Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Pines of Florence

RS.jpgFor over 25 years, Pines of Florence has coupled the décor of an authentic Italian villa with its blend of Tuscan and Southern Italian culinary traditions. The fresh ingredients of its exceptional cuisine and service demonstrate this ristorante’s commitment to delicious, affordable fine dining.

From the genuine Florentine and Southern Italian recipes to its wine selection, Pines of Florence delivers a welcoming atmosphere rich in Italian culture. Diners become intimately acquainted with the artistic achievements of Florence’s past with pictures adorning the restaurant’s warm mustard yellow walls. The scenery is enhanced by potted greenery and wine racks trimmed with artificial grape vines. Table settings are fancily presented with embroidered silverware, cloth napkins and tall water glasses.

Once seated in one of the many plush leather booths, patrons are promptly served slices of fresh Italian bread with a plate of plain extra virgin olive oil. Dipping a slice or two in the small, yet palatable pool of olive oil is recommended.

Before selecting an entrée, tantalize your taste buds with steamed mussels ($6.95), just one of the 14 appetizers on the menu. Fresh mussels are tossed in a garlic and butter medley, served with parsley and Italian herbs in a tomato sauce.

Florentine fare is known for simple courses enhanced by aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, basil, thyme and oregano. At Pines of Florence, the Shrimp Parmigiana ($14.95) exemplifies a traditional Tuscan dish. Four jumbo shrimp are coated with Italian bread crumbs and fried to perfection. A bed of linguine accompanies the shrimp, dressed in melted parmesan cheese and a zesty homemade marinara sauce. Fresh and natural ingredients suffuse the taste of this entrée.

Renowned for its pasta, made fresh on location, Pines of Florence offers the finest selection in southern Italian pastas at reasonable prices. Try a plate of Fettuccini Carbonara ($11.95): a blend of caramelized onions, bacon, parsley, seasoning herbs and parmesan cheese with fresh fettuccini. For health-conscious diners, the Mediterranean chicken salad ($8.95) is tasty gourmet specialty. Mixed greens are tossed with grilled chicken, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olives, feta cheese and capers in balsamic vinaigrette.

Although Florentine cookery is dominated by grilled meat courses, the enticing scent of the sea wafts off seafood platters at this trattoria. A sure combination is Linguini Pescatora ($15.95). Delectable shrimp, scallops and calamari are served atop linguini with your choice of pesto, cream or a tomato-based sauce.

Pizza, which starts out as simple yeasted dough, opens up to the creativity of the patron with the various toppings offered. Inexpensively priced, a 14-inch large cheese pizza ($9.00) can be topped with Italian sausage, green peppers and onions. Plain pies will rise to gourmet heights with any of the listed garnishes.

Complement any entrée with a homemade dessert. One suggested delicacy is a cannoli ($3.95). Rich vanilla custard filling is sandwiched inside a crisp pastry. Tiny chocolate chips hidden in the custard surprise diners with each bite.

Enjoy a dining getaway featuring antipasto, fresh pastas and hearty soups at Pines of Florence. Prepare to be rewarded with the customer satisfaction from exceptionally helpful servers. Don’t worry about requesting refills, as patrons are provided with personal pitchers to replenish their glasses. The restaurant’s warm atmosphere is suitable for a first date or socializing with co-workers during lunch. In every dish, the chef has discovered exactly how to achieve the perfect mix of flavors with just a few ingredients. You can find Pines of Florence in the lobby of an office building in Arlington, only a few blocks from the Ballston metro station.

Pines of Florence
3811 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Va., 22203
Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 12 – 9 p.m.