Now that summer’s over, we’re not afraid to say it: We’re ready to eat again! Give us authentic, three-course Italian meals that take all day to prepare. Give us piping-hot entrees topped with rich, savory sauces. Give us full-guilt-boogie desserts. For gosh sakes, give us carbs! And we know just where to get it: Viaggio Ristorante in Wayne, NJ.
This newly opened regional Italian restaurant might not seem to fit the bill at first glance (a.k.a. it’s located in a strip mall next door to Glaze Donuts), but once you step inside, you quickly begin to see—and smell—the magic. Outfitted with quaint décor, Viaggio has a homey, farmhouse-like feel to it.
Which made sense as soon as we opened the menu. Executive Chef Robbie Felice, former sous chef for Mario Batali—yes, THAT Mario Batali—has put together a slew of seasonal, farm-to-table-style Italian favorites that are the real deal. The menu is broken into three sections—Antipasti, Secondi and Primi—as well as a nice selection of bruschetta and salumi. Additionally, most of the pastas on the “Primi” section are house-made, and those that are not are imported from Italy.
We started our meal with a bruschetta sampler ($11), consisting of three generously sized pieces topped with Eggplant Caponata, Roasted Red Pepper & Basil, and Pork Pastrami served on an oak board. We loved the presentation! The bread was delicious and crunchy and each of the toppings was great in its own way, but the star of the board was definitely the Pork Pastrami, which was accompanied with mini pickles and mustard seed. We also tried the Calamari Friti ($12), which was prepared with lemon butter, shallots, and chili. The batter was light and fluffy, and the calamari was fresh.
For our main course, we decided to share the Linguine ($18), which was prepared with clams, chilis, and house-cured pancetta, as well as the Lancaster Amish Chicken “alla Cacciatore” ($26), which was served with mushrooms, house-cured pancetta, and polenta. The waiter offered to split the pasta for us, which was a nice gesture, and the portion was generous and loaded with clams. The chicken was a little different that we had anticipated, with the mushrooms giving off more of a marsala flavor than a traditional cacciatore, and pleased us nonetheless.
For dessert, we ordered the Pine Nut Crostata ($11) with salted caramel gelato, and the kitchen also brought us the Ricotta Panna Cotta ($9) with blackberries, honey, and mint to try. The crostata was delicious, reminiscent of fresh-baked pignoli cookies, and the salted caramel gelato made for the most perfect combo of sweet and savory.
With fall fast approaching, we can’t wait to find out what Chef Felice will be treating us to next.
1055 Hamburg Turnpike Wayne, NY 07470 (973) 706-7277 Reservations Recommended BYOB