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Il Villaggio


porkpa
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I am surprised that with the numerous postings that Sonoma Grill and Park and Orchard gather on this list, that my personal favorite in this area, Il Villaggio has never to the best of my knowledge, ever even been mentioned. Although SG & P&O have superior wine lists to Il Villaggio, that is in my opinion the only area where they are even remotely better.

I have eaten at Sonoma Grill perhaps a dozen times. I have found the food to be adequate, but never a whole lot better than just that. As far as Park & Orchard is concerned, I just don't get it. I've eaten there a few times and have never been impressed or even satisfied. They do have a great wine list, but in my opinion the food available does not come close to complementing the great wines offered.

Work brings me up to the area from Pennsylvania many times during the year. Over the last 25 years, I would estimate that I've eaten at Il Villaggio between 150-200 times. I have NEVER had a bad dining experience there. The food is fresh, well presented and the service, although sometimes a bit fawning is professional and never neglectful.

Amongst my personal favorites are the spiedini a la Romagna appetizer, as good a rendition of this dish as I have found anywhere.

The pastas are excellent and are available in both half portions as appetizers and as main courses.

During the summer I always have a chopped salad of Jersey tomatoes, mozzarella, roast peppers and sweet onions. Ambrosial!

The fish and meats have always been fresh and very tasty. I especially like their lamb chops. The staff is most accommodating and will prepare all of the pasta,fish or meat dishes in any manner desired.

I love their fried zucchini side dish. Again the best of its type I've found anywhere.

The bread is dangerous here. It is so good that I have sometimes filled myself up on it.

I never have any desert other than the fresh fruit sorbets imported from Italy. My personal favorite is the pear, but I like them all.

The wine list is more than adequate, but not near as extensive as those at SG and P&O.

I'm interested in hearing if any NJ members have tried Il Vilaggio.

Porkpa

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I have been here a few times for lunch and another few for dinner. My experiance has always been very good...certainly above average Italian...and I do recall as you stated that they will generally accommodate any variations to their menu...

A.D.S.

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Porka pa

I am a fan of the Sonoma Grill, (Zagat 23). I admit that. We obviously will never agree on that place. I agree with you on P&O (Zagat 24) and have stated my opinion clearly. But the reason I never mentioned Il Villagio (Zagat 22) is that I find this kind of place all over Northern New Jersey. It is decent, reliable, but to me boring, old style (red velvet) Americanized Italian. I have plenty of local pizzarias that cook almost the same and for a lot less money. I have been to other places I enjoy more that are equal and better according to Zagat and some are BYOS to boot. A short list ----

La Campagna -- Morristown BYO (Zagat 25)

Eccola -- Parsippany ( Zagat 22)

Lu Nello -- Totowa (Zagat 25)

Cent'anni -- Maplewood

Columbia Inn -- Montville (Zagat 22)

Casa di Amici -- Denville BYO

Bruschetta -- Fairfield (Zagat 23)

The point is that to me there is nothing special about the place.

Viejo

Edited by viejo majadero (log)

The Best Kind of Wine is That Which is Most Pleasant to Him Who Drinks It. ---- Pliney The Elder

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile,

Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --- Homer

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Dine

Zagats is a point of reference from the masses, nothing more.

And why are you saying excellent and American Grill in the same breath ???

:biggrin::raz::biggrin: Only kidding Lou!!! :laugh:

Viejo

The Best Kind of Wine is That Which is Most Pleasant to Him Who Drinks It. ---- Pliney The Elder

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile,

Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --- Homer

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Viejo,

I disagree with you that Il Villaggio is ordinary. There are IMO many things they do well and very few, if any, that they do poorly. Above all, the basic ingredients are always of a very high quality and freshness is emphasized. The food is prepared expertly and is well presented. This results in food that is from my experience always above average and often somewhat better than that.

As far as the comparison with Sonoma Grill is conserned.There was a time when Sonoma Grill was emphasizing meat on its evening menu(I don't know if they still do), even then the beef and lamb at Villaggio were IMO much better. I find Sonoma Grill to be the equivalent to what you feel Il Villaggio is - ordinary food which can be eclipsed at lower prices elsewhere.

I believe valet parking is required for dinner, but not for lunch at Villaggio.

Porkpa

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Pork

I guess you don't get it. I did not compare SGrill and Il V.

What I wrote was that there a lot of places equal to and better -- see the list again -- that are Italian.

I have eaten in every one of the places I listed plus Il Villagio and made that comparison. But you are not from this area so it would be hard for you to relate to the list.

Knowledgeable people will be going to the Grill soon. They will have their own experiences to report. I find their ecclectic style very enjoyable. But you maybe have not eaten there in a while. Your recollection it seems was from the Foy days. He had two menus. California and Steakhouse. The guys running it today have their own -- completely different -- style.

This is about opinion. New Jersey is buried in Italian restaurants. I tend not to like most of them. I have traveled and eaten all over Northern Italy and cannot relate to the Americanized stuff served here.

Viejo

The Best Kind of Wine is That Which is Most Pleasant to Him Who Drinks It. ---- Pliney The Elder

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile,

Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --- Homer

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Have to agree with Viejo on the topic of Italian cusine in NNJ. Many place tend to over-sauce, over cheese, and just over pasta every meal. Having just returned from Sicily and watching chefs chop, cut and mix ingredients for a fresh pesto and pasta couse for each individual serving, taking fresh caught fish off the ice and cooking it as ordered, I am less than enthusiastic to return to some of my own staples here in NNJ. Then again, I learned that Sicilian cooking is quite separate from mainland Italian cusine in many ways; guess that is why so many chefs go to Sicily to learn about the art. Where am I going with this? Guess, I would love to hear some thoughts on restaurants, which serve some good authentic Sicilian cooking. I am no wine expert , however, I found an excellent white wine produced by Planeta (2001). I looked it up here upon my return and it has received some good praise in some circles for a good affordable white wine. Ciao

Heuriger Wein is mein Lieblingswein!

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