Cafe Sicilia ~ Bedford, Texas
May 2013 update: It's been about 3 years since we last visited Cafe Sicilia. Mrs. RJG and I decided to celebrate Mothers Day here (on a Friday night prior) with both our official Mothers' in tow (imagine that?). Food quality has remained excellent, and the restaurant seems as popular as ever. Strange then, that we find out that Ms. Stoman sold the restaurant not long after our last visit. So kudos to the new owners for maintaining the high standard set forth prior. Cafe Sicilia is quite possibly the best of the NE Tarrant neighborhood Italian restaurant stable.
Cafe Sicilia was yet another branch to the Moni's Italian restaurant empire. The original owners decided to sell out and open up Dal Italia in North Richland Hills (and they sold out again and the restaurant is now known as Oggi Italia Cafe) (May 2013: Which is now sadly closed altogether). Enter Karin Stoman, born and raised in South Africa, and who was looking for something productive to do with her time. She decided that it would be fun to run a restaurant, and she and her husband purchased Cafe Sicilia. NE Tarrant not only was able to keep a quality place, but one that was made even better by Ms. Stoman's leadership.
In demonstrating her strong management skills, she maintained the current waitstaff, chefs and recipes, thus keeping a direct link with the prior ownership. So, in this context, a visit to Cafe Sicilia will be familiar to other Italian restaurants in the area. They still even have the "Moni's Salad". But Ms. Stoman has slowly added in new recipes and she's most proud of her daily specials, which Mrs. RJG and I have have tried once in awhile, and they are indeed great.
We've been going to Cafe Sicilia since sometime in 2004, and (I think) not long after she purchased the restaurant. We typically go on average around 3 to 4 times a year. Mrs. RJG loves her Primavera dish and I tend to stick with the baked goodies. While most of the NE Tarrant Italian restaurants do this well, most notably Dal Italia and Niki's, I give the nod to Cafe Sicila in the preparation and added ingredients. And the sizzling temperature. And who doesn't love bubbling cheese? And lately we've been adding the arrabiata sauce, that classic Italian "angry dish", that gives us that special spicy kick!
As for personality, Ms. Stoman is absolutely delightful. Friendly to a fault. The restaurant has gradually improved its ambiance as well. A little bit every year, just the way it should be. Anything from a new ceiling decoration to a new sign outside, to better lighting inside, everything gets a little better. A wonderful place that's always crowded, but never jammed, and thus very comfortable. And the prices are very good, especially when you add in the BYOB aspect.
The restaurant is located on Bedford Road just off of Forest Ridge Drive (A little north of 183/121), in a time worn strip center. Cafe Sicilia is clearly the anchor and life of the area. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, except Saturday, where they're open only for dinner.