716 Elmwood Ave | (716) 883-8066
As we entered Cecelia’s Ristorante & Martini Bar we were dazzled by blond in white, enchanted by acoustic guitar, and hungered by the smell of Pizza Margherita. Regrettable, the white in blond was merely the blond wood decorated with white linen, inflamed by the skylights on a sunny day. Unlike Simon & Garfunkle’s Cecelia, this stylish, family owned eatery at the heart of Elmwood Village since 2001, seems to be sticking around.
Cecelia’s is comfortably elegant, and wears the restaurant or martini bar moniker equally well. In the summer the patio is often a buzz with villagers enjoying some libation – Cecelia’s extensive martini list or some of their fine wine selections. The single digit temps ruled out the patio, lunch ruled out the martini. Wine sounded perfect – we tried the Garnacha, Tepena from Spain ($7 glass). The wine list is creative and reasonably priced. I counted 23 reds, 9 whites and 6 sparkling. We were there on a brisk winter’s day after doing a little trinket shopping in the village. Love the Buffalove glass from Thin Ice Gift Shop. Nothing drives an appetite like a little shopping.
Given the fact our visit followed the holidays I went healthy – Grilled Chicken Caesar salad ($9). You can also get it with shrimp or just the salad. Just what the doctor ordered- lettuce was nice and fresh, the chicken grilled to perfection, the house made dressing tasty, with plenty of guilt-free freshly grated parmesan on top. It comes with some grilled flat bread on the side – nice touch. My companion went for the Eggplant Panini with Italian seasoned fries. Fried eggplant, grated parmesan cheese, provolone cheese with “family” tomato sauce. This is served on a Kaiser Roll, not grilled, so I’d call it a sandwich. As a sandwich it was delicious. The eggplant was cooked perfectly and the “family” tomato sauce is excellent. The fries were top notch if you like them thick- I do. In the interest of tasting we also ordered the sausage and stuffed pepper pizza ($12). Most of this went home to the family – honest. My only complaint is that I limited myself to one slice.
This wasn’t one of our most adventurous lunches, but in our defense it was right after the holidays. The lunch menu at Cecelia’s isn’t large- three antipasti, three salads, two pizzas, four paninis, and four entrées, but it is more than adequate. The dinner menu is decidedly more outgoing, and definitely Italian. House specialties: MANICOTTI – Filled with seasoned ricotta, baked in our family tomato sauce ($15); BRACIOLE – Thin cutlet of pork stuffed with cappicola, hardboiled egg, Pecorino-Romano, and fresh herbs in the family tomato sauce over spaghetti ($22); TASTE OF ITALY – Manicotti, Eggplant Parmesan, Braciole, Family Tomato Sauce ($22); LASAGNA – Chef’s creation (Priced daily). They also have several antipasto/appetizers – calamari, meatballs, spinach garlic bread…, a delicious salad menu, several appetizing pasta, chicken, fish, and Veal dishes (Veal Saltimboca, Parmigiana, Marsala and Piccata -mid $20s).
Cecelia’s is perfect for the intimate lunch in the winter but, to be honest, I’m longing for my return dinner visit on a hot July evening to sample a martini on the patio.
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