Restaurant Review: Ragú Cucina Italiana

The restaurant is located in the “Big White House with the Red Roof” on the Green Bridge entrance to the City of Palmetto.

This 19th-century structure has been home to several restaurants before but has been sitting vacant through the pandemic. Today it serves some of the most delicious Italian food around.

Gian Marco, originally from Roma, Italy,  is the charming young entrepreneur and owner of this new eatery. He and Anna will greet you at the door with a beautiful smile and a delightful accent. You reach the front door from an extensive verandah adorned with fresh and colorful flowers.

The interior of the historic home now houses the warm and well-appointed dining room around a brick fireplace. White linen-dressed tables are near every window and a jovial family atmosphere permeates the space. An eclectic mix of old paintings, wine bottles, and Italian plates decorate the walls. 

Why Ragú you say? 

The owner explains that “ragú”, similar to the French “ragoút”, is a stew. Ragú is the heart of the dish and the Italian interpretation represents a number of pasta sauces that may also include beef, minced meat, vegetables, and tomatoes. It is the latter that gives the restaurant its name and they consider that passion as one of the key ingredients of their sauce.

Vieni a tavola! 

Please come to the table! At their table, you’ll find a nice selection of wines from Italy and several other countries. There are also a good number of antipasti, or appetizers. On my first visit, I enjoyed Parmigiana di Melanzane, or fried eggplant in tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It was delightful.

Fresh focaccia with salami
Parmigiana di Melanzane
Pappardelle Bolognese

I can’t say that I’ve had all the antipasti but I can share a secret with you. On my first visit, I saw a nearby table order Fried Lasagne from the appetizer specials of the day. That was something that caught my attention. I ordered it on my second visit. Fantastico! Imagine layers of fresh lasagne filled with creamy cheese, tomato sauce, and beef all inside a crispy pocket of breadcrumbs and deep fried. That is as heavenly as a bite can be. I suggest you ask for it even if you don’t see it on the menu.

Gnocchi with Broccoli and Sausage
Fried Lasagne
Pesce Misto

The primi course, or pasta section of the menu, offers a large selection of homemade pastas with tomato and alfredo sauces. Lasagna Ragú, Carbonara, Linguine and Fettuccine are some of the regulars. For the main course, or Secondi, you can have Tagliata di manzo, or beef steak; Cotoletta milanese, or veal; Pollo Parmesan, or chicken. I ventured to have their Pesce Misto, or fish selection, which included octopus, shrimp, flounder, and tuna. A real fresh dish with lots of virgin olive oil and garden seasonings.   

Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce
Tiramisu
Cannoli with Caramel, Chocolate & Pistachio. 

Don’t leave until you at least get a taste of any of their desserts, or dolci. You can have cannoli or cheesecake with caramel, chocolate, or pistachio toppings; homemade tiramisú or nutella pizza. This restaurant offers a great dining experience and a very personable staff that will leave you satisfied. Soddisfatto!

Ragú is located at 336 8th Ave W, Palmetto, FL 34221. They’re open from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm during the week and 11:30 am to 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday (closed on Sunday).

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