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“Quality Maintained After Move Downtown” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ciao Bistro

Ciao Bistro
302 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL 32034-0806
904-206-4311
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Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Outdoor seating, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout, Late Night, Dessert
Amelia Island, Florida
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Quality Maintained After Move Downtown”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

Ciao Bistro has always been our local favorite for quality Italian food, despite being located in a strip mall off Amelia Island. Owner Luca welcomes you, serves home-style Italian food, and is always willing to meet a guest's request. I special ordered PENNE ALL’ ARRABIATA one night, which was excellent, and to my pleasant surprise found it permanently on the menu the next month. Note to Luca: Please bring back.

Ciao moved to downtown Fernandina Beach last fall and the good news is that the food is as good as ever, even with a revised menu, and the wine list is even better than before with more interesting choices at value prices. My only complaint on wine is that the wine-by-the-glass is rather prosaic and wish a few of the interesting choices on the wine list were also available in single servings.

However, success does have a potential downside. The new Ciao BIstro is roughly twice as large as its predecessor and to no one's surprise based on its deserved reputation, the place is always packed starting at 6pm. This means that the Luca's personal touch is diminished and he's more traffic cop than a host. In addition, there are teething problems with the new restaurant's service as shown by too many different bodies rushing past and/or brushing your table which detracts from the experience. I trust these will be resolved.

Another area for improvement is soundproofing as the hard walls and ceiling make the room quite loud, albeit not difficult to hold a conversation. Coupled with the service issue above, I must say the atmosphere from the previous site has dropped a notch.

My overall rating is only 4 at this point, but the food and wine are definitely rated 5. Enjoy!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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527 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Rochester, New York
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Luca has moved!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

One of our favorite restaurants in Fernendina Beach moved from the strip mall location to the swank of downtown. The great food moved with it! With a much larger dining area, Luca has a lot to do to keep up with his patrons and it may be a bit overwhelming for him. We missed his personal visit to our table, but our very interesting waiter added that personal touch that Ciao is famous for. Older the "special" for a treat or lasagna as a standby. Dessert is a must (see picture) but we miss the free glass of lemoncello. The value is wonderful.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Best meal of trip.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

This is my first restaurant review because Ciao was that good. My wife, daughter and I were visiting Amelia Island over New Years. We did not have a reservation anywhere on the 30th so we drove over to Fernandina to check it out. We walked by a few restaurants and ended up standing in front of Ciao. An older couple walked by us on their way into the restaurant and said it was the best restaurant in Fernandina. With that recommendation we walked in and asked if there was a table. The place was packed but the owner said he could get us in within 10 to 15 minutes. We had a drink at the bar and the table was ready. The service was great but the meal was the best I have had in a long time. The food was so good we all three shared from each others plates (which never happens). Our hotel made us a reservation at another restaurant down the street for New Years Eve but we all wished we had gone back to Ciao.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great place for dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We had dinner at Ciao on a Sunday evening. It was fantastic. The food was top notch and the portions were nice sized. The service was excellent and the staff was very friendly. The ambience and wine were also wonderful and the price point was fair. Highly recommend if you are in Fernandina Beach!

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Virginia Beach
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“LOVED IT!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

My boyfriend and I came here one night during our weekend at Amelia Island. We LOVED it. The rolls were to die for, the homemade pasta was excellent. We both had dishes with shrimp and scallops and the food was just fantastic. I had a resling wine which was really nice tasting, too. I would eat here every night if I could! 5 stars! Oh...and I loved the finishing tounch of the bill being brought to us in a Italian movie dvd case. Very cute. :)

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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