And the winner of the favorite restaurant countdown is…

(Please feel free to re-read the prior posts to check out the top 10. I’m also going to post an honorable mention, as some more deserving but not quite in the top 10 restaurants came to mind during this series.)

1. Mandolin, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

                I hear the awed silence, presumably because nobody’s been there. And the question may be forming in your minds– an Italian restaurant in downtown Bowling Green is my favorite restaurant? Yes. Here’s why.

                 Mandolin is located in an old house on Chesnut Street, a long stone’s throw from my office in downtown Bowling Green. That said, it is a beautiful old house– lots of hardwood, big windows, and tasteful decoration. Mandolin is probably the fanciest of the restaurants in the countdown. It’s a white tablecloth place and would necessitate business casual dress, at least.

                That said, the place is nice, elegant, but not snobby. Walk-ins are welcome and likely make up most of the restaurant’s business. The mood is kind of restrained, but comfortable. 

                 The food is phenomenal. Pasta is something that anybody can cook, but accordingly, it takes a special restaurant to be inventive with it. My personal favorite at Mandolin is pasta alla Amatriciana. This is a penne with garlic, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, and parmesan cheese. Words do not do it justice. The side salads are standard fare, but are improved by a homemade creamy Gorgonzola dressing. Meals also include fresh baked bread with olive oil and vinegar for optimal dipping.

               Occasionally, the servers have tempted me to deviate from the pasta alla Amatriciana routine. I recall a veal dish being an excellent lunch on one occasion. Steak is available, but rather pricey, and fish and other seafood is a staple, albeit prepared in some fairly unusual ways. Full bar is available and the deserts look tempting, although I’ve never had room to find out.

               All of this is nice, but why is Mandolin #1? I suppose it’s the combination of the elements. The interesting atmosphere, the very solid service, and the wonderful food make time stop for me when I’m there. In the bustling speedy world, this is a gift that transcends even great food. When I’m at Mandolin, I’m just in the moment. That’s worth something, when you think about it.



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2 Responses to “And the winner of the favorite restaurant countdown is…”

  1. Julie Says:

    You recommended the Gorgonzola dressing! 🙂

    I’m going to need some Mandolin. Like, now.

  2. eljoe1235 Says:

    Just wanted to note that Mandolin has now gone. It’s no more, and that’s a shame. It was really good, and I really miss it. I don’t know what else to say.

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