HOMEMADE SAUCES, PASTAS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

The delicious smells surround you as soon as you walk through the door of Biagio's Bistro on Ludlow Avenue in the gaslight district of Clifton.

That's Biagio Lamassa facing diners from behind a couple of countertop burners as he prepares the meals. He's folding homemade penne pasta into a tomato meat sauce with mushrooms. Or fussing over chicken breast in a white wine butter sauce. Sit down already, it's time to eat.

Since its opening in 1999, Biagio's has been charming patrons with its cozy and warm ambience, delectable Southern Italian food, and Lamassa, owner and chef.

Lamassa began working in the hospitality and restaurant industry as a young boy, alongside his uncle in Centola, Italy, south of Salerno.

His culinary training began at age 14 in Italy and has taken him to Switzerland, Paris and the Caribbean before he settled down in the U.S. in 1989.

His biggest inspiration in the kitchen? His mother's cooking. His Chicken Scaloppini and the homemade pastas have their origins in his mother's recipes.

Biagio mixes it up every weekend by adding a special dish, The Chef's Pasta, which is also available throughout the week by request. There are fresh sandwiches and a loaded dessert display.

His soups and sauces are homemade and his success, he says, comes from talking with his diners. "I learned from opening the place that you need to listen to your customers ... It's definitely a family because, really, I have a lot of regulars. They like what we do."

There's a small bar, great wine selection and intimate tables along the front windows where you can watch Clifton go by. Desserts vary, but usually include Tiramisu, cheesecakes and cream puffs.

"Everything I put in there, I would love to eat it," he says.

Biagio's Bistro, 308 Ludlow Ave.

(513) 861-4777 or www.biagiosbistro.net.



WHETHER YOU WANT LOCAL CLASSICS OR FOREIGN FARE, THESE TRISTATE RESTAURANTS ARE SURE TO SATISFY

Central

Arnold's*
210 E. Eighth St., Downtown
(513) 421-6234
American

Biagio's Bistro*
308 Ludlow Ave., Clifton
(513) 861-4777
Italian

Boi Na Braza
441 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 421-7111
Steakhouse

The Celestial Steakhouse
1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams
(513) 241-4455
Steakhouse

Daveed's at 934
934 Hatch St., Mount Adams
(513) 721-COOK (2665)
American

Jean-Robert's Table
713 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 621-4777
French

Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse
700 Walnut St., Downtown
(513) 784-1200
Steakhouse

La Poste
3410 Telford St., Clifton
(513) 281-3663
American

McCormick & Schmick's*
21 E. Fifth St., Downtown
(513) 721-9339
Seafood

Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse
925 Riverside Drive, Downtown
(513) 721-7427
Barbecue

Morton's Steak House
441 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 621-3111
Steakhouse

Mount Adams Bar & Grille
938 Hatch St., Mount Adams
(513) 621-3666
American

Nada*
600 S. Walnut St., Downtown
(513) 721-6232 (NADA)
Mexican

Nicola's Ristorante
1220 Sycamore St.,
Over-the-Rhine
(513) 721-6200
Italian

Olives
342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton
(513) 221-4200
American

Orchids at Palm Court*
35 W. Fifth St., Downtown
(513) 564-6465
American

The Palace Restaurant*
601 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 381-6006
Continental

Palomino Restaurant
505 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 381-1300
American

Rock Bottom Restaurant*
10 Fountain Square, Downtown
(513) 621-1588
American

Scotti's
919 Vine St., Downtown
(513) 721-9484
Italian

Teak Thai Cuisine*
1049-1051 St. Gregory St.,
Mount Adams
(513) 665-9800
Thai

VIEW*
2200 Victory Parkway,
Walnut Hills
(513) 751-8439
American

Washington Platform
1000 Elm St., Downtown
(513) 421-0110
American

East

20 Brix*
101 Main St., Milford
(513) 831-BRIX (2749)
American

Arthur's
3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park
(513) 871-5543
American

Barresi's Italian Restaurant*
4111 Webster Ave., Deer Park
(513) 793-2540
Italian

Bella Luna*
4632 Eastern Ave., Mount Lookout
(513) 871-5862
Italian

Beluga
3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park
(513) 533-4444
Asian Fusion

