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Need an Italian Reco in CT

I'm looking to go out for an Italian feast next week and I'd like some updated info as most of the threads dealing with Italian food are quite old.

Here are some general guidelines in order of importance:
1. BIG PORTIONS! Think family styleish.
2. Must have the ability to make a penne vodka dish as one person will only eat "real Italian food" sigh...
3. Can be as far as a 25 minute drive from the Cheshire area.
4. Not too fancy, but not a dive bar pizza joint either.

Places I've been to so don't put them on the list. I'd like to try something new.
La Tavola
L'orico
Twisted Vine
Tre Scalini
San Marino
Pasta Cosi

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  1. Try Viale on Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport

    Check out the website www.vialeristorante.com

    1. Spartan II is pretty good. Head north up 10, turn right on 322, it'll be on the right before McDonald's.

      1. Abate on Wooster St in New Haven is really good, and so is Adrianna's (http://adrianasrestaurant.net/ ) on Grand Ave in New Haven. Atmosphere is probably better at Adrianna's.

        1. Is Bricco in West Hartford Center too far? We went this weekend and had a FANTASTIC meal--shared by 4...and, yes, they have vodka sauce. If you liked La Tavola, I consider it on a par with both Bricco and OHHH...Luce in Middletown! That might be a little closer for you and parking is less of a PITA since you can park right in Luce's own lot. Those are my three favorite Italian restaurants in Connecticut...in no particular order. I love them all.

          You'll find reviews of Luce (mine and others) on this board. It's my hometown favorite for sure. A little less pricey at night is Fiore II, downtown M'town. I'd say Fiore II is less "fancy" than the others, but by no means a pizza joint, and quality, delicious food, just not the level up as the other three are.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kattyeyes

            OHHH!!! we went to Luce this weekend...it was wonderful- really really good. Portions aren't huge though. Not complaining, even though leftovers would have been nice :)

            1. re: justme123

              You're mocking me, aren't you? ;) I know I've taken food home from Luce before--just depends on what I've ordered. For example, no way can I eat a whole plate of mushroom ravs in one sitting as they're so rich and very filling. There are other dishes I seem to have had no problem finishing all at once, tho'.

            2. re: kattyeyes

              Kattyeyes --
              Oh great expert on Middletown cuisine... A friend recently told me about Ristorante Cantina on Court Street in Middletown. It's in the basement of the Italian Society (or something like that). There's no Chowhound comments on it and the Yelp reviews are mixed. Some love it and some hate it. The naysayers say it's dirty, terrible service, etc. The lovers say the food is great and the portions are big. Have you ever been there? Any opinions?

              1. re: chowmensch

                Hi there,
                You know, I was born and raised here and have never been to the Cantina...probably because I run with too many of the naysayers. ;) Would love to hear what familiar voices here think of it, tho'.

            3. I'd recommend Macchiavelli's in Southington