+39 spices up Ames’ Italian dining scene

+39 spices up Ames’ Italian dining scene

In a town dominated by pizza joints fueling the late-night hunger of thousands of undergrads, +39 is a refreshing and authentic change of pace for Ames’ Italian options.

The restaurant, opened by Tuscany native Alessandro Andreoni in November 2013 and named after the international dialing code of Italy, is an establishment full of class. It immediately exudes the air of a restaurant where you want to take your boss for a business lunch or your significant other on an even more impressive dinner.

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Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of the menus are comprised of authentic Italian dishes such as the pappardelle bolognese (a beef and pork pasta), the prosciutto crudo (a cured ham sandwich) and the pappa al pomodoro (tomato soup). The depth of the menu could be overwhelming for some and a true treat for others — some dinner entrees (such as the swordfish) sound adventurous.

Visiting on a Thursday for lunch with a friend, the restaurant was calm and relaxing. Dishes of homemade salads, soups, pasta and pizza are all offered on the lunch menu, ranging anywhere from $7 to $18 , with reasonable plates ranging from $9 to $11. Everything in the kitchen is said to be made from scratch, an added bonus for the price.

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Being an adamant pizza lover, I went with the highly-recommended Diavola ($11), which is crafted with homemade crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and topped with spicy salami. Coming in six slices and roughly 10 inches, the brisk crunch of the wood-fired crust partnering with the zest of the salami made for a satisfying pie. The salami added a spicy and explosive flavor, without being so overbearing that the other main ingredients were lost in the flavor of the meat.

Upon recommendation from our knowledgeable and engaging waiter, my colleague tried the perciatelli cacio e pepe pasta ($11). Olive oil-based with imported cheese and black pepper, she said it had an interesting taste. She was most impressed with how fresh the noodles were and how they complimented the rest of the dish. With both dishes providing new and satisfying flavors, neither of us left hungry.

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Still craving a taste of authentic Italy after your entree is long gone? Walk across the restaurant and visit the Italian market for a scoop of gelato, made fresh each day. The market, a unique touch to +39, offers you the option of grabbing imported meats, breads, pasta and drinks to take home.

With touches of authentic Italy spread throughout the experience, +39 is well worth branching out from your usual dining destinations.

Where: 2640 Stange Road, Ames
Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Info: plus39italian.com

Our receipt

Diavola: $11
Perciatelli cacio e pepe: $11
2 iced teas: $2
Total with tax: $25.68

About the Author

Matthew is a contributor to Juice Magazine.

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