Christini's Ristorante Italiano

Hours: 6pm-10:30pm Daily

Price: $$$$

Restaurant Details

If people can be measured by the company they keep, the same might be true for restaurants like Christini's: Of all the area's premium restaurants, only Christini's advertises in Gourmet magazine.

Chris Christini brings insights to his restaurant gained only after 40 years in a career that included tours with the likes of New York's The 21 Club and L'Originale Alfredo's di Roma. Such experience is evident everywhere, from design and operation to personal touches.

Chris Christini brings insights to his restaurant gained only after 40 years in a career that included tours with the likes of New York's The 21 Club and L'Originale Alfredo's di Roma. Such experience is evident everywhere, from design and operation to personal touches.

Christini's is located in The Marketplace on Dr. Phillips Boulevard. Its design relies on warm oak paneling, green wall and floor coverings, brocaded fabrics and Italian ceramics. A multilevel floor plan offers everyone a view. Walls are covered with testimonials and photographs of past diners. More unique details include a mid- 19th century mosaic of a hunting scene, repeated as a logo on menus and place settings. A strolling accordionist provides atmospheric background music.

Christini's is located in The Marketplace on Dr. Phillips Boulevard. Its design relies on warm oak paneling, green wall and floor coverings, brocaded fabrics and Italian ceramics. A multilevel floor plan offers everyone a view. Walls are covered with testimonials and photographs of past diners. More unique details include a mid- 19th century mosaic of a hunting scene, repeated as a logo on menus and place settings. A strolling accordionist provides atmospheric background music.

Such luxury comes at a price, and a plate of spaghetti costs $14.95 here. Include drinks, salad, dessert and a tip, and that pasta might cost you $50. The wine list is pricey as well.

Such luxury comes at a price, and a plate of spaghetti costs $14.95 here. Include drinks, salad, dessert and a tip, and that pasta might cost you $50. The wine list is pricey as well.

Business was booming the night we visited, and reservations (always recommended) are a necessity on weekends. The ratio of service-staff to diners was exceptional but still didn't equate to perfect service. While we didn't experience problems, diners at the next table became frustrated with a distracted waiter who couldn't get their orders right the first time.

Business was booming the night we visited, and reservations (always recommended) are a necessity on weekends. The ratio of service-staff to diners was exceptional but still didn't equate to perfect service. While we didn't experience problems, diners at the next table became frustrated with a distracted waiter who couldn't get their orders right the first time.

Our dinner began with a basket of bread and a piquant spread of pureed eggplant, garlic and olive oil. This delightful blend (I want the recipe) set the stage for more very well-prepared food.

Our dinner began with a basket of bread and a piquant spread of pureed eggplant, garlic and olive oil. This delightful blend (I want the recipe) set the stage for more very well-prepared food.

The menu covers all regional cuisines of Italy. Most of the classic dishes are represented, along with fillets and veal chops.

The menu covers all regional cuisines of Italy. Most of the classic dishes are represented, along with fillets and veal chops.

As an appetizer, I chose the evening's special of three seafood ravioli with a single shrimp in a cream sauce ($7.95). It wasn't much food., but the progression of delicate flavors encouraged a leisurely pace.

As an appetizer, I chose the evening's special of three seafood ravioli with a single shrimp in a cream sauce ($7.95). It wasn't much food., but the progression of delicate flavors encouraged a leisurely pace.

My companion also enjoyed her Caesar salad with oversized croutons ($5.95). As an entree, she sampled the shrimp della Cinque Terra, large, butterflied shrimp accompanied by fettuccine and a spicy, tomato-and-seafood-based pescatore sauce ($24.95). Served with baby green beans and a tomato rose, this entree tasted as good as it looked.

My companion also enjoyed her Caesar salad with oversized croutons ($5.95). As an entree, she sampled the shrimp della Cinque Terra, large, butterflied shrimp accompanied by fettuccine and a spicy, tomato-and-seafood-based pescatore sauce ($24.95). Served with baby green beans and a tomato rose, this entree tasted as good as it looked.

The dessert list ranged from ices to cannoli. The cheesecake ($4.95) had the pleasantly grainy texture of ricotta, while the tiramisu (46.50) was pleasantly sweet, not too strong and had an interesting cakelike presentation.

The dessert list ranged from ices to cannoli. The cheesecake ($4.95) had the pleasantly grainy texture of ricotta, while the tiramisu (46.50) was pleasantly sweet, not too strong and had an interesting cakelike presentation.

Christini's is among the top restaurants in Central Florida and is by far the best independent Italian spot on the south side of town. Our final tab topped $140, which makes this destination one for special occasions or company expense accounts.

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Price: $$$$

Payment Type: Amex, Carte Blanche, Discover, Master Card, Visa

Reservations recommended

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