UPDATE: Bambino has since closed.
After writing about restaurants for four years, some of our older posts desperately need to be updated. When we visited Bambino in July 2011, they had only been open for a couple weeks and their pizza oven wasn’t working. We knew that the dining experience could change with time and we weren’t able to try any of their pizzas, which is an important feature on their menu. When figuring out a dining spot for six before Friday night’s Book of Mormon show, Bambino came to mind as a restaurant that we could try again that would satisfy some of our less adventurous dining companions.
On a Friday evening the restaurant was busy, all of the seats at the bar were taken and it was clear that making reservations was a good idea. We were seated right near the entrance at an elevated table. I thought the height made dining a little awkward but the rest of our group seemed to enjoy it. The only other negative of our table location was the front row seats we had of the hostess and waitresses getting into a couple heated conversations with each other. Those are really the only complaints, the service and timeliness of our food and drinks was very good.
We ordered a couple drinks off their revamped cocktail list. Their version of an Americano had a nice balance of sweet tonic and bitter apero; very refreshing for a warm evening. Alli didn’t enjoy their Strawberry Basil Gimlit as much, the flavor was alright but getting random chunks of fruit stuck in your straw isn’t the greatest sensation. My mother in law enjoyed her Bambino Lemonade (sky citrus, sorbet, prosecco, mint) so much that she actually ordered a second drink.
- Restaurant Type: Semi-Fine Dining,
- Cuisine: Italian
- Prices: Apps $9-13, Pizza $12-14, Entrees $13-28
- Location: Downtown Buffalo
We started the meal with several offerings off their Mozzarella Bar menu; Alli ordered the House Made Burrata, I tried the Prosciutto Di Parma and her dad ordered the Fried Mozzarella. I was really impressed with all three, the mozzarella seemed fresh and the burrata had that wonderful creamy center. The prosciutto was cut thin and added a great salty kick to the mozzarella. The third dish was simply really good fried mozzarella, nothing too fancy but done right. Our friends also ordered the stuffed peppers that were a very solid take on the WNY classic dish, the only complaint being the wide range of spicy that each bite could have. Some bites were incredibly potent while others had no kick at all.
We were anxious to finally try their pizza, so we decided to order their simple Margherita as an entree. Our expectations for wood fire pizza has grown over the last two years and after looking at their seemingly impressive oven, we were excited. The toppings on the pizza were quality, but the actual crust was still very doughy and not that crisp. If we were to revisit the restaurant, we’d ask for the crust to be a ‘light well done’ and hope for it to be better. Another person at our table ordered the Prosciutto pizza with balsamic vinegar, pears and gorgonzola. Each slice had a lot of flavors going on and the crust had a little char and crunch, but was still a little too soft and flavorless for my taste.
The rest of our entrees were much better, the fresh pasta courses of spaghetti, carbanara and bolognese were all received well. You can really taste the difference with their freshly made noodles. The Spaghetti Carbonara was simple and just perfect. The combination of the savory egg yolk, a generous portion of salty pancetta and the kick of black pepper went great with the homemade pasta. My mother in law ordered a steak entree which was not as impressive. The steak was cooked as ordered but the actual flavor of the beef was definitely lacking.
We didn’t have any stomach space or time for desserts, but our group walked away from Bambino feeling satisfied with most dishes. The restaurant definitely has a very welcoming atmosphere and I’d like to go back and order some more mozzarella and pasta entrees. If the pizza was better, this could be one of our favorite restaurants in the city but for now it will remain a nice option before heading to a Shea’s show.