While the location of Little Venice is unassuming, inside you’ll find a most delightful dining experience. Little Venice is located in a strip mall off of Ridgefield Parkway in the West End of Richmond.
Brothers Alberto and Peppino Mastromano, who hail from the Isle of Capri, own Little Venice. They’ve owned several restaurants in Richmond over the years. Their success continues in the present location. You’re likely to be greeted by one of the brothers as you enter the restaurant.
We arrived with our party of eight. Since it was a Saturday evening reservations were necessary. We were promptly seated at a comfy table in the back of the restaurant. The friendly atmosphere was enhanced by the cheerful greetings from every staff, or family, member we encountered on our way back.
The menu itself was a bit overwhelming. But that was before our waiter came to give us the list of specials. They all sounded delightful, but it became problematic that there were so many to choose from. Still, the waiter was more than happy to repeat the selections.
There’s an extensive wine list, but most of our party was underage, so we took a pass. I look forward to going back and enjoy the waiter’s recommendations for pairing with the meal.
With eight in our group, we have a variety of entre choices. I had one of the evening specials, the flounder almandine. The flounder was excellent, although the almonds were a bit overpowering for the fish. The creamy mashed potatoes and crisp green beans were an excellent complement to the meal. One of the younger members of our group wanted Chicken Marsala, which was not on the menu. But the waiter very graciously said, I think I can get that for you, and he did.
The young college gentleman in our group that ordered the filet was delighted with his choice because I’m pretty sure he’d not been eating like that in the school cafeteria. His description was that it was perfectly seasoned and cooked.
Rounding out our entre choices were the Vitello al Marsala, veal loin sautéed with Marsala wine and mushrooms, the Pollo Alla Romana which is a boneless, skinless chicken breast sautéed with artichoke hearts, fresh tomato and mozzarella, finished in a white wine sauce. And the resident seafood lovers in our group chose the special of crab and pasta served in a white sauce. There were no complaints from anyone. We were too busy eating.
After bread, salad and our entrees, we weren’t really thinking about dessert until we heard the choices.
Our hosts had been there many times before, and had been the ones to select the restaurant. So, while after the salad and entre we were feeling rather satisfied, when time came for dessert there were some definite must haves.
Highly recommended was the Bomba. The Bomba is a Mango, Passion Fruit and Raspberry Sorbet in the shape of a ball, dipped in white chocolate. When served it’s sliced like fruit into four equal sections. Also delightful is the Tartufo which is Vanilla and chocolate ice cream rolled in hazelnut and chocolate truffle.
If you’re looking for what goes for typical Americanized Italian food, then perhaps Little Venice isn’t your choice. If you just want pasta and red sauce, go to that place that gives you the endless salad and bread sticks.
Little Venice is a dining experience, not just a meal. And it’s a delightful one.
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