Finding myself uninterested on a Spring Saturday evening in enduring any of Naples' "destination" restaurants, I decided to try Daniela's. It's located on Naples' northern end in a strip shopping center where US Route 41 (Tamiami Trail) intersects Wiggins Pass Road.
Operated (according to the menu) by a family, Daniela's describes itself as offering Italian, Hungarian, and Romanian cuisine. Based on my first visit there, even dishes the menu categorizes as "Italian" reveal a strong Eastern European influence.
My evening at Daniela's started out somewhat contentiously. Sitting solo at the bar and ordering a glass of Merlot to start, I noticed the bartender reaching inside a refrigerator for a bottle. Pleasantly but firmly I spoke up, "Not chilled." Clearly displeased, the bartender neverfheless silently opened a fresh bottle. That extra effort benefited me with a delicious glass.
Not extraordinarily hungry, I bypassed the menu's numerous tempting appetizers, soups, and salads. Instead I ordered an entree of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, spinach, and mascarpone cheese. Obviously prepared from scratch, the dish proved succulent without being too large to overwhelm a solo diner. It was wonderfully sauced with a concoction resembling pesto but richer and milder. At $15.00, I'll remember the dish as above average comfort food.
Accompanying my meal was a basket containing three small slices of not particularly flavorful bread. However, the slices proved adequate for dipping in that wonderful sauce accompanying my ravioli and, my only moderate hunger having been sated, I did not require any additional starch.
My server explained that Daniela's normally offers live music Saturday nights, but this particular evening (preceding Easter Sunday) the regularly scheduled musician had a prior commitment.
Daniela's impressed me as a low-key, neighborhood kind of restaurant that works if one overlooks a bit of amateurism. I look forward again to enjoying some of its comfortable home cooking.
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