Visiting “Mille Lire” in Texas

“Mille Lire” Restaurant in Dallas Texas

You’d zip past the spot dozens of times. The Centrum building’s impersonal facade is like a Teflon surface, offering zero sticky details to slow traffic along cedar springs and oak lawn. Not many people think of visiting the establishment tucked behind tinted windows with a stamp reading “Mille Lire”. Quite understandable given that the name is used to refer to a thousand units of foreign currency. Dining at such an establishment might cost you even with a good exchange rate, right?

If you walked along Mille Lire and were told that the restaurant did not attract much attention during its first year. You would probably not expect to find a beating soul on the premises. But walk through its doors into the restaurant and all your assumptions would be nullified. Inside Mille Lire, is a chef from Naples creating delicious house-made pasta and antipasto with the rustic direct flavors native to Naples. Mille Lire offers a constantly evolving lineup of Italian cuisine that reflects Chef Matarese’s “sweet life” in Italy as a child. The delicate crab fettuccine and roasted octopus antipasto are lashed with the pucker of fresh lemon or the heat of Calabrian chilies. Tomato sauces offer a bright allure to the dishes. The most delicious dishes brim with generosity and good ingredients served plain and often seems hard to distinguish from one another. However, all possess a unique flavor that will knock you out. Mille Lire also offers a wonderful selection of entrees including octopus, diver scallops featuring cauliflower puree, chianti-braised short ribs, and much more. Although you will find some traditional dishes on Mille Lire’s menu, most of the dishes have a contemporary touch, tailored like an Isaia suit. The best way to end your dining experience at Mille Lire is with a digestivo, be it a briny or a house-made limoncello, or the nutty Passito di Pantelleria.

If you happen to be thirsty during your visit to the restaurant, you will be delighted to know that there are more than a dozen drinks to choose from including hand-crafted cocktails, beers, and wine. Among the wine selection is a curated list of wines that perfectly express Italian regions.

Despite the corporate facade behind Mille Lire, the restaurant is a family-owned business. The owners are Brian Ellard and his brother-in-law, Giuliano Matarese. The Matarese family has a reputation for owning restaurants. His cousin Enzo owns a Neapolitan Pizzeria called La Notizia in the Michelin Guide, and his great grandmother as well as his grandmother owned restaurants in Naples.

Matarese moved to NYC about 16 years ago, where he developed an interest in fine dining working at renowned dining establishments such as Convivo and Aureole (located next door to the NCB Management office). The dining area into an expansive area that seems like an extensive outdoor patio. By the reception desk is a vintage Vespa that looks magnificent, to say the least. There are two large rooms down the corridor, one with beautiful chandeliers hung under a wooden pergola, the other with a high greenhouse glass ceiling, both surrounded by windows. The Mille Lire is a very refreshing place to be during the hot summer. Some of the things to try out during summer include a bowl of crisp Fritto Misto, a chilled Vermentino drink, the shrimp, zucchini, and calamari flash fried and coated in fine oo flour.