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BEECH GROVE, In . – An old friend may occasionally tick you off, but they’re still a friend. That’s sort of the approach I took after a May visit to my favorite Italian restaurant. Napoli Villa is a family-owned institution for those on Indy’s southside.

But back in May I had more misses than hits. I lamented in the piece I wrote that I was a frequent visitor to Napoli and had always come away delighted. That night was not a delight.

It was very telling though when I promptly got a note from a family member, Paulo, apologizing and explaining what may have happened. He even offered a gift card which I politely declined.

A return Saturday night was outstanding after a minor initial stumble.

My frequent-dining friend and I ordered our favorite appetizer, the crispy calamari. It was an outstanding pick as always.

During my May visit I was brought the wrong bottle of wine, pointed it out and was assured by a member of the ownership family that I was wrong. Well, I knew I was right.

So Saturday night I ordered the same bottle again. It was a simple Ruffino Chianti Classico. And for the second time I was brought the Chianti. I pulled our waitress aside and explained there was a difference and this had happened to me previously. She immediately realized the error and brought the correct bottle of wine!

The wine itself is a run-of-the mill Chianti. The restaurant markup is consistent with any Indy eatery. It would be nice to see a Brunello or bigger wine on the wine list, but this really is a family spot that caters to folks seeking reasonable value.

It was full speed ahead after that. My favorite pasta fagioli soup was hearty with just a slight hint of heat on the finish. The bread was warm with a nice crust.

I almost always order the homemade ravioli. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente with a nice flavorful sausage filling. The problem was with the sauce in May but no problems this time. The lightly-spiced marinara was rich, full-flavored, with just a touch of heat. It was awesome.

We don’t always do dessert but decided to split a cannoli. It was simply the best cannoli I’ve had in years and maybe ever. The cream filling was richer than any I’ve ever had, for sure.

I also have to note our waitress was great. She apologized at least three times for bringing the wrong wine. I continued to assure her it was fine because she got it right and realized the mistake.

After paying the bill I asked if Paulo was working. He actually works full time in Indy’s corporate world but helps out with the family restaurant when needed. He came out and remembered I was the guy who “wrote that piece.” And we had a nice chat before he returned to the kitchen.

If you want authentic and truly delicious Italian, this bit-out-of-the-way and family-owned restaurant really hits the spot.

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