For high quality Italian food, it’s Centanni

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Photos by Anthony Machcinski Outside and inside Centanni in North Arlington.
Photos by Anthony Machcinski
Outside and inside Centanni in North


By Anthony J. Machcinski

Observer Correspondent

Starting from the bottom of the food chain in 1998, Robert DaSilva knows the restaurant business.

With a passion for great food and even better service, DaSilva took over the former Bensi restaurant on River Road in North Arlington and hit the ground running. On Oct. 11, 2013, Centanni was born.

“I worked for the company and knew the environment,” DaSilva said. “I just started investing into it.”

Rebranded Cenntani, (which means 100 years in Italian),DaSilva strived to make his restaurant a new and improved restaurant choice.

“The food quality is better,” DaSilva said on what has changed with Centanni “Better service, better quality of food.”

While reasonably-priced food and better service topped DaSilva’s priority list when it came to changing the restaurant, small but still important details like the restaurant’s appearance also have changed.

“We have a new color, a new theme, even new tablecloths,” DaSilva said.

The changes to the restaurant have not only made it a more enjoyable experience for customers, but for employees as well.

“Everybody is happier to work,” DaSilva said. “I was just tired of working for other people and not getting anything in return.”

DaSilva credits the newfound success of Centanni to his two chefs, Edgar Madrid and Executive Chef Roberto Garcia.

“It’s Italian food freshly cooked on the premises,” DaSilva said. “We cook to the order. Nothing’s made ahead of time. Everything is cooked to be fresh.”

With Garcia specifically, DaSilva said that his focus is on the weekly specials.

“He is a very intelligent guy in terms of making specials,” DaSilva said. ‘You could tell him, ‘This is what I’ll give you’ and he would make you a great plate.”

DaSilva said Centanni has become known for its great Penne dishes, Penne Vodka and Penne Bensi – Penne pasta served with chicken, broccoli, fresh grape tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil.

“It’s all made from scratch,” DaSilva explained. “The penne is imported from Italy, all of our pasta is. We use extra virgin olive oil for everything.”

The better service and higher quality aren’t lost on the customers, who drifted away from Bensi because of the lack of those characteristics.

“(The customers) say it’s good to be back,” DaSilva said. “With people coming back, it was very comfortable for people to return. Everybody keeps saying that it’s good and they’ll have to come back.”

One item that DaSilva believes separates Centanni from other restaurants in the area is its take out menu.

“We have a large clientele for orders to go,” DaSilva explained. “Most restaurants don’t have that. It’s the same food, same quality, just people have the option to order in and go home.”

DaSilva said that when he took over the restaurant, that was one aspect that he never wanted to change.

“I was not going to change the take out,” DaSilva said. “Bensi did well with that. No changes were made except for the better food.”

For DaSilva, his biggest goal is to see the enjoyment of a good meal on a customer’s face.

“My goal is to make people happy,” DaSilva said. “I want to see people enjoy their food. I want people to tell others, ‘Go to this restaurant, because its really good now.’“

DaSilva realizes that his business will only go as far as the customers’ approval.

“I don’t own the restaurant; the people that own the restaurant are my customers,” DaSilva said. “Without them, I don’t have a restaurant.”

Centanni is located at 35 River Rd. in North Arlington and the restaurant provides take out as well as accepts reservations. For more information, call 201-246-0100 or visit their website at

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