While I was out with my mom and son today investigating a new shop in the Farm Shopping Center here in Tulsa, we stumbled on a restaurant that has to be the most authentic of its kind of all the places I have tried. I’m not kidding. Zio’s doesn’t hold a candle to the delightful atmosphere and taste sensations I had tonight. Even Michelle’s in North Carolina doesn’t quite meet the same level of flavor and skill that this wondrous place has.
What is this place you ask? Villa Ravenna is the name.
When you step into this hidden treasure, you feel as though you are whisked away to some place in Italy with the decor and music. They keep the lighting low to give a more personal and classy feel and I felt right at home once we were seated. Yes, were seated quickly and attended to as if we were the most important people in the universe.
I have been in places where the service is okay, they keep your drinks full and make sure your order is exactly what you wanted, but the servers just don’t have that sense of loving their jobs and need to make sure you are comfortable. At Villa Ravenna, all the staff were very attentive, had genuine smiles and were more than happy to explain the menu and what was in the entrees and appetizers. (We didn’t have dessert there, so that won’t be mentioned). Everyone looked and acted professional and had impeccable manners.
Now, on to what makes this post worth the writing; the food.
Our appetizer was a cheese plate. Brietta cheese, so creamy, rich, and delectable, there was nothing left of it. It came with prosciutto ham, arugula with a light vinaigrette and very delicious basil sauce for dipping. When the plate was set in front of us, our eyes drank in the beauty of the plating and our noses took in every scent before a morsel touched our tongues. I’m no fan of balsamic vinegar, but for them, I will make an exception. I’ll be going back again just for the appetizer.
As in most Italian, or Italian style restaurants, we were given bread to go with our meal and to snack on while we waited for our food to arrive. This is where I noted just how fresh everything was. You can taste in every bite that it was made that day. It had that nice, crusty exterior and soft interior brushed lightly with butter and dusted with herbs. In a saucer on the side, they had a dipping sauce made from a very light olive oil and seasoned with traditional Italian seasonings. None of could resist it once we gave it a try.
Our entrees were just as delicious, if not more, as the bread and appetizer. Mom and I had variations of lasagna and Colin, my son, enjoyed their Spaghetti Bolognese. I’ll say this, our eyes were not lying when we saw those plates set before us.
Colin’s spaghetti was simple and very little sauce as requested. He slurped up every bite and picked at the bits left behind. For him, that is a compliment to the chef. There nothing left to clean up and I was pleased that he enjoyed it so much. I’m sure he would have asked for more if it were possible. The children’s portions were definitely perfectly sized for little tummies. Of course, he also had like six pieces of bread, too.
Mom had the eggplant lasagna. It wasn’t a huge portion, but it definitely wasn’t small. The marinara was savory without being too highly seasoned. I could smell just how savory it was and it was a pleasing scent. The disks of eggplant were just thick enough, tender, and buttery soft with a light coating of cheese. As much as I wanted to taste, I was too busy with my own. She admired it before finally digging in.
I had the Lasagna Bolognese. This means it’s your basic lasagna with tomato sauce and the traditional cheese filling between the layers. Instead of being ricotta like I’m used to, they used a bechamel, a cheese sauce of sorts, that was creamy and rich, but it did not overpower the rest of the dish. This could possibly the one dish I took my time to savor every bite and enjoy the texture of the noodles with the sauce and seasonings. I have never felt so satisfied after eating lasagna.
While were waiting for our entrees, we had a chance to meet one of the owners. He was a very sweet gentleman and explained the history of the restaurant. He’s funny and very personable; someone I wouldn’t mind working for if I were willing to go back into the food biz again. Everything we had was well worth the price we paid. They are not your average place. No, you’ll be paying a bit more, but it isn’t outrageous. At least you are getting what you’re paying for.
At no point were we ever rushed during our meal like some places do. They didn’t bring the check until we asked for it and made sure we were ready to pay before taking the receipt folder. We honestly could have sat there for a while nibbling on the bread, or enjoyed a dessert if we wanted.
I give Villa Ravenna five out of five stars, and two thumbs up. Everything not only met expectations, but surpassed them. If you haven’t been there before, do give them a try. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
For those familiar with Tulsa, you’ll find Villa Ravenna in the Farm Shopping Center tucked behind the store that looks like the front of a barn when you first come in. The Spiceology Shop is there just in front of it and that too is a quaint little place worth checking out.
For those not familiar with Tulsa, set your GPS to 6526-A E 51st St, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74145.
You can also check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/villaravenna.