I recently asked the proprietor of Trattoria Il Localino what Localino meant. He responded with a smile, "Crazy place". He soon after corrected himself with the proper definition of "neighborhood place". But you certainly could see the double meaning. Localino, to me, is the most fun one can have in Atlanta dining. The owner himeslf looks a bit loco, with a large head of wavy grey hair that is more reminscent of Einstein than an Italian chef.
Located on Highland Aveneue in a small strip building that also features the North Highland Pub and Wysteria, Localino is a family-run business and features authentic Italian dishes. The calamari are outstanding, and I look forward to the veal parm every time I go.
But the atmoshpere is what really makes this place tick. First, the space is quite intimate. The main dining room is quite cozy and eclectically decorated (this is where you want to sit if possible). Second, they play a wide variety of music from Italian classics like Mario Lanza to disco throughout the evening. Most patrons are will eventually be given some form of silly hat to wear by the accomodating staff. And about every 30 minutes or so, the house lights go down, and the giant disco ball hanging from the main dining room takes over to the tune of Dancing Queen.
But if you want to experience this place, let me give you a couple of tips. The staff here is very good with the upsell. When they offer to bring you something, you can pretty much bet it will wind up on the bill, even though it may seem at the time like a nice offer. The first time Lady Steakhead and I went, we wound up with a $200+ bill for just the two of us, even though the most expensive thing on the menu is only $19.95. Do your best David Spade imitation and learn to say no. Trust me on this.
But that aside, now that I am a seasoned veteran and don't make some of the rookie mistakes, I can honestly say this is a perfect celebration restuarant. Grade: B+.