‘Watts for Dinner’: The Local makes the most of locally sourced

Will Watts
Correspondent

Our next dining destination is The Local, located on Pine Ridge Road in Naples.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the vegan Korean lettuce cups ($17). In one saucer, you get roasted eggplant and mushrooms sauteed in soy sauce. In another, a mix of lemongrass, ginger, carrots, radish, pickled red onions and cabbage. You also have a stack of lettuce leaves to use as “cups” or wraps. All that’s left is making some beautiful vegan tacos! Yum!

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I also had a cup of red lentil soup ($5) which is served with a lemon wedge. The soup is not red, but neither is the inside of a red lentil, apparently. It looks, and sort of tastes like, split pea soup. But I don’t have a problem with that. I love split pea.

For my main entrée, I had the saffron risotto ($17). It features Arborio rice, zucchini, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, saffron and white wine. It’s vegan unless you add shrimp (an additional $8), which I did. The shrimp can be grilled or blackened. I picked the latter.

To be honest, while I loved the shrimp, this dish didn’t need it. It is a solid meal. So many flavors blend into a delicious melody. Very nice!

My partner in dine picked the “Kung Pao” avocado ($17) which features panko breaded avocado, organic brown rice, bell pepper, onion, cilantro and cashews with garlic. You can also add shrimp to this dish, which he did (the grilled).

The avocado was the best part of this dish – to keep the inside so intact while having a crispy outside, that’s a challenge The Local met. All the individual parts of this dish tasted great. There is some question as to whether this was the best pairing of ingredients.

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We ended this meal with a delectable banana bread pudding ($12). Going in, I was wondering if it would be banana bread turned into a pudding or bread pudding with a banana flavor. It was more like the latter. It’s a sharable size. Drenched in condensed milk. A very nice way to end this meal.   

We also took home a “Mushroom Lovers Pizza” ($19) which features Lucques olives, oregano, taleggio, arugula, ricotta pesto, a house-made ricotta, white truffle oil, parmesan and lots of mushrooms.

This pizza features an amazing crispy crust and tons of mushrooms. A nice departure from everyday pizza.

The Local has enthusiastic servers, and comfortable location near some great shopping and some unique dishes. And their locally-sourced ingredients are just another reason to support this restaurant. Happy eating! 

More:Hey Banner readers! Are you looking for a place to eat?

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food. Not all dishes are featured in print, but you can find a gallery of all reviewed dishes online at marconews.com.

If you go

The Local

  • 5323 Airport-Pulling Rd, Naples
  • 239-596-3276
  • thelocalnaples.com