Attilio’s Italian Restaurant, located in between Weis and Target on Cedar Crest Boulevard, never really seemed like a place that I was excited to try out. I always assumed that, as an Italian joint located in a strip mall, it probably wouldn’t hold a candle to some of my other favorite local pizza places.
So, when I visited on Saturday for this week’s Bites, expecting a letdown, you can imagine my surprise when I walked into a crowded restaurant and a warm atmosphere. If you’re like me, and had always dismissed Attilio’s, read on for a review of the hidden gem.
The Dishes: Garlic bread, Tortellini with red sauce, and a Chicken Cheese Steak.
What’s on the Plate: The tortellini dish was served with a side salad, and my dinner companion chose pickles to top off her cheese steak.
How’s it Taste? I was pleasantly surprised with how much I ended up enjoying my tortellini. I ordered the entrée, expecting it to be an appropriate size for just one person, but my plate was overflowing with the delicious cheese-filled pasta. Customers can also opt for meat-filled tortellini and choose from four different sauces, including fettuccini and marinara, but I chose the restaurant’s sweet house red sauce, which served as the perfect complement to my meal.
My side salad was the only part of my meal I felt could have used a little improvement; the dish was filled with iceberg lettuce and onions, but little else. Luckily, my fellow diner and I ordered Attilio’s garlic bread appetizer to hold us over until our entrées were delivered, and the dish didn’t skimp on serving or flavor. A large sandwich roll was served open face and topped with garlic, butter and other savory seasonings. Although I’ll admit I’m usually a sucker for a little extra butter and garlic, the dish didn’t leave me feeling like I could scare away an army of vampires every time I opened my mouth.
My companion’s cheese steak dish looked especially delicious, even from across the table. Although Attilio’s has a pretty basic recipe for their cheese steaks, their menu allows you to choose from a variety of toppings to spice it up, including pickles, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Probably the most enviable part of her dish, for me at least, was the crisp rolls the steak was served in. The edges were browned ever so slightly, and you could hear the crunch with every bite.
Eat this Because: Attilio’s is the perfect spot for a business lunch. Though the restaurant may look small from the parking lot, the high ceilings, décor, and sit-down service make it more than just another Italian joint.