La Cipollina Ristorante
A Freehold, NJ Dining Review
La Cipollina Ristorante
16 W Main St
Fare: Traditional Italian - American
Price: Moderate - Expensive
Note: Four star Rating System from no stars = poor to Four stars = Best in Class
Reasonably priced dishes served in generous portions
Charming and intimate ambiance
Menu is tired, lacking creativity.
Menu lacks fresh farm-to-table locally sourced ingredients. Entrees may include canned ingredients.
While self on site and valet parking is available, on busy weekends the self-parking lot fills up after 6pm.
Noise Level: Moderate - High (Friday evenings)
Recommended For: Old world diners who enjoy traditional Italian food.
Not Recommended For: Diners who prefer trendy ambiance with creative, dishes using fresh seafood and locally sourced fresh farm-to-table ingredients
Recommended dishes: When available, Pork Osso Bucco; Ocean Garden Shrimp, and the Breast of Chicken, Prosciutto and Mozzarella.
La Cipollina Ristorante is a long time Freehold Italian restaurant, popular with locals and a devoted patrons who come to enjoy "Old World" style dining and amenities.
One of the first fine dining Italian restaurants in Freehold, established by founder, co-owner, and executive chef Anthony Braica, La Cipollina is currently one of many mediocre, family run Italian restaurants in the Freehold area.
While it still has many of the qualities of a fine dining restaurant ( such as tuxedo clad waiters, pseudo Roman white columns, table linens, etc. ), in recent years they have not kept pace with some of the hottest trends in restaurants ---- i.e., casual, chic ambiance, commitment to healthy food and sustainable agriculture sources.
The decor is attractive with softly lit background lighting, exposed brick walls, and a walled mirror at the rear of the main dining area providing a cozy, inviting atmosphere. The soft background music is from a past era, mainly Frank Sinatra, Louie Prima, Dean Martin, etc.
The dining patrons tend to be older, typically in their sixties and seventies, with many of them being loyal repeat customers.
The beginning of your dining experience starts off in a very elegant manner with a cordial greeting by tuxedo clad servers serving excellent bread (though often times served cold) along with an accompaniment of roasted garlic, black olives and a virgin olive oil for dipping.
However, from there the dining experience drops off with a tired, limited menu of uninspiring, traditional American and Italian dishes.
The menu lacks creativity and inspiration, and does not exhibit a commitment to using fresh farm-to-table locally sourced ingredients. For an Italian restaurant, there is a scarcity of fresh, home made pastas on the menu.
Neither Executive Chef Braica and Chef De Cuisine Matt Higgins have any formal culinary schooling or a background of honing their skills at any famed restaurant. Their restaurant management and cooking skills have been developed by learning all aspects of the restaurant business under the tutelage of a restaurant establishment from bus boy to waiter and chef.
Chef De Cuisine Higgins started out as an 8 year old in the shadow of Anthony Braica at the bottom of the totem pole working as a busboy, the front door, dishwasher, back waiter, captain,waiter, line cook, ultimately chef, and now a co-owner with his mentor Anthony Braica.
In the summer months you can choose to dine in their outside Garden Café.
On site (limited) and valet parking on weekends is available.
Live entertainment is provided every Friday evening
Eat in cooking classes are offered at frequent intervals and have shown to be very popular
La Cipollina also has banquet facilities that can accommodate private functions of up to 65 in the front dining room and 100 in either the back room or the patio in the warmer summer months.
(updated May, 2015)
How Do We Rate and Review Restaurants?
New Jersey Leisure Guide contains the largest source of extensive and unbiased New Jersey restaurant reviews. Data is gathered from our viewers e-mail restaurant comments, Internet and print research, and professional restaurant critics. The data is analyzed and a review created. Staff personal visits are sometimes made to corroborate and/or tweak results.
You might be also interested in ....
Discover Freehold with things to do, places to visit, and places to stay
Discover the popular Freehold restaurants with ratings and reviews.
For diners who are looking for a family dining experience that offers enjoyment for both parents and kids.
Best Breakfast and Sunday Brunch
Sunday breakfast and brunch dining selections for families of all budgets looking to celebrate a special occasion