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“Lovely place” 5 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
Southbury, Connecticut
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Lovely place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013 via mobile

First time eating at Ciao since Luca moved restaurant to the downtown Fernandjna area. Still great food and great atmosphere. And it still feels like a small family restaurant. Well done!

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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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476 reviews from our community

84% Recommend
    303
    98
    44
    11
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“No Vampires”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

really good food, full of garlic and exactly as ordered, service was attentive but not overbearing, we will be back

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“What has happened?”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013 via mobile

This was my second visit to Ciao, my first was at the previous location and it was wonderful. This how ever was far from it. When my friend and I arrived it was 6:30 and we were sat right away. It took a few minutes for our overly energetic waitress to find her way to us. She got us water and didn't even ask if we wanted anything from the bar just jumped straight into what we wanted to order. After getting our wine and ordering our food came out fast, to fast. We had no time to socialize. I order some sort of pasta with clams which was terrible it tasted like the noodles had been sitting there ready to order, the sauce tasted like bland melted butter, my clams were flavorless and had a gritty taste to them. My friend said her food was just ok. The waitress came over and say the bill on our table without even asking if we were interested in desert. We just paid the bill. I felt as if I was in a cattle farm being herded and rushed. It wasn't a nice sit down dinner it was a rushed dinner to get onto the next table. Ciao has lost what was special. It's all about flipping the tables now. We went over to fantastic fudge and got dessert which I can promise you was better thank anything ciao would have provided.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amelia Island, Florida
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 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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Rochester, New York
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
8 helpful votes 8 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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