Food Porn: Ilio Dipaolo’s Restaurant

There are some restaurants that are just part of your family history, something that can bring a smell or taste to memory just by hearing the name.  For me, Ilio Dipaolos is one of those restaurants, and to be honest I have probably eaten there only 7 to 9 times in my entire life.  Growing up my grandpa was always a good friend of the late Ilio Dipaolo, and he would always come over to our table and scare us kids by giving us a handshake with his gigantic wrestler hands.  I remember thinking that we were going to a “fancy” meal and sadly as a 10 year old kid, that meant that I would absolutely hate whatever they were serving.

Luckily my taste buds have grown as much as my pants size over the years (I feel they are related) and I now have a renewed respect for their menu.  Recently we decided to celebrate my mother’s 50th birthday at Ilio’s.  Sure there are other great Italian restaurants in Buffalo, and while I don’t claim that Ilio’s is the best (though I think they should at least be in the conversation) I will say that for me, it’s by far the one I look most forward to visiting.

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It is a rare occasion when I do not order an appetizer; this was one of those occasions.  We knew the portion sizes are always very large and did not want to fill up and instead just enjoyed the complimentary fresh bread and olive oil.  For our main courses, Alli ordered herself the 10oz Strip Steak with a side of spaghetti.  While the combination isn’t the most ‘traditional’ of Italian dishes, steak and pasta are two of her favorite meals so having both together on one plate was perfect.  Ordered medium-rare, they cooked it just how she liked it.

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I ordered myself the Swordfish Pescara, which is a grilled piece of Swordfish on top of Marinara sauce and served with side of pasta of my choosing (I chose penne).  Ilio’s sauce is one that I have grown up with most of my life; since they sell it in local grocery stores my mom has always used it in her homemade recipe and its a taste I’ve grown accustomed to.  While it doesn’t have the almost candy like taste of Chef’s famous sauce, it does have a hint of sweetness that I enjoy.  While the fish was tender and juicy, I wasn’t too impressed with the taste.   This is my first time trying swordfish and while it had a stronger fish smell than other seafood, the flavor seemed to disappeared when I was eating the dish.

The following dishes were ordered by my Mother and Brother who enjoyed themselves so much they barely had leftovers for the next day.

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PASTA PLATTER Home Style Cheese Ravioli, Gnocchi, Fettuccini & Manicotti

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Cajun Combo – Chicken & Shrimp served over Linguine Alfredo

The total bill for 4 dishes (no apps) was around $110, and that included a couple of beers.  Not horrible for a nice dining experience.  If you’re worried about having to ‘dress the part’, Ilio’s is a nice restaurant but that doesn’t mean that you would be turned away in jeans.  It’s surprisingly casual for the high quality of food they serve.  Parking can be a pain and we had to actually park on the street, but the walk wasn’t that bad.  I would recommend making reservations if you plan on going; we made ours for 7 pm on a Friday and we still had to wait 15 minutes while others at the bar without reservations were waiting on average 30-60 minutes for a table.

If you’ve never been to Ilio’s I can only reiterate that I highly recommend it, it has been a family favorite for years.  The food has always been great (their menu is quite extensive with pasta favorites, seafood, steaks, chicken and more) and the inside has wonderful memorabilia from Ilio’s wrestling career with pictures, newspaper clippings, and even some of his old equipment.  Expect to spend between $10-20 dollars for most dinner entrees; there are some cheaper lunch options if you go earlier in the day.

Ilio di Paolo's on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Food Porn: Ilio Dipaolo’s Restaurant

  1. ok this is my favorite independent italian restaurant in WNY, so BEFORE i read this post… just saying… and i am glad/surprised you went there finally

  2. i didn’t know you’ve been there several times already (or i just don’t remember)

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