I grew up respecting dinner time as a family event, as often as that was realistically possible with six kids. Gathering around the table to share a meal together should be a time to take a break from the busy schedules of the day. It’s a time to have fun and appreciate one another’s company, even if only briefly. Upon entering Zia’s Italian restaurant, I knew this would be a dinner time we’d enjoy.
La dolce vita
I like the several, more upscale Italian restaurants around town as much as anyone, but Zia’s atmosphere immediately says “fun and festive." It’s definitely a place where you can find wonderful Italian food, and feel right at home with your family in tow. A self-proclaimed “foodie," I have always said the atmosphere of a restaurant fills me up as much as the food, and at Zia’s, your senses won’t go away hungry. They have achieved their goal of transporting you to a small Italian village.
We all love calamari, and if it’s on the menu, we usually give it a try. Hands down, my family thought Zia’s had some of the best we’ve tasted. The appetizer portion was generous, and every last piece was lightly breaded and tender.
You can’t beat the kids meals for children 10 and under. For only $3.95, including a drink, they have a choice of spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, rigatoni, cheese-filled ravioli, or grilled chicken. The fettuccine alfredo scored high points with our group.
Dinners came with a large house salad, and fresh Tuscan bread with a unique olive butter spread. I loved my thick cut eggplant parmesan for $16.95. Though not exactly traditional Italian fare, my husband’s sautéed whitefish with a lemon caper sauce, steamed veggies, and mashed potatoes for $18.95 was very tasty.
Sunday is family day at Zia’s. It also happens to be one of the best nights for us to get out and eat as a family. According to manager Kate Monroe, they offer a great special on Sundays — a large one topping pizza, four house salads, and a bottle of Chianti for $29.95. The rectangular pizzas are between a foot and a half and two feet long. She added that they are a popular item with summer guests, as they deliver boat side.
What really got us motivated to try Zia’s on a Sunday is that our favorite local magician, Andrew Martin, does tableside magic on Sundays from 6 to 8 pm. Voted best entertainer several times by readers in Toledo Area Parent's Family Favorites, he’s also tops on our list.
Andrew had many new tricks we hadn’t seen before. (And we’ve seen him perform A LOT!) After Andrew had finished performing several tricks, we were just chatting and catching up, when my oldest son, who always has a lot to say to Andrew, asked, “Can you make a hundred dollar bill appear?” We’ve never seen Andrew do that, but within seconds, he made a hundred dollar bill appear. Now THAT’S what I call magic!
Bottom Line: With great food and an atmosphere with lots of personality, Zia’s makes its mark on the Italian restaurant scene. Though families would love it any day of the week, the family meal deal and magician Andrew Martin make Sundays extra special.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, Oh. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org .