Tuesday 22 Jul

Vietnamese comfort food

I’ve always had a love affair with the refreshing, healthy cuisine of Vietnam. I love the fragrances, the fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, mint and other Asian herbs: perilla, Vietnamese coriander and sawtooth cilantro. And I love the contrast and balance in almost every dish: spicy vs. cool, salty vs. sweet and steamed vs. crispy.
07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Hill tops

Northwest Classen High School has produced an impressive list of alumni over the years, including current Sonic president and CEO Cliff Hudson, former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Bill Hill, a 1969 alumnus, left Oklahoma after graduating from the University of Oklahoma and has been instrumental in the development of some of California’s super premium vineyards and wines.
07/17/2014 | Comments 0

Top of the city

With Josh Valentine running the kitchen at The George, the anticipated opening of the restaurant atop Founders Tower has been worth the wait.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0

New kids on the block

There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

07/16/2014 | Comments 0


Ah, the perils of working with special dietary needs. It can make dining out a pain. Luckily, with restaurateurs becoming more savvy to their diners’ needs, there are a bevy of places in OKC to satisfy your craving for the foods you love without losing taste. All choices this week have been road-tested by gluten-sensitive foodies to guarantee satisfaction.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Know your rights

What better way to celebrate your freedom than grilling it to perfection over an open flame? We’ve combed local meat markets for the best ingredients to make traditional burgers or brisket. Feeling more adventurous? Why not go for lamb or buffalo? Whatever your heart desires, local butchers will be more than happy to help you praise hot-off-the grill freedom.
07/02/2014 | Comments 0
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Restaurant Reviews

Italian, Venezia-style

An Italian chain surprises with pizzas and desserts worth coming back for.

Greg Elwell March 26th, 2014

Venezia Italian Ristorante

8109 Northwest Expressway

What works: Chicken picatta, pizzas and desserts.

What needs work: Some of sauces are a touch too bland.

The tip: When in doubt, get the meatballs.

Limoncello cake
Photo by Shannon Cornman

Italian chain restaurants have become shorthand for describing those who don’t like “real” food or aren’t “shopping local.”

Now here’s an unpopular position: They’re not that bad. Not really. I mean, if you’re craving the most authentic Italian food in Oklahoma City, you’re already facing a bit of an uphill battle. But the way some people talk, you’d think Olive Garden was literally serving poison.

Great Italian food is deceptive. It can look extremely simple, but it’s the hidden nuance that elevates the dishes you remember above the rabble.

Now let’s talk about Venezia Italian Ristorante, 8109 Northwest Expressway, which is a small chain (there’s also one in Del City) and has a menu with a few hits and a few misses.

They say pizza is like sex, but that’s not true because I have pizza all the time. (Is that why I’m not ... you know what? Save that for another day.) And Venezia makes a nice pie.

While I was hoping the Venezia’s white ($10.95 for an extra large) would steal my heart, it was a pleasant, if subtle, taste.

Instead, it was the classic Italian ($14.95 for an extra large) that had me swooning. It had meatballs, paired with pepperoni and sausage. Big, bold, punch-you-in-the-mouth flavors. And the onions are the perfect complement — not diced but long strips capable of generating crunch and that sweet caramelized flavor everybody loves.

The pasta combo has cannelloni, manicotti and lasagna, but it was difficult telling one from the other; lots of ricotta, but not a ton of flavor.

The ravioli and meatballs were better. The ravioli were still largely just ricotta vessels, but they were pillowy and soft, and the meatballs were tender and tasty.

I also tried the Rigatoni Veronese ($10.95), which features Venezia’s alla panna sauce over ziti with a mix of sauteed mushrooms, meatballs and sausage.

The meatballs, again, are pretty nice, but the mushrooms were the real treat. Some places go cheap and easy and use canned mushrooms, but these were browned and flavorful. Mushroom pasta at Venezia is definitely the way to go.

The lighter the sauce, the better the dish — at least for me. The chicken picatta ($10.95) made a much better impression. It’s lightly sauteed chicken, still moist, served with a lemon and white wine sauce with chopped capers. This was, by far, my favorite dish ... until the pizza arrived.

By the way, they make their own desserts. The tiramisu ($4.50) is nice, but the limoncello cake ($4.50) was like eating a glass of lemonade. And that’s a good thing.

Venezia isn’t perfect, but it’s trying. I might avoid a few of the appetizers next time, but with pizzas and a few Italian classics up its sleeve, I will definitely be back for more.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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