Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ciao Bella

"If you love great Italian food, you've found your new home away from home. Welcome to Ciao Bello - the delightful Italian restaurant from Tony and Jeff Vallone. Ciao Bello delivers serious Italian food in a casual, fun setting that's the perfect place for family and friends."

Says the website, so I thought...ok, casual, fun, "serious italian food", definitely must try. We enter and casual is not the first thing that comes to mind, it's more like business professional, a bit upscale actually. I asked our waiter what was the name of the pasta dish on the website, it didn't say. He didn't know and somehow I ended up making my own pasta dish, which was a bit disappointing, since I wanted to try a Ciao Bella dish. I custom-made my pasta dish, angel hair pasta, basil, garlic, pine nuts, tomatoes, olive oil, and chicken. There was no basil and it looked like more of a pasta in marinara sauce rather than just in olive oil. The overall dish was not very good and the chicken was dry. My dining mate had the chicken alfredo, I tried it, it was bland like he described. The manager came by asked how or meal was, my dining mate responded "very good", I quickly said, "don't lie to him, tell him, he wants to know", he then fesses up and tells the manager it was bland. The manager asked if dining mate like something else and he declines. We're finishing up our lunch and the manager brings out a new chicken alfredo dish and says, "this is the way it was supposed to be made", etc...we both try it, it's actually good. I asked him what happened, he said the cooks didn't put enough herbs and stuff in the cream sauce. So I give Ciao Bella an A+ on service, although our server wasn't as lively as the server next to us. C- on food, B+ on the revised Chicken Alfredo.

One last note, I always find it a turn off to see a pepper shaker at an Italian restaurant.

Their slogan: "Serious Food. Casual Setting. Serious Fun. That's Ciao Bello." I don't think that's a very accurate statement. It should be more like "Casual Food. Serious Setting. Great Service. That's Ciao Bella"

So This is my opinion, if you are not close to me (inside the loop) my dining experience better be good, otherwise, I will not give it another chance if it's not convenient for me to get there. I think places like Ciao Bella really need to make extra effort to wow their customers, each and every time. I hope they make it, I was pretty disappointed with the food, but the service was good. They're located on San Felipe next to the Randalls, old La Strada home.

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