PEORIA, Ill -- Sazani's on Galena Road in Peoria has the perfect trifecta of excellence that makes a restaurant great: table service, taste and menu price.
"Everything gets created here," says Co-owner Sonny Asani. "We make it from scratch: spices, sauces, tomatoes, everything. We do it ourselves here."
The sauces are prepared in 50-gallon pots, and regulars who appreciate the kitchen staff are sometimes treated to something extra.
"Come in to see the chef," says regular customer Doris Symonds. "Sometimes he will offer complimentary dessert for you. He loves to show his tiramisu off."
With two banquet halls and a bar, Sazani's provides more than fine Italian dining.
"He's very accommodating, and we actually have our NAWBO meetings here on a monthly basis," Shelly Hranks tells us. "We use the fireplace room."
Larry Foulk and I started with a combination platter.
It may look like bar food, bit it is the best batter-fried appetizer I've had in the area.
After his salad, Larry had Lasagna Alla Antonia, a three-cheese classic made from scratch.
After finishing his plate, Larry's official review was, "it's as good as my wife's."
That, by the way, is his ultimate compliment.
I had soup and Tortellini Portobello, which is pasta stuffed with mushrooms in garlic sauce with diced red peppers.
It has one of those distinct flavors that gets better with each bite, and there was even enough to take home.
All of our food with soft drinks came to $34.11 plus tip.
It was truly a delicious meal, and the service was excellent.
"My father used to say to me as I grew up as a kid, the sheep are as good as the shepard," Asani says. "I train them right. We're here to take care of the customers. It's the only reason we're here."
Sazani's Steak and Pasta House is open every day from 11am to 9 pm or 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
They serve a Sunday brunch until 2 pm.