Style, class, really good homemade sausage
In the GLOB Master's opinion, Francesca's Trattoria, off of NW 43rd St., is one of the nicer lunch stops in the Urban GLOB. Five star style, attentive servers, fresh made and home style fabulously delicious Italian cuisine:
STYLE: As the doors open into Francesca's, you are swept into a world of white table cloths, cloth napkins, and water in glass stemware that has me thinking, "I'm not in Gainesville anymore."
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE/ATTENTION: The quick-to-attend-to-your-needs wait staff is always smiling, ready to make your lunch special.
JUST LIKE MOMMA'S: With homemade sauces, breads, and incredible sausage, the Francesca's kitchen staffers works make the lunch hour a piesano, Italian-style, homemade experience.
I was excited even though I'm not the biggest fan of Italian cuisine. When the idea of pasta, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese comes up in relation to lunch, I always remind myself that there are a lot of Italian dishes that don't include pasta and tomato sauce.
The Francesca's lunch menu lists salads, paninis, pasta, and specialties. There is even a lunch Wine Special of a glass of Chardonnay, Cabernet or Chianti for $5. There is a note on the summer menu that you can get 15% off individual carryout orders, which expires 9-30-17. There is a lunch menu link at the bottom of this page.
Jane and Lynn were both considering sandwiches with Francesca's home baked bread that had me pining for the good ol' days of eating all the bread I wanted.:( The Francesca's lunch paninis are served on artisan bread with a choice of Italian fries, homemade soup, or salad.
Jane quickly selected the Panini Caprese for her Italian mid-day meal. This veggie sandwich sounded exquisite being served toasted with melted buffalo mozzarella, local vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves ($10.25).
Captain Dirk went the route of the Francesca's Sausage Parmesan Panini with homemade sausage baked with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella ($10.50). I suggest you be sure to add grilled onions and peppers to your sub for $2 to make it special.
Francesca's homemade sausage is unique with a generous addition of fennel and when I got to taste some of Lynn's sandwich, it elicited memories of the last time I enjoyed this most excellent, glorious homemade bread submarine sandwich.
The Pesto Grilled Chicken was my red sauce- and pasta-less lunch. The chicken breast was tasty and special being grilled and treated with basil, pine nut, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil pesto. My lunch was served with a side of sautéed seasonal vegetables ($13,95).
The flavors of the chicken breast seasoning were bold and rich. I was pleased the chef had not gone the current route of bigger portions are better portions. My lunch portion was the perfect size for this used-to-be extra-large all-you- can eat diner.
Lynn enjoyed her sausage sub and side salad, which was a very generous portion. She was surprised that the sausage was very soft and it reminded her of meatloaf, which she loves.
"You have taken this new diabetes diet seriously haven't you," Jane said noticing the left over sausage sandwich bread on my plate.
"It's been 13 months since my diagnosis," I said thinking about the question.
"Any more, ignoring all the amazingly tasty carbohydrates every day is almost automatic. It is longingly painful at times and I do feel like a food martyr wondering if it's better to be the food hammer or the noodle nail."
The Pluses and Minuses of Francesca's Trattoria:
The Francesca's + Indicators: Very special lunch ambience, they serve brunch on weekends, authentic Italian cuisine.
The Francesca's - Indicators: A lbit pricey for an everyday lunch
Panini featured in fine dining lunch
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
I just had a Northern Italy home cooked lunch of a sausage, peppers and onion panini made with homemade ciabatta bread, homemade tomato sauce with tons of halved cherry tomatoes, and some of the best Italian sausage packed with spicy fennel seed I have ever eaten.
This five-star sandwich wasn't served to me on plastic plates or wrapped in paper with somefranchise logo stamped all over it.
I was enjoying my lunch time surprise at the fine dining restaurant Francesca's Trattoria off of NW 43rd St, behind the Zaxby's fried chicken shack.
Excuse me for sounding excited, but this lunch was unexpectedly remarkable. Plus they have an unbelievable Sunday Brunch!
Walking into Francesca's from the noon day heat, I was pleased with the subdued setting that lay before me. The darker than normal lighting combined with rows of tastefully appointed tables ready for lunch time guests and with starched yellow tables cloths and burgundy napkins. The several rows of geometrically aligned dining tables in front of me gave the impression of lunch time elegance.
My friendly waiter expertly assisted me with my lunch time dilemma of whether I should have the lasagna or the sausage panini. A knowing glance from my server made it clear that the panini was the better choice. And was he ever correct.
The Francesca's Trattoria lunch special is a free salad included with any Panini sandwich choice. I chose the house salad of mixed greens lightly tossed with tomatoes, olives, red onions, and pepperoncini and a side of creamy Italian dressing. The salad delivered an excellent assortment of flavors and textures.
My panini was served in halves with tomato sauce, peppers, onions and sausage overflowing the sides of very softly toasted, freshly baked ciabatta. After picking up this juicy, fennel-laden sausage concoction, I realized that eating an open face approach was a better idea if I didn't want to wear tomato sauce the remainder of the day.
The abundance of flavors heightened by perfect amounts of spices in my sausage sandwich made me eat slower than usual so I could enjoy this culinary experience to the max.
Francesca's Italian sausage is the best sausage I have eaten in quite some time.
There isn't a lot of heat in this protein. However, with the dominant presence of fennel seed, I wanted to eat more, and more, and more of this delightful other white meat.
Did I say this was an excellent lunch?
I'm going back to Francesca's Trattoria soon. I make an excellent lasagna that includes sausage and ground beef. I'm eager to try FT's lasagna and see how it compares with mine.
Francesca's also has a brick oven pizza that I plan to try.
So let's see. I invite two friends for lunch and I order the lasagna. I talk my two friends into ordering pizza and a Sausage sandwich. Then we can have a sharing party.
Yeah, that's the ticket. Paninis, pizzas, and lasagna for lunch. That sounds like an extended lunch hour that will be elegant and remarkable.
The Pluses and Minuses of Francesca's Trattoria:
The Francesca's + Indicators: Five star lunch with authentic homemade ingredients
The Francesca's - Indicators: A little pricier than some places, but worth every penny of your lunch money.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Francescas. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 378-7152
- Address: 4410 NW 25th Pl., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Millhopper Area
- Web Site: Francesca's Trattoria
- Latitude: 29.676271
- Longitude: -82.389843
Jules Thursday, 10 September 2015 11:39 Comment Link
That is such a great review I want to try Francesca's again!
I have never been too thrilled by it, but I will be there.
Sidecar Bob Monday, 07 July 2014 10:54 Comment Link
Mike Francesca's Trattoria is the best brunch I've had since Baca's closed in New O'rleans... fritatta with polenta cakes, honey butter, home made bread and a killer Bloody Mary, with skewers of cheese, olives, veggies, and Itialian ham...