Say "Ciao" to great new Italian in Ames

As someone who lived in Ames for large portions of 5 years and who graduated from Iowa State University, I was decidedly sad to hear that one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, La Fuente, had closed.

La Fuente was a popular hangout for many friends of mine when we were in college together. But of course, nothing lasts forever...and for whatever reason...La Fuente is no more.

Fast forward to the present day and I am delighted to report that the Duff Avenue building La Fuente once operated in has a new tenant.

Ciao's Italian Restaurant opened its doors in June and because of a family birthday earlier this week, I had the opportunity to kick the tires a bit and check it out.

When we were there on Tuesday evening, it was a relatively light crowd. We essentially had one of the dining room areas all to ourselves. Less of a crowd means the server has more time to devote to your party and we had fantastic service. Honestly, it was some of the best service I've experienced at a restaurant in a long time.

With any dinner you order, they bring you a salad. That's no surprise, right?

But the real star of the show happens to be that they will bring you basically unlimited baskets of over-sized homemade garlic rolls. I'm telling you, these are right up there with some of the best you'll ever enjoy at an Italian restaurant. They were fresh out of the oven, moderate in garlic flavor, and very soft.

Between the salad and the rolls, you could just about call it good there...but then there are the entrees.

I had the lasagna. It was above average lasagna but nothing extraordinarily memorable. Certainly worth having again, though. Several others in our group tried other pasta dishes and seemed to find them all agreeable.

All in all, this was an excellent evening out to dinner. There are a lot of great restaurants in Ames and a lot of new restaurants in Ames, so there are no shortage of choices. That said, Ciao's is worth your consideration.

I know I'll be back...if for no other reason than to have another basket of those rolls!

As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Story County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this site.