published Friday, December 16th, 2011

Flavors of Italy specializes in authentic favorites

If you want to dine on genuine Italian food, you don't have to go farther than Soddy-Daisy. Flavors of Italy restaurant, opened in March 2009 by Italy native Giuseppe Iannuzzi and wife Ana Maria, offers authentic Italian recipes prepared on-site by "Chef Giuseppe," as he is known.

The food

The food was amazing. I ordered Chicken Piccata and was glad I did.

The dish is prepared with fresh lemon, mushrooms, artichokes, garlic and served on a bed of angel-hair pasta. Being a lover of lemon, I was pleasantly surprised that the lemon was a dominant flavor though not overwhelming. The entree was served with my choice of soup or salad (I chose salad with the house dressing) and rolls. The cost, $11.95, is more than I typically spend on lunch, but there was enough left over to take home to my husband for dinner. He gave the dish an equally good review.

Because the owners want every diner's experience to be positive, they also offer samples of appetizers as a way to introduce guests to the menu. The four diners at our table were given samples of bruschetta made of fresh chopped tomato, onion, basil and garlic mixed with olive oil. The bruschetta was served with the chef's handmade -- and delicious -- rolls.

THE MENU

Though there's a set menu, the restaurant also offers daily specials, including a takeout dinner for four that costs from $24.95 to $34.95. The meal includes entree, soup or salad, and rolls. Kids up to age 12 eat free after 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, if accompanied by an adult who orders an entree and beverage.

The menu is vast. Though somewhat costly for lunch, the portions are huge. I dined with three women, all of whom had enough food to take home for dinner.

Beginning with appetizers, the menu ranges from bruschetta to fresh mozzarella and tomato Caprese to eggplant Parmesan, breaded fried calamari (with a side of marinara) and eggplant rollatini.

The salad menu offers something for every palate. The house salad, unlike most house salads served at restaurants, has the Italian touch with olives added to the romaine lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The Italian dressing is freshly made. And there's also the Italian Salad, which includes all of the above with red onions and grilled chicken. There's also Caesar salad, Caesar with chicken and tomato salad.

The entree menu includes chicken dishes prepared in many ways, including Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Pizzailo, Chicken Giovanni, Chicken Vesuvio, Chicken Francese and Chicken Marsala, as well as additional daily specials.

If you go

* Where: Flavors of Italy, 10330 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy.

* Phone: 451-7298.

* Hours: 4-8 p.m. (dinner only) Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch) and 4-9 p.m. (dinner) Friday-Sunday.

* Price range: Lunch, $5.95 (for a personal pan pizza) to $11.95; dinner, $8.95 to $14.95.

There's a variety of eggplant dishes, shrimp and, of course, freshly made meatballs and lasagna.

Desserts vary from evening to evening and cost around $3.95. The restaurant also serves beer, with Peroni, an Italian beer, a customer favorite. Guests are allowed to bring their own wines, with a corking fee of $1.75.

Diners are offered coupons for reduced prices at subsequent visits.

The Service

Our waitress couldn't have been more attentive. In addition to frequent visits to see if we needed anything, she also made frequent visits to apologize for the restaurant's temperature. It was really, really cold inside. The heat had not been turned on at a specified time, and it took about 30 minutes for the restaurant to heat up. That oversight did not interfere with our overall positive experience.

THE SPACE

The restaurant is in a renovated, older house on Dayton Pike in Soddy-Daisy. While the food makes you feel that you're eating genuine Italian food, the setting does not offer an Italian feel. But I go to a restaurant for the good food, not necessarily the setting.

The verdict

Flavors of Italy is worth a return visit. If you're a fan of authentic Italian dishes, you need to check it out. There's many more dishes on the menu I'd like to sample, so I'll definitely go back.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
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