In the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, treasured between Chinese delis and shops, there is a place that is reminiscent of a neighborhood that a few years ago was known as Brooklynâ€™s little Italy.
A gastronomic monument, though not in appearance, Il Colosseo Restaurant first opened its doors in 1991. Since then, it has been delighting its public with its grandmotherâ€™s delicious recipes that bewitch pizza, pasta, meat and seafood lovers.
The array of flavors is one side of Il Colosseo; the other is the reasonable price and dish portions. An average price of $40.00 per person can afford you a quality three-course meal, complemented by a good service.
As you enter the restaurant, the aroma of freshly fried garlic and lemon impregnate your senses while the desserts displayed in the coffee bar bestow a preview of what awaits you.
The small tables covered with white tablecloths, the open kitchen and the clientele who loudly laugh or either solemnly relish the pleasures of the wine and the food, give a feeling of familiarity. Even the traditional Sicilian pictures on the walls seem to welcome you warmly.
To start the feast, the sea food salad is an excellent option. The calamari, shrimps and octopus were fresh and tender, as the chopped parsley, celery, garlic and red peppers added textural and visual contrast.
If you are not in the mood for sea food, for $9.00 try the cheese, olives and caponata appetizer. The olives, brought from California and cured at the restaurant, will not make your eyes twinkle. Its green and light flavor is the perfect match for the parmigiano reggiano and the caponata, composed of eggplants, onions, celery and tomato sauce.
Linguine a la vongole or linguine with clams, one of the many remarkable dishes, will for sure change your pasta paradigm. The spices is not the secret, but the pasta, always al dente, the spongy clams and the juicy sauce are light and equally pleasing to your palate and stomach.
Do you prefer to go classic? Will you bring your children along?
Then pizza is the way to go. Il Colosseo offers 17 varieties of pizza, but these are not the regular pepperoni and cheese though. They are baked in a brick oven, which gives them a distinctive woody taste and finish crusty dough.
The pizza schiacciata is worth to try. The combination of tomato sauce, onions and basil balance the anchovies strong flavor. If still not convinced, then the capricciosa deserves a chance. This pizza was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, artichokes, mushrooms and olives.
To complete the culinary experience, the ricotta cheese cake and a cup of coffee are a must. What is an Italian meal without dessert and coffee anyways?
The cappuccino was lovely as well as it can be. The cheesecake, made with ricotta cheese, was fluffy and lightly sweetened. It will melt away on your palate and if you are fond of cakes, you will come back for more.
Il Colosseo may not be the classic and fancy Italian restaurant that populates the streets of New York City, but if you are one who appreciates home style Italian food accompanied by a picturesque cultural experience, it will find its place on your psyche and appetite.
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