Raffaele Ristorante

So an Italian opens up a restaurant. And he serves Italian food. And the restaurant is named after him. You’ve heard this story before, haven’t you? (Specifically from Rocco DiSpirito, I refer.) I mean, how original is that idea? Probably as original as a Chinaman opening up a Chinese restaurant and serving General Tso’s chicken.

But this one’s a little different. Raffaele Ristorante is a new-ish fine dining Italian restaurant that opened in Royal Palm Place last fall. It’s by celebrated Italian chef Raffaele (see! I told you his name was in it!) Esposito, whose New York City-based restaurant has earned Zagat-rated praise. And if I had to guess, Chef Esposito’s M.O. in life is not to get on T.V. and have multiple T.V. shows about him.

The restaurant markets Chef Esposito’s trademark taste of clean, sun-inspired cuisine of Naples and southern Italy, and after dining there, I realized it was not false advertising. Raffaele is a wonderfully engaging Italian man who isn’t afraid to serve a little grappa alcohol to end a meal. And his heart is in his food. Here’s a photo story of what we had to eat:

Pre-antipasti of crab cakes with olives

A little antipasti of snails, potato cake, scallops and asparagus wrapped in salmon

Pasta was veal-stuffed rigatoni and risotto

Salad was a refreshing orange slice salad with extra virgin olive oil and olives

Entree was a duo dish: quail and branzino

Dessert included a pistachio cheesecake and pineapple tiramisu

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