On a recent excursion to Lakeland, we opted for lunch at Palace Italian Restaurant on South Florida Avenue. I had been there before and remembered the food being delicious, so I was happy to return. We got there after the usual lunch hour and for a while we were the only people in the restaurant. It has a cozy feel and the music (not too loud, thankfully!) included Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, so we appreciated that. Palace has several locations in Polk County. I’ve also been to their Palace Pizza location in downtown Lakeland, a fun and casual dining out option.
Our server was very friendly and quick to bring our beverages (iced tea) and take our order. The menu seems pretty comprehensive, with plenty of pasta dishes, pizza, calzones, salads, etc. Some entrees have different prices for lunch and dinner, with the main difference apparently that dinner entrees include a salad.
We quickly received some bread with a flavorful sun-dried-tomato-based sauce. The bread seems to be baked pieces of pizza dough, but whatever it is, it tastes wonderful and is a nice change from the conventional loaf bread.
I went for a conventional meal and ordered spaghetti with meatballs. The sauce was excellent, with a great flavor that didn’t overpower the meal. The meatballs were hearty and equally delicious. While the meatballs were generously sized, I would have preferred a different spaghetti/meatball ratio, with a little less spaghetti and another one or two meatballs. But the dish was completely delicious.
My wife went for penne rustica, penne pasta with chicken breast, artichokes, roasted peppers, seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil, all in a marinara sauce. The pasta was perfectly cooked, tender chicken, and she felt the artichokes were a good touch. Overall an excellent dish.
The price was very reasonable. With tip our total came to just over $28, and the portions were generous enough that we had enough for lunch the next day. Something else we always appreciate – we were able to enjoy a relaxing conversation and didn’t feel rushed to leave after our meal. Good show! They have a selection of tasty-looking deserts but we were too full to try them out. So if you are in the mood for a hearty Italian meal without breaking the bank, Palace is highly recommended.
If we have inspired you to visit Palace Italian Restaurant, or if you have been there and want to share your experience, please comment below. And if you have Polk County restaurant tips, we would love to hear them via our Contact Us page. Happy eating!