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Lamoraga is not for everyone, you might say. Sure, it’s an upscale restaurant and if you’re the average joe like me and order from the high end of the menu, you might need a personal loan to pay the bill. But as an international, plus tapas, restaurant, Lamoraga has something for everyone, and with the summer specials, it’s more in reach than ever.

Things got off to an appetizing start with two tapas dishes – all of which are in the $10-$15 range. We ordered the mushroom roll, pounded pork tenderloin stuffed with mushroom ragout, topped with parmesan cheese and pesto. We also ordered the dancing eggplant, blooming eggplant (see photo) with mirin and honey sauce, sesame seeds and wobiko flakes.

The mushroom roll looked like sushi, but that’s where the comparisons end as the delicious ingredients tell another story. The dish is not only tasty, but fun to eat. It’s a crispy, soft and multi-flavorful event.

The dancing eggplant was also food artistry at its best, a beauty to behold. Eggplant is a challenging dish, and this one was not only delicious, but impressive. How the chef gained so much control over such a challenging and misunderstood plant, I will likely never know.

For my entrée, I ordered the chicken rigatoni ($19) from the summer menu. The dish features large imported rigatoni pasta, chunks of grilled chicken, cremini mushrooms and peas tossed in house made vodka sauce.

The chicken was amazing and refreshing. Why? When grilling chicken, I always overcook it for fear of undercooking it. This meat was grilled to perfection. The sauce was creamy and delicious without being overpowering; I could taste the peas. Wow!

My partner in dine had the Piri Piri swordfish ($20), also from the summer menu. This Portuguese-inspired dish features the fish on a skewer with onion and red pepper and served over soft polenta and sautéed arugula. And yes, it was as good as it sounds. The only regret you’ll have from this dish is that there’s not more swordfish.

That’s easily remedied with dessert. We shared the “Lamoraga Delight,” coconut-laced bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream had a delicious homemade quality with sprinkles of dry honey flakes nearby. While the bread pudding was delicious, it had more of a sponge cake-like consistency and left us longing for something a bit more traditional.

Hurry to Lamoraga before the summer specials are gone; if you are an average joe like me or just like getting a lot for a little.

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

  • Lamoraga
  • 3936 North Tamiami Trail, Naples
  • 239-331-3669
  • www.lamoragarestaurant.com
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