There's just something about a home cooked Italian meal that makes you feel full and satisfied.
That's the same feeling you will feel after dining at , West End's newest restaurant, located at 75 A Brighton Ave.
Ciao opened on Nov. 23, and held its grand opening on Dec. 2.
Co-owner Mary Pat Marotta, whose husband Marc Marotta is the other co-owner and head chef, said the name of the restaurant is fitting because ciao means hello and goodbye.
"It's goodbye to Florida and hello to New Jersey," Mary Pat said.
Mary Pat and Marc opened and operated in Cibo in Fort Myers from 2004 to 2011, before selling the restaurant in May to move back to Long Branch to be closer to family and open Ciao.
"We're both Jersey Shore kids, and we have lived here most of our lives," Mary Pat said.
She said the Brighton Avenue is filled with "energy" and that it is a perfect spot for their restaurant.
"We explored other areas, but this appealed to us," Mary Pat said.
Marc is briging his long history of cooking which spans from New Jersey to Florida and is now preparing authentic Italian food that he grew up eating.
"I remember getting up early every Friday morning and smelling fresh calamari sauteed in garlic, tomatoes and olive oil," Marc said."My father still gets up at 8 a.m. and starts cooking his escarole with cannellini beans for lunch."
He said his childhood experiences with food influenced him to cook professionally.
That homemade taste is in everything cooks and Ciao is no exception.
"There is no wrong choice, you will be back so many times you will want to try everything," Mary Pat said. "My husband will only use the freshest ingredients and his portions are very generous."
The menu is simple and features, fish, pasta, veal, chicken and salads.
The linguine with white clam sauce is one of many highlights. While some restaurant's white clam sauce is bland or too garlicky, Ciao's has a nice balance of white wine, garlic and clam broth. Marc also piles on the littleneck clams, so it is almost like having two meals.
The grilled yellowfin tuna, which is served over ratatouille is another great and simple dish that shows Marotta can cook fish just as well as pasta. Tuna is always best when served rare or medium rare, and the red pepper coulis and lemon basil butter add great flavor to the sushi-grade fish.
"We use the highest quality and freshest seasonal ingredients available, coupled with an understanding of classical cooking techniques," Marc said.
Ciao is a BYOB restaurant, so guests can bring a nice bottle of white or red wine to complement their dish.
Ciao is closed on Mondays, but is open from 4-9 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. It is open from 5-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.