When’s the last time you’ve eaten dinner at Ciao Baci? Has it been a while? I bet when you’re thinking of good places to go on a Friday or Saturday night, many of you tend to overlook this Hillcrest gem. If that’s the case, I’m here to tell you Ciao Baci is one of our absolute best restaurants in town, due in large part to the masterful creations coming out of the kitchen led by Chef Jeffrey Owen.
I didn’t always feel this way about Ciao Baci. In fact, a few years back, I was critical of its inconsistent offerings and service. Simply put, I didn’t think the food coming out of the kitchen was truly top-notch on a consistent basis.
I do now.
Whether it’s been a fancy, 5-course wine dinner, a casual chef’s tasting on the porch, or some simple catfish tacos on a Saturday night, the food over the past couple of years can hold its own with any place in town.
Don’t believe me?
Try to the pub-style, $9 Creekstone Burger and tell me it’s not one the best burgers in town. I’ll eliminate the suspense … it is. For diners who enjoy putting their fate in the hands of the chef, the 5-course chef’s tasting is a ton of fun, and, at $45, a great deal. It changes nightly and consists of a variety of small plates. Another nice aspect of the restaurant is the rotating seasonal menu. Currently, the Spring 2017 menu includes dishes like Grilled Carrot Broccoli Salad, Smoked Cauliflower Carbonara, Grilled Beef Hanger Steak, Chicken Fried Rabbit Leg (which I had last weekend and was outstanding), Grilled Atlantic Salmon Chowder, Broccoli Cheese Tots, and even a Grande Cheese/Charcuterie Tasting.
As you can probably tell from some of the dishes mentioned above, Chef Jeffrey Owen’s food doesn’t lack in excitement and creativity. The chef, himself, strikes me as quiet and unassuming, at least inside the restaurant, which seems to be a perfect fit at Ciao Baci … where the food does most of the talking.
Things to Know:
-great wine selection
-one of the few restaurants open late (great for industry folks)
-actually open on Monday night
-Happy Hour/drink specials throughout the week (check restaurant’s social media)
605 Beechwood Street
Hours: Monday-Friday 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Satruday 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Closed Sunday