I have the "judge a book by its cover" syndrome. Ciao Bella bit me in the butt but surprising me and making me eat my words.
Ciao Bella is very simple on the outside. A small wooden door, red, white and green canopy, for me it was a restaurant that I passed by numerous times but never had the urge and curiosity to enter. A good friend of mine suggested going there for dinner one night, and little did I know I was in for a treat.
AMBIANCE | Inside the restaurant is amazing. It is very small with a large mirror on the left giving an illusion of twice the size, very smart designer. Nonetheless, the ambiance can be described as one word - romantic. I honestly couldn't come up with a less cliche word, but trust me. The piano in the corner, the leaves around the windows, the dim light, the draping blinds, red table cloths it was all contributed to a positive aura of romance - cozy and warm.
FOOD | Of the Italian Restaurants I have been to, most seem to be the generic sauce, meat and pasta of choice, fool proof checklist. This time, instead of a traditional pasta, I decided to order 3 appetizers, lynching off bites of my friend's pasta. By tasting completely different dishes, I was able to satisfy my taste buds and better comment on this restaurant's performance - and I have all the great words to speak.
We ordered (Party of 4)
Melanzane All Parmigiana - Baked Eggplant, Tomato basil Sauce with Mozzarella and parmesan Cheeses
Lumache Alla Provinciale - Escargot baked with garlic lemon butter topped with parmesan cheese
Zuppa Di Arogosta - Lobster Tomato Bisque with a hint of Sambuca
Boscaiola - Spicy Italian Sausage, sweet peas & mushroom tomato basil
4 course meal featuring Agnello Ciao Bella - Grilled Lambchops
4 course meal featuring Fagioli Nuro Linguini - Diced chicken breast linguini pasta
The 4 course menu for $29.95 amazed me. For many restaurants, $29.95 only serves you one dish of pasta, let alone Ciao Bella's quality surpasses many high end Italian restaurants. Portions are also very large, remember to bring tupperware for leftovers.
The Escargots were my favourite of the night, I see myself coming back for this over and over again. My heart is lost at Le Crocodile, but these are a great alternative for a fraction of the price.
703 Denman Street