It was Saturday evening and we had reservations for 8:00pm at Villa Ravenna. We were celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary and wanted to try something special. They didn't let us down on any level. It's funny how you have to do the song and dance with the waiter when you're seated. You know how they offer the most expensive items, that I've never found them to be worth the price, but I can see how they would make some extra profit getting that guy trying too hard to make a good impression or perhaps paying for an indiscretion. I never like those first minutes but you know the meal will be excellent if the wait staff handles the situation with the right attitude. We started with a little wine and dates stuffed with Mascarpone cheese and chives then wrapped in bacon and finished in the broiler. Oh.... My..... God..... those were the most delicious things on the planet at that moment. And they just kept raising the bar from there. The wine list was very interesting as the owner certainly has put much time into pairing his wine with his food. You'll find more than a few wines, regional Italian labels, that you just don't see on the wine lists of other restaurants. Unfortunately they can only sell these by the bottle so be sure to bring friends if you're looking to share something unique. Steph was able to get a glass of Super Tuscan, and sorry the waiter forgot to let us know the maker, and I had glass of house Chianti. Both were affordably priced and had better quality than we expected.
We shared a salad of spinach, strawberries, feta cheese and walnuts dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It was big enough for both of us since we were trying to save a little room for dessert. Everything tasted fresh and the balsamic vinaigrette added just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tart strawberries, dark green flavors of the spinach, slight acidity of the feta and richness and crunch of the walnuts. Again, a very balanced plate. The night was turning into something special.
Did I mention the bread? Freshly baked Italian style baguette, sliced and warm with a wonderful dip of olive oil, black pepper and several herbs. We could have eaten our weight just in bread. But I digress.
One of the reasons we picked Villa Ravenna was the fact they make their own pasta. Mmm, fresh pasta. So be sure to order to their strengths. Steph ordered a plate of tortelloni, which look like small ravioli, which comes with three different sauces. Pesto, Alfredo and tomato lined up to make a little Italian flag. It was cooked perfectly and Steph kept saying, "This is the best meal I've ever had at a restaurant." I had to agree. I had my favorite Italian dish, Frutti Di Mare or Fruit of the Sea. They called it something a little different on the menu. Clams, mussels, prawns and other seafoods mixed in a plate of fresh, homemade, pasta with a slightly spicy tomato sauce. Like Steph I think it was the best plate of Frutti Di Mare I ever had. Let's just say the prawns were cooked perfectly, not rubbery or cold like most restaurants. I'll say it again, compliments to the chef as he, or she, truly deserves recognition.
We finished this wonderful meal by sharing a dessert of Tiramisu, espresso and Sergio even made us try his homemade Lemoncello. The tiramisu was nice and moist, not too sweet and finished off the evening just right. Sergio's Lemoncello was definitely the best way to end such an excellent meal. It's tart and strong up front and slowly calms to a refreshing sweet lemon flavor on the palette.
What a wonderful experience. Great food, great service and an owner that is there making sure everything is perfect. With that combination I can say without reservation that you will never have a bad meal, or experience at Villa Ravenna. And I'm the Grumpy Fat Man so that's even saying a little more about their quality.
Thanks for a wonderful first seven years Steph! And I look forward to many more. I Love You!