(Originally posted 4/22/07)
Over the weekend, I wanted to dine at an Italian restaurant, Facia Bella, in Maplewood Square in Melrose. I had not been there in about six months. It had always had excellent food and when I had lived closer I had dined there frequently. To my surprise, Facia Bella was gone and there was a new Italian restaurant there, Ristorante Serena.
So, I took a chance and decided to dine there. The interior had been redecorated and it was very simple and spacious. At around 6pm, on a Friday night, there were few people there dining. The menu had a good variety of Italian dishes, priced about $14-18 per entree. The wine list was small, with a number of Italian wines plus some from California, Australia and elsewhere.
We began dinner with an antipasto which consisted of meats and veggies, including prosciutto, salami and capicole, tomato, mozzarella and peppers. Everything was very fresh and tasty. They also brought fresh bread to the table, thin slices with a nice crusty exterior. We had an appetizer, the polpette, which are fried meatballs. This was an oval shaped meat ball that had been fried so that the exterior was crispy. I had never had this before and did find the exterior a bit dry though I am unsure whether that is how it should be or not. There was a side of Italian red sauce though, and the interior of the meatball was very moist and tasty.
Dinner was the chicken parmigiana with a side of ziti. It took a little time for the dinner to come because it was made to order. I certainly do not mind waiting for such matters, especially as the results often can be quite good. And in thise case, it was worth the wait. The chicken was huge and I very much enjoyed their marinara sauce. The ziti was cooked well and there was freshly grated cheese to spoon atop it.
Service was very good. Our waitress had worked at Facia Bella before. Overall, this was a very good meal. The ingredients were obviously very fresh. It is reasonably priced, especially for the large sized entrees. I would definitely return here.
18 Lebanon Street
Phone: (781) 324-3170