Good Italian restaurants provide solid, noteworthy food. It's the great ones that provide especially memorable food and, maybe just as important, make you feel like you're part of the familia.

Vinny Vanucchi's 'Little Italy' in Galena does just that. Located in the 200 block on South Main Street, the "ristorante" is a monument in itself. It's perched on a hill, half of the establishment essentially leaning on a cobblestone street at the intersection of Washington and Main.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
Photo Credit: Google Maps
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Vinny Vanucchi's boasts four dining areas, all of which elegant yet casual. It's a "come as you are" kind of place. The bistro provides that slice of Italian culture you crave as much as pasta and wine. The Cappuccino Garden wakes you up on views alone, all while offering an assortment of delicious beverages.

Vinny Vanucchi's dishes are also made from scratch using recipes handed down five generations. This contributes to the aura of authenticity that emanates from the restaurant almost from the moment you walk through the doors.

Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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I went to Vanucchi's for dinner with a party of four, all of whom but myself having been there previously. We opted for the fried calamari and Italian meatballs for an appetizer. Calamari is one of my go-to apps. It was flavorful, with the appropriate texture: not too chewy and only enhanced by the lemon.

Spaghetti Olio at Vinny Vanucchi's. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Spaghetti Olio at Vinny Vanucchi's. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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I confess that I need to be in the mood for Italian food to enjoy it to its fullest extent. Many of the sauces I find rich, and I'm usually left with a heaping amount of leftovers. That said, the Spaghetti Olio was right up my alley. Part of Vinny's line of pasta bowls, the noodles are tossed in olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and chili flakes, which kick the spice up a notch. It's a delightful dish; complemented by garlic bread.

Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Beyond pasta, Vinny's offers raviolis (aka "pasta pillows," which is still such an underrated term), lasagna, manicotti, veal marsala, grilled chicken, and more. It would take you a year to try and indulge in everything on their menu.

To go with the variety is the fact that Vinny Vanucchi's recipes are all made from scratch. You can quite literally taste the difference in their dishes, not to mention see the authenticity in presentation alone.

This likely isn't my last post about this Galena establishment. I was admittedly distracted by the food and friendly service to the point that I neglected to take many photos. A sequel to this piece will come one day soon.

In the meantime, experience Vinny Vanucchi's for yourself: 201 South Main Street in Galena. You can even purchase some of their delicious dressings, sauces, and olive oils here.

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