My boyfriend and I love to go out to eat and are always looking for somewhere new and unusual. It’s often hard to find those places, especially when most area restaurants are chains, but after hearing people rave about Claudio’s Pizzeria and Ristorante, we decided to give it a shot.
Claudio’s opened last spring and is located on Painters Run Road just off Bower Hill Road. I only recently noticed the restaurant found in an unusual setting that somewhat resembles a garage. But Claudio’s restaurant is a hidden treasure to our area and a nice taste of Italy right down the street.
When we entered the tucked away eatery and waited for a few minutes a regular told us the workers don’t care where customers sit. This place has a laid back, casual atmosphere and had already become a staple to some locals.
As we sat down at our table, we found homemade bread and olive oil waiting for us. Although the restaurant does not offer a large selection of soft drinks or any alcoholic beverages, we noticed other customers brought their own wine from home. It’s nice to know you can still enjoy a glass or two of wine without the huge expense.
The menu consists of many popular Italian dishes from gnocchi to calzones all at a reasonable price. We already had decided we wanted pizza and had to opt for more than just a pie. We decided to go with the spinach and tomato white pizza and a nightly special, the Italian platter, which cost a combined $30. The sampler included a meatball, gnocchi, spinach manicotti, cheese manicotti and a dinner salad with homemade balsamic dressing and fresh gorgonzola cheese.
We both started with the 12-inch pizza that was full of flavor. The Italian platter was delicious as well. The cheese manicotti was my favorite because the combination of the hot cheese and fresh sauce was impeccable. My boyfriend, the avid Italian food fan, loved the meatball and said it was seasoned perfectly.
Upon finishing our meal we noticed a group of people gathering at the bar. The commotion stirred our curiosity and we realized an employee was putting the finishing touches on a homemade dessert. Even though we were both stuffed and had plenty to eat, not to mention a ton of leftovers, I was intrigued and the waiter told us it was Crème Brulee. He described it as a cream based dessert and informed us they were hardening a caramelized sugar on the top with a torch. Being an avid dessert fan, mainly chocolate, I was unfamiliar with the dish, but I was sold.
I am so glad I tried something out of my element. It was simply wonderful; in fact, I might go back just for dessert. My boyfriend had tiramisu and he said he too would get it again. The desserts were about $6 each.
We had a very pleasant and different dining experience. Do not let the exterior appearance deter you from entering. The food was good quality authentic Italian cuisine and it included fresh ingredients. I would recommend it to anyone.