, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways….
I love the country elegance of the décor.
I love the round windows that look across Shore Road toward the harbor.
I love the natural light coming in through the skylight.
I love the soft unobtrusive music.
I love the complimentary appetizer and the fresh fruit plate at the end.
I love the pitchers of water with slices of citrus fruit.
I love the waiters.
And, best of all, I love the food.
Decor: The square room at La Piccola Liguria is spacious and comfortable. During the day, light comes in from the skylight and two windows looking out toward the water. There’s a lot of greenery, in the form of plants, murals of plants (and birds) and green chairs. The tables are well spaced. The small bar area is apart from the dining room, so people having a drink there are not disturbing the diners.
Drinks: The wine list is extensive, and each day there are five red wines and three whites by the glass.
Appetizers: The breadbasket contains rolls, bread sticks and toasted sliced Italian garlic bread. A complimentary plate of fried shoestring zucchini is a nice way to start the meal. There is a printed menu at La Piccolo Liguria, but I have yet to order from it. The waiters have memorized the extensive list of offerings and there is always something there that I would like. Although the restaurant is named for the Liguria region of Italy, inspiration for dishes comes from all parts of the country. At a recent meal, some of the appetizer choices were baked oysters, veal tonnato, cold grilled vegetable antipasto taken from the display table at the entrance to the dining room and deep-fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta. There are several soup and pasta offerings every day.
Entrees: The entrée list included monk fish Francaise, wild salmon in champagne sauce, pork sausage with lentils, calves liver with onion and balsamic vinegar, braised beef in Barolo wine and seafood risotto. When calves liver or veal tonnato are on the menu, I order at least one of them as an appetizer or main course because at La Piccola Liguria they do these dishes exceptionally well and they are not offered in many other restaurants. Veal tonnato is chilled veal in a tuna sauce. It sounds a bit strange, but it is delicious. A layer of thin slices of fork-tender veal are laid out on a platter and covered with the rich sauce made up of tuna, eggs, wine, capers and other ingredients. At La Piccolo Liguria the dish was garnished with cornichons, tomatoes and a hard-boiled quail’s egg. I found that the tonnato was great on the garlic toast in the breadbasket.
Dessert: The desserts that are made in-house are ricotta cheesecake, pannacotta, tiramisu, fruit tart, chocolate mousse and, my favorite, semifreddo. Semifreddo has the texture of frozen mousse and contains bits of nuts and chocolate. It is served with a fruit sauce and fresh whipped cream. La Piccolo Liguria also offers a complimentary plate of fresh fruit at the end of the meal.
Service: Waiters Chicho and Vladimir have been at the restaurant since it opened 21 year ago. I enjoy the performance as they reel off special menu items of the day. The service is excellent and dependable. A service that the restaurant provides is to have the leftovers you want to take home waiting for you at the coat check so there is no clutter of bags of food at your table.
Hours: Tue - Thu, noon - 10pm; Fri, noon - 11pm; Sat, 5pm - 11pm; Sun, 4pm - 10pm; Mon, closed
Price level: $$$