Peter Caty/The Mirror

Whether you want to take that special someone on an exclusive date, your parents want to take you out to dinner for your birthday, or you simply want to catch up with an old friend, Ponte Vecchio, seems to satisfy all. It is located along the Brick Walk, at 1275 Post Road.

Ponte Vecchio is an elegant yet casual Italian restaurant where you can wear your favorite pair of heels or throw on your trusty jeans and a sweater. The place is nicely decorated and appears to be clean. The atmosphere gives off an appealing vibe, tranquil with soothing music playing and accompanied by dim lights.

Upon arriving at this serene location you are either greeted immediately or linger around until a server arrives, depending on how busy the  restaurant is that night. Regardless, the staff is very accommodating and it seems as though their main priority is making their customers have a positive experience.

While you are looking through the delicious menu consisting of an array of tapas, fresh salads, mouth-watering pastas and appetizing fish and chicken dishes, the waitress comes over and fills your glass with water. Shortly after placing your order and waiting impatiently, a server comes over with a basket full of soft, warm, fresh-baked bread; you can either dip it in the olive oil available on the table or request some butter.

I strongly suggest getting an appetizer or two to share because seeing those hearty plates come out and smelling the potent aromas traveling the air makes your anxiety skyrocket. The tapas are absolutely amazing. I would strongly recommend the Calamari Fritti, which is fried calamari, cherry peppers and zucchini. I would also recommend the Rollatini di Melanzane, which is rolled eggplant stuffed with ricotta. These appetizers are affordable, ranging from $7 to $9.

Whether you are in the mood for pasta, chicken or fish, your expectations are definitely met. Both the chicken and fish are served with a side salad or pasta. One of the most popular pasta dishes seems to be Spaghetti all’ Aragosta, which consists of Lobster and shrimp in a pink vodka sauce. My favorite, however, is the Pasta alla Michela, which consists of shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, white wine, arugula, and is finished with mascarpone cheese.

If you want to play it safe with chicken, most people tend to get the Pollo Marsala, which is chicken breast and mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce. However, be aware that the sauce they make is on thicker side, almost resembling the consistency of gravy. I would actually recommend the Chicken Francese over the Pollo Marsala. This dish consists of egg battered chicken sautéed in a lemon and white wine sauce.

A popular fish dish seems to be the Pesce Sciliano, which is Tilapia with roasted tomatoes, garlic, kalamata olives and artichokes in white wine.

If you are very hungry, I encourage you not to order the Pesce del Giorno from the appetizer section, which is the fish of the day over fresh seasonal vegetables. When I ordered it, the fish of the day was Chilean sea bass and it was impeccable except for the fact that it was so small I finished it in two bites.

The presentations for these entrees are as alluring as they are tasteful. The prices range from $16 to $24. Therefore, if you are on a tight budget I recommend drinking water the entire time or going for lunch, which is only served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If Mom or Dad is paying, don’t be shy to order the whole left side of the menu because that is one thing you will not regret.

After every good meal comes good dessert and one I would strongly recommend everyone try is the Tiramisu. It is absolutely decadent and certainly satisfies every dessert craving. It not only brought out within minutes after ordering it, but the size is reasonable to share with one other person.

Rebecca DelMonte, manager of Ponte Vecchio says, “Our goal is for our customers to have a pleasant dining experience and enjoy the food while being comfortable and casual.” I must say that this beautiful restaurant consistently accomplishes its goal without a doubt, from the food to the service.

So the next time you are looking to indulge in scrumptious Italian food, take a shuttle into town and get dropped off within feet of the Brick Walk, or pick up your hot date and impress her with food that will sweep her right off her feet.

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