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Walking in to Paisano’s I felt like I should be on a romantic date. The lights were low and the music was Italian opera. Even though it felt romantic there were still groups of people and friends having a good time.
I went on a Wednesday and they run a special for half price appetizers so my friends and I ordered a few different dishes. The one that stood out to me the most was the fried eggplant. What surprised me was the cheese and herbs they put inside the lightly breaded and not greasy eggplant. The crispsness of the breading and the softness of the cheese paired well with the tender eggplant and didn’t disappoint.
A longtime favorite is their calamari, served with a pesto aioli. It’s nothing like the calamari you can get elsewhere in Topeka. It’s fat, it’s tender and juicy and I get it every time I go.
With every meal comes bread sticks and salad. I always love this part. The bread sticks were fluffy and hot and fresh and we got as many was we wanted — same with the salad. The salad comes with pepperoncini, red onions, tomatoes, black olives and their Italian vinaigrette. The waitstaff always had Parmiagiano Reggiano to grate fresh on top of every course and you better believe I always say yes when they offer.
I ordered the veal Parmesan, which comes with spaghetti and marinara. The waitress said I didn’t have to get the spaghetti and marinara that came with it — I could substitute a different type of pasta and sauce if that’s what I would rather have — but I did go for the spaghetti and marinara with my veal. They also offer chicken and eggplant Parmesan but I had my fill of eggplant and I prefer veal over chicken. The veal Parmesan was phenomenal. The meat was tender, the breading was crispy and fried just right. If only I wasn’t so full from the appetizers, salad and bread sticks I could have eaten the entire thing but I took home leftovers that night.
I have been to Paisano’s many times and have never had a bad experience. If you are looking for a nice place for lunch with a friend or a romantic dinner, this place will never disappoint. They also have half-price lunch every weekday between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. with a drink purchase. This is very popular so show up early and be ready to stand in line outside of the restaurant.