Restaurant Review: Basilico

I’ve sort of, but not really, reviewed other restaurants before when I’ve been away on vacation. I say not really, because basically all I did was share a picture of what I ate and where while away with a  few other details sprinkled in there. So this is really my first actual restaurant “review”. I didn’t even plan to do it until I arrived at this restaurant, Basilico, for the first time ever and as soon as I sat down and looked at the menu I thought to myself that I had to do a review and share my experience!

This italian restaurant is located in Millburn, NJ in a little charming downtown type area. It’s not that close to where I live, a good 30-40 minutes away, but my parents heard great things about it from friends so my family decided to go over the holidays. The restaurant is narrow, but does go far back. I didn’t walk around the entire restaurant so I’m not sure exactly how large it is, but I don’t imagine it being too large since the area I was sitting in was pretty narrow. The lighting is dim and the environment is loud as the entire restaurant was packed. We had a reservation and the restaurant’s website allows you to make reservations online which I always appreciate. There’s a chance that it was so busy because it was right between Christmas and New Year’s and more people are visiting friends and family as well as possibly having time off work, but I think it’s safe to say that this place is pretty full of diners regularly so a reservation is a good idea.

As soon as we sat down, I had a feeling I was going to be in for a good meal and I was not disappointed. Everything was amazing and delicious. As the lighting was dim, and I didn’t want to use flash because that’s kinda embarrassing at a restaurant to be flashing away at your food, I adjusted the lighting (exposure and shadow) on my pictures when I got home.

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First up, an assortment of bread, butter and other dips. I loooooove bread and they gave us a few different kinds. Some italian bread, some seasoned focaccia slices, bread with nuts, etc. I could eat bread all day long.

Appetizers: We shared the Arancini di Riso alla Siciliana which according to their menu is “Sicilian fried rice balls stuffed with meat sauce, peas caciocavallo cheese served in a tomato basil sauce”. This was so delicious. I’ve only had rice balls one other time and that time just was fried rice balls with some cheese inside and that was it. That was good too, but this was so much better. The cheese, meat sauce, and peas were like a little party inside these rice balls. Seriously, just describing it to you right now makes me want to eat this right. now. We also shared the Calamari e Vegetali Fritti which is your standard fried calamri, but I found the batter to be much lighter therefore less filling (great since there was so much delightful food) and they also included some fried sweet potato strips and zucchini as well. 

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Entree:
For my meal I had the Tagliarini Neri ai Frutti di Mare which is described as “Black ink fresh spaghetti with clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari in medium spicy tomato sauce”. I’ve had black ink pasta one or two times before and liked it and this time was no exception. The seafood was all cooked perfectly and most importantly I loved that the pasta was al dente. I love when pasta has a little bit of a chew to it. The entree got a big thumbs up from me! Also, I didn’t finish all of it (no surprise) so I took it home and reheated it for lunch on another day. It reheated wonderfully and didn’t become chewy nor did the sauce separate or anything. 

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Dessert: For dessert I got the Tartufo Trio which consisted of vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo. I love tartufo and 99% of the time if it’s on a dessert menu, I will order it. I know it’s essentially ice cream, but I feel like it’s so much more than that! It was delicious and not too sweet, but I do have to admit that it was difficult to eat. The chocolate shells were pretty hard making it difficult to get into the ice cream. My mom got the Baked Alaska which I had never had before and while I liked the Tartufo Trio, I preferred the Baked Alaska and would order that next time!

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Overall, I loved my experience at Basilico and my tummy did too. The ambience was great and the presentation of each dish was superb. I love things that are aesthetically pleasing so my eyes did enjoy the plating. I highly recommend it if you live in the area or will be visiting and I personally cannot wait to go back! Especially for those stuffed rice balls and baked Alaska!!

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I hope you enjoyed my first restaurant review. They probably won’t be happening all too often since I want to only review places that are new to me and I don’t go to new places regularly. Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

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