Ristorante Ottaviani is worth a trip to Cumberland

I guess everyone has a limit as to how far they’ll travel for a good meal.

Generally, my limit is about a hour or so, but that was before I dined at

Ristorante Ottaviani in Cumberland, Md., which happens to be close to a three- hour drive

I first ate there about two years thanks to the Tourism Office in Cumberland. Now, I go back at least once a year.

It is located in the heart of that western Maryland town, 25 North Center St., to be exact. You can park on that street or there’s a lot in the back.

To get there, simply take the downtown Cumberland exit off of 68, turn right at the end of the ramp, and in one more turn, there’s Center Street.

Cumberland makes an ideal destination for an overnight.  So it isn’t necessary to drive back and forth in one day.  But folks, I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they have gone to Ocean City for the day.

So instead of heading east, you go west, young man.

The restaurant in owned by a local Cumberland family.

Chances are one of them is in the restaurant when you get there.

Locally owned is always a good thing and not just in restaurants.

It opened in 2005 and I dare say it might be the best dining place in town. No offense to any other restauranteur who might be reading this.

The menu is divided into select entrees.

You can take a glance at the Daily Creations on one side while the other is broken down into appetizers, salads, pasta seafood, meat and desserts.  Salads, pasta and chicken dishes are available in half portions upon request.  Kids who are 8 and under eat free.

The Daily Creations can change two to three times a week.

Then again, they might not.

Most meals are available in dairy free, vegan, gluten free and vegetarian.  When you enter you’ll find the kitchen to your immediate right. So if you choose, you can watch your meal being prepared.

As I’ve stated before, I prefer not to do this.

I will assume those in the kitchen know exactly what they’re doing.

That goes from Chef Christina right on down the literal prep line.

For what it’s worth, here are my selections.

From the Daily Creations page, I’ll suggest the 6-ounce sea bass. I had it and it was terrific.

Actually, my dining companion ordered and she made the mistake of offering me a taste, which turned into me eating about half her dinner.

In the pasta category, I’m going with the bolognese or the Del Nonno.

In the seafood list, you have to get the Frutti di Mare. Your plate will be

filled with shrimp, mussels, scallops and calamari.

With meats, I’m going with either the eight-ounce filet or the chicken marsala.  For dessert, which we just had to have, it was the spumoni.

Ristorane Ottaviani is open seven days, dinner only.

I think reservations are a good idea.

Yes, some nights are slower than others, but for the most part, they do a very good business.

There’s seating for about 80 and that includes an outside area.  My favorite table is 12. That’s on the second level overlooking the entire restaurant.  The daily operation is overseen by Phil, Adrienne and Tony Ottaviani.

You can reach them at 301-722-0052 or go to www.ottavianis.com.