A friend recommended we try Carisma and as we were staying at a downtown hotel, we wanted to try a restaurant within walking distance and this was only 15 mins. from our hotel. We attempted a reservation at one other high profile restaurant but the online res site stated it was filled from 5 pm to closing. So we secured a 6:30 reservation at Carisma thinking it would be a bit busy but we arrived to an empty restaurant - but that didn't last long. We were met with smiles and greetings by the owner/host and he escorted us to - what I think was - the best seat in the house. We were immediately attended to by a server who outlined the daily specials, and then another server who took our drink orders. The owner was wandering the 120 seat restaurant and we chatted with him when he was near our table. He was a very congenial host and he made some suggestions but finally he said ' do you like meat or fish?' We told him seafood would be our choice and he said 'let me select for you.' Brought us an antipasta platter that had heirloom tomatoes topped with bufala mozzarella cheese, arugula wrapped with prosciutto and asiago, sauteed tiny mushrooms and olives, and sauteed calamari with shrimp - all seasoned to perfection. For the entree(s), we were each served a plate that had seared ahi tuna, grilled halibut (also the fish of the day) nestled on top of hot vegetable melange consisting of roasted baby potatoes, parsnips, beets and string beans, and a fabulous piece of sea bass wrapped around a fat scallop. All done to absolute perfection! Throughout the meal the host subtly checked on us and his wife was very friendly and charming. Our server was knowledgeable and attentive which added to the evening's dining experience. The martini's were delicious and a glass of Amarone wine completed this wonderful meal chosen for us by an astute owner/host who has that natural ability to look after his guests as if they were in his home. We'll be back!
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