Driving to the bank my lunch plans were up in the air. Part of me wanted to try a Latin American place over near campus, while another wanted to find something closer. On my way back from the bank I spied Riccardo’s and decided to stop in for some Italian. The parking lot was teeming with cars. A small rectangular sign marked the entrance to the eatery and a small group of people mingled outside the door.
I slid through and walked into a packed dining room. A small sign instructed patrons to seat themselves, and I took a seat in the middle at a table for four. It felt like someone’s nonna decorated Riccardo’s. Plastic plants hung from the ceiling. Mauve walls half covered with wood paneling were lined with mirrors and Italian inspired prints. A small shelf near the cash registered displayed a variety of mementos. Behind it was the kitchen where two cooks could be seen hurrying about.
A waiter and waitress zipped about attending to tables, taking orders, and refilling drinks. A tall glass of water was slid in my direction along with a plastic menu. I flipped through Riccardo’s offerings while rolling the paper from the straw into a small ball.
Riccardo’s serves up pizza, calzones, subs, and various pasta dishes. As usual I had trouble deciding what to order. I was torn between a calzone and chicken parmigiana. I opted for the latter with a side of penne. The dish also came with a side of homemade bread with garlic butter. It arrived after a short wait on a simple beige ceramic plate. Six slices of bread were stacked on top of one another. The insides had been slathered with garlic butter and broiled. Each slice was slightly crisp and dripping with buttery tastiness. Three pieces quickly disappeared while I waited for my entree to arrive.
Eventually the chicken parmigiana was brought to the table. A large hand breaded chicken breast topped with melted mozzarella cheese took up half of the oval plate. Penne topped with red sauce occupied the other half. I cut into the chicken breast, the outside was nicely browned while the inside was juicy. The chicken breast was well seasoned and had just the right amount of cheese on top. As for the penne, it was cooked al dente. Riccardo’s sauce (or gravy as my grandmother from East Boston would call it) was heavily seasoned with oregano. When the penne and chicken were gone, I used the remaining pieces of bread to sop up the remaining sauce.
Lunch at Riccardo’s was good and very reasonably priced. Service was attentive throughout my meal, and the restaurant was well kept. Riccardo’s is open for lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and for dinner 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant is located at 3305 Capital Circle NE, can be foun online at riccardostallahassee.com, and contacted by telephone at (850) 386-3988.