Ciao Italia

Before I get into this post, I’d like to describe what I find important when dining out. The most important thing is if the establishment and its workers are hygienic. Nothing is worse than getting food poisoning or worse when dining out. Along these lines is the freshness of the produce they use to cook their dishes. The fresher the better and if I can get organic or free-range, I’ll definitely choose those. The next important thing for me is the use of artificial flavourings, colourings, flavour enhancers etc. I’ve had meals where the liberal use of MSG tries to masks (and fails) the poor execution of several dishes.
The other major item is service. Service is like a box of chocolates in Perth, you never know what you are going to get (even in the same establishment). I think a lot of people expect better service as the cost of the meal goes up. I think this is a justified expectation but for some reason in Perth, this is not the case. I can get great service from a food court while getting poor service from an expensive restaurant and vice versa.
So why am I babbling on about this? As you can see from the title of this post, I will be telling you about my latest meal at Ciao Italia. This place can be a bit controversial so I’ll begin now.
Ciao Italia is a Italian restaurant in South Perth and is very very popular. They do not take bookings so if you come later than opening time, you will probably need to be put on the queue. Your whole party needs to be there to be seated as well. One of the biggest shocks new comers get is that the tables and seating in this place is packed tightly. When eating it is not uncommon to literally rub shoulders with the next table. It can be challenging to get out after a meal and in summer it is not that comfortable. Being Italian, some of the waiters can be a bit abrupt but this is how they are in Italy. If you can look past all the above you are in for a decent meal.
The prices are on par with the more expensive and formal Italian eateries in Perth but the servings here are large. One mains size pizza or pasta would satisfy the hungriest eater.
This particular time I went I decided to order the spaghetti marinara.

Ciao Italia - Spaghetti Marinara
Ciao Italia – Spaghetti Marinara

I have ordered this dish many times and the memories are quite fond. The sauce is a rich tomato sauce which is delicious. A sauce I have tried to replicate at home and I have almost done it. Aside from the spaghetti expect prawns, fish, squid and mussels. The dish is very tasty however this time around I had a few complaints. The pasta was very hot, temperature wise. This usually means it was microwaved. Earlier in the night I saw the chefs take some pasta from plastic container (my table had a view of the kitchen). This suggests that the pasta was made earlier and then microwaved before serving. There was a distinct temperature difference between the seafood and the pasta.
To round up my meal I had the tiramisu. This rendtion is quite wet as they place a milky sauce around its base. The marscapone is to die for. So silky and delicious. I definitely recommend the tiramisu.
All in all a good meal but I can’t help to feel a bit awkward from what I experienced with my spaghetti marinara.

Ciao Italia on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Ciao Italia

  1. Hmm I thought the most worrying bit was when the chef took out the par cooked pasta and sniffed it… O.o I like the service here, the waiters are extremely friendly but I really hate how they give the first customers the worst tables.

  2. Have you ever worked at a restaurant or inside a kitchen before? Do you know how impossible it is to freshly prepare pasta for EVERY PATRON especially when your restaurant is as popular and crowded as Ciao Italia? It is quite a common practice to precook pasta for the day and refrigerate it for when the restaurant opens. This does not compromise the hygiene or the quality of the pasta or dish in any way if it is prepared correctly. If you expect chefs/cooks to freshly cook your pasta when you order your meal then you are going to be in for a long wait, which is unreasonable considering the high volume of peak hour traffic come dinner time. Microwaving pasta when an order comes in is something MANY restaurants do. You yourself have seen how busy the restaurant gets, so imagine if they had to cook fresh pasta or even dried pasta for every patron that walks in. The queues would get longer and customers would get even more irate. And in case you’re wondering: no, I do not work for or am affiliated with Ciao. I just love the place and the warm smiles every time I go there.

    • From your comment you seem to be saying “the ends justify the means” and a place should take short cuts if it is popular?
      I’ve been to other busy restaurants where the pasta is made fresh and cooked freshly. Yes, you have to wait a bit more longer but most of the time when I eat out, I like to spend the time waiting to chat and catch up.
      Also I don’t condone microwaving in this manner at all, as doing this in a rush can leave you with scaldingly hot food, which in this case it was. I’ve cooked at home with cold and pre-cooked pasta, and it does not take long to warm through in a pan of hot sauce.
      I like Ciao Italia as well, which is why in my post was to try to explain to people that beyond the queue and cramped dining area, it is still a nice place to go.
      In my posts I like to state the facts of my experience, which unfortunately was tainted slightly with what I saw.

  3. Hi i love your review. I read that ‘A sauce I have tried to replicate at home and I have almost done it Appreciate if you can share the recipe for it. I miss eating their marinara!

    • Hi Cheryl.

      The main item I believe (but don’t quote me on this) is lots of onions. After they have softened in the sauce use a stick blender to puree the sauce.

      I hope that helps in a little way.

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