Last night, I was all but kidnapped by the Appetite Portland couple and taken to dinner at Ribollita. Sounds rough, right? I had never been to this Portland classic, and despite the author of Portland Food Map's advice to go to Paciarino instead, we decided to get our Italian fix at Ribollita.
Portland restaurants have a habit of being much bigger inside than you expect, and Ribollita is no exception. I was surprised to see a second little dining room tucked around the corner from the hostess stand and kitchen. The decor is a little sparce, but the small spaces and low light create an intimate, cozy feel.
I started with the Heart of Romaine salad ($6.95), which is, as you can see, a heart of Romaine lettuce, topped with Gorgonzola, walnuts, diced bacon, and apple slices. It was dressed with a faint vinaigrette, which was fine, since the salad ingredients had so much punch on their own.
My entree was hard to choose, because there are so many great sounding items on the menu. I was tempted by the Eggplant Rollatini and the Chicken Saltimbocca, but settled on the Roast Chicken Puttanesca ($13.95). I can always be swayed by Kalamata olives and capers.
I also wanted to try this dish because of the homemade pappardelle noodles. I mean, you've got to order the homemade pasta in an Italian joint, right? And I really enjoyed them. They are thick, not overcooked, and help carry lots of sauce. The chicken in this dish seemed a little unnecessary; there was a lot of it and it seemed out of place. The portion was huge, making it a great bargain- I had more than half left over to take home.
We all shared the tiramisu for dessert. Again, another Italian classic that had to be tried. I liked that they use chocolate mascarpone cheese and that it wasn't too sweet. The ladyfingers were nice and moist, thoroughly soaked with espresso.
So yeah, I liked Ribollita! I didn't loooooove Ribollita, but that certianly wasn't due to any failings on their part. I am glad to know where I can go to get solid and relatively inexpensive Italian food in town. But it doesn't make my 'hurry back to' list (man, I sound hard to please!).