Next Stop, Italy: Pulcinella Deli and Pizzeria


Squeezed between Tropical Smoothie Café and Best Cuts, Pulcinella is discreet in location, yet striking in taste. Different from the various Italian chain restaurants in the area, Pulcinella dishes out homemade-tasting meals that are sure to satisfy. The huge portions and great service of the staff put the restaurant at the top of our list of best locally-owned restaurants in the Kempsville area. We look forward to trying the Fettuccine del Nonno (shrimp sautéed with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and zucchini in a light cream pink sauce with cheese) and Pizza Bianca (pizza dough topped with ricotta, mozzarella, and Romano cheeses). We recommend visiting Pulcinella for a large, comforting meal at an affordable price.

As we stepped into the small Italian restaurant on a humid spring day, the cool breeze generated by the various ceiling fans above started the visit off on a good start. The walls were covered with eye-catching canvas pieces and framed art. The walls, lined halfway down with a thick vine with leaves branching off, gave us an authentic Italian impression from the get go. We walked to the front counter and scanned the wide selection of meats, pastas, and cheeses on display. We shuffled over to the refrigerator to peer through its glass door at the beautiful desserts within. The waitress spotted us and kindly offered us to pick seats at any table we wished. The tables were topped with paper placemats, offering a quick introduction to Italy; it described the country’s most famous foods, listed it’s most populous city (Rome), and displayed its geographical location on a map. The large, flat-screen television played an Italian program and filled the restaurant with a comfortable level of background noise. Our waitress presented us with menus and took our drink orders promptly. As we scanned the menus thoroughly, she brought us a basket of bread accompanied by a mixture of oil and parmesan cheese. We eventually decided to order an Amalfi Sub and a lunch order of the Pollo Parmiggiano (Chicken Parmesan).

The Amalfi Sub was beautifully presented with side salad tossed in oil and vinegar. Piled high between two slices of fresh baked Italian bread, the sub featured homemade sausage, mushrooms, provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomato. The sub’s homemade taste was obvious, while the spicy seasoning of the sausage made it more flavorful. The provolone cheese covered the sausage like a blanket and stretched with each bite.

The Chicken Parmesan featured a huge slab of lightly fried and breaded chicken breast topped with a generous amount of fresh mozzarella, accompanied by a large portion of penne pasta; the entire dish was smothered in warm, tangy marinara sauce. The cheesy, breaded chicken had a both chewy and crunchy texture and was extremely filling. The noodles, resting in a pool of thick, savory marinara, paired perfectly with the chicken.

We ate contently as our waitress checked on us periodically and refilled our drinks. Although the Italian cuisine satisfied our hunger, we couldn’t turn down one of the tempting, cool desserts in the refrigerator nearby. We decided to split a slice of the Limoncello cake, but took it to go. The moist cake had a rich, lemony flavor, yet was light enough to enjoy on an almost-full stomach.

The authentic Italian food was so delicious, that we promised ourselves that we’d return again. The waitress interacted with us as we contemplated the menu, filling us in on what each dish entailed and recommending the restaurant’s best entrées; her friendliness was very welcoming and contributed greatly to our enjoyment of our overall experience at Pulcinella. The affordable prices and wide range of dishes on the menu make this restaurant a great selection for those looking for a taste of Italy. We give Pulcinella 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to enjoying a homemade Italian meal upon our return.