of whether I will like the place. Loved it. Trish went with a steak that was uniquely prepared... cut into strips and cooked that way, rather than left on the bone as most steakhouses would do. It was excellent.
There are a few outside tables. We were fortunate enough to grab the last one before the dinner rush, and enjoyed watching the passing car and foot traffic in the circle. It's not a big place, so be prepared to wait a bit if you arrive during peak dining hours. There was entertainment inside; a singer was using recorded music in the background, like his own karaoke show. The snippets we heard weren't bad, but we were glad we were outside with a better chance to talk.
The atmosphere was relaxed; jeans are perfectly acceptable, and in fact worn by the wait staff. The service was very attentive and included some nice touches, such as serving our wine from a carafe instead of the bottle.
It's a great location. After dinner, Trish and I took a walk through the circle and up Glassell for a short foot-tour of Chapman University. There are several other dining experiences there that we will try to get to someday.
The corkage fee was a little high - $20, which is the most I recall paying anywhere. That's the main reason for the 'average' value rating. We splurged a bit on dessert and port (all excellent), spending almost $100 on the bill. It is possible to dine there for about $40 - $50 per couple if wine and dessert are not part of your meal.
Just seeing some of the dishes other diners were served made us wish we'd tried something else instead, even though our food was excellent. We will definitely be back to try more of the extensive menu.
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