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Ritrovo passes the culinary litmus test; even Nonna would be impressed

It’s not unusual for an Italian to say that a restaurant meal is never as good as Mamma’s or Nonna’s cooking. Add the accent of Sicilian cuisine and the bar is raised even higher.

From mini arancini to exquisite pastas, to delicate, delicious cannoli, Sicilian cooking is in a league of its own on the Italian culinary scape.

Ritrovo delivers dishes that would leave even the strictest Nonna impressed.

One of the reasons Sicilian cuisine is so unique is that its inspiration comes from a good variety of cultures that have called the island home over the past two millennia: Spanish, Greek, French, Moroccan, even Arabian influences – resulting in dishes which risk being too rich if these aren’t prepared to perfection.

Head chef of Ritrovo restaurant, Fabrizio Baglio, certainly passes the culinary litmus test, delivering a bold Sicilian menu with contemporary edge. Forget plain spaghetti and the average pizza, Fabrizio brings to the table dishes that would leave even the strictest Nonna impressed.

For entree, my partner and I shared a plate of beef and pork meatballs al pistaccio; that is, stuffed with pecorino infused with pistaccio ($16). Yes, one is never enough, so thankfully the dish came with four.

Also to share was a selection of finely crumbed seafood: whitebait, calamari, whiting, prawns and sardines – perfect to go with that glorious Mindarie view. To be honest, I would have liked to see more calamari included since the ones I tasted were delicious but too tiny to enjoy the full flavour.

Mains came in the form of scaloppini ai funghi (scallops of veal in a smooth mushroom sauce, $19) and fettucine carbonara: the vintage cheese in the latter complemented with bold specks of pancetta and black pepper ($19).

Please, don’t tell my mother how great I thought this food all was.

For the more ardent carnivores, Ritrovo’s menu also offers pollo alla cacciatora (slow-cooked chicken thigh) and a lasagne packed with minced pork and beef, bathed in béchamel.

Ritrovo’s drinks menu offers a variety of options to pair with your meal: a fine selection of Italian favourites along with trusty reds and whites from WA-based wineries.

We’d love to say we got to try desserts but simply couldn’t fit any more in after sharing two entrees and two mains each – and that’s saying something for folks on a budget. But we’ll let you in on what you can savour on the sweeter side of the menu: house-made tiramisu ($12), mascarpone and Nutella tart ($12), and a Sicilian lemon sorbet that tastes like it was shipped in from coast of Taormina ($5).

If you’re licking your lips by now, be sure to book a table at Ritrovo (it means ‘meeting place’, by the way). And don’t believe the earlier reviews about slow service. This place was buzzing when we arrived and service was nothing but prompt and cheerful.

But, please, don’t tell my mother how great I thought this food all was.
Antonino Tati

Ritrovo is situated on the The Marina, Mindarie and is open for breakfast and lunch from 6am until 5pm; and breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends. Visit their Facebook page here.

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