The first European explorers set sail with hopes of finding new, exotic spices to placate the palates of epicurious monarchs, but all they found were heaps of inedible gold. Pick up where they left off by broadening your mouth's horizons with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Italian cuisine at Ciao Bello.
Ciao Bello, which teams up with Tony's and Caffe Bello to form the Vallone Restaurant Group, hands diners menus composed of a sonata of seafood, pasta, and pizza. Menus are subject to change weekly with updated and new dishes. After settling into cushion-topped chairs, guests can warm up the palate with an introductory primi course dish, such as the mussels aiello, which gently accost taste buds with bursts of herbs, white wine, tomato, and garlic ($12.95).
After revving up the cuisine engine, try a plate of agnolotti pasta, stuffed with ricotta and spinach and drenched in a sage white-truffle sauce ($15.95), the paglia e fieno genovese with market vegetables, prosciutto, sage, and reggiano ($15.95), or the water-farmed pan-roasted sea bass barolo, which delivers grilled rapini and an Italian red-wine reduction ($28.95). Cavernous craws can be sated with a specialty thin-crust pizza, such as the mozzarella-and-basil-infused margherita pie ($14.95), or with the veal romana, which is accoutered with wild mushroom, crispy capers, and long-stem artichoke ($17.95).
- The Chicken al Matonne, too, is a win -- a lemony poisson, seared, pressed flat, and cooked under a brick. Moist and satisfying from the first bite to the last. – Ruthie Johnson Miller, Great Food Houston
- As soon as we sat down two waiters in tandem greeted us, poured our waters and placed the napkin on our laps. Great first impression indeed. – roflhouse