Steeped in tradition and nostalgia, those who remember dining at the Pinelands restaurant from ‘back in the day’ may very well be bringing their children here today. Chefs and owners Ezio de Baiggi and Franco Zezia have run a solid ship for over three decades and have received recognition from Italy for the authentic cuisine they prepare.
The Caprese salad is a lovely, summery start, though it could be served with riper, beefsteak tomatoes (this isn’t Europe, though) and the antipasti platter is a great way to kick things off if you’d like to share. It includes Italian salami, grilled peppers, olives, the Caprese and marinated artichokes.
While pizzas and pastas are popular, easy choices – try the linguine carbonara with bacon, onion and cream, or the simple vegetarian-friendly Arrabbiata with fresh tomato, chilli and garlic – there’s also a large traditional mains menu covering seafood, meat and veal. Try the rich saltimbocca – the house specialty made with ham, mozzarella and mushroom sauce – or simple veal scallops simmered in a sage butter sauce. Meals are hefty, so come with an appetite.
The proper way to tackle this menu would be to have a starter, share a pasta, dive into a main and share a dessert – the house’s famous tiramisu or the semi freddo. Then roll into bed.
There’s a very good local and Italian wine list. In fact, this is the place to try an Italian varietal you may not get elsewhere, locally. If digestives are your poison, there’s a lengthy selection of grappa on the list.
Service is personal, thorough and attentive. Even though the restaurant gets packed, they hardly drop the ball here.
You may expect more of a Mom-and-Pop checkered plastic tablecloth vibe, but it’s more upmarket. Similar in ways to cherished bistros in Italy, it fills up any day of the week, and is adored by loyal regulars.
It’s not encouraged but, if you must, you can order a takeaway so you can have your Italian fix in your jammies.
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