New on the Hill (Federal Hill, that is), Zooma is quickly taking its place as a top-notch Italian restaurant. The atmosphere is elegant, yet cool, and intimate, with a new metro appeal.I have visited Zooma twice now—once for a friend's surprise birthday dinner, and once for Ladies' Night (probably the best deal in town). On both occasions the staff were more than accommodating, attending to our every need and desire. On a crowded Ladies' Night Wednesday evening, when all of the restaurant, except the bar area, was being used by a private party, the host was quick to finagle us a table and the waitress was attentive to when our wine glasses were empty and was quick to offer freshly grated romano and black pepper.The food is amazing. While the menu is trattoria-style, where everything is ordered á la carte, the portions are perfect and special requests are heeded to without question. The dinner menu includes everything from appetizers, pastas, and main dishes, and for a party of ten, everyone was satisfied with their choices. However, the most memorable aspect of our journey to Zooma was the dessert. On the second trip four of us shared a delicious and potent chocolate cake, and an out-of-this-world bread pudding. The chocolate ecstasy included layers of ganache between moist, rich chocolate cake. The bread pudding, my favorite of the two, and I am a chocolate fanatic, was moist and crisp with a hint of caramel gooey fun. Yum. Ladies' Night is every Wednesday evening. On this special night, unescorted ladies are free to choose any item from the Bistro menu for FREE. Expecting small portions and appetizer type foods, we were pleasantly surprised by pork tenderloin, panini sandwiches, and very large, gourmet pizzas. A glass of wine, or a cocktail, ranging from $7 to $12, is all you pay for. Probably the least expensive, gourmet dinner option in the city.If you visit Federal Hill, be sure to check out Zooma for a refreshing, yet old-world feel. You will not be disappointed.
March 4, 2006
From journal City Life of Providence: Intimate and Entertaining