Taliano’s serves up authentic Italian


Since Taliano’s Italian Restaurant opened in 1970 it has been an institution that has served generations of loyal patrons who enjoy authentic Italian food.

The restaurant, located in a classic Victorian-style house near downtown Fort Smith, is the creation of Tom Caldarera, Jr. and Jim Cadelli. The two men passed down family recipes that have pleased guests for the past 48 years. The house’s elegance and warmth are enhanced by the superb service and spectacular dining options at Taliano’s.

Taliano’s is a classic, romantic restaurant with servers who dote on customers and a chef that ensures the fare is made fresh daily. The loyal team also pays attention to the smallest of details to ensure that the dining experience is perfect. The atmosphere makes Taliano’s a nice venue to romance your significant other or simply enjoy an Italian feast.

Tom Caldarera, Jr. (seated), Dorothy Caldarera and Joe Caldarera.

Joe Caldarera, the youngest of seven siblings who grew up working in the restaurant, manages the Fort Smith institution.

The family home was next door to the restaurant while the children were growing up, and the Caldarera grandchildren are also involved with the restaurant.

“We prepare the handmade pastas, original sauces and salad dressings fresh each day to ensure a perfect quality for our customers,” Joe said. “We strive to make our guests feel like family and work to provide a fine Italian dining experience. Our family recipes are the key to our success, but our great love of our customers is equally important.”

During my visit Joe asked me what I wanted to try and I answered “surprise me.” He smiled. My server, Sheila, who has worked at Taliano’s for six years, said, “Everything is great,” and then began delivering plate, after plate, after plate of authentic, homemade Italian dishes to my table.

Spinach dip

The appetizers included fresh, hot mozzarella cheese sticks, spinach dip, artichoke dip and baked artichoke hearts. All four were obviously made from scratch and presented beautifully. Each offering delivered great flavor.

I was then presented with ravioli chicken soup, an Italian take on chicken and dumplings, that featured a delicious broth and tasty homemade pasta. Trust me, try this!

Cannelloni and manicotti with white and red sauce.

Just when I had time to breathe and look around, Sheila began delivering entrées. I was trying to take notes, but my eyes were focused on the fabulous pasta variations. The large platters held a combination of cannelloni and manicotti with white and red sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti and Meatballs, homemade Italian Sausage, Sautéed Mushrooms and Baked Eggplant. Each delicious dish is sure to please Italian food lovers.


The Seafood Diavolo features a spicy marinara sauce.

Additional platters included the excellent Seafood Diavolo, which had a slightly spicy marinara sauce sautéed with jumbo shrimp and scallops nestled atop a bed of fresh linguine. The Chicken San Remo was very good also, featuring a chicken breast sautéed in wine, olive oil, Dijon cream sauce, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and an array of spices. The Veal Saltimbocca Florentine was excellent, with lightly floured, fork-tender veal topped with ham, spinach and fontina cheese.

Cassata with Spumoni.


The Cassata, a Sicilian cake with candied fruit, ricotta cheese and chocolate frosting, was a treat, as was the pistachio, cherry and chocolate Spumoni (ice cream). But my favorite was the Tortoni, a frozen parfait glass of heaven. The Tortoni recipe is a secret, but I tasted toasted coconut, whipping cream, crushed macaroons and rum flavor. Like many things in life, I don’t worry about the ingredients, just the result, and this dessert’s result is delightful.

For a dining experience that allows you to take your time and enjoy an excellent Italian meal in a quaint, Victorian mansion, you must try Taliano’s Italian Restaurant. It is a great spot for a romantic meal with the ones you love or want to impress.

Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at rroedel@aecc.com