The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Riccardi's Italian Restaurant

38 Sconticut Neck Road
Fairhaven, MA 02719
(508) 996-4100
901 Hathaway Road
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 991-4200
Mom and I have been to both Riccardi's locations. The original building is located on Hathaway Road in New Bedford, and is a bit on the small side for the amount of business they do. However, the size is quickly overlooked when you get a taste of their fantastic food. Thinking that this was the only location, I was very excited when a friend of mine told me that there was an even larger Riccardi's on Sconticut Neck Road in Fairhaven. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal on our first visit to this establishment, and we were happy to be having lunch here again at around 3 p.m. today.

This Riccardi's location is in a pretty popular area of Fairhaven, yet on this visit there weren't many cars in the parking lot. I got a spot right by the entrance and proceeded to go inside. Mom and I walked through the take-out area (where the entrance door opens to) and took a left into the dining room. A friendly waitress told us that we could sit wherever we'd like. Mom and I decided to take a back booth that was up one step and against a beautiful window. Our waitress, Kerry, quickly appeared with two large, colorful menus and took our drink order. Mom and I both ordered Diet Pepsis and proceeded to browse through the delicious selections.

Riccardi's has a very large menu, and everything that Mom and I have ever ordered from here has been delicious. By far, my favorite is the antipasto. The individual size of this salad ($5.95) will definitely be enough for one person - maybe even two. It is loaded with fresh meats, greens, and topped with a load of mozzarella cheese. Accompanied by oil and vinegar, this salad really is one of the best around. Riccardi's also does a lot of business in the pizza and sub department, especially with those customers ordering take-out. Their subs range from a small meatball for $2.95 to a chicken Parmesan for $6.95. For the pizzas, Riccardi's offers a variety of toppings along with a few gourmet choices ($8.95) like the Taco Grande, Garden Alfredo, Pesto Chicken, and Southwestern Tex-Mex. They also have a guilt-free pizza featuring low fat cheese, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms ($7.95). The Italian dishes, or Pastabilities as they call them, are quite mouth-watering. From the Baked Ziti en Casserole ($6.95) to the Fettuccine Alfredo ($9.45), everything is made fresh and is served piping hot. Riccardi's also has something called Sicilian Room Specialities, which feature some of the pricier dishes like the Charbroiled Sirloin Steak ($13.95) and the Shrimp Scampi with Pasta ($10.95). They have an extensive wine list and feature a special called the Sicilian Feast for Two. This feast consists of an antipasto, followed by a generous platter of lasagna and your choice of spaghetti or ziti, smothered with meat sauce. Included is a side order of two meatballs and two Italian sausages, and a half carafe of house wine or two drafts of beer - all for $23.95. Riccardi's has a children's menu and a separate menu on the table that boasts their specialty drinks and desserts. They have a large catering business, and for the dine-in customers, lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Mom and I had quite a decision to make!

Kerry came back with our drinks and a basket of delicious bread and butter. Mom decided on the Cheese Filled Ravioli with Meat Sauce ($7.95), while I chose the Southwestern Tex-Mex Pizza ($8.95), which consists of spicy BBQ sauce, chicken, cheese, sliced red onions, and green and hot peppers. As Kerry left our table, Mom and I dove into the Vienna loaf. It was fabulous. While we were waiting, I took some notes on the pretty interior of the restaurant.
I think the first thing that I noticed was the floral carpeting. It is everywhere - even on the small stair leading up to the raised platform where Mom and I were sitting. With both booths and chairs, there are plenty of places to sit comfortably here without being cramped like Riccardi's New Bedford location. The dining room is decorated with dark woods, hanging plants, and Italian plaques and paintings. There is a small bar at the front of the dining area with a television set, and large windows on the two walls where the booths were set up. Everything was clean and organized, and the waitresses seemed to be very attentive to the few customers that were seated.
We didn't wait long for our food to arrive. While Kerry was bringing our plates over to the table, Mom and I could already smell the banana peppers from my pizza. When she placed the dishes down, both meals looked fantastic. Mom said that her ravioli was perfect. They were nice and plump, filled with ricotta, and the sauce had a spicy/sweet mixture. She was also glad to see that there were about a dozen raviolis (she ordered the dinner portion). She exclaimed that she would definitely order this dish again.
My pizza was spicy! My skin was pink and shiny as it gets that way when I eat spicy food, and I scarfed down all but two pieces of this delicious pie. The cheese and veggies were fresh, the sauce was tangy, and the crust was just crispy enough to hold the heavy toppings and still be tasty. The banana peppers really gave the pizza an extra kick, and it really made this concoction extra special.
Kerry reappeared to clear away our plates and bring the check. While I recuperated by drinking an extra soda that was brought over to me (free refills), Mom read the bill:
2 soda - $2.90
1 ravioli - 7.95
1 Southwest tex - 8.95
Subtotal - $19.80
Tax - .99
TOTAL = $20.79
We left $26 for Kerry on the table (with 20% tip included), and before we left, Mom and I paid a visit to the ladies' room. It was decorated in the same dark wood/Italian design, and was very clean in both the sink and stall area. On our way out, I managed to get a take home menu from one of the waitresses, and noticed that Riccardi's was voted the Southcoast's "Best Italian Restaurant" and "Best Pizza" since 2003. Both Mom and I definitely agree that Riccardi's has some of the best Italian food in our immediate area. The food is quite a step up from the supposed "authentic" tasting food at Olive Garden, and the antipasto is definitely a showstopper. With the holidays coming up, you should definitely take advantage of some of their take-out platters (as Mom and I did one holiday season). You won't be disappointed.