Bend, Oregon Ciao Mambo's

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ciao Mambo is a great place for fast, family friendly, and affordable dinner in downtown Bend. The Americanized version of Italian cuisine can be found in the old Han's location. Ciao Mambo is not the best Italian food I've ever had (of course that has been well documented) but it was a nice meal with good service at a fair price.

We got a table outside on the back side where we could people watch. The back side outdoor seating is much better than the front sidewalk in my opinion. We ordered drinks while looking over the menu and settled on some safe dishes. I was a little bit scared to try the seafood unlike LJR's review at The Source. Normally I don't read any other reviews before writing my own but I was looking for some information on Ciao and her review was ranking in the top results (was in the top, until this gets published). Laurie's review of Ciao Mambo is great, you should read it.

Finding a dinner downtown without breaking your wallet is a difficult task. The following items that we sampled came to a total of $40 not counting drinks.

The wife selected the Pasta Ravenna - Bowtie pasta, grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms in a roasted garlic cream sauce. This was our favorite of all the dishes. It was prepared nicely, seasoned well, pasta cooked perfectly, and a huge portion. The photo doesn't do it justice, that bowl is quite deep. She ended up taking enough home that served as her lunch the next day.

Our guests decided to split a large pizza. Abby's Favorite - Fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and roasted garlic marinara. Nice thin and crispy crust (baked in their brick oven) with a tasty sauce. I felt it was too salty but not to the point that I wouldn't eat it.

I selected the Manicotti Ripieni - Pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. For only $10 I felt it was a great deal although it was pretty bland. A couple pinches of salt and some pepper and it was just fine.

Now, there are some haters out there that are talking about how it sucks that we have a "chain" restaurant downtown. I think that's just silly. No one said anything about that when Typhoon! came to town. In fact, everyone seemed really excited about it. Plus this chain is only 4 restaurants big so far. Ease up off Ciao Mambo. Shoot, El Caporal's family has like 183 restaurants in Bend. No big deal.

I've also heard that Ciao Mambo is the Hooter's of Italian restaurants. Meaning that the waitresses could be part time models and are well endowed. I didn't witness anything to give me that impression. Although when our waitress poured my beer while standing on a bar stool, hula hooping, and singing, I thought it was rather familiar. I wish Hooter's comes to Bend.

Ciao Mambo 915 NW Wall Street Bend, OR 97701 Phone: 541-382-3000 Hours: Every day 5pm-close

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