Restaurant: Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen
Last visited: June 11, 2012
Location: Kelowna, BC (Kelowna)
Address: 415 Commonwealth Rd (at Holiday Park Resort)
Transit: Northbound Hwy 97 FS Commonwealth
Price Range: $20-30+ ($25-30 mains)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Since 2001
- Family owned/operated
- Italian cuisine
- Casual fine dining
- Award winning (Okanagan Life Mag)
- Local ingredients
- Vegetarian friendly
- Wine makers dinner events
- Wine & Jazz Thursdays
- Martini Weekends ($2 off)
- Wine list
- Reservations recommended
- Mon-Sun Dinner only 5pm – 10pm
- Sunday brunch 11am – 2pm
**Recommendations: Concetta’s Polpette (Meatballs)
The husband & wife team Ricardo Scebba & Sue Miller are the owners and talent behind Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen in Kelowna. It’s won multiple awards by Okanagan Life Magazine and it’s a casual fine dining restaurant specializing in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. It’s family owned and operated and many of the dishes use traditional Italian recipes created by Ricardo’s mother. Although I haven’t physically visited the restaurant, this evening gave me a taste of what to expect.
I was recently invited to a rooftop media dinner in Vancouver for Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen, so this was a private event and not how the restaurant normally operates. Although I wish it did! Dining on a roof top and having an out of town restaurant come to you is swell! It could easily be translated into an intimate ticketed event. Anyway, the dishes I tried are actually served at their restaurant on their regular menu, so let this be a preview of what they can do.
The majority of the dishes were authentic to Italian style, but they were inspired by local ingredients and also had some signs of West Coast tastes. From what I tried I actually enjoyed the Italian dishes more and it wasn’t really a surprise since those recipes are passed down from generations. The ingredients were simple, the pasta sauce light, and in true Italian spirit we were served a good 12 courses paired with local Okanagan wines. The dinner was enjoyable, but I’d like to experience the real deal with regular portions and Chef in his own kitchen to truly be able to recommend it.
Due to the nature of the event I don’t feel it was really representable of a regular night so I’ll leave my comments to a minimum. However it did give me an idea and based on what I tried, I would be very curious to visit the restaurant the next time I’m in the Okanagan.
On the table:
Cauliflower Fritters – It was basically tempura and it would have been delicious with a yogurt dipping sauce, although that’ not really Italian. The dish isn’t Italian though and it’s Ricardo’s own recipe. If you like battered and deep fried cauliflower I also recommend trying Nuba’s Crispy Cauliflower or the Aachi Varuval at Chutney Villa.
Spaghetti Puttanesca - It was traditional Italian in the sense that it was very lightly sauced and the noodles were actually firm and al dente. Puttanesca doesn’t normally come with chicken, but he added some in this one for this occasion. I would have loved some anchovy flavour, which is authentic to a Neapolitan recipe, but perhaps this style was from a different region.
This was the highlight of the whole dinner for me. They’re melt in your mouth tender, super soft, moist and almost creamy, savoury and a bit sweet from the carrots, and still hand rolled by his mother if you try them at the restaurant. The recipe is simple with ingredients and passed down, so it’s tried, tested and true to Italian grandma standards. I loved them!
I think part of the secret is also in her touch because I asked Ricardo which one of his mother’s recipes was hardest to replicate and he said it was the meatballs. See my post here for the recipe.
Amaretti - At the restaurant every espresso or coffee comes with an amaretti. I’ve had a fair share of amaretti cookies in my life time, even from Italy, but these were amazing. They were crispy on the outside and soft, chewy and moist on the inside and I thought they were made out of marzipan. I love marzipan and almonds so naturally I would love these, and now you can try them too because I’m sharing Ricardo’s mother’s recipe for them!
Amaretti Almond Cookies Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Ricardo Scebba. From his cook book That’s Amore.
Makes 30 cookies
3 cups roasted ground almonds
1 cup (12) ground saviard “lady finger” biscuits
2tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp creme of tartar
1 cup sugar plus 2 tbsp for topping
30 whole roasted almonds for topping
1. Pre-heat oven to 325°.
2. In a food processor, grind 3 cups roasted almonds and biscuits until fine.
3. Pour into mixing bowl.
4. Add extract and baking powder.
5. Whip egg white with tartar and add 1 cup sugar gradually to form very soft peaks.
6. Add to almond mixture and mix lightly.
7. Scoop up a small portion of the mixture with a soup spoon and use wet finger to roll into a soft ball.
8. Put 3 tbsp of sugar on a plate and dip top of each cookie into sugar. Place on a sprayed baking sheet.
9. Place a whole roasted almond on top of each cookie and lightly press down.
10. Baked for about 12 minutes, or until small cracks appear on the surface.
11. Baking can often require precise measuring and here is an excellent example. If you don’t have four large eggs, use 5 medium or 3 extra large. With amaretti, accuracy brings success. You know you have it right when cracks appear on the finished cookie.