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“Si mangia bene qui” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sicilia Cafe

Sicilia Cafe
128 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ
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Ranked #41 of 122 Restaurants in Red Bank
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Broad st. and Peter's place
New York, NY
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Si mangia bene qui”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

My family enjoyed a very good meal at Sicilia Cafe on a recent Sunday night.

The airy dining room was much more to our liking than the overstuffed, overgilded place where we'd eaten oversauced food the night before.

The "padrone" - Vincenzo - was a very welcoming host. He hooked us up with a bottle of wine from a place around the corner since we'd forgotten to bring one of our own.

The pannelle fritters were a big hit with our kids. My wife and I enjoyed the grilled vegetable plate, which was a precursor of what to expect - fresh ingredients, simply prepared, from a kitchen that goes fairly light on the seasoning.

Our kids really dug their pastas - one had the Bolognese, the other had the carbonara. To our delight the "bacon and egg" pasta was not swimming in a creamy white sauce, but was an authentic preparation that was simple and delicious.

My swordfish was very good, and the side of spinach was excellent. My wife wanted something simple and tasty and the grilled shrimp fit the bill.

We all had gelato for dessert - made in-house, it was superb, especially the kiwi and the salted caramel.

A big thumbs up from all of us; we look forward to a return visit next time we're in Red Bank visiting friends.

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

Visitor rating
    7
    4
    1
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Red Bank, New Jersey
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“friendly and sometimes excellent”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

Of all the Italian options in the area, we come here the most. The food is generally good and sometimes excellent. The regular menu has a fairly standard roster of Italian classics. The preparation is unusual in that little salt is used. At first, this makes many of the dishes, especially the pastas, seem under-seasoned. But, if you stick with the dishes, you will generally learn to appreciate the fresh flavors. Another interesting aspect of the preparation is that many of the pastas are cooked very al dente, in the true Sicilian fashion.

The restaurant really shines with some of the specials, which are often more unusual than the standard menu. I have , for example, gotten a wonderful "lasagna" special, which was more of an open cannelloni. It was made with layers of fresh crepe, rather than pasta. What an authentic dish, and a nice change. The soups and salads are also excellent almost across the board.

Don't forget the desserts and the gelato, which are made on the premises. Indeed, many of the patrons stop in just for the gelato, which comes in changing and unusual flavors.

Prices are good compared to some of the extremely overpriced Italian restaurants in Red Bank, like Via 45 and Basil T's.

Some of my friends have complained about a lack of atmosphere. But I don't agree. The atmosphere is that of a simple, neighborhood trattoria.

The servers are young. Sometimes it seems like the inmates are running the asylum. But they are extremely friendly and get the job done.

But let's not mince words here. Many of the patrons, especially the women and gay men, come particularly to get a kiss from the young Vincenzo, a.k.a. Vincent, who runs the front room. He is a real Sicilian -- and, boy, is he handsome and charming. Become a repeat customer, and you will get a kiss, too.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.
Colts Neck, New Jersey
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Wanted to love this place”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

We had often stopped at this cozy place for delicious gelato during the summer. The family who owns this spot is lovely. Walked in for dinner Saturday night with a minimum wait for a table for 2. Most other tables were occupied. The restaurant area is a bit drab, but food always is our main priority.

Service was attentive, however there was not one specific person assigned to our table. We had four different people assist us without cohesive effort. "Did anyone tell you the specials yet?" "Did the other girl get your drinks?" "I see someone opened your wine." It was confusing, we didn't even know who to ask for our check.

Now for our meal. We shared the Caprese salad as our appetizer. Decent portion of tomato and mozzarella as well as roasted peppers, which seemed jarred. On to our meal, which we opted to split as we were not overly hungry. We chose the veal saltimbocca. They kindly split it in the kitchen. The original dish was only two tiny veal cutlets with prosciutto on top, maybe 1/4 of a pound. We received a cutlet and a half each (divide that 1/4 lb.) complete with half a toothpick in each serving. Luckily I found my pointy half buried in the meat. They obviously just sliced through the portion without a care, dangerous. A few red potatoes came in a small cup as a side. The veal was extremely tough and difficult to cut, the prosciutto looked like and was the consistency of uncooked bacon. Bottom line, I left half my already tiny portion. We also ordered a side of long, hot peppers which were absolutely swimming in grease with potato chips drowning on the bottom unedible. Grandma was a greasy cook but this oil was an actual inch deep. We were even warned by one of the army of wait staff.

Just a note, while I entirely understand we split a dish and I really cannot complain because it was our choice to do so, the neighboring orders were just as small. An $18 pasta dish looked like a side. Price point is equivalent to Pazzo and Gaetano's, hopefully the food will be as good in the future.

We did not complain, but one waitress ( a blonde one but not the blonde who warned us about the peppers ) inquired about our meals. We politely told her that the veal was a bit tough and she graciously told us that the cannoli we were enjoying as desert was gratis. This was a classy and appropriate gesture. The cannoli like the gelato is delicious.

We will certainly be back for a snack while we stroll. Wishing all the best and would love to try this restaurant again in the future so that we can support this local business. Hope I eat my words!

Visited January 2013
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Red Bank
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem in Red Bank”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

There are plenty of restaurant options in Red Bank and area, especially Italian restaurants. Most serve moderate tasting food at hefty prices... Sicilia Cafe serves authentic Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere. The food is exceptional. The basic dishes are always fabulousl, the specials are really good and the pricing won't make you cringe. The restaurant is a block or two away from the main strip (next to RBC), and is a BYOB place. Non-rushed, friendly service. The owner is always on-site and explains the dishes and the way they are cooked in a friendly manner. No stuffed shirt attitude. We have been there with 10 people and they handled us with ease, including the picky eaters and the ingredient worriers...No matter how full you are, you always make room for the home-made Gelato. In my opinion, the best in NJ. We stop by after dinner at another restaurant or after the Cheese Cave Friday night Cheesy Hour for real cappuccino's and Gelato. A little note, please leave your pretentions at the door, we got a great thing going here and don't need the Buona Serra crowd to blow-it :)... Tom- Middletown, NJ

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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