Restaurant News & Reviews

Service and ambience take Maggio’s Italian Grill from good to great

Chicken Parmesan is one of the menu items at Maggio’s Italian Grill in Macon.
Chicken Parmesan is one of the menu items at Maggio’s Italian Grill in Macon. WOODY MARSHALL/THE TELEGRAPH

Full disclosure: I liked Mirko Pasta, which was previously in this location on Bass Road, and much of the menu is the same as before.

Maggio’s Italian Grill has made some improvements on the Mirko business plan, such as sit-down ordering and waitstaff serving beverages. I also prefer Maggio’s herbed olive oil to Mirko’s cannellini dip, but I miss the hand-crafted bread.

Another subtle change is the emphasis on the chef-designed dishes, such as the apple sausage ravioli with boscaiola sauce or tagliatelle carbonara. The mix-and-match pasta and sauces still are available, but unless you’re well-versed in Italian cooking I recommend letting the professionals do it.

We came on a Monday night, which offers half-priced appetizers, so we went a little crazy and tried almost all of them. The Maggio Trio, usually for $11, includes calamari, bruschetta and fried ravioli. The calamari is beautifully fried, comes with a slightly spicy marinara, and is best eaten while still hot. The bruschetta and fried ravioli are fairly usual.

We also had the Tuscan shrimp, the sweet chili calamari and the spinach dip. The dip came recommended but the texture was not quite right until we gave it a stir. The shrimp and calamari, however, were the best of the appetizers in my book. Both have a sweet and hot sauce, which is perfectly balanced with the lightly fried batter. For less than $5 each on Monday nights, they are both a steal.

For our entrees, we asked our excellent server for recommendations and ordered the bourbon salmon, Maggio’s chicken, grilled ribeye and the night’s special, butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce.

The salmon was perfect, with a slightly caramelized glaze, served on a bed of al dente pasta. The chicken was a little bland, hammered very thin, and the ribeye was already cut into bite-sized pieces -- both techniques are used for speeding up cooking but it also gave the feeling of a geriatric home. My butternut ravioli was too sweet for an entree but still tasty.

We were stuffed by this point, but couldn’t pass up tiramisu and bread pudding, especially after hearing our server’s description. She also recommended that we see it plated before we packed the rest up to take home, which was good advice. The tiramisu was exactly as it should be with no liberties taken to make it trendy -- fluffy, messy and beautifully plated. The bread pudding is very sweet and I suspect is actually made of doughnuts, though our server would not divulge its secret.

Overall, the food probably rates three out of four stars, but the service and ambiance bump it up another half. Maggio’s is casual but unhurried; dignified but not stuffy. Everything seemed to be made and delivered with care, in a very comfortable setting.

Address: 1693 Bass Road, Macon

Phone: 478-477-4002

Website: www.maggiositaliangrill.com

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Low

Health Rating: 90

Price range: $7-$14

Rating: 3.5 stars

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