Nino’s, located at 2817 W. Dallas, has been serving “down-home Italian” food since 1977.
The restaurants are grouped around a charming terrace that manages to feel European without being hokey.
The interior, with its dark wood, terrazzo floors, antique pots and pans, and hanging herbs and garlic braids, is attractive and comfortable — no plastic cheeses and prosciutto hanging from the rafters here.
Crusty bread flecked with olives, accompanied with garlicky olive oil, arrived quickly after we were seated (and disappeared almost as quickly).
The service was attentive without being fussy. We started with an antipasto platter, which had a nice assortment of meats, cheeses, and vegetables — something for everyone.
Our family ordered four entrees:
Veal Vincent, a house favorite
Snapper Nino, another house favorite
Chicken Scallopini Parmigiano
The entrees were nice, although underseasoned for our tastes. Although the portions were ample, the restaurant could have been a little more generous with ingredients — the two artichokes on the Veal Vincent, for example, definitely could have used some company.
So what’s the secret to Nino’s longevity? I think one of the reasons the restaurant remains a favorite for many people is that it has a familiar and safe menu. Nothing intimidating or too challenging. A place where you can go on a date, or take your kids, or grandma and grandpa, or a business colleague, and everyone has a good time. My daughter perfectly described the restaurant as “happy.”