Villa Barolo markets themselves as a "Cozy European Style Dining Restaurant and Wine Bar". I would categorize them as a moderately upscale restaurant ($$$) with a wide variety of food selections, a pleasing and inviting ambiance, consistently excellent food and superior service. This is the brainchild of Chef LO who owns and heads up the operation. You will find him to be a charming individual with a hands-on approach to all aspects of his business. I have frequented this restaurant for over twelve years and have never had a bad experience. My only caveat to that is I tend to avoid holidays as they overbook and the additional staff they bring in is nowhere near the level of excellence of their normal wait staff.
So, foodies, prepare yourselves. What makes this restaurant so appealing is not just the exceptional preparation of the food but the broad array of menu selections to tickle the taste buds of any discerning palate. Some of my favorite appetizers are the Frutti Di Maré and the Broccoli Rabe & Sausage sauteed in olive oil, garlic & jalapeno peppers. If you love oysters, their raw bar is out of this world. They offer nine varieties of oysters form Washington State, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Novia Scotia, & Japan - just to name a few. Expect to pay between 14.95 to 21.75 for ½ doz. - they are fresh and exquisite in their subtle nuances. I sometimes order a 1/2 dozen mixed (my selection) so I can compare and contrast their delicate flavor profiles - they can be ordered by the oyster.
Onto to the entrees. If you are in the mood for pasta, my two favorites are the Spaghetti Bolognese and the Spaghetti Carbonara - heart healthy - no, but to die for (pun intended). My favorite risotto (there are several) is the Risotto Scampi prepared with Arborio Rice with Mediterranean Shrimp in a Pink Cognac Sauce. Yum and then yum again. My favorite steak selection is the Grilled Filet Mignon topped with a Crabmeat Chardonnay Cream Sauce and I also thoroughly enjoy the French Cut Rack of Lamb grilled and served with a rich demi-glaze. Speaking of meat, their exotic meat selections are out of this world. They offer at least three to four selections each night ranging from Antelope, Caribou, Elk, Rabbit, Venison, Pheasant, Ostrich, Wild Boar, Quail, Kangaroo, & Buffalo. Go ahead, wrap your head around that assortment of fare that you don't see in your average restaurant. And that doesn't even begin to describe their unique & delicious preparations of those specialty dishes. I have personally worked my way through seven of those 'Wild Kingdom' dishes (no, not in one sitting)! You have a wide variety of superbly prepared chicken and veal dishes. But, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the vast selection of fish entrees that are almost beyond description.
This restaurant converted me to Salmon (is this the first heart healthy selection that I have mentioned - please do not pass this review onto my Cardiologist). I 'never liked salmon' until I had it here ordered right off their regular dinner menu - Grilled Fresh Filet of Norwegian Salmon in a Classic Lemon Vinaigrette. I was blown away by the simplicity of the preparation and the perfect execution that allowed the freshness of the fish to shine through as the star of the dish and the textural crust from the grill enveloped the fish and just pushed it over the top for me. One bite and I was a convert (hook, line & sinker)! Staying with the nautical theme, you have to try the scrumptious Bronzino, or the Orratta (Mediterranean Snapper more mild, white & sweet than domestic snapper, the Dover Sole, the Black Sea Bass, the St. Peters (from the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain), the Scorfano (off the coast of Italy) or the Langostino, Skate, and the pièce de résistance - Chef Lo's Specialty - the Striped Bass Incrostata in Sale (encrusted in salt). All of these specialty fish entrees are all prepared whole & professionally filleted table-side by your server.
I am not touching desert but their selections are 'melt in your mouth delicious.' I usually don't have room but if you care to indulge in decadence, prepare to loosen that belt or wear some loose fitting apparel.
Villa Barolo also has an excellent lunch menu (my wife loves it as a spot to meet with the girls), a room for private parties (I have used that to entertain my son's wedding rehearsal dinner, catering menus, and they will go out of their way to accommodate any special dietary or vegetarian requests (my daughter-in-law is a vegetarian and I've seen them whip up specials for her on the fly).
Now that I have drooled all over my keyboard by activating every salivary gland I have, it is time to leave you with one last thought - if you are in the area, Villa Barolo is well worth what will be a memorable and most enjoyable evening. Now, having shared my many enjoyable visits to Villa Barolo and drooled all over my keyboard, boy have I worked up an appetite!!! You don't need to be in center city for fine dining - there are some fine restaurants in the 'Burbs'. Bon Appétit !!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.