Kelowna, Okanagan – Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen

by Mijune on June 24, 2012 · 7 comments

in $20-30,$30-50,desserts,International,Italian,Kelowna,Mediterranean,Okanagan,Pacific Northwest,Seafood,Vegetarian,West coast,Wine

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Restaurant: Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen
Cuisine: Italian/Pasta/Mediterranean
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)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • 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:

Antipasti

Concetta’s Homemade Focaccia/Flatbread with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Skewers of a Caprese Salad

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.

Pernod Spot Prawns

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.

Wild Salmon Al Dresco, Lemon Caper Dill Cream Sauce & Local Vegetables - This was a more West Coast feature, but I did prefer the Italian menu items more.

Concetta’s “Turkey Only” Polpette (Meatballs)

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.

Arugula Salad – In true Italian tradition, the salad was served after the secondi (main).

Strawberry Tiramisu with Local BC Strawberries, Hazelnut Semi-Freddo, Amaretti Cookies

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

Ingredients: 

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

Directions:

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.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mimihui June 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Kelowna, Okanagan – Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen make a trip to there…..looks ……Yammmmmmy~

2 S W June 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hi: I think you have part of the Meatball recipe mixed in with your Cookie Recipe.

Thanks for sharing, have fun in Chicago! Go to Oak Park – great Chop House there!

Sarah

3 Jayda Home June 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

Oh dear, we were just in the Okanagan for a week of wine tasting and for the big car show in Penticton. I wish I had read your post before we spent time in Kelowna….. this restaurant looks very good. I haven’t been to Kelowna for several years now but we wanted to check out Cedar Creek’s winery since we like their wine a lot. This would have been a great destination restaurant. Oh well, next time!

4 Mijune June 26, 2012 at 11:51 pm

@Jayda Home – awww too bad!! Did you try Raudz as well!? Great spot!! yes next time!! Good to hear from you Jayda!!!

5 Mijune June 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm

@sarah… crap! lol thank you!!!

6 Jayda Home June 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm

haha…. meatball cookies, for when you can’t decide between savoury or sweet.

7 Mijune July 1, 2012 at 1:59 am

@Jayda – lol! For that we have bacon cookies ;)

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