Best Italian Restaurant (2007)

Riccardi's Italian Dining & Lounge

There's a joke among Dallas' culinary gentry that the best place for decent Italian is York Street, Sharon Hage's jewel where only the holy spirit of Tuscan cookery haunts her menu. That's why Riccardi's is such a surprise. It not only serves distinctive cuisine from owner Gaetano Riccardi's hometown of Avellino (near Naples), it bottles three of its own wines from the province of Avellino: a Greco di Tufo (white); the oldest variety of Avellino, the nutty and fruit forward Fiano di Avellino (white); and the rich and earthy Riccardi Taurasi, a red wine made from the Aglianico grape that is flush with food-friendly sharpness that unravels layers of balanced complexity. The menu includes spectacularly executed crimson sheers of carpaccio strewn with capers, and a creamy risotto mare blooming with plump shrimp, sweet lobster and tender calamari rings. It also has the unexpected, like the sausage- and pistachio-stuffed quail in a rich brandy sauce. Savor this in understated elegance that pools crisp contemporary edges with smooth traditional slopes and curves expressed in frescos, columns and wrought iron loops.

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