Francesca’s on 95th prepares an extensive menu of fine Italian cuisine complete with an impressive wine list. The menu is updated every two weeks to ensure the finest ingredients are chosen. The restaurant can accommodate large parties in its banquet hall and also features bar seating with two large HDTVs.
My charming dinner companion and I were kindly greeted by the hosts after they finished seating a lively party of 57 guests. Tables filled up quickly on a Wednesday night so reservations are recommended for weekends and large parties.
We started with drinks and ordered the calamari fritti for appetizers. Complimentary freshly baked bread and parmesan quickly arrived to our table alongside a make your own olive oil dip for a rustic Italian taste. The calamari came out beautifully cut into one inch rings with lemon and marinara on the side. Appetizers were perfectly marinated and fried to a crisp with no trace of rubbery texture.
My main dish was the roasted veal medallions with polenta, a starred item on the menu. I had it cooked medium rare as suggested by the waiter. The meat was tender and juicy, which brought out much of the veal’s natural flavor. The creamy smooth polenta was nicely complemented with vegetables but was playfully hidden underneath wild mushrooms, scallions, and tomatoes.
My dining partner enjoyed the pan roasted swordfish with oven-dried tomatoes, roasted artichokes, and capers in a lemon and brown butter sauce. The texture and flavor were on point, but the presentation seemed a little rushed and did not look as good as the appetizers.
Our dessert of choice was the vanilla crème brulee with fresh berries. The custard was very rich and sweet but not overwhelming. The caramelized sugar on top ended our dinner on a sweet note.
Each dish at Francesca’s on 95th carried a unique blend of flavors and everything was nicely executed in terms of taste. The entrees could use some work in the presentation department as the main dishes lacked color and looked too brown underneath the restaurant’s warm lighting. The standards for presentation can definitely be more refined to create a pleasing and appetizing visual.
Wait service started off very prompt and attentive. I didn’t have a finished plate left on the table longer than a minute. The bill arrived quickly but it took some time for our waiter to check back on us because more people were arriving. Prices were slightly expensive, but reasonable for special occasion dinners and the corporate crowd.
The dining experience was very enjoyable and a cut above many restaurant chains. The rotating menu adds a fresh element to the restaurant but may make it hard for those who like to have that one favorite dish. Francesca’s on 95th definitely delivers the rustic charm of Italian cuisine and showcases it in a very sophisticated and modern ambiance.
The Basics: Francesca's on 95th, 6248 W. 95th St., 708-598-7007.
Web site: http://www.miafrancesca.com/
Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mon-Sat; dinner, 4-9pm, Sun-Mon; 4-9:30pm, Tues-Thurs; 4-10pm, Fri-Sat.
Price Range: Appetizers, $4,99-$8.99; entrees, $12.99-$28.99. Also offers daily specials and a gluten-free menu.