Zia's on The Hill has been a popular eatery in that neighborhood since the mid-1980s, eventually venturing into retail sales with salad dressings and sauces, and most recently entering the food truck scene with its own rolling restaurant. The Zia's brick-and-mortar space, which takes up the corner of Wilson Avenue and Edwards Street, used to be an Italian grocery back in the day and still exudes an Old World charm.
Menu-wise, Zia's had a generous selection of all of the standard Italian dishes, from Vitello (veal) to Pasta. The menu offered some suggested wine pairings next to many of the items--always an appreciated touch.
For an apertivo, the Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms ($9), seemed a fine place to start. The dish consisted of five jumbo mushroom caps cooked in plenty of butter and stuffed with what was described on the menu as a combination of shrimp, clams and crab in a "garlic butter stuffing, topped with Parmigiana." Unfortunately, whatever seafood was included was sparse; the stuffing tasted mostly of cheesy breadcrumbs.
One thing Zia's can boast about is its generous portions. We ordered a small Zia's salad ($7), and it was almost a meal in itself. This bountiful bowl of greens was what most folks envision when they picture a typical Hill salad: romaine and iceberg lettuce, chunks of ham, artichoke hearts and olives topped with curly shreds of cheese and doused in the sweet Zia's house dressing.
The Pollo Alla Spiedini ($15) came with a dinner salad and a side of pasta, most of which ended up in a to-go box at the end of the meal. The chicken was covered in breadcrumbs and charbroiled. While the meat was tender and well-cooked, the whole dish could have used a healthier sprinkling of spices.
The Pomodoro ($12) was a hefty bowl of fettuccine, which was cooked nicely al dente and chock-full of mushrooms and olives. It was drenched with a marinara sauce, which was on the sweet side.
To cap things off, we split a pair of sweet, flaky Cannoli ($4), with chocolate chips in the filling.
Price-wise, Zia's proved to be very affordable, with most entrees being in the $15-to-$20 range, and as noted previously, we got a whole lotta food with each course.
Zia's on The Hill, 5256 Wilson Ave., 776-0020, zias.com.