With so many Italian restaurants to choose from in the Lehigh Valley, it can be hard to pick one that stands out among the rest. But when a new one opens up it’s always fun to try it out to see how their food compares to the competition. At the newly opened Francesco’s Italian Ristorante & Pizzeria in Salisbury Township, you can bet you’ll be getting great food, especially if you’ve dined at Lorenzo’s Italian Family Restaurant in Fountain Hill, which is operated by the same owners.
On a chilly fall night Francesco’s cozy, warm interior was very welcoming. My guest and I were seated at a big comfy booth facing a wall with new, beautiful stonework. This is a family-friendly atmosphere, but also great for a date night. Francesco’s is BYOB, but we stuck with water for the evening. The menu is very big with offerings that range from Chicken Piccata to a Cheesesteak Stromboli. With so much to choose from, it was tough to make a decision for our entrees right away.
We already knew we wanted to try Fried Shrimp with cocktail sauce ($9.95) as a starter, which we put in right away. They came out so fast! The shrimp were hot and crispy, and very juicy on the inside.
We then both chose our entrées. Since I couldn’t decide between chicken or seafood, I went with the Chicken Florentine ($17.95), which had chicken sautéed with onions, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, spinach and shrimp in a Marsala basil cream sauce over your choice of pasta.
My guest went with the Chicken Pizzaioli ($15.95), with has chicken breasts sautéed with green peppers, onions and mushrooms in a marinara sauce, covered with mozzarella cheese over your choice of pasta. Since my guest loves spicy food he requested the Fra Diavolo sauce in place of the classic marinara, and the waitress happily made this substitution for him.
Along with our entrées came a house salad and fresh bread.
I barely ate my salad though because I was too focused on the warm, delicious bread they brought out! I had to practice a little self-control though if I was going to save room for my dinner.
And it’s a good thing I did, because our meal portions were extremely generous, and packed in even bigger flavor. I knew right away that I would be eating my leftovers for the next couple days!
My Chicken Florentine was served over a bed of perfectly cooked linguine. The chicken was very tender and the shrimp were large and not overcooked. The Marsala basil cream sauce was rich and creamy, but did not overpower my dish. My guest was thoroughly pleased with his dish as well, and the Fra Diavolo sauce was spicy enough for him.
For the amount of food we got, the prices were more than reasonable. Unfortunately I had absolutely no room for dessert, but I’d definitely want to try a chocolate dipped cannoli the next time I’m there. Even if you don’t feel like dining in, at least try one of their pizzas to take home. Francesco’s also caters. With so many delicious offerings to choose from, you’re sure to find something you will love at this classic Italian restaurant.
Address: 1701 E. Susquehanna St., Allentown, Pa.
Phone Number: 610-351-4366
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:30am to 9:30pm; Fri-Sat 10:30am to 10pm; Sun 12 to 9pm
Parking: Off-street (parking lot)
Kristina Gonzalez is a lifelong Lehigh Valley resident who works in the publishing industry. She enjoys dining out regularly and trying new restaurants in the area.