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Jan 13, 2012 01:59 PM

Nice place to go! [Bravo! Cucina Italiana]

I'm usually a tough critic when it comes to dining out, but I have only nice things to say about Bravo!, the new Italian restaurant next to the Cheesecake Factory at the Willow Grove Mall, in Willow Grove, PA. Although I suspect it's a "chain restaurant" (like C.F.), it was actually very nice. The decor is lovely, warm colors with what appears to be high-end finishes. The staff and wait service was extremely nice. And the food was good. Granted, how hard can it be to mess up pasta, but I had Pasta Fra Diablo (spicy pasta) with shrimp. There were plenty of shrimp on my plate and they were cooked perfectly. I started with a Cesaer salad which was quite good, and the pasta was a hit. Wednesdays is "$5 martini night" so it was nice to start off the meal with a reasonably priced cocktail. It's an open-environment, including being able to see into the kitchen. Although it should be loud, I personally didn't find it overly loud in the restaurant. Maybe because it wasn't crowded the other night. Or maybe the high ceilings and drapes helped to buffer the noise. Regardless, it was a nice night out.

So you're asking yourself - if I liked this so much, why did I not give it a 5-star? Well, that's a good question and one I cannot answer. I have to be totally blown away by a restaurant to earn my 5-stars. There's only one place so far that has done that, and that's in Stowe, VT. I would definitely return to this restaurant again, whether it's with girlfriends, the hubby, or family. It's nice to have a new place to go in town. Now only if we can get some good BYOB's in the Willow Grove area.....

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  1. We have one here in Orlando. While some dishes were hit and some were miss. I enjoyed their pizza, salads, soups but have learned to stay away from the lunch specials. I've never been really excited when those come to the table.

    All in All a lot better of a chain that some. and I love their bread and tomato oil that comes with the meal.

    1. I've eaten at the one in Baton Rouge a few times. The lemonade is good lol. And their creme brûlée was yummy. I never ate pasta there myself. I did try the pizza, which was ok. The salad is pretty good from what I remember, it's been months.

      1. This is one of my recommended chains.

        Bread was excellent, fish cooked perfectly, pasta was fresh and cooked al dente, salads not over drenched in dressing, etc. etc. Service has always been top notch, ambiance is nice, etc.

        FYI All meals were eaten in Pittsburgh at the Robinson or Homestead location.

        1. There's one in Evanston, IL as well. I've not been there, but it's nice to hear a couple positive reviews. I often end up visiting friends in Evanston, and it seems like this restaurant is a better bet than the nearby Chilis. How's their wine list?

          1. odd, lots of feta for an Italian place