Many suburbs sprawl with strip malls housing big-chain restaurants. In the sleepy hollow of Park Ridge, uncover an organic alternative to The Olive Garden when visiting Nonna Silvia's Trattoria and Pizzeria. This nestled restaurant's giant windows welcome Canfield Road and Talcott Avenue traffic, a glimpse of rustic features in soothing light.
Bona fide aspects include an original tin ceiling from the 1940s overhead a mahogany bar topped with shiny copper. Such elements engage with red-grape curtains, exposed common brick and white tablecloths sheathing impeccably presented tables. The alfresco dining area (a rare find in this town) finalizes the appeal, filling fast most nights (reservations are recommended).
Middle-aged, white-collar workers make up the usual clientele. The outdoor patio sees its share of 20-something couples on dates. However, children appear absent most visits. The restaurant's gelateria next door, which opens spring through fall, serves youngsters better with homemade tiramisu and Italian ice options.
Nonna's menu focuses on fresh seafood and homemade pastas. For pasta lovers, owner Steven Marti recommends the Gnocchi alla vodka: homemade potato dumplings served with pancetta and onions in a creamy vodka sauce, $14.95. Selecting seafood? Marti suggests the Sapore di Mare: clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and calamari sauteed with basil and garlic in a light tomato sauce over linguini, $20.95. Veal also sells well in conjunction with any of the 55 wine choices.
Evening parking includes the lot across the street. Delivery is also available.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez