Mark Anthony’s is an oasis of locally owned charm and quality amid the sea of chain eateries that dominate Riverton’s restaurant options.
This restaurant serves up lovingly made, high-quality Italian food with plenty of unique twists, at a price point that is significantly lower than I expected. Plus, the atmosphere is airy and pleasant, and the service is attentive and cheerful.
Our group of five adults and one noisy 2-year-old visited Mark Anthony’s for lunch on a recent weekday, after some other lunch plans fell through. Boy, were we glad they did, from the moment our appetizer platter arrived hot and toasty in the middle of our table.
We had the combination appetizer, an option that lets diners choose three appetizers from Mark Anthony’s menu. We had the sausage-stuffed mushrooms, the hot spinach and artichoke dip and the bruschetta, each in a little dish, surrounded by warm, buttery little toasts. The mushrooms and dip were beautifully browned, and the bruschetta topping ruby-red, fragrant and cool.
The dip, spread on toast, was creamy, musky and showed off the flavors of the vegetables, while each mushroom was a rich, not-at-all-greasy little bite of meaty heaven. But my favorite was the bruschetta topping, with perfectly ripe tomatoes and lots of garlic and herbs
We all had salad, a big bowl served family style with fresh greens, croutons and lots of veggies, including black olives. With mine I had a little cup of the house Italian vinaigrette, simple and deliciously sour. And we all enjoyed Mark Anthony’s breadsticks, crisp-crusted braided rolls served hot on actual wooden sticks, but they were a particular favorite with my 2-year-old son, who ate almost two of them in addition to his spaghetti with marinara sauce and a big, savory meatball.
My husband had a beautiful chicken Parmesan, a thinly breaded breast of juicy chicken with melted mozzarella and a mound of spaghetti with marinara on the side. My little brother, after some persuasion, had and loved his first calzone, a crisp and chewy crust rolled over sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and Italian beef with cheese and pesto, plus a bowl of marinara for dipping.
My dad had the classic fettuccine alfredo, which might be where Mark Anthony’s quality really shone. This was real alfredo sauce, simple and milky and rich, topped with sliced chicken and with several steamed spears of bright-green broccoli set on top.
My mom and I went with seafood, she choosing the tender, saffron-colored ravioli stuffed with crab and ladled with alfredo, and me the “Italian style” shrimp scampi, tender and sweet shrimp sauteed with garlic, green peppers and squash, served over angel-hair pasta in a cream sauce with just a hint of lemon. Boy, was it delicious: light, filling, piquant and creamy, with every element done right
For dessert, we shared a square of tiramisu redolent of espresso and mascarpone and the delicately crusted mixed berry cobbler with deeply flavored berries and vanilla-bean ice cream on top.
Appetizers $1.99-$10.99, soup and salad $3.99-$8.99, lunch pastas $7.59-$9.79, lunch entrees $8.75-$19.99, sandwiches $6.99, pastas and entrees $9.89-$19.99, kids’ meals $4.99, desserts $5.59-$7.89.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Where: 3956 W. 13400 South, Riverton
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-8 p.m.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy
Also: Catering available
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: [email protected]