Inman Park Restaurant Week March 25-31
"You say, “It’s a tough call, but if I look at the place that makes me consistently happy – I’m leaving with a smile and a memory or two – it HAS to be Il Localino in Inman Park. Really good food – it’s not inventive star-chef nuevo-Italian cuisine, it’s the traditional favorites with a dash of inspiration, great ingredients and technical flair – a fun atmosphere, and AMAZING service. The ‘Italian family’ part is totally true – I can’t think of another restaurant I’ve been to where I’ve gotten hugs on the way out. Il Localino is an *experience* far beyond the ken of really just about any other restaurant in town. So, the choice (for me) is easy: Il Localino is Atlanta’s best Italian restaurant.”"
It's all about the fun at this "high-energy trattoria with the zaniness of a cruise ship" in Inman Park, where an "upbeat staff" makes you feel like you're part of the family" and brings to the table "some of the best NYC Itlaian food in town", before the "disco strobe light goes off" in the "campy" "party room", prompting "bad singing" by crooners in the "silly hats"; it's, ahem, a "unique dining experience."
There are plenty of restaurants that offer a cozy atmosphere and make you feel at home, but very fiew places truly welcome you with open arms and make you feel like family. A visit to Il Locallino, the little Inman Park trattoria, is like a holiday meal at a favorite aunt's house-loud, overwrought and accompanied by plenty of hugs and huge platters of homestyle cooking. Il Localino dishes up simple but flavorful fare. with an emphasis on excess-monster antipasto trays, big bowls of ravioli and giant dishes of seafood and meats. The tendency to overdo extends to the wild thrift store/ bordello decor, the freely poured Chianti and the wild carryings on the dining room; it is not uncommon for a waiter named Enrique to pull out his trombone and offer a serenade or lead tables in singing, while the wait staff pass out wildly obnoxious party hats to diners. "People call and ask, "what time does the show start?"but we don't have a show", says hostess Melinda. "We just offer a comfortable place for people to relax. I tell them, "You are the show". We just give them an envionment that they can play in". - R.B
What happens when fine dining collides with fun – well you have Il Localino. This North Highlands eclectic Italian trattoria pulls out all of the stops to make moments into memories. This is due to the owners, Giovanni and Gale; whose take on life carries over to the total dining experience – it’s Italian home cooking in a cozy setting, but it’s more than that, it’s how they celebrate the joy of people coming together. The recipes for these masterful creations have been passed down through the generations within Giovanni’s family, and they’re made each night for your pleasure..
As with any great Italian meal, one breaks bread together and shares antipasto to fire up the palate and to start an evening of enduring conversation. At times it is hard to get a word in, as these nibbles are way too tasty. From the creamy Prosciutto di Parma with cantaloupe, to the nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, to the crispy yet delicate Hearts of Palms - these appetizing flavors seem to have a way to intensify with each bite. But it’s the Pesto alla Genovese made with finely chopped walnuts in the basil-garlic blend that will rock those taste buds- don’t let it leave the table- the urge to come back to it is irresistible. Now that all of the senses have become fully aroused, send them over the edge with simply the smell from the sizzling garlic and lemon of the baked clams oreganata. These mouth-watering morsels will cause one to gasp at the first taste.
The savory robust Paccheri alla Bolognese is so pleasing to the soul and tastes simply amazing. The large tube pasta is covered with a rich tasting meat sauce that’s somewhat feisty, and when topped with freshly grated Parmigiano this highly flavored dish is absolutely to die for. The second courses at Il Localino feel like brushstrokes of a di Vinci masterpiece- simply breathtaking. To excite those last few sleepy taste buds indulge into some of the most exciting seafood in the city, the Cioppino- an unbelievable fisherman’s stew. It’s truly a work of genius that consists of lobster, king crab, clams, mussels, and sea bass all bathing in a savory tomato broth whose flavors are intertwined with fresh herbs and garlic creating a zesty seafood feast that can only be described as stunning - this dish is created from Giovanni’s heart, a labor of love. Ask for some fresh bread to slop up the broth, as it is just way too yummy...
After some impromptu dancing and singing, the party-like atmosphere always settles back to the reason why people get together to eat- to feel nurtured and to connect with each other while enjoying the treasures of the kitchen. The treasures really sparkle with their decadent warm Chocolate Soufflé and the coffee tasting creamy Tiramisu , when you think you can’t take another bite, somehow you notice the fork. Besides the foods and the ultra-friendly staff, the greatest pleasure at Il Localino is the unexpected. memorable evening- can’t think of a better way to enjoy life. Buon appetito!!!