Wait: At 7:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, there's room for two at a booth.
Service: About 15 minutes into the meal, I'm drinking from my husband's water glass, and refills are not offered until our main plates arrive.
Our young waitress fails to impress, but she's pleasant enough and makes an effort to be thorough.
Meal: It's good, basic Italian food. Dinners come with a warm loaf of flour-dusted ciabatta and choice of soup or salad — all three are done well.
Our first starter, the caprese salad, is refreshing and zesty. The bowl of sliced ripe tomatoes, chopped red onion and fresh mozzarella is tossed with an olive oil and vinegar dressing that fills the bottom of the bowl. The appetizer is more than enough for four to share.
The Mama Lisa Trio special is a great idea — it's one stuffed shell, one manicotti and a square of meat lasagna with either marinara or meat sauce. The slightly sweet meat sauce does its job of cutting the ricotta richness — it's more than I could eat in two meals.
The scents drifting from the sausage boscaiola remind me of Italy's fine pesto dishes. The heavy-on-the-basil pomodoro sauce covers every inch of penne pasta, sliced sausage and portobello mushroom. It's one of the best Italian dishes I've come across in a while.
Scene: There are several roomy dining areas, all with vinyl grapevine table cloths and thin, blue, officelike carpet.
Bathroom break: I've seen better bathrooms in high school gyms — it's an old building, and it really shows here.
Tab for two: $60 with tip and tax for fried stuffed olives ($5.95), caprese salad ($6.95), sausage sausage boscaiola ($13.50), Mama Lisa Trio ($12.95), two meatballs ($2) and tiramisu ($5.25).
If work weren't buying: It's a nice pasta place that also serves pizza in a restaurant-deprived section of the San Tans. Why not give it a shot?
Baci Italian Bistro
18256 E. Williams Field Road, Higley
Major cross streets: Williams Field
and Power roads
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11a.m. to 10p.m. Friday, 4 to 10p.m. Saturday, 4 to 9p.m. Sunday
Booze: Full bar, beer and wine
Health report: No critical violations on Aug. 10
Kid friendly: Yes
Web site: No