Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moldavian Cusine, Pizza and More!

I always try to do a little research to locate potential dining spots along my planned road trip route.  Sometimes, real surprises jump up and provide special dining experiences.  Our first night on the road proved to be one of those times!

I found this restaurant on Trip Advisor…and then I backed it up via a very positive review by a local food critic.  Trip Advisor participants had ranked Dolce Pizza Gourmet and Eastern European Restaurant as #2 out of 47 restaurants in the Hagerstown Maryland area.  The building doesn’t just grab the passerby and pull them in…but, as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Here’s an interior photo of Dolce… It’s a small homey restaurant but we can assure you that size and a lack of fancy décor are not great indicators of good food.  The tables, chairs and silverware are mismatched and it looked like they could seat perhaps 30 people at one time.  But the fact is that the room had a warm friendly feeling to it…like someones kitchen.

There is no doubt that our eyes were bigger…and not as smart…as our stomachs were!  We started out with this sinful loaf of Garlic Bread with Cheese and Bacon. ($4.25) How could anyone go wrong with this treat?  It was excellent…lots of garlic, very rich and very filling!  Of course, the meals also came with some nice little warm dinner rolls…

This is one of our dinner salads.  It was fresh and contained a lot of ingredients…many more than you’d expect for a typical dinner salad!  (Iceberg lettuce, peppers, pepperchini, onions, croutons, carrot, fresh tomato slices, egg and mozzarella cheese) 

Laurie got very adventurous…and ordered the Moldavian Chicken entrée. ($12.99) It was delicious…and the sauce/broth was to kill for!  I even liked the broth despite the fact that the presence of all those peppers would have usually had me running for the hills… (I don’t care for bell peppers of whatever color)

It turns out that Iulia (Julia) Manea, our hostess, waitress, co-owner, food coach and cook is of Sicilian and Moldavian heritage.  She was startled to discover that I even knew where Moldovia is located.  Julia showed us a book with photos of her hometown, plus a map indicating where she’d lived.

Laurie had told Julia that she was having a tough time deciding what to have for dinner.  Julia recommended the Moldavian Chicken but, just to be nice, she also brought Laurie these 3 plump cheese ravioli to taste, which would of been Laurie's second choice.  They were nice and fresh but just a little bland for our taste buds.

I ordered something that I hadn’t eaten in a very long time.  Stuffed cabbage rolls…or as the menu stated, Julia Stuffed Cabbage. ($12.99) The stuffed cabbage itself was very nice…but what makes this entrée is the spicy bacon and chopped cabbage on top of the cabbage rolls.  The homemade sour cream on the side didn’t hurt either.  This was very good!

After everything that we had to eat…we were done in…no room for anything else, even dessert!  Wrong again… Julia surprised us, delivering this plate full of fried ‘beignets’ coated in powdered sugar.  They were very good indeed…and we managed to polish them off as well!

Dolce is more than eating out… Because of Julia, it’s a great experience as well.  We really enjoyed the food, the people and the experience! 
This little restaurant serves Breakfast, a variety of Salads, Sandwiches, Subs (hot and cold), Calzones, Stromboli, Italian Entrees, Pizza, Soups, Steaks, Chops, Seafood and European Specialties…along with Desserts.
Dolce Pizza Gourmet and Eastern European Restaurant is located at 792 Frederick Street in Hagerstown Maryland.  Dolce is open from 10:30 AM to 10 PM…seven days a week!  Phone: 301-745-6300 or 301-745-6301.
Here’s the link to “Trip Advisor” and the eight customer reviews that ranked Dolce Pizza Gormet & Eastern European Restaurant as the #2 choice in the Hagerstown Market: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g41181-d1868432-Reviews-Dolce_Pizza-Hagerstown_Maryland.htmlIt’s unusual, but no one on Trip Advisor has given Dolce less than 4 ‘stars’ out of the five maximum.  I’ll be adding the 9th Trip Advisor evaluation to the list…and I’ll be in line with the previous reviews! 
The following review by “Savory Sam” originally ran in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail as “Dolce transports diners with European food, attentive service”. http://hagerstowneats.com/2007/08/dolce-pizza/
Thanks for stopping by for a visit…
Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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