Candela’s of Lawrenceville offers classic Italian fare

Written by: Nicholas Forgione

Cavatelli with bolognese and peas at Candela's.

Cavatelli with bolognese and peas at Candela’s. Photo by Zac Santanello.

Candela’s Pizzeria and Restaurant located at 22 Lawn Park Avenue in Lawrenceville offers standard but good Italian fare at reasonable prices.

Pete Candela started the business that is currently run by his two sons, Frank and Pete Jr.. The family has owned the restaurant for over 20 years and it has built a strong local following.

Frank and Jillian Stanzione of Ewing Township are frequent patrons.“We have been dining here for about 14 years now, the food is unbeatable,” said Frank Stanzione.

The dining area is fairly small, which helps a the family atmosphere. Frank Candela often comes out and chats with the patrons to see how everyone’s meal is going, which gives a welcoming vibe.

Just off the dining room is the kitchen which is always busy with table orders, take-out or delivery orders. Frank says “we rarely get a moments rest, from the minute we open.” Fortunately, kitchen noise is not too loud for patrons to hold a conversation.

The menu includes all the classic favorites from eggplant parm to chicken marsala. For those who want something other than pasta they have flatbread sandwiches and wraps.

A good starter is the antipasto freddo ($6.95 for a small and $7.50 for a large). The salad is made with an assortment of ham and salami served over a bed of lettuce, with giardiniera or italian pickled vegetables, with a choice of dressing. The robust flavor of the salami compliments the smoked ham and ties together nicely with the pungent provolone.

For a main course the cavatelli with bolognese and peas ($12.50), is a solid choice. The chunks of ground meat are juicy and well marinated and the veal is perfectly tenderized.

The prices are reasonable at Candela’s. You can expect to spend about $30 per person for a three-course meal. The most expensive item is the pasta with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari.

The Kelly family of Lawrence Township said they often dine at the restaurant. Shaun Kelly jokes: “We have been coming to Candela’s for years now and have never left with an empty stomach.”

Frank Candela told The VOICE what he thinks makes his restaurant successful “We are a family run business that has always put the customers and our food in front of everything, and that we try hard to get you to want to come back.”

Candela’s Restaurant has established itself as contender among the best Italian restaurants in Mercer County.

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