Ricardo’s Italian Restaurant

Posted on Tuesday, 2nd March 2010

Ricardo’s Italian Restaurant is a little Tuscan eatery that we – two girls at a loose end as to where to eat on a Saturday night – stumbled into. It’s not a well known restaurant, but I’ve driven past it a gazillion times and it’s always full, so I figured it couldn’t be half bad.

Although we had not booked, we managed to get a table, which was a bit of a squeeze. The dining room is rectangular, and most of the tables are packed very tightly along the wall. The menu makes for difficult reading as well. It’s one long laminated list of starters, pasta, fish and meats, in no particular order, which caused us some confusion as to what were starters or mains. There was also a shortlist of the day’s specials attached to it.

Fish soup with Sardinian fregola

Fish soup with Sardinian fregola

We started with a fish soup (crab, clams, prawns) with Sardinian fregola and chilli (£9.99). I am a big fan of Sardinian fregola, which goes deliciously well with fresh seafood and a rich tomato base. The menu listed crab as an ingredient, but this was hard to detect in the soup. There were two decent sized pieces of butterflied king prawns which were crunchy but not particularly flavoursome, and the clams were ok. This was a passable dish, but the soup lacked intensity of flavour.

A dish of trofie pasta with langostine, rocket and pecorino (£13.95) was disappointing. I had been expecting whole langoustines, but instead we were presented with a few tiny little cut up pieces of the shellfish. Furthermore, they did not taste fresh, but tasted as if they had been frozen. The pasta was cooked al dente, but the tomato sauce lacked richness of flavour and was a little salty. The portion was also very small. At £9 it would have been acceptably priced, but at £13.95, this dish felt like a rip-off.

Trofie pasta with langoustines

Trofie pasta with langoustines

A chargrilled fillet of tuna (sashimi grade) with rocket and fresh tomato primavera (£16.95) was cooked to my requested medium rare. But it was a very thin slice and it again made me question the value in the pricing. The tomato primavera was pleasant and worked well with the tuna.

Chargrilled fillet of tuna

Chargrilled fillet of tuna

Tuscan veal stew with golden onion, thyme and tomatoes (£16.95) was meltingly tender. There was a nice gentle flavour coming through from the onions, thyme and tomatoes, but I would have enjoyed it more had the flavour of the sauce been intensified through further reduction.

Tuscan veal stew

Tuscan veal stew

We also ordered two side dishes of roast potatoes (£2.95) which were quite tasty, and some green beans (£3.75). There were barely more than a dozen beans on the plate, and we couldn’t help but feel ripped off again at the £3.75 price tag.

For all of the food above, a glass of wine each and tap water (free), our bill came to about £45 each including service (we did not order bread as this incurs an additional charge). This left a bad taste in my mouth, as I really couldn’t reconcile what we paid to the calibre of the cooking at Ricardo’s or the volume of food that we received. The cooking is not bad – it’s not like you can’t eat it – but it’s not amazing stuff. It’s simple, basic cooking, not simple in the sense of home cooked rustic stuff, just simple.

The service was ok, although they got our soup order wrong. We were initially given a lentil and crab soup instead of the fish soup that we had ordered, and I think it was because our Italian waiter didn’t understand English properly.

The food at Ricardo’s is ok but overpriced. Or put another way, it’s very average for what they charge. We really struggled to understand why it is so popular, but they offer wheat free and gluten free pastas which obviously accommodates people who have these types of food intolerances. But if you have no need to seek out wheat or gluten free pastas, then this place is to be avoided, as your money can be better spent elsewhere.

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Summary information

Food rating: [xrr rating=2.5/5]
Service rating: [xrr rating=3/5]

Price range: 3 courses from £27 to £38. Excludes bread, sides, drinks and service.
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Website: http://www.riccardos-italian-restaurant.co.uk/

By the way, VoucherCodes.co.uk is a great place to find the latest money saving voucher codes and offers. They also have Tesco voucher codes to help you pick up ingredients more cheaply.

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One Response to “Ricardo’s Italian Restaurant”

  1. Collin Says...

    Thanks for sharing this to us. I am looking forward to visit this place and try their foods.

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