4 Fleur
Average check per person $35-$45
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayNo Lunch MondayNo Lunch TuesdayNo Lunch WednesdayNo Lunch ThursdayNo Lunch FridayNo Lunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Nuvolari’s

Mandeville: 246 Girod St. 985-626-5619. Map.
Nice Casual
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Nuvolari’s came along t the same time the gourmet bistros were spreading through Uptown New Orleans. It’s Italian, but has the same spirit as those across-the-lake innovators. The style has always been fresh and inventive, with as much New Orleans flavor as Italian.

WHAT’S GOOD
This light style of Creole-Italian cooking is almost unique. The ingredients are of good provenance and the service friendly and efficient. The seafood dishes are especially appealing, with seemingly-similar dishes each having their own unique flavors. This is a particularly good place in which to construct an all-appetizer dinner.

BACKSTORY
The brick main building is over a century old, for most of that time the general store for Old Mandeville. It was renovated into a restaurant in 1984 by Paul Murphy, the owners of Jacmel Inn in Hammond. Originally Nuvolari’s (named for 1930s Italian racecar driver Tazio Nuvolari) was an Italian restaurant, albeit with an inventive, contemporary collection of dishes. Over the years its chefs emphasized Creole cooking in their specials. After the hurricane (which did only a little damage to the restaurant), Nuvolari’s reopened with a much shorter menu. It was so well received that they never went back to the old style. The best of the restaurant’s signature dishes remained, but now the menu is revised daily.

DINING ROOM
The split-level main dining room is reminiscent of the concept restaurants of the 1970s, but it has a comfortable, casual style. Wood railings and windowed panels divide the big space into more intimate areas. The second dining room is more modern and formal. The bar–presided over personally by manager Wally Simmons–has its own life force, busy and happy.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
»Crawfish tails, escargots, mushrooms and brandy demi glace
»Fried oysters and brie
Fried calamari
Steamed mussels with pancetta
Potato gnocchi with shrimp and romano
»Caprese salad
»Jumbo lump crabmeat and baby greens
»Bleu cheese iceberg wedge
Soup du jour
Tomato and basil soup
Entrees
Pan roasted Gulf fish with artichoke, spinach, crabmeat
Pesto crusted salmon
»Roasted duck with cherry-peppercorn glaze
Braised Italian sausage and shrimp
»Char-grilled redfish with pecans, crabmeat, satsuma meuniere
Genoa shrimp with pasta, pecans and pesto cream sauce
»Mediterranean chicken with tomatoes, capers, olives
»Panneed veal Alfredo
»Filet mignon
Ribeye
»Char-grilled pork chop with chanterelles
Creole spiced beef tips
Baked eggplant layered with marinara and spinach
Desserts
Sorbets and ice cream
»Italian cannoli
»Creme brulee
Rum cake
Tiramisu
»White chocolate cheesecake

FOR BEST RESULTS
The entrees here are of such a size that it’s uncomfortable to have two preliminary courses. Check the blackboard near the entrance for wine specials.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The wine list, once very interesting, needs beefing up. The main dining room is looking a little worn; it’s overdue for a renovation.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+2
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +2

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Good view
  • Good for business meetings
  • 8-25
  • Open Sunday dinner
  • Open Monday dinner
  • Historic
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations honored promptly

2 Readers Commented

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  1. Larry Pearson on April 23, 2014

    WE are semi-regulars here . Very good. While I have your attention have you every been to the Ponchatoula Seafood and Steakhouse? Menu looks OK, place is a little worn on the outside. What say you?

  2. Jim Mooney on July 20, 2014

    Four thumbs down! My wife and I along with another couple dined at Nuvolari’s the evening of 19 July 2014.

    I ordered the Roasted 1/2 Duck. The duck was under cooked with rubbery skin. If your looking for classic moist duck with crusty/crunchy skin; then this is not your restaurant. My plate contained a duck leg with a small portion of the thigh and a boneless breast. The duck was served over one and a half table spoons of wild rice. I am being generous with the amount. It was basically a thin layer (smeared) on the plate which made it difficult to pick up with your fork. Maybe they ran out of wild rice. The dish also had a normal size serving of haricots vert however they were also under cooked an very tuff and chewy. The waiter was unresponsive to my concerns about the duck being under cooked. Saying only that he would let the Chief know for future reference. He then continued his duties with several other tables and did not address the problem.

    I had bread pudding for desert. A large very dry serving with no sauce. I guess I am old school in that I like a good rum sauce on bread pudding.

    My chair was broken, and the other three diners experienced problems as well. It’s a shame, I live in Mandeville and enjoy eating out often. This restaurant has enjoyed a good reputation in the past and I hope they address a number of issues and climb that ladder again. But for now, the four of us will stick to the many other fine restaurants in the area.

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