Thursday, January 10, 2013


To say there's a hidden gem in Atlantic City, New Jersey wouldn't begin to do this place justice. And it certainly wouldn't come close to accurately describing how off-the-beaten path this restaurant is. Located on a block you probably would never walk down, inside the basement of a house, Chef Vola's is truly hidden, truly a gem, and truly hard to get into. If that scares you off or turns you off from wanting to try this place, then I'm glad because I would never want Chef Vola's to become another tourist trap. So why write about it then you may ask? Well, because it is that amazing, that I would honestly never venture to Atlantic City again if I couldn't get a reservation and enjoy a meal here while I was in town.
When you first walk in, you enter a small waiting room that feels homey and comfy.  There are pictures  hanging on the wall of all the celebrities who have eaten here (ranging from Beyonce and Jay Z to Sylvester Stallone and Frank name it! )
Once inside this BYOB, it's elbow to elbow with your fellow diners.  There are three small rooms where you can sit, all very simply decorated- think eating at mom's or grandma's house- nothing fancy, nothing frilly.  I'm talking wood chairs, white tablecloths, and blue polyester place mats.  Period.  But, that is all part of the charm.
 There is a menu, and there are specials, but as we learned (from one of the owner's sons Lou who happened to be our waiter) there are only a couple of things that you should have when you dine at Chef Vola's.
 We listened and we were impressed.  We started with their classic salad (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepperoni slices, provolone cheese cubes, hot peppers and croutons lightly dressed in a sweet house made vinaigrette).  Simple, but well done.
 Then we had linguini in their special white clam sauce.  The clams were chopped small and the sauce was finger-licking, bread-dunking, finish your plate good!
 For main course, Rich had veal parmigiana and I had chicken parmigiana.  The meats were pounded out thin, lightly breaded, fried to perfection and topped with the best "gravy" and mozzarella you could imagine.

 For dessert (which there hardly was any room for, but how could you not?), we had their homemade frozen banana cream pie...what they are known for and what Frank Sinatra said he wanted as his last dessert supposedly!  The bananas were sweet, the crust was made of oreo cookie, and it all worked together in the most perfect way!  Simply delicious!
 Then look at how your check comes to your table, in a Chef Vola's cigar box...very cool!
Eating at Chef Vola's made our time in Atlantic City!  It's Italian food done oh so right!!!  Truth is, there was a time when Chef Vola's phone number wasn't listed and you really could not get in.  Now, it's won a James Beard award, it's written-up in Zagat, and has a listed number.  But, even with that being said, it's still tough to get a reservation (especially in the summer), and you'll be asked how you found out about Chef Vola's when you do call.  At Chef Vola's you are treated like family.  It's about good food, good times, and leaving with a very good feeling in your tummy.  If you are lucky enough to eat at Chef Vola's, you'll be very happy you did!

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