I don’t need to have an excuse to go out for a nice dinner with the family; it just makes it easier to justify spending a bit more than our usual five bucks each for subs and pizzas. Recently the kids brought home rockin’ report cards and I thought “Oooohhhhh, I’m sure that calls for a celebration and some finer dining!” We headed to Ciao!, and we were most pleased with our choice.
The whole package
It had been years since I had been to Ciao! It’s just far enough off my normally traveled route that I simply forgot it was another great dining option. A distinctive Mainstreet Venture (MSV) restaurant, Ciao! opened in 1992 and has remained a local favorite. It’s known for its classic country Italian cuisine and features items from every part of Italy.
Ciao! is an all scratch kitchen and the menu features weekly specials that focus on what is in season and locally grown. “Ciao! has its own herb garden. In the summer they pick their own herbs for cooking”, said marketing director Julie White. I’m quite certain most restaurants can’t boast the same. Chef Wesley Wright even offers fabulous classes on how to cook with various herbs.
The dimly lit dining area with a burning fireplace as the center focal point was a welcome contrast to the wintery sub- zero weather we left outside. We quickly settled into our cozy table and our waiter handed each of us an electronic tablet for viewing the menu. It occupied the kids for quite some time. Almost every MSV restaurant features these fabulous menus where you can view a color photo of every food and drink item. They include full descriptions of each item as well as wine pairing suggestions.
Ciao! offered the whole package; great food, welcoming atmosphere, and attentive service. We feasted on fettuccini alfredo with shrimp, chicken marsala, and North Atlantic salmon with cheese ravioli. The lasagna was unique in that it included sausage, wild mushrooms, and grilled zucchini. To add to our celebratory dinner, we shared the largest piece of tiramisu I have ever been served. Yet we managed to polish it off with ease. Menu items range in price from $8.95 for a margherita pizza to $31.95 for the beef tenderloin entrée. There is a vast selection of entrees at all price points making a special meal affordable for a family.
The children’s menu for those 10 and under offers typical Italian choices such as chicken parmesan, ravioli, spaghetti, and pizza all for $3.95-$5.95 plus drink. On the off chance you have a finicky young one who doesn’t care for Italian cuisine, grilled chicken and potatoes is also on the menu.
After paying the bill, the waiter came back around and congratulate the kids on their hard work and great report cards. Those personal touches can really go a long way with customers.
Award winning restaurant
This past January Ciao! Ristorante received the MSV Presidential Award of Excellence. Basically, within the MSV restaurants, they are considered the “best of the best.” From business operations to kitchen operations, the restaurants are examined inside and out, top to bottom and they have received the bragging rights two years in a row. Award winning Ciao! has remained a local favorite since 1992. The casual and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great place for a date night, or a dinner out with friends and family. The menu offers both standard and unique Italian entrees and the little ones will be delighted by their choices as well.
THE SHORT COURSE
To avoid wait: Reservations recommended on weekends
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Changing station
High chairs: Yes
Got milk: Yes
Kids’ menu: Yes
6064 Monroe St. Sylvania, OH 43560
Mon-Thur: 5pm-10pm, Fri: 5pm-11pm, Sat: 4pm-11pm, Sun: 4pm-9pm