by Leanna K. Potts
Where do Eureka Springs’ locals go when they want good Italian food? Ermilio’s, of course! Even after the tourists leave town and things slow down in Eureka Springs, Ermilio’s is still open.
Take time to drive to Eureka Springs to enjoy a glass of wine and a plate of pasta in the little gingerbread Victorian-style house on the upper side of the Historic Loop. It’s not hard to find and parking is plentiful and free.
The restaurant is comforting and cozy and offers a fine dining experience in a casual atmosphere. There is a nice selection of appetizers. The Stuffed Mushrooms looked wonderful as they passed by, but the Gorgonzola Bread Rounds — broiled bread slices topped with Gorgonzola cheese and apple slice garnishes ($6) — are outstanding. Salads can be either an accompaniment to the meal or a meal in themselves at Ermilio’s. Salad selections include Caprese ($6.75), vegetarian, house or Grilled Chicken Breast ($8.95). There are a number of choices for dressings, but I recommend the Pesto Vinaigrette.
Moving on to the main courses it is hard to make a decision as there are so many choices. But, I can attest that the Chicken Marsala ($16.95) is out of this world in flavor and presentation. I would love to try the Pan-roasted Pork Chops the next time around and, since I love Gorgonzola cheese, I will definitely have to go back for the Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce over the stuffed ravioli. The specialties’ section of the menu has Shrimp Provencale ($18.50) and fresh fish priced at market price. You will have to ask the waiter for the fish of the day. So many choices; so little time.
Under the Pastas and Sauces heading on the menu, Ermilio’s offers a variety of sauces including Mom’s Homemade Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Pesto, Alfredo or Clam Sauce, just to name a few. These go with a choice of pastas ranging from the traditional spaghetti and linguini to gnocchi and stuffed ravioli. With this many selections, diners can create their own personal pasta dish to their taste. The pasta dishes range from $10.95 to $11.95. There are weekly specials as well: Lasagna on Wednesday and Saturday ($11.95) and Eggplant Parmesan on Tuesday and Friday ($11.95).
The desserts are all homemade, but the house specialty is the Tiramisu. Never fear, the waiter will try to tempt you with a selection of the day’s offerings but the Tiramisu is hard to beat.
A full bar is available along with Espressos, Cappuccinos and Lattes to top off the evening.
Ermilio’s doesn’t take reservations, but there’s a nice front porch and an upstairs bar where you can wait until your table is ready.
Ermilio’s is definitely worth the drive and if you are a Eureka Springs local, you are lucky to live close to a restaurant like Ermilio’s. But, then, that could be a detriment to the waistline.