by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
In November 1963, it was the first pizzeria in Reedley. Now in its fifty-fifth year, Valentino’s Italian Restaurant is still boiling, baking, and dishing out the good stuff.
I met Martin and Dawn Barcellos at several Reedley Chamber of Commerce events. They were friendly and enthusiastic, so I thought I might try Valentino’s, someday. When my wife told me she was tired of me bringing home fried chicken from the Bluegrass State (Figure it out), Valentino’s seemed like a good idea…and I was hooked.
Basic Italian fare isn’t basic at Valentino’s. Ravioli is nice, but have you ever had Wild Mushroom Ravioli? Delicate mushrooms in puffy pillows of pasta, and it’s not bathed in an everyday cream sauce. Oh, no! It’s a gorgonzola cheese sauce, and that’s some primo cheese!Tortellini have never excited me. I always thought of them as ravioli caught in the spin cycle. Then I tried Tortellini with Pesto or Alfredo Sauce. Which should I choose? I said “Yes,” and they blended both sauces, joining the earthy Pesto with the creamy Alfredo. Wowie-Zowie! Since Valentino’s was opened by Martin’s Uncle Joe Valentino as a pizzeria, it made sense to try a pizza: The Works with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. A colorful rainbow of layers, from crust to sauce to cheese to toppings to…..munchmunchmunchmunch! Oh, oh! I was supposed to take a picture before I started, but it looked too good to wait…and it was.
Rigatoni with sauce “al forno” is a treat, putting soft pasta under a blanket of zesty sauce, covered by a comforter of cheese. The calzone is stuffed with cheese and goodies (I wanted to say “with good stuff,” but that’s redundancy all over again), and isn’t puffed up with air. (I read this to my wife, to see if she agreed with me. She said it made her hungry. It worked.)
Take advantage of the specials. You might get two pasta entrees for $20, or get a great price on Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli. Lunches are friendly, they do catering, and take-out stays warm all the way to Sanger.
Valentino’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant is at 1043 G Street in Reedley. Lunches are on Tuesday to Friday are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dinners are Tuesday-Thursday are 5-8 p.m., and 5-9 p.m. on Friday-Saturday. Call (559) 638-3706 or go to their website.