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Feb 22, 2010 06:49 PM

Is Aria in Stamford worth the visit??

Has anyone eaten at Aria in Stamford? Is it worth the money?

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    1. My husband and I tried it once, over a year ago. Neither of us were pleased with our entrees (I had lasagna, which was incredibly dry, he had a grilled whole fish that was overcooked). The caprese salad (with fresh mozzerella) appetizer was excellent, however we were shocked when we received the bill that it was $18. It was a special, they didn't indicate price, there was nothing in the server's description to make me expect a high price, and all appetizers on the menu were around $7.

      I remember thinking their wine list was good and our server guided us to an excellent choice.

      I wasn't a fan of the space - hard floors (polished concrete or tile?) and too many hard surfaces throughout the room made it overly loud.

      Overall, we weren't thrilled with our meal, and given the price point, we haven't been inclined to return. We typically don't like to cross a place off our list after only one try (who knows, chef may have had a bad night), but the price point is a deterrent. I noticed that they now offer certificates on, so I might try a return visit at a discounted price, as I have seen some positive reviews for Aria on this board.

      11 Replies
      1. re: gillyweed

        Not to be a contrarian, but I do think Aria is "worth the money". In fact, I find the price points of the apps and entries below that of nearbv Emme, Columbus Park, Siena, and Il Falco and the food as well prepared and crafted.

        I enjoy the southern, lighter, Italian cusine, the space (particulary the homey and "country" style, that the stone floor represents.) There's plenty of room between the tables -- and the corner table feels like someone's dining table in Capri. I've never had an acoustical problem. Also like the really inviting bar. Not a wine lover myself, I have been told Stefano has a very nice and fairly priced list.

        The burrata, in particular, is silk and creamy. Black ink risotto magical. And a wonderfully herbed (from Stefano's garden during summer) veal chop has always been perfection..

        However a few negatives. While always on premises and very gracious, Stephano fancies himself a foodie rock star from Manhattan who has graced Stamford with his presence. You also at time must suffer whimsical and sometimes less than professional service. (some have commented on mouthy Irish waiter who is no longer there.) And the location, which is a bit off the beaten walking path... one of the few restaurants on Washington Blvd. (there is free parking behind the building, btw)

        I hope his location doesn't do him in. Or his attitude. And gillyweed's bill is disturbing!!!

        btw, if you order your discount by Feb 28, use the promotional code "savor" and a 25 dollar coupon will cost you just 2 bucks.

        1. re: louuuuu

          You're not a contrarian, you've just had a different experience. I wonder if they've dropped prices since we went. We went 2 or 3 months after it opened, and we thought their prices were notably higher than Emme and Columbus Park. Given your more recent positive reviews, I intend to try it again. I do love a good risotto!

          1. re: gillyweed

            Let us know. Just hope Aria's resorting to is not a sign of desperation on his part. But then I notice the competition, Emme and Columbus Park, as well as g/r/a/n/d and Telluride are also on the discount site.

            1. re: louuuuu


              Michaels in Norwalk and Aloi in NC are also on those are great places.

              1. re: jfood

                Also surprisingly Bonne Nuit is on the Aadvantage Dining Program promotion -- do you know about this one? Use your American Airlines FF to register (any credit cards up to 5) and you get American miles at sometimes up 5-10x the cost of the meal.


                1. re: louuuuu

                  cool. just registered. Rosies and Barcelona there as well.

                  Thanks buddy

                  1. re: jfood

                    Welcome. And remember you still get mileage on your credit cards in addition to the bonus from AA.

                    And we didn't even mention booking through OpenTable for even more points and money back.

                    Just so the palatte always trumps the wallet.

              2. re: louuuuu

                I've noted quite a few surprising additions to lately, though the restrictions primarily limit to Mon-Thurs nights on most of the 'better' restaurants.

                I haven't been back to Telluride after one terrible experience following the ownership/chef change several years ago (used to be one of my favorites). Anyone have any recent experience? I rarely see a mention of it on these boards.

                1. re: gillyweed

                  To expand on my original answer, of a definite no on Aria, my opinion was also mainly based on Stefano and his ego that can barely fit in that dining room. Not only was he pretentious but he stayed WAY too long at our table yakking away about himself and being very disrespectful to one of our party who happened to be a restaurant owner. The food was ok- but very soured by the experience.
                  As for Telluride- give it another try. It's not cheap but the food is good and if you are over 30 you wont' feel out of your element if you go in for a cocktail later.

                  1. re: lillydaisy

                    Agree that the food and service is good at Telluride, and also that it doesn't appear to draw a younger crowd.

                2. re: louuuuu

                  Telluride is long gone and rightfully so. It went downhill very quickly.

          2. Somehow it has become 'de rigeur' for Stamford restaurants to price on par with mid to up-end New York restaurants. But in New York there are far more choices, much more competition, and comparable quality is available at more reasonable prices. Plus, it's less than 40 minutes away. Maybe it's a function of real estate and labor costs in this area. If so, FFC is ignoring a huge market segment that could be supporting far more dining commerce than it does.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nisseifoodie

              @nisseifoodies, I couldn't agree more with your assessment - except that I find the quality in Stamford to generally be less than lower priced establishments in New York. I'm sure it's the assumption that residents are somehow 'used to' the prices in New York and therefore don't mind overpaying for sub-level dining experiences, along with some long-winded diatribe on how Malloy screwed up the city so badly it actually believes that it's the Wall St. of Fairfield County. So far it doesn't seem to have caught up to them, so my capitalist hat goes off to them. As for me, every time I eat in a restaurant around here I always get a slimy feeling that I'm paying just about 20% more than everything is worth (with a few notable exceptions). More and more, I find myself eating in, or driving further, to enjoy a meal with my husband. I don't even care that I spend the savings on gas to get there and back. I'm happier all 'round.

            2. Personally, I have always had a good meal with good service here. I agree that the price point exceeds the value by just a little bit, though. The staff is knowledgeable and attentive. Had a great celebration at the large enclosed table in the back, left side, which can acomodte a group up to 10 in a semi-private environment Also parking can be a bear in inclement weather.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bayberrie

                Thanks for your feedback everyone. Haven't tried yet, but based on the above, not in a hurry to go for what sounds like a pretty expensive meal (on top of the babysitting cost!).

                1. re: Sherbro

                  Sherbo, Aria's prices are no more expensive (and in some cases less) than other good Italianos in town: Columbus Park, Emme, Sienna, Tappo. Quatro a smidge less..

                  Also, Aria honors a 25-50 dollar off coupon from Which would take care of the sitter!