We love to eat Italian anywhere and at any time. Whether it is a world-famed steak sandwich joint in South Philly or a posh ristorante in Rome, an Olive Garden franchise in San Francisco, a family eatery in New York’s Lower East Side or a tourist trap on the Isle of Capri, we’ve never had a bad meal.
What makes an Italian restaurant great? The food, bambini, the food! Of course, when you walk through the door, you must first be greeted by the friendly staff and the magical aroma of baking bread and boiling pasta tomato sauce. The decor should be the usual corny Italian doodads …. scads of plastic fish, lagostinos, grapes and leaves, checkerboard tablecloths and hanging Chianti bottles.
The service should be prompt, but not hurried. The wait person should start out by offering several samples of wine to sip while you scan the menu. The wait person, especially if he/she is quite elderly should insist on choosing your meal, but will not pout too much if you ignore the advice.
The meal should be served steaming hot, along with great care and ceremony by your waiter, preferably with the boss papa and/or mama hovering nearby to make sure all is going well. Wine should be poured during the meal at exactly the right moment you need your first glass and refills. Topping it all off with a generous serving of spumoni or Italian pastry will make the evening a resounding success.