Fare: Traditional Southern Italian
Food Quality: 3 Stars
Service: 2/12 stars
Decor: 2 Stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Note: Four star Rating System from 1/2 Star = poor to Four stars= Best in Class
Serves fresh home made pastas and award winning red sauces, creatively prepared giving traditional regional Italian favorites a unique flavor --- not found at the many other Ocean County traditional red sauce Italian restaurants.
There is likely to be a line at the door with wait time up to two hours every night during the summer season, and on Friday and Saturday evenings during the winter.
Cost Value: Excellent
Noise Level: Moderate - High
Recommended For: Cost conscious diners who prefer a BYOB with creatively prepared Southern Italian red sauce dishes using fresh, quality ingredients
Not Recommended For: Diners who enjoy an upscale, trendy setting with full bar service and an eclectic menu
Recommended dishes: When available, Bucatini Amatriciana With tubed Bucatini pasta, guanciale (Italian cured meat) and onions in a Roman style tomato sauce; The Sunday Gravy Tradional Italian Sunday dinner with Italian sweet sausage, homemade meatball and homemade pork bracciole simmered in Spano's award winning marinara sauce served over homemade rigatoni; and The Grouper Romano Fresh grouper fillet broiled, topped with jumbo lump crab meat and sliced cherry tomatoes in an amaretto cream sauce served over blanched asparagus spear.
Spano's Ristorante Italiano with old world Italian ambiance, is one of the best traditional Italian red sauce restaurants in Ocean County.
It's very popular with diners who prefer a BYOB style eatery with a menu prepared using fresh, quality, local seasonal ingredients served in huge portions,
Spano's Ristorante Italiano is family run --- owned by Chef / Owner Joseph Spano.
Chef Spano's menu is heavily influenced by old world traditional favorites from both his mom Carmela who came from Naples and his father Frank "Pop who emigrated from Bari, Italy. The exceptionally prepared sauce is a product of his mother's recipe, while the menu ingredients are influenced by his father and his regional favorites that feature fresh vegetables and legumes including broccoli rabe, escarole, beans, eggplant, and homemade pasta.
This is as close as it comes in New Jersey to getting a Mulberry Street, Little Italy, NYC Italian dining experience.
Their fresh home made pastas and award winning red sauces are creatively prepared giving their traditional regional Italian favorites an edge over the many other Ocean County traditional red sauce Italian restaurants.
The portions are huge, though it does not diminish the quality of the dishes. A choice of a house or Caesar salad, or soup is included with each entree.
Spano's is child friendly with a kids menu.
The decor is dated, consisting of tin ceilings, hanging chandeliers, ceiling fans, wood paneling, hardwood flooring, vines of artificial grapes and white Christmas style lights stretched along trellises hanging from the ceiling, and walls adorned with paintings of Italian Villages. The ambiance is complemented by piped in background Italian music.
Acoustics are not optimum and the noise level can get to a high pitch.
Service is friendly, efficient, and anticipatory.
Reservations are only accepted for groups of 7 or more!
If you have patience and don't mind long lines, this is a great Italian dining experinece. There is likely to be a line at the door with wait time up to two hours every night during the summer season, and on Friday and Saturday evenings during the winter.
Parking is available on the street and in nearby municipal lots. They only accept reservations for parties of seven or more. Expect a wait especially on weekends.
Spano's is open seven days/week, beginning at 4pm Sunday thru Thursday until 10:00 pm, and Friday & Saturday until 11:00 pm
New Jersey Leisure Guide strives to provide analytic restaurant reviews .
The methodology used is research, analysis driven --- as opposed to that of a single restaurant critic or a viewer comment posting board.
Data is gathered from our viewers e-mail restaurant comments, Internet research, and professional restaurant critics. The data is sorted, (weeding out the obvious biased, "bone to pick", and out of consensus comments), analyzed, and the review is created.