Neighborhood: San Ramon Norte
Address: City Center Mall. Food Court.
How to Get There from the Centro: Go north on Prolongación Paseo de Montejo, past the Burger King Circle. Turn right on Calle 49 (before Gran Plaza where there’s a 7-11 on the near right corner and Villas Hacienda Plaza on the other). This avenue is also known as Camara de Comercio. At the Blockbuster glorieta at Calle 20, head north. City Center Mall will be on your left just before the Periferico entrance. The restaurant section is located in the rear of the mall on the left.
Parking: Parking lot
Air Conditioned: Yes
Drinks: Full bar
Payment: Cash and credit
Hours: 1:00 PM to 2:00 AM, Monday through Sunday
Cosa Nostra is tucked in the back of the City Center restaurant area. Inside there are two levels for dining. The brick-lined walls are adorned with black and white photos of Italian folk heroes and newsmakers from the "old days". The white cloth-covered tables, soft background music and well-dressed waiters in black (complete with vests, ties and fedoras!) provide friendly, prompt and knowledgeable service which completes the ambiance of dining in Old Italy. Il Menu is in the form of a newspaper, with menu items dispersed amongst gangster and theater-like news stories. In the center of the menu is the wine list, which is a map of Italy with the areas marked with where your Italian wine selection hails from.
After ordering our meal, we were served a basket of very flavorful, yeasty-smelling, warm and delicious housemade bread and rolls, along with a saucer of olive oil for dipping and a plate of freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese. The cheese came from a huge wheel of Parmesan cheese set on a rolling cart. TWe ordered the Vegetali alla Griglia (grilled vegetable salad), Risotto Aspago Prosciutto (risotto with fresh asparagus and prosciutto) and grilled salmon with vegetables. Portions were generous. The grilled vegetables were crisp but tender, the risotto was done well and the salmon was not overcooked. The flavors came through via the use of the brick-lined, wood-burning oven which added a wonderful flavor to the items cooked inside. Il Menu is quite an extensive menu and we almost missed the lasagne, baked ziti, and wood-fired pizza selection towards the back. Of course, the dessert selections were towards the front and hard to miss!
Overall, a very pleasant and tasty experience, beginning with the bread and ending with a frothy cappucino and Sambuca. There are two patios and it is recommended to choose the front patio on later evening weekend visits, if you prefer a lower noise level for conversation. The back patio is part of an open area where several other restaurants and bars are located, and the noise level on weekend nights tends to be a bit high for dinner conversation.