Thursday, March 31, 2011

Italian with a Hint of Spain: Villaggio Restaurant & Brick Oven Pizza- Manahawkin, NJ

The owner's Spanish roots explain 
this popular menu item:Spanish Paella
It's a well known fact that the best way to ensure eating well while on vacation is to learn where the locals dine. If you were to poll the residents in and around the coastal town of Manahawkin for excellent Italian-American restaurants, chances are Villaggio will be at the top of many lists.
     Since opening in May 2008, this BYOB restaurant located "off-island" just a short hop from Route 72 has become a popular destination for both year-round and summer residents. In fact, while many are fighting traffic driving over the bridge to dine on the island, our friends are traveling west from Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light to dig into Chicken Valdestona (stuffed with bufala mozzarella, proscuitto and fresh basil, $14.95) and Spanish Paella (half lobster, shrimp, scallops mussels, clams, saffron rice and sweet peas, $20.95).
     Chef Carlos and his staff, working in full view of diners from an open kitchen, serve up traditional and contemporary Italian dishes as well as bubbling hot, crispy-crusted pizzas and nightly specials. 
     A few Spanish selections, including Spanish Paella from a personal recipe courtesy of owner Maria Devalorous, add to the menu's diversity.   
     In addition to bringing her Spanish touch to the menu, Maria maintains a dynamic presence in the dining room, working non-stop greeting visitors and ensuring that the front of house guest experience matches the quality food produced in the kitchen.   
Tables with a clear view of the kitchen are popular
with families - lots of action to keep the kids entertained.
     Villaggio, which means "little village" in Italian, lives up to its name. The dark interior decor with walls of countryside murals, Juliet balconies and tiny lights twinkling from the high ceiling is meant to convey the sense of dining under the stars in a classic Italian village. According to the restaurant's manager, Wes, it is not unusual for the 134 seat restaurant to serve well over 500 diners on a weekend night in season. A sixty-seat private dining room is available for private parties and they have also branched out into off-premise catering.
The Pergala table is often requested 
     So if you are one of the 100,000 or so visitors who will be heading toward Long Beach Island this summer, you'll want to add Villaggio Restaurant & Brick Oven Pizza to your list of family dining options. If you go, stop back in here and let us know your thoughts.

Villaggio Restaurant & Brick Oven Pizza
100 McKinley Avenue
Manahawkin, NJ 
Open Tuesday - Sunday for lunch and dinner, but please check with restaurant for seasonal hours.
Closed Mondays - (except available for private parties of 80 or more).

No comments:

Post a Comment