Our visit started off full of promise as we entered into the small, nicely decorated restaurant. From an atmosphere point of view Ciao Bella is as good as place as any to go for an intimate date. However, the quality of the food and the prices they charge make it very tough for me to recommend a visit. And if I take into consideration the annoyingly long wait (I'll get into more later) I had attempting to pay my bill I can easily say that I won't be visiting Ciao Bella a second time.
We started off our dinner with an appetizer of Shrimp Oregnata. The shrimp tasted just fine, but it came out plated a sloppy mess and to this day I can't understand why they thought 3 shrimp was a good number to serve. If you're a party of 2 or 4 (pretty common sizes) someone is only getting one or none of the $11 shrimp. It just doesn't make any sense.
For our main course, Deana decided on the Chicken Marsala and I went with Chicken Parmigiana. The Marsala was pretty good. The chicken was tender and while the sauce was flavorful it was a little on the thin side. Looking on the bright side, though, there was plenty of meaty mushrooms which is always key when it comes to a good Marsala. Overall, it was an acceptable dish, but not something I'd run back for.
My Parmigiana, and I say this as a self described Chicken Parm expert, was meh. Yes, I was served an ample amount of chicken. And yes, the sauce was pretty damn good as it was bright with plenty of that acidic tomato taste I love so much. But, the chicken wasn't tender at all and a tough piece of chicken is one of the unforgivable sins a chef can commit when making this dish.
At this point of the night, I was still debating a return trip to Ciao Bella. Despite the food only being okay, I really enjoyed the setting and our waitress was extremely nice. Nice as she was, though, she was terrible at managing her time. At the end of our meal she stopped by to box our food and hand off the check. And then we waited.....and waited.....and waited.....and waited for her to take our money. At least 30 minutes passed and she still hadn't stopped back to take our payment. Eventually, I got so pissed that I took our check up to the hostess and asked her if she could take care of the bill. She gave me a look of annoyance before she handed off our money to someone else who proceeded to take another 5 minutes to get our change back to us. By that time, a return visit to this restaurant had no shot of ever happening. I know people get busy. I know people have bad nights. I get it. With that said, 35 minutes of waiting to pay a bill coupled with mediocre food and a pretty pricey menu isn't a winning combo. If you're visiting Little Italy believe me when I say there are much better options to spend your money on.
Price: A little high given the quality
Recommendation: Little Italy has better options available.What to Order: ?