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Bambinelli's Cafe Italiano

2031 Cahaba Road (English Village, Mountain Brook)
This family-run, full-service casual restaurant, owned by Salvatore Bambinelli, specializes in veal, seafood, steaks, pizza and pasta. In the former home of Cafe Ciao and the adjoining Ciao Restaurant. (Bambinelli also owns two Salvatore's Pizza & Pasta restaurants -- one off U.S. 31 in Hoover and another off U.S. 280 in Inverness. Before that, he also owned Salvatore's in Vestavia Hills.)

Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 08:46PM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments6 Comments

Reader Comments (6)

Three friends and I ate at Bambinelli's on a whim last weekend, and while we weren't disappointed, there is some room for improvement.

To begin, the service was fantastic. Our server was friendly and attentive, without being overly pushy, so we rewarded her by tipping well!

To begin, we ordered cheese bread and fried calamari to split amongst us. The cheese bread was gooey and garlicky, exactly as you'd expect from such an Italian joint. The marinara dipping sauce disappointed, though, as we could all discern that the garlic in the sauce had been burned. The same dipping sauce was served with the generous helping of fried calamari, a dish none of us enjoyed. The calamari was rubbery, tough, and smelled of fish; however, when our server noticed that none of us ate the appetizer, she gladly offered to take it off of our check.

Salads were next, and they were standard fare consisting of mixed greens, tomatoes, and red onion. The dressings were clearly store-bought, though, and serving the dressing in plastic containers took a bit away from the ambiance of the meal. My suggestion? Ceramic/glass containers.

The entrees were served promptly with two of us getting lasagna, one getting chicken piccata, and with myself getting the baked ziti. All of the entrees were delicious, with the chicken dish the clear stand-out. If, however, you are a fan of gobs and gobs of melty cheese, go for the baked ziti. It will not disappoint.

We finished off our meals with a shared order of homemade white chocolate bread pudding, a dish I cannot possibly say enough good things about. Warm, gooey, rich, and perfectly prepared, this generous dish was topped with a delicious whipped cream and cinnamon crust. The dessert alone was worth the price of the meal, and is definitely worthy of a return visit.

The prices are a little steep for the dining experience, but again, if management would consider making the salads a little more spectacular, using perhaps housemade dressings and croutons, the price of the meal would be perfectly justifiable. The addition of cloth napkins and glass condiment dishes would also make the experience, as a whole, more satisfying.

All in all, especially with dessert factored in, I'd give Bambinelli's an 8 out of 10 for local Italian dining.

March 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterT.S. Smith

The quality is outstanding for the prices. Not sure about the previous persons need for ceramic dishes and such but this neighborhood Italian is a perfect fit for the area. After eating at Gian Marcos and Bottega at a considerably higher price, we found that Bambielli’s is by far the best value. It is possible this person is used to Carraba’s and Brio’s which are chains. We also took a look at the new wine list coming out next week and found it to be the best selection of wines in Birmingham and were blown away by the offerings, especially since they give half off on all bottles every Monday and Wednesday. It is pretty hard to beat a Jordan or silver oak at these prices and we plan to be regulars for a very long time.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstan

The gnocchi that I ordered on a lunch visit was topped with a sauce with the consistency of tomato paste out of a can, too thick, and had a burnt tasted like it had been reheated several times. I think there is better italian in Birmingham.

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermb123

When you order off the vegetarian list on the menu (and you really care about it being meat free), please be especially careful. I ordered a pasta with a mushroom marinara sauce (again, off the part of the menu labeled "vegetarian") and they gave me a sauce with meat in it - which, unfortunately I didn't realize till about half way through since mushrooms add a meaty texture to a marinara sauce anyway. Upon complaining they were completely uncooperative and treated it as if I'd simply received a dinner that was not to my liking, utterly unsympathetic to how significant it was to me that they served me meat when I'd ordered off the vegetarian part of the menu. If they really don't care about what matters to vegetarians, then they should simply stop having a list on their menu which is labeled "vegetarian." I will never eat there again and would encourage anyone who either is a vegetarian or values being treated with respect as a customer to do the same.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoel Keen

We ate at here for lunch. Yummy garlic bread. So fresh! I ordered a calzone. Fantastic! My husband ordered the chicken parm panino. Awesome! Great service. I just wish they had lunch prices, but everything was so good. Can't wait to go back!

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereatingfor2uab

My wife and I ate here for lunch Friday. The service was great but that was it. The chicken parmigiana tasted like frozen store bought chicken and was very tough. The sauce was okay but not impressive. The salads were good, but again, nothing impressive. The bill on the other hand was very impressive. All in all, there are much better places to eat at a much better value.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterB. Coates

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