Erietie Appetite: Arnone's Italian Restaurant

Arnone's offers a Little Italy experience in Erie.Arnone’s offers a Little Italy experience in Erie.

Price: Moderately Expensive

Quality: 5 out of 5

While in my second year at Mercyhurst College, my family and I traveled to Arnone’s Italian Restaurant at 607 West 18th St. with friends. We had such a great experience that we promised to return again.

Two years later, my family and I finally returned to Arnone’s, eagerly anticipating another delicious dining experience.

Fortunately, our expectations were met.

My parents and I traveled to Arnone’s on a Saturday evening after two intense softball games.

Even though Arnone’s is only located 10 minutes from campus, the drive felt endless. Excitement, hunger and impatience prevailed over my exhausted body. I could not wait to sink my teeth into a loaf of homemade Italian bread!

My excitement rose when we pulled into a parking lot spotted lightly with cars and other automobiles. I rejoiced at the thought of receiving my food without needing to wait to be seated.

The inside of Arnone’s was about as empty as the outside parking lot. Only a handful of tables were filled with customers enjoying their meals. We were shown to a table immediately upon entering and given single-sheet menus.

Quiet, comfortable and relaxing, the atmosphere of Arnone’s was exactly what I needed after a busy day. Italian music played softly above while we sat in silence observing the menu.

Images of breaded calamari, hot wedding soup, hand-tossed pizza, vegetable lasagna, gnocchi, chicken parmesan and veal marsala danced in my head, making it difficult to decide.

Since we were starving, my family ordered Calamari Fritti, breaded calamari rings served with roasted red pepper coulis and basil pesto.

My mom and I then conspired to share meals since everything sounded delicious. She ordered the vegetable lasagna: fresh vegetables, layered noodles, seasoned ricotta, mozzarella and Arnone’s sauce; meanwhile, I ordered eggplant Parmesan: fresh eggplant with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over spaghetti.

Both were priced at $11.50 and came with a loaf of homemade Italian bread and choice of soup or salad.

We all ordered salad with a side of their house balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Shortly after we ordered, our server brought us our calamari appetizer. Slightly breaded with a zesty dipping sauce, the calamari were tasty and light.

About five minutes later, our server brought us a loaf of bread and our salads. Fluffy on the inside with a crispy crust, the bread fulfilled my day-long craving. A mix of romaine lettuce, tomato and cucumber, the salad was ripe and fresh.

As soon as we finished our salads, our meals arrived.

Five lightly breaded layers of eggplant were piled on top of a bed of spaghetti. The top eggplant layer was covered with a blend of melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Extremely fresh with a sweet sauce, the eggplant Parmesan was the best I have ever tasted. The proportion size of eggplant and spaghetti was sufficient as well to satisfy my appetite.

Throughout our dinner, my mother commented on how light and fresh the meals were prepared. She additionally allowed me to try her vegetable lasagna, which was filled with mushrooms, peppers and eggplant. Flavorful and filling, the lasagna was also tasty, but I enjoyed my eggplant more.

From the atmosphere to the friendly service to the food, everything about our dinner experience at Arnone’s made me rate it the best Italian restaurant in Erie.

Arnone's Calamari Fritti are breaded calamari rings served with roasted red pepper coulis and basil pesto.Arnone’s Calamari Fritti are breaded calamari rings served with roasted red pepper coulis and basil pesto.

Eggplant Parmesan.Eggplant Parmesan.