My husband is a fan of Italian and Bocci offers kids foods that would appeal to my son, so we decided to stop by Bocci for lunch on Monday. It’s quite a ways further south than we normally go for restaurants, in a small shopping center off Kildaire Farm Rd. There’s only a small sign that says “Bocci” visible from the street, otherwise the restaurant itself is not visible from either Kildaire Farm Rd. or the cross street. The restaurant’s entrance is hidden down the interior walkway of the shopping center. I guess this makes for some nicer outdoor eating when the area is somewhat enclosed, but I imagine they don’t get a lot of drive-by business because of this.
The interior of the restaurant was nicely decorated, but when I sat down my leg hit a strange wood piece hanging down from the table. I’m not sure if it was built for extensions to be put in the middle, but it’s kind of a hazard to have your guest hit their limbs on unexpected table bits.
The menu offered a nice array of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pastas, traditional Italian entrees, and an extensive wine list. It was nice to see they did offer some special lunch options in the Pasta section, with a smaller price tag, and I would assume a smaller portion. They also had a kid’s menu. Usually my son won’t eat the typical kid’s menu options, but he seemed interested in the kid’s lasagna so we ordered that for him. He also ordered an apple juice, which we were informed later that they didn’t have. So he ordered the orange juice. They ended up not having any orange juice either. So then he ordered the chocolate milk and they did have chocolate milk! My husband ordered the Panini Club with fries (very Italian, I know), and I ordered the Ravioli Bolognese, the lunch portion.
We didn’t order any appetizers since my husband was in a bit of a hurry, but they do provide some free sliced bread at the table with some little pots of whipped butter. The bread wasn’t fabulous, and they don’t serve it with fancy herbed olive oil like at other Italian restaurants, but it’s still nice to chew on something while you wait for your food. My son’s lasagna came out really quickly anyway (we did request it to come before ours) and the sauce made for some good bread dipping material.
I tried to take the nicest picture I could, but no matter what angle, the kid’s lasagna just looked like a wad of red meat sauce that had cheese melted over it. It looked like something I would have made working at Country Kitchen back in college. My son ate a bit of it, and it did taste okay for a kid’s lasagna, but they could have tried a bit harder with the presentation.
My husband’s panini came out looking like a panini is expected to look, but with higher, rounder bread. I tried one of his fries; they were good but not as hot as they should be if they just came out of the fryer. He said the panini was good, but didn’t like the bread very much. He said it tasted like “Subway bread” and not like the Italian bread he’s had with other paninis. He also said that the cheese hadn’t melted enough, another issue with the temperature of the food.
My ravioli bolognese came out looking like the pasta Darth Vader: more sauce now than pasta. This was again like some trick we used to pull at Country Kitchen, back when we featured the lobster ravioli, drowned in a pint of sauce. Except back then I think we served at least 5 raviolis, not these pitiful 4. Designing 101 tells you never to make arrangements in even numbers. Besides the terrible presentation, it was actually a decent meal. The flavor was all right, and it was a filling meal for me. But compared to the pasta dishes I’ve had at Biaggi’s, it really didn’t live up to my expectations.
The service wasn’t bad, and the restaurant itself was very nice looking. I just really wish they could take some time to make their food look a bit nicer. Since the price is similar to that of Biaggi’s, but Biaggi’s tends to have better food, I think we probably won’t be returning to Bocci.