When I travel to the VA metro area for work, I try to find a hotel to stay at that won’t break my wallet. Little did I know, that this trip I’d stay at a hotel near a wonderful family run Italian restaurant that I would absolutely enjoy.
Tiziano’s Ristorante Italiano is in a small brick building. It didn’t look like it had much to offer from the outside. I watched it for a couple of days when I would drive by to see that it looked rather empty. I was wondering to myself if the place was even open. One day after work I had such a hankering for Italian cuisine that I thought I’d stop by. Tim was with me. We pulled up to the door and saw the open sign. However, there was one problem we noticed, no one else was there. The parking lot, which wasn’t that large, was entirely empty. We both looked at each other and then said to one another, “maybe we should try some place else and the empty parking lot is a sign”. So that night we did and tried another restaurant.
Although, we had a nice meal that night elsewhere, I kept thinking about this other restaurant. I wondered why no one was eating there. Determined to try it out, I talked Tim into coming with me for lunch the next day. This time when we showed up there were two mini-vans parked in the parking lot. I thought, “well, this may be a good sign”. We parked and walked indoors to see this beautiful open restaurant with a bar area, as well as the main dining floor, and a section of dining that was farther in the back and up a few steps. There was only one other table that I could see that was there while we were.
The dining area had a faint yellow paint on the walls and some very nice paintings hanging from the walls. My favorite part of the room was the archways. They were everywhere. You can see them in the picture below of the main dining room. You can find this picture and more on their website under “gallery“.
Based on what we saw, it appeared this restaurant was a family owned restaurant. An older gentleman, who we believe may have been the father, brought us to our table. A younger woman, who seemed that she may have been the daughter, waited on us during our meal. Both the host and the waitress made us feel welcomed. They had heavy Italian accents, which made Tim and I more excited hoping that meant authentic Italian cuisine.
We were not disappointed. We both ordered from the lunch menu. I got the fettuccine alfredo (one of my favorites), and Tim got the chicken parmesan. Our meals included a salad and bread. The salads and bread were okay. Nothing terrible, but nothing to really write home about either. One piece of advice would be that the butter could have been more room temperature so it was easier to spread on the bread. It’s a shame that we didn’t get it with spices and olive oil for dipping. That would have been lovely to have and would have alleviated the hard butter issue.
Slightly disappointed from the starters, we still felt this quaint restaurant had promise. When our meals came, we were pleasantly surprised. We were given very generous portions. I took half of mine home with me. I thought the alfredo sauce was very light, yet had that nice sharp parmesan taste. It was creamy and the noodles were cooked perfectly. Tim’s chicken was nice and moist and he really enjoyed his meal as well.
Now, it has been a couple of months since we went there, and I am now writing up this review. Looking back at Tim’s and my meal, I remember my meal being very good and remember the creaminess and taste of the alfredo and the noodles being a much better experience than my visit to Vapiano’s (see review for Vapiano’s for more information). However, Tim remembers liking his meal, but wasn’t blown away. He doesn’t remember exactly how the tomato sauce was, he thinks it may have been semi-chunky with a touch of pepper, but not much. I guess this says that we both really did enjoy our meals here, but at the same time, they weren’t so amazing that they stuck with us. With that being said, would we go here again? Sure. The food and service was great and very affordable, our whole check was less than $20 for both of us. Would we recommend this place to you? Well, you may not experience an Italian cuisine awakening, but you will get good food. You just need to come inside and ignore the fact that the parking lot may be empty. In this case, we learned not to judge this restaurant by its parking lot.