Boca
3200 Madison Road, Oakley
(513) 542-2022
Italian

China Gourmet
3340 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
(513) 871-6612
Chinese

Cumin
3520 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
(513) 871-8714
Indian

Dilly Cafe*
6818 Wooster Pike, Mariemont
(513) 561-5233
American

Flipdaddy's
7453 Wooster Pike, Mariemont
(513) 272-2337
American

Green Dog Cafe
3543 Columbia Parkway,
Columbia-Tusculum
(513) 321-8777
American

Green Papaya
2942 Wasson Road, Hyde Park
(513) 731-0107
Thai

Hugo
3235 Madison Road, Oakley
(513) 321-HUGO (4846)
American

Nectar
1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout
(513) 929-0525
American

Padrino
111 Main St., Milford
(513) 965-0100
Italian

Poco a Poco
2724 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
(513) 321-7626
Asian Fusion

The Precinct*
311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tusculum
(513) 321-5454
Steakhouse

The Pub at Rookwood Mews*
2692 Madison Road, Norwood
(513) 841-BRIT (2748)
Pub Food

Quarter Bistro
6904 Wooster Pike, Mariemont
(513) 271-5400
Continental

Teller's of Hyde Park
2710 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
(513) 321-4721
American

Terry's Turf Club
4618 Eastern Ave., Linwood
(513) 533-4222
American

Zip's Cafe
1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout
(513) 871-9876
American

Northeast

Anand
10890 Reading Road, Sharonville
(513) 771-4253
Indian

Antonio's
7165 Liberty Centre Drive,
West Chester
(513) 755-7242
Italian

Asiatique
9228 Centre Pointe Drive,
West Chester
(513) 889-2272
Asian

Brown Dog Cafe
5893 Pfeiffer Road, Blue Ash
(513) 794-1610
American

Carlo & Johnny
9769 Montgomery Road, Montgomery
(513) 936-8600
Steakhouse

DeSha's American Tavern
11320 Montgomery Road,
Symmes Township
(513) 247-9933
American

Eddie Merlot's Prime Aged Beef and Seafood
10808 Montgomery Road, Montgomery
(513) 489-1212 
American, Seafood, Steakhouse

Germano's
9415 Montgomery Road, Montgomery
(513) 794-1155
Italian

Golden Lamb Inn
27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon
(513) 932-5065
American

Guenther's Steak and Seafood House
7886 Cin-Dayton Road, West Chester
(513) 777-8880
Steakhouse

Jag's
5980 West Chester Road,
West Chester
(513) 860-5353
Steakhouse

La Petite France
3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale
(513) 733-8383
French

Maggiano's Little Italy
7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood
(513) 794-0670
Italian

Mama Vita's
6405 Branch-Hill Guinea Road, Loveland
(513) 697-9705
Italian

Mitchell's Fish Market*
9456 Waterfront Drive,
West Chester
(513) 779-5292
Seafood

Montgomery Inn
9440 Montgomery Road, Montgomery
(513) 791-3482
Barbecue

Parker's Blue Ash Grill*
4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash
(513) 891-8300
Steakhouse

Polo Grille
5035 Deerfield Blvd.,
Deerfield Township
(513) 701-POLO (7656)
Continental

Relish Modern Tapas
5947 Deerfield Blvd., Mason
(513) 204-6925
Tapas

Silver Spring House
8322 E. Kemper Road,
Blue Ash
(513) 489-7044
American

Soho Japanese Bistro
7655 Voice of America Drive,
West Chester
(513) 759-6876
Japanese

Tony's
12110 Montgomery Road, Loveland
(513) 677-1993
Steakhouse

Trio
7565 Kenwood Road, Kenwood
(513) 984-1905
American

Vincenzo's
11525 Chester Road, Sharonville
(513) 771-0022
Italian

Wildflower Cafe and Coffee House
207 E. Main St., Mason
(513) 492-7514
American

Wise Owl Wine Bar
6206 Mulhauser Road, West Chester
(513) 889-2500
Tapas

The Works
20 Grear Millitzer Lane, Loveland
(513) 697-8408
Italian

Northwest

Amma's Kitchen
7633 Reading Road, Roselawn
(513) 821-2021
Indian

Cock and Bull
275 E. Sharon Road, Glendale
(513) 771-4253
Pub Food

Grand Finale*
3 E. Sharon Road, Glendale
(513) 771-5925
American

Iron Horse
40 Villlage Square, Glendale
(513) 772-3333
American

Manor House Restaurant
600 Maple Trace Blvd., Springdale
(513) 782-4300
American

West

Cancun
6385 Glenway Ave., Cheviot
(513) 574-1639
Mexican

The Comet
4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside
(513) 541-8900
Mexican

