FERNEAU An exciting new restaurant in Hillcrest. Serving great seafood, among other things, it seems well on its way to becoming quite popular. The chef was formerly at Ciao Baci. 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. 603-9208 D Tues.-Sat. $$$ CC Full bar.
LAS DELICIAS SUPER MERCADO Y TAQUERIA We dropped by Las Delicias, one of the metro area’s growing number of Hispanic convenience stores (Mexican drinks and pastries, bus tickets to Latin America, specialty groceries. etc.) on account of the taqueria part. We were not disappointed. This is a very plain spot, with a cluster of tables in a back corner, but the food is authentic, generous and cheap. Your surefire pick is the big $3.75 burrito, stuffed with rice, beans, lettuce, avocado and a choice of meats from chicken, steak and pork to tongue and other delights. Tacos cost $1.10. The chunky guacamole, avocado extended hardly at all by vegetables, is another bargain. In a concession to local tastes, there’s some peppery white cheese dip with rather tough chips (the second basket brought to our table was better). Stick with the burritos and tacos and lay on some of the smooth, thin and fiery red salsa you’ll find on the tables. Tamales are made fresh, but heavier on the masa than those accustomed to Delta tamales will like. Be sure to grab an exotic Mexican soda. There’s posole and menudo on weekends. 3401 Pike Ave., NLR. 812-4876. LD $ No CC (checks accepted). Beer.
ANGEL’S This diner’s limited Italian food knowledge mostly runs Pizza Hut to Olive Garden; so, to try some authentic home-style Italian cooking at Angel’s was a real treat. Situated right as you enter is the pizza oven firing up. We were seated in the very back by the kitchen and wished for one of the more intimate, cozy tables more up front, but all were taken. We stumbled through the menu trying to figure it all out, when an angel appeared at our table in the form of the best waiter we’ve ever experienced. We would’ve understood his being hurried or seeming impatient considering the full house the wait staff had to deal with, but instead we found him polite and helpful to this table of greenhorns. Our group didn’t wade into anything too unusual. We started with hot garlic bread and a bowl of minestrone soup, which proved a meal in itself. Our crew also devoured dishes of spaghetti and two large meatballs, as well as a meat lasagna that was piping hot with a plentiful topping of cheese. And we weren’t done: The baked ziti (penne pasta with spinach, ricote and marinara sauce) was also memorable. Angel’s offers other freshly made pastas, calzones and pizza. Next time, we’ll want to linger on some specialty coffees and dessert. 600 Central Ave., 609-9323, LD Mon.-Sat. $-$$ CC Full bar.