This charmer has been the secret favorite restaurant of Long Beach cognoscenti for three decades and under the same ownership. One of them, Moe Shabbani, has a day job (real estate), a smart move when you’re in the restaurant business. Located in a semi-residential area, it’s the sort of place to which one can return time and again, knowing you’ll have a good meal, while keeping it to yourself. On the other hand, it’s fun to bring friends to show off your “discovery”. Choose the latter and keep CAFÉ PICCOLO in the black. There’s an intimate, indoor dining room but the place to sit is on their covered patio. It’s like a little garden surrounded by greenery with a fire pit and a fountain. At night, seductively lit, it’s quite romantic. But a wise man once said, when you’re with the one you love, everything seems romantic. And how’s the food? Delicioso, with an Italian accent. Appetizers from $9.95, vegetarian dishes $10.95. Among the interesting chicken preparations is chicken piccolino, with porcini mushrooms and goat cheese $16.95. There’s lamb, scampi and pasta. The best deal is the veal Florentine for $17.95, a generous portion of sliced, sautéed veal with fresh spinach, linguine and a vegetable mélange. Entrees include soup or salad. Almost too good to be true but you can trust me. We had an excellent waitress who did everything right. Telling us the special, she discretely mentioned the price. The most frequent complaint from readers and listeners in all the years I’ve been doing this, has been “we ordered the “special” but it was much more than the menu prices”. People hesitate to ask lest they will be classified as cheap. Not here!
Café Piccolo, 3222 East Broadway, Long Beach 90803. Beer & wine. Easy street parking. Lunch 11:30 to 2 pm, dinner from 5 pm. (562) 438-1316