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Max-a-Mia Ristorante Restaurant Review: Max-a-Mia produces instant smiles. You see the chefs at work over the wood-burning oven in the exposed kitchen, you smell the garlic, you hear the happy din and---pronto!---you're grinning in anticipation of good food and fun. The cheery staff immediately plies you with a basket of warm, fresh bread and a dish of olives. Add a glass or two of a super Tuscan and you could almost call it a night. If only there weren't so much more to savor, like the peppery beef carpaccio with arugula. Then there are the thin, crunchy pies, judiciously scattered with all manner of salty, earthy toppings. Our favorite is the roasted chicken with broccoli, pancetta and caramelized onions---or is it the sweet sausage with broccoli rabe and wild mushrooms? Pastas are topnotch too, especially the signature "Max a penne," a carryover from the original Max in Hartford, which marries grilled chicken and escarole with tomato. We also like the indulgent merger of penne, sausage, hot pepper flakes and peas in a Parmesan cream sauce baked in the oven to bubbly-hot goodness. Want a gooey, giggle-worthy dessert? Then order the Bocci Ball, a chocolate-dipped gelato orb set on a playing field of zabaglione.