Liana's Trattoria -Fairfield
This is one of my favorite Italian restaurant's around - - - I probably split my time equally between Pasta Nostra and here. Paci would be high on my "repeat" visit list if the prices weren't so high.
I realized I've posted many times about Liana's but always in the context of other themes (like best Italian, best in Fairfield, etc.) So I wanted to add my notes and some links to this thread that is dedicated to them.
It's a tiny little place off the beaten path - - and I like that. It may not have a romantic, intimate setting, but I find the place very comforting. Some of my favorite things about Liana's:
Ricotta gnocchi - - - best anywhere. (but order them early as they are made daily and they will run out later in the evening).
Best calamari linguini - - calamari is so tender and has a nice touch of spice.
There is a spicy wide noodle pasta she makes - - - just some shaved hard cheese, pepper, crushed red pepper, oil and garlic. Sounds to simple to be excellent, but that's what makes it excellent.
excellent appetizers (especially the eggplant)
very good, simple veal milanese.
excellent wine list. All italian. great selection. Good price point variation too.
excellent coconut / chocolate dessert.
The service, the music (classic Italian), and Lianna patrolling the dining area all add to the simple, small Italian setting.
Some other links that include my Liana's recomendations:
Lianna's is fairly pricey, and it can be excellent, but may I make a recommendation?
Order a pasta dish. The tagliatelle with meatballs is excellent, ask for extra sauce and lots of grated parm. I hear good things about the gnocchi. What I'm saying is, anyone (you at home) can bread and sautee veal and dump an arugula salad on it and save a lot of money by doing it yourself with fairly similar results, in my opinion. Well let's put it this way...for close to 30 bucks, I'll sautee my own veal.
Lianna's is a place where I have a fairly hard time finding things to order; the only veal dish is as described, they have lots of fish specials but not ones that usually appeal to me. The squid and ink thing sounds fabulous except I don't eat that stuff. As I said, for around 25 smackers, you can order any of the pasta with meat sauces and I do think that's a tremendous place to start at Lianna's.
The Italian waiters are charming, as is Lianna. If you lived across the street you'd be there constantly.
One thing I do appreciate are quartino's of wine. It's a nicer size than just a glass. I should mention that I enjoy the place a lot more than does my family, for whatever reason. They favor a strip mall Italian joint in Norwalk. Just shows to go ya...there's no accounting for taste:)
Liana's is number one on my list, awesome food and wonderful service. Liana personally comes to your table to check on everything, wine list is great and Liana is always spot on when recommending wines. There are so many wonderful entrees to get to know, and the coconut cake is to die for!! It's not cheap but worth the visit, if you don't want to rush your meal just let your server know when you place your order, we have spent many hours there just enjoying the great food..go, you won't be disappointed!
"Is it any good" you ask? Liana's is very good--and sometimes better than that! But--and this is a big BUT--it is not flashy nor fashionable nor does it try in any way to impress. It is not what is often called "restaurant" food and so, for some, it will not seem like "good" Italian food, but it is precisely for this reason that it is good. Give it a try if you want to eat an honest, good meal.
I love this place. The cooking is based on Italian home cooking, not restaurant classics, so the menu at first seems mundane. But the quality of ingredients and cooking is first-rate. They even have excellent meatballs (otherwise a rarity in my experience). The handmade ravioli and gnocchi are great. Very nice atmosphere, good service. And a seriously good wine list, mostly Italian.