My wife and I stumbled upon Riccardo Trattoria when we were checking out the line at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder next door and decided instead to pursue other options. We decided to eat there on a whim, and when we were done felt that we needed to return a second time.
All but one of the staff I have seen so far are Italian. The passion for the food, the homemade pasta, and the attention to detail make this mid-priced restaurant an incredible value for money. For an appetizer I ordered the Honeycomb Tripe Florentine, which was braised with tomatoes, what I believe were basil leaves, and Parmesan cheese. It was outstanding and exceeded expectations, and I would recommend it to those who do not normally care for tripe. My wife ordered Minestrone Genovese, which was not your typically tomato and lentil soup, but rather a wonderful pesto and rice soup.
For the main course I got the Paglia e Fieno pasta, which translates to "Straw and Hay" and is a mixture of spinach and white taglioni pasta, served au gratin with Fontina cheese fondue. Like the Honeycomb Tripe Florentine, it was also a decadent dish that was incredibly satisfying and I could not put down my fork. My wife ordered tortelloni filled with sheep ricotta cheese and spinach, and drenched in butter and sage leaves and served with parmesan on top.
To finish we had the panna cotta, a wonderfully textured mountain of soft cream goodness topped with a passion fruit coulis, accompanied by a side of grappa di moscato.
Eating here has renewed my interest in Italian food. Riccardo Trattoria is true Italian food for Italian-American restaurant prices.
2119 N. Clark