I can't believe I'd never eaten at the Florentine before this year, but luckily Franklinton Restaurant Week was the motivation I needed to motor over and check this place out. What I discovered is a restaurant so charming and worn-in you fall in love the minute you walk in the door.

What a sign, huh? They don't make signs like that anymore, and they don't make places like the Florentine either. I can't believe I'd never eaten here before this year, but luckily Franklinton Restaurant Week was the motivation I needed to motor over and check this place out. What I discovered is a restaurant so charming and worn-in you fall in love the minute you walk in the door.

Click here to read my review from today's Dispatch, and check out photos from my first visit below.

The Florentine has three dining rooms, and on the day of my visit the place was so busy we were ushered straight back to the third. And I'm glad, because it turns out the back dining room is the best of the three, with a bunch of great vintage paintings and murals, like this awesome one, which we named "A Girl and her Pigeons."

Faux stone arches and the remains of a large group of very old men celebrating a birthday.

So all meals come with complimentary Olive Garden-style breadsticks, but you should definitely upgrade to the Cheese Bread, a half loaf of crusty, buttery Italian bread topped with garlic and melted provolone.

All meals also come with an Olive Garden-style side salad. And I'm not saying that in a disrespectful way.

My lunch: Veal Parmigiana with a side of housemade spaghetti. A great lunch in that reminds-me-of-my-childhood kind of way. Here's what the rest of my table ordered:

Eggplant Parmigiana

Manicotti: noodles stuffed with ricotta, baked in marinara sauce and topped with provolone. Mmm, cheesy.

And then this craziness: Stuffed pepper, with a side of mashed potatoes topped with marinara sauce. I honestly was skeptical about the mashed potatoes and marinara, but one bite and I was sold.

The Florentine

907 W. Broad St., Franklinton

614-228-2262

florentinerestaurant.com