Thursday, October 9, 2008

Restaurant Review: Noni's Bar and Deli

Noni's Bar and Deli is an oasis of charming decor and inexpensive Italian eats on an otherwise dingy stretch of Edgewood Ave. Getting there can be a challenge. My beloved google maps shows the restaurant as sitting on Edgewood just west of Krog in Inman Park. My gal pal and I drove in circles a few times and had to use one of our lifelines (Thanks, Little Sister!) to figure out that google was wrong, and the restaurant is in fact much further west and closer to downtown.

Once we found it, I was very pleasantly surprised. Noni's is a gem of a restaurant with low lighting, slate and hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. For such an inexpensive restaurant on a still dodgy street, it's an unexpectedly lovely place. Perfect for dinner out with a friend or a casual but still romantic date.

The menu is largely composed of sandwiches, both sub and panini, and make-your-own pasta options. Sandwiches are priced at $7-8 and pastas start at $6-8 for a meatless combination. At those prices, I'd usually expect a soulless Figo type of place, but Noni's is warm and upscale feeling.
We started with a straightforward arugula and parmesan salad. It's plenty for two to share. My companion opted for the chicken and eggplant parm, which was a slightly different than the typical take on the classic. It featured a thin layer of eggplant layered over the chicken. It was sufficiently cheesy and crispy without overdoing it and made for a much lighter than usual parm. Normally I am overwhelmed by how over-the-top this dish can be, but Noni's version was actually light enough to finish without feeling gluttonous.

I had been craving meatballs for some reason, so I got just that - whole wheat penne with marinara and Noni's meatballs. The pasta and marinara were pretty standard and the meatballs satisfied my craving. Both entrees were served with deliciously crunchy, buttery, garlicky bread. So satisfying and classic!I am a lazy chef at lunch, so I love doggy bags. I had more than enough pasta left over to make for two days of meals. At home a little shredded cheese melted on top made for a delicious lunch.

The boyfriend and I often struggle to pick a restaurant to eat at when we don't want to go far but don't want to spend much. Noni's is just that kind of place. I love the idea of date-night for under $40! Next time I'll check out the paninis. From what I saw, they look delicious!

Pros: Stellar decor, inexpensive, tasty and not overly heavy takes on classic dishes
Cons: Sketchy but improving neighborhood

Noni's
357 Edgewood Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30312


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