When Pangaea—the earth's greatest rock supergroup—broke up, many fans blamed it on the high-heeled wiles of Europe's inseparable girlfriend, Italia. Discover a sweeter side to the globe's Yoko with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Italian cuisine at Sam's Ristorante. This deal is valid at both the Rockford and Machesney Park locations.
The varied victuals of Sam's Ristorante satisfy stomachs with fresh flavors from the Old World. Taste buds can topple the Hellenistic hierarchy of a greek salad, unraveling its romaine lettuce infrastructure and triumvirate of feta cheese, olives, and red onions ($7.95). An extensive entree menu gives succulent sustenance in the form of veal piccata—thinly sliced veal sautéed with green onions and mushrooms and drizzled with lemon caper sauce ($13.95)—and the chicken saltimbocca, prepared with a half pound of chicken sautéed with prosciutto, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in a sage white-wine sauce ($12.95). The lasagna is a delicate delegate of the traditional pasta menu with its layers of ground beef and three types of cheese, covered in homemade marinara sauce ($9.50). Diners can also peruse a list of specialty pies such as Gino's pizza, a flattened food pyramid of cheese, eggplant, mushrooms, basil, and tomatoes, which experts classify both as a type of fruit and species of fish ($12.50–$23.35).
Dim lighting from chandeliers illuminates the restaurant's Old World magnificence while hiding the fact that the waiters are pandas. Paintings and hanging flowers adorn the walls while brick archways ferry patrons to a tucked away bar. Sam's Ristorante offers delivery for some menu items, giving homes a taste of Italy more palatable than the slabs of marble that they're used to.
Three Yelpers give the Rockford location of Sam's Ristorante a 4.5-star average, and TripAdvisors give it an average of three owl eyes. Three Insider Pagers give the Machesney Park location a three-star average.
Flickering candles and a grand chandelier fill Sam's Ristorante's high-ceilinged dining room with a romantic glow. Graceful arches and painted landscapes foster a classic ambiance that carries through to the menu of traditional Italian cuisine. The kitchen crafts its own marinara sauce in house to add rich flavor to orders of veal parmigiana. Pasta varieties, including angel hair, ravioli, and fettuccine, tangle with morsels of seafood, veggies, and housemade italian sausage in specialty dishes. Sauces made with marsala wine and portobello mushrooms coat chicken breasts and center-cut fillets with more flavor than a spice-rubbed quilt.