Maggiano's Little Italy
26300 Cedar Road
Beachwood, Ohio 44122
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There is no doubt in a diner's mind that the owners and chefs at Maggiano's Little Italy know their Italian.
From the red checkered tablecloths and the family portraits on the wall to the massive amounts of food served one cannot help but feel they have been invited to someone's Italian home for dinner.
My group decided to try the family style selection, which requires a minimum of four people. At a cost of just under $25.00 per person table selections are made from five different categories. Diners choose two items in each of the categories and may refill those choices as often as they like. The first course was Appetizers and we chose stuffed mushrooms and mussels and they were delicious.
For the salad course we opted for the Chopped Salad with Chicken and the Maggiano House Salad. Both were good. They served the salad at the same time as the appetizers. Personally, I prefer to eat my meals slower and courses separated.
Then there is the Pasta Course and, of course, this is where this restaurant shined. There was Angel Hair, manicotti, spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, linguine, rigatoni and Eggplant Parmesan, to name a few.
Our choice was the Spaghetti and Meatballs and Gnocchi with tomato, vodka sauce. The food was very tasty, but I was surprised that the Family Style Spaghetti had one very large meatball instead of a number of smaller ones. The gnocchi was especially good.
The Entrée was probably my least favorite item. Choices included chicken and fish items. We chose the chicken parmesan and the fish of the day, tilapia.
One of the reasons we chose tilapia is because of its mild flavor. This fish however was overly "fishy" and strong tasting. I must admit that two of our guests liked it better this way because it had more flavor. But for me, the strong taste made the fish suspect.
As with the appetizer and salad, the pasta and the entrée were served at the same time.
You now have the opportunity of adding side dishes or vegetables for an additional $2.00 per person. We chose not to. Should you decide to, your choices would include items such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach and potatoes.
Desserts came next. From a nice selection we chose Profiteroles and Tiramisu. The Profiteroles were huge and each person had their own. The Tiramisu was small and one was served to be shared. Frankly, at this point in the meal we were pretty well stuffed and although we thought it was small, we weren't able to finish it.
The restaurant itself is very large and very crowded. There were even tables set up in the lobby and a line waiting to get in. The tables were much too close together, making a private conversation impossible.
Navigating to the restrooms or the exit was also not easy; it was just too crowded. Speaking of the restrooms, the main restroom area is located up very long, steep, winding stairs.
Special Senior Tip: On inquiry we did discover that there is one restroom on the first floor and an elevator. However, we were never able to find the elevator.
Although it is located at Beachwood Mall, you enter from the parking lot, not through the Mall. So parking is as easy (or difficult) as Mall parking.
Special Senior Tip: There is complimentary Valet parking available, which is a nice touch.
Our server was nice and not overly solicitous. The portions were a good size, but were cut down considerably when more were requested. Service was quick and efficient for the initial offering but slowed considerably while we waited for seconds.
The cardinal sin, to me, was that the coffee was served luke-warm.
All in all I would recommend the restaurant. I personally had a wonderful evening, due in part to the food and large part to the company I was with. It is not inexpensive (non-family style entrees range from $14 to $30.00) but you certainly will not be hungry when you leave. The food is well prepared and tasty and there is a nice variety.
Ranking (out of 5 possible spoons)