Café Mezzanotte pleases

By Father Leo Patalinghug

Still in the octave of Christmas and the beginning of a new year, when “midnight” has almost sacred meaning, this month’s Culinary Confession features an appropriately named restaurant: Cafe Mezzanotte (Italian for “midnight”).

Priests and parishioners of nearby St. John in Severna Park consider this a definite go-to place for Italian-inspired cuisine.

Ambiance: The restaurant has easy access, with open parking leading to a multi-level dining area, enclosed bar or private dining for intimate receptions. The interior is well-appointed and classy; guests sense a special meal is served here. 3.5 out of 5 halos

Service: Though the reception area is a bit tight, it was friendly. The formally-dressed and knowledgeable wait staff are helpful, efficient and joyful. 4 out of 5 halos

Menu: The menu is approachable and well described. Slightly higher prices reflect fresh ingredients and meals that are nicely plated, with generous portions. Traditional Italian dishes with special Maryland influences give diners unique options. There are also multiple menu options. 4.5 out of 5 halos

Beverage selections: Wines by the glass or bottle, including sparkling wines, are primarily from Italy or California. Mixed drinks and cocktails are moderately priced. 3.5 out of 5 halos

Food:  Each plate is cuisine oriented. Thoughtful but unpretentious plating gives diners pause to appreciate beautiful food before eating it. Seafood specials don’t last long – a good sign of freshness. The cuisine is well-seasoned, appropriately cooked and finished with purposeful garnish, such as oil, cracked pepper or fresh grated cheese – respecting food quality and integrity of flavors. 4 out of 5 halos

Each year, midnight on New Year’s means a change – a new day – a chance to be better for God and one another. Don’t wait another year to make this change. Every time the clock strikes “mezzanotte,” resolve to be better for your body, mind, and soul. Mezzanotte’s food is a good place to start.

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