La Sorrentina: You’re coming here for the Italian food

La Sorrentina
Mussels marinara

Just a few blocks from St. Mary’s University sits La Sorrentina, a wonderful neighborhood Italian joint.

There’s nothing fancy about it. I mean, it’s really not fancy.

But the food is really good and it’s a treat every time I visit this place. I loved it when I reviewed it in 2011 and I still think it’s outstanding whenever I visit now.

Start with a wonderful appetizer for the table, the mussels marinara. It’s such a simple dish, but I can’t tell you how many restaurants serve it without all the mussels open, or a weak marinara, not enough sauce or old mussels. The version here avoids all the potential pitfalls. It looks gorgeous and tastes great, with a touch of chile heat giving an extra zip to the tomato-rich tang of the marinara. The sauce combines well with the plump mussels for a great way to start a meal.

On a menu filled with stars, I keep coming back to the baked spaghetti. It’s linguine ┬áin a white cream sauce that includes a lot of diced shrimp, octopus and scallops. Served in a foil packet, it’s not the prettiest presentation, but who cares? It tastes great.

The lasagna is also worth seeking out, as is the Sicilian pizza. Also, this place allows diners to bring in their own wine. I’d recommend bringing a good, food-friendly Italian wine, because the dishes here deserve a proper pairing.