Henke Winery
3077 Harrison Ave., Westwood
(513) 662-9463
American

Honey*
4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside
(513) 541-4300
Continental

Kriemer's Bier Haus
6052 State Route 128, Miamitown
(513) 353-2168
German

Maury's Tiny Cove
3908 Harrison Ave., Cheviot
(513) 662-2683
American

Melt*
4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside
(513) 681-6358
American

Nick & Tom's Restaurant and Bar*
5774 Bridgetown Road, Bridgetown
(513) 574-4242
American

Price Hill Chili
4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill
(513) 471-9507
American

Primavista*
810 Matson Place, Price Hill
(513) 251-6467
Italian

Slim's
4046 Hamilton Ave., Northside
(513) 681-6500
Continental

Take the Cake
4035 Hamilton Ave. #1, Northside
(513) 241-2772
Breakfast, Deli, Dessert

Thai Namtip
5461 North Bend Road,
White Oak
(513) 481-3360
Thai

Vinoklet Winery
11069 Colerain Ave., Colerain
(513) 385-9309
Steakhouse

Vitor's Bistro*
3232 Harrison Ave., Westwood
(513) 481-5333
American

The White House Inn
4940 Mulhauser Road, Hamilton
(513) 860-1110
American

Northern Kentucky

AOI Japanese Cuisine
1 Levee Way, Newport
(859) 431-9400
Japanese

Bar Louie
1 Levee Way, Newport
(859) 291-4222
American

Behle Street Café
50 E. Rivercenter Blvd., Covington
(859) 291-4100
American

Bellevue Bistro
313 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
(859) 581-5600
American

Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar
519 Main St., Covington
(859) 491-7777
American

Brio Tuscan Grille*
1 Levee Way, Newport
(859) 431-0900
Italian

Chart House
405 Riverboat Row, Newport
(859) 261-0300
Seafood

Chez Nora
530 Main St., Covington,
(859) 491-8027
American, Cajun

Dee Felice Café*
529 Main St., Covington
(859) 261-2365
Cajun, Creole
American

Hofbräuhaus
200 E. Third St., Newport
(859) 491-7200
German

Jo An Japanese
3940 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger
(859) 746-2634
Japanese

John Phillip's Restaurant & Bar
2809 Dixie Highway,
Crestview Hills
(859) 344-0444
American

Keystone Bar & Grill
313 Greenup St., Covington
(859) 261-6777
American

Knotty Pine on the Bayou
6720 Licking Pike, Newport
(859) 781-2200
Cajun

Mai Thai
7710 U.S. 42, Florence
(859) 282-1888
Thai

Mitchell's Fish Market
1 Levee Way, Newport
(859) 291-7454
Seafood

Miyoshi Japanese Restaurant
8660 Bankers St., Florence
(859) 525-6564
Japanese

Montgomery Inn
400 Buttermilk Pike,
Fort Mitchell
(859) 344-5333
Barbecue

Oriental Wok
317 Buttermilk Pike,
Fort Mitchell
(859) 331-3000
Chinese

Otto's*
521 Main St., Covington
(859) 491-6678
American

Pompilio's
600 Washington Ave., Newport
(859) 581-3065
Italian

Pub at Crestview Hills
2853 Dixie Highway,
Crestview Hills
(859) 426-PUBS (7827)
Pub Food

Riverside
512 Madison Ave., Covington
(859) 291-1484
Korean

The Syndicate
18 E. Fifth St., Newport
(859) 491-8000
Steakhouse

Vito's Café
654 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas
(859) 442-9444
Italian

The Waterfront
14 Pete Rose Pier, Covington
(859) 581-1414
Seafood, Steakhouse

Yesterday's Cafe & Tea Room
264 Main St. Suite D, Florence
(859) 594-4832
European, American

York Street Café
738 York St., Newport
(859) 261-9675
American

* Past Cincy Magazine Silver Spoon winne