* Click here for rating key
Ciao Bella Restaurant Review: Hey, good lookin’! Ciao Bella (translation: “Hi, beautiful”) does indeed have a white-tablecloth prettiness suitable for first dates and other momentous occasions. But, at heart, it is a true Little Italian, turning out the kind of hearty, mama’s-kitchen dishes that a generation or two ago would have been served on red-and-white-checked tablecloths. Just take a whiff when you walk in the door: if the garlicky aroma doesn’t make you hungry, you’re just not in the mood for Italian food. Tony Gambino’s menu is classic rather than innovative; a warm, napkin-wrapped loaf of bread and a dish of seasoned olive oil set the stage for such usual suspects as clams casino and fried calamari, Caesar and caprese salads, chicken piccata and linguine with white clam sauce. Portions are more than generous, and the waiter will leave the Parmesan right on the table, rather than doling out a mere sprinkle. Add a glass of Pinot Noir and maybe a cannoli, and you have a meal that’s the stuff of happy memories, if not gastronomic greatness.