I have been going to Ovidio [the sign outside says "Ovidio," not "Ovidio's"] since they opened in the late 1980's. I have always considered them to have the best Italian food I have eaten anywhere, other than, perhaps, Italy. What is interesting is that most of the Italian restaurant owners in the Fresno area are all related and serve much the same menu. Ovidio's owners, Frank and Virginia, however, offer a wider range of dishes not seen in the other establishments. Items such as their garlic cheese bread are prepared much the same, but they use better quality bread and ingredients, in my opinion. We always order this bread early in the ordering process to have it come out piping hot with our salads.
Last night, my wife had the tortellini con prosciutto and I had the buccatini carbonara. Please forgive my spelling. I am writing this from memory without notes. Both dishes were excellent. The service by Rocco was also excellent. My wife experiments more with the various dishes when we go to Ovidio. I usually stick with the tried and true dish I had, but, occasionally I have a cheese filled tortellini dish with white sauce.
What amazes me is that Ovidio has maintained a high level of food quality and service over all this time and still remains my favorite Italian restaurant anywhere. That is due to Frank running the kitchen with a watchful eye on everything. Anytime I eat Italian anywhere in the United States, I gauge the food and service to that of Ovidio. The atmosphere is very nicely done and is "homey" in the small neighborhood eatery sense. They do not use the red and white checkered table clothes with candles in Chianti bottles like so many place do. The tables have nice, subdued linens with little flower accents. The wine list is a good one for the size of the restaurant; certainly much better than any other Italian restaurant I have visited in the area. The wine glasses are of ample size and filled appropriately.
If you desire to hold a small party, they have a nice room next door to the restaurant proper with a full service bar [holds approximately 20, I believe]. All in all, a great place to go. We only regret that we live all the way across town [Fresno is 500,000 and Clovis where live is 100,000], and don't get there as much as we would like.
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