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An Upper Darby must: Bona Cucina Restaurant

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There is talk that Upper Darby is isn't what it used to be. There are those who would never imagine that you can find a Zagat recommended restaurant in Upper Darby. There are those who would walk right past a restaurant that has a large bay window that is decorated with Italian memorabilia. They could never imagine that behind the white aluminum door lays a restaurant of unequal quality, service and atmosphere and they would surely miss out. Bona Cucina, a BYOB Italian restaurant, located at 66 Sherbrook Boulevard, Upper Darby is that hidden jewel of a restaurant. Zagat recommended, voted Best Italian restaurant in Delaware County, (www., and neighborhood eatery since 1985, Bona Cucina, is a treasure.

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Husband and wife, Pat, and Frankie Buonadonna are the owner operators of this wonderful family restaurant with Pat being the only chef the restaurant has and ever had with wife Frankie running the front of the house. As you enter the restaurant you are taken in by the family atmosphere and the generous nature of Frankie as she greets and seats all the diners. On any given night, there are parties of 10 or so of just that, families. Families who continue to visit this restaurant with their next generations in tow.

This particular Valentine’s evening, the menu had been reduced to about 18 different items for the sold out evening. The appetizers included, stuffed mushrooms, clams casino, roasted peppers, eggplant rollatini and a wonderful Lobster-Crab Bisque soup. The stuffed mushrooms with crabmeat were simply unbelievable. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection with a crabmeat filling that had an almost creamy texture to them. They were large in size, but done in such a way that they were not chewy or overdone. They were large stuffed mushrooms and it was perfection. The other starter, the clams casino had a wonderful spice to them. The filling with green and red peppers only enhanced the taste of the clam itself.

The dinners on Valentine’s evening included, Prime Rib, chicken picante, veal or chicken Parmesan, crab imperial, flounder stuffed with crabmeat, and orange roughy. Sides included rigatoni with a tomato sauce or green beans prepared with oil and garlic. The choice of the prime rib was an outstanding decision. Ordered medium rare and served with an au jus side, the massive cut, was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife. It was simply cooked to perfection. The presentation was set with just simply parsley leaves which showed off the simplicity of this wonderfully cooked meal.

A companion’s choice of flounder stuffed with crab meat was also stellar. The flounder appeared as if wrapped around the delicate crab filling, which again, had an almost creamy texture to it while the flounder was tender but beautifully browned.

Bona Cucina is a small restaurant, but the wait staff is friendly and is very knowledgeable about the menu. Glasses are quickly refilled while dishes cleared with ease.

The desert menu is not something that should be an afterthought although it is tough to find room for it after one of these amazing meals. An Italian strawberry shortcake that is unlike a traditional shortcake due to the creamy filling should not be missed. There is also a triple chocolate mousse that any chocolate lover would die of envy for.

Pat and Frankie believe in making the customer feel like they are at a family members dinner and boy are they successful at that. No, doubt about Bona Cucina Restaurant should not be missed. The restaurant opens Tuesday through Sunday with dinner starting at 5. Reservations may be made at 610-623-8811. Bona Cucina is old school and does not have a website yet. With food like this they don’t need it. Bona Cucina Restaurant a definite 5 star dining experience