Bacio di Roma gives ‘kiss’ of Italy

Cozy store offers limited menu of fresh salads, paninis

Bacio di Roma blends beautifully among the row of eateries on West Chimes Street near LSU’s oak-filled campus.

The Italian café lives up to its name and offers a kiss, a glimpse, of Italian architecture and culture, including the multi-colored stone floor that captivated me and my guests as we entered. The meals were also served on rustic china dishes that anyone would envy for their dining room table.

We ordered the pollo romano panini ($6.99) with rotisserie chicken salad, creole tomato dressing, sliced roma tomatoes and lettuce. We also picked the tacchino panini ($7.99) with turkey, tomatoes, spinach and a sweet fig sauce. While the bread was a little hard, the dressings in the paninis were extremely fresh. For those who appreciate a little sweetness on their sandwiches, the tacchino would be a perfect pick. You can also choose to build your own panini ($6.99), which we did with provolone cheese, ham, roasted peppers and tomatoes. The roasted peppers added a little kick to the fresh ingredients that suited us well.

The strawberry salad, ($5.99) with turkey (an extra 75 cents), spinach leaves and tomatoes, was very basic, yet satisfyingly fresh.

We topped off our visit with the main attraction of the café — the gelato that is made fresh daily. The flavors vary and we tried a small size of cake, a vanilla and lemon mix, and mixed fruit (each $3.99). Additional sizes are available, but the small is sufficient, packed with flavor and product. The cake gelato was my personal favorite — rich, creamy and smooth. The lemon leaned more toward the tart side and tasted a bit like Italian ice instead of a smooth gelato, as did the mixed berry. However, there are plenty of flavors to choose from that should delight any visitor.

The restaurant also offers soups, crepes and coffee. We tried an iced latte ($3.25) that was forgettable.

While we found the food choices and the restaurant as a whole limited, and our visit short-lived in the cozy dining area, for fresh sandwiches and salads with a kiss of culture from Rome, Bacio di Roma is the place to stop.