Romance at Il Triangolo

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With Valentines Day coming up soon, it is important to start planning where to eat. If you want to visit a restaurant with fine dining and moderate prices, then look no further.

Il Triangolo is an Italian restaurant in Corona located on the corner of the intersection between Corona Avenue and Junction Boulevard. Though not too many people know about this tiny restaurant, it is considered a neighborhood favorite with its exquisite food and welcoming service.

As soon as you are seated in the restaurant, you get a basket of soft, warm bread with a side of butter, which is an expected tradition in any fine Italian restaurant.

Afterwards, a waiter will come and tell you the daily specials. The appetizer that I ordered, stuffed clams, was actually one of these specials. The dish had a beautiful presentation with five medium clams lined up horizontally on a bed of fried scallions. On the side was a fancy cored cucumber standing upright and inside was a dried lemon slice, a cherry tomato, and further down, a salty broth. The clams were stuffed with crab meat, and there was little seasoning added to preserve the flavor of the clams. The golden fried scallions were delicious and the cucumber was refreshing with the broth, which gave it a boost of flavor, despite the clams being a bit on the salty side.

Before the entrees came, my table was given a small plate of complimentary tortellini. The tomato sauce that covered the tortellini was smooth and sweet, the pasta was soft and chewy, and the cheese inside was melted gooey goodness with a slight smoky flavor.

Soon the entrees came. The first dish I tried was the “Homemade Fettuccine con Funghi,” which is fettuccine pasta served with mushrooms, bacon, parsley, and ricotta salata. The dish was unique with the fettuccine being stained brown from the mushroom sauce, but other than that there was nothing special about it. The sauce used was too light and tasteless when eaten with the pasta, but on its own it was very salty, had a strong mushroom flavor, and it had some of the smoky flavor from the bacon. The pasta could have been cooked for a few more seconds as it was slightly chewy, but the dish overall was not bad.

The second entree I tried was another one of the daily specials, called “Pappardelle,” which was pappardelle pasta cooked in a tomato sauce with shrimp, Italian sausage, and zucchinis. The appearance was quite promising, and it tasted good. Once again, the pasta seemed to be a few seconds under the point of al dente, but it had a nice bounce to it. The four large shrimp served with the pasta were satisfying as they absorbed the zesty tomato sauce. It also took in flavor from the Italian sausage, which was only mildly spicy and more so savory and peppery. The zucchini added a different texture to the pasta. It brought a beautiful green color to the appearance, and it was fresh and crunchy unlike the other components of the dish.

The last entree I tasted blew the other two away. I ordered the signature dish “Homemade Triangolo Ubriaco,” which had triangular shaped pasta, in honor of the name of the restaurant, cooked with shallots, chiodini mushrooms, and parmesan cheese in “Stock 84,” an Italian brandy sauce. The sauce, though it had a slightly bitter afternote, was heavenly being luxuriant, creamy, and smooth from the “Stock 84,” and it had just the right amount of garlicky flavor from the shallots. The pasta was warm and tender, but it still had a good elasticity, and the mushrooms were also cooked well.

After trying the entrees I ordered 2 desserts, which were both homemade. The first dessert I ordered was bread pudding. It comes in a sundae cup. On top of the bread pudding there is a crust of caramel, pecans, and cinnamon. Inside is the buttery bread pudding which has a touch of vanilla flavor to it. For me the bread pudding was too sweet, but it had a lovely rich flavor to it.

The next dessert I tried was the tiramisu cake which was splendid. On top of the cake there was just enough cocoa powder. The mascarpone cream was divine; it was fluffy and airy, yet it had the perfect amount of amaretto mixed in to make the cream extravagant. The lady fingers were also just right being spongy, firm enough to hold the structure of the cake, and flavorful from being bathed in espresso.

Besides what I ordered there is a large variety of other dishes you can get. For appetizers you can also get “Calamari Fritti” which is fried calamari or you can get a salad such as “Insalata Mista di Casa” which is house mix salad. The restaurant has three other signature dishes, “Pollo Frangelico” (chicken sauteed with thyme, shallots, garlic, bacon, toasted almonds, and Italian Frangelico liqueur), “Vitello alla Grappa” (veal scallopini sauteed with lite cream and fermented grapes in grappa sauce), and “Limoncello Gamberi” (shrimps cooked with fermented slices of lemon in limoncello sauce). For desserts, the restaurant also has homemade cannoli and they also serve espresso with homemade biscotti cookies. If you really love their food you can even buy home some of their homemade products like tapenade, olive oil, marinara sauce, etc.

The service of the restaurant was phenomenal. When you first enter the restaurant, as a policy, the waiters take your coat and put it away for you in a coat room. The utensils are all clean and hygienic. The waiters and even the owner of the restaurant always walk around to make sure that you are satisfied and treat you with a pleasant attitude.

Inside, the restaurant is small, but warm and romantic. There are dimmed yellow lights all around the restaurant, there are small pots of plants next to every table, and Italian paintings on the walls. The place has a classical and traditional vibe with quiet opera music playing in the background. In the back there is a wine bar. It is quite a sophisticated restaurant, yet at the same time there is a relaxed atmosphere.

Il Triangolo is an excellent place of choice to bring your Valentine’s date or even just your family. It is also great for small gatherings, and I highly recommend eating here if you absolutely love Italian cuisine.