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Cheap Eats: Sapore Ristorante

Enjoy flavorful Italian food!


Photo by Dougaldo C. // Yelp.com

Unusual doesn’t begin to describe Sapore Ristorante. Despite its stark atmosphere and next-door proximity to Señor Burbujas (Mr. Bubbles) laundromat, Sapore serves Italian food that is painstakingly prepared and better than you’d find at many fancier restaurants. A big-enough-for-two Caesar salad ($6.99) sports garlicky house-made croutons and a genuine dressing, and lasagna ($10.99) is ultraflavorful and less of a sloppy cheese bomb than most U.S. versions. A shrimp scampi appetizer ($8.99) gets a C- on presentation, but the shrimp are delightfully plump, and the cream-based garlic sauce will have you mopping the plate with pieces of warm crusty bread. All of the food bears the mark of a sensitive chef who knows good flavor and how to achieve it.

Ambience: There isn’t any. Can you say takeout? (If you have kids, though, they’ll be welcomed and might enjoy meeting the owners’ adorable girl and boy.)
Best buy: When was the last time you saw a steak for $12.99? This one’s a pretty thin cut with a circa 1973 red wine mushroom sauce, but it’s tender and juicy, and cooked to whatever temperature you like. Oh, and the garlic-sautéed side veggies are al dente and fresh.
Cheers: Choosing from a number of house varietals, we drank the Chianti ($5.99 a glass), which worked just fine with the food.
Dessert: It seems like every midrange Italian restaurant serves a tiramisu ($5.99), and this one is genuine, creamy, and light.
Multiethnic twist: The tacos ($1.25–$2 each) don’t look half bad, either!

1500 Monument Blvd., Concord, (855) 252-8834, saporeristorantes.com. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat.

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