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Ristorante Cavallino Bianco Weißes Rössel

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Hauptstraße 210 69117 Heidelberg

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  This very common idiom certainly applies to restaurants too.  A simple glance at Ristorante Cavallino Bianco and you may think this place sells Christmas decorations or holiday ornaments.  The green, white, and red exterior gives off quite a festive feeling not commonly associated with fine dining.  But take a closer look at the glass display case and you will find a menu – an Italian menu.  It immediately becomes apparent that the color scheme is exclaiming Italian national colors as opposed to Santa Claus!

 

Take a step inside and you immediately feel welcomed.  Soothing Italian music transports you to Venice, sitting in a gondola, taking in the beautiful scenery.  The dining room walls are a sharp contrast to the childish exterior – they are a mature, warm, and friendly peach hue.  Tables are draped in clean, white tablecloths, surrounded by cushioned wooden chairs.  Each table is further decorated with a beautiful flower in a vase and a candle.  Wine bottles and olive oil containers line the walls all around.  Overall, the dining room is sophisticated, orderly, and elegant.  Completing this superb dining setting are the professionally dressed and attentive servers.

The menu at Ristorante Cavallino Bianco is typical Italian.  You will find various pastas, as well as grilled meat specialties.  There is also an extensive selection of seafood dishes.  As it’s currently nearing the springtime, fresh mussels and seafood are featured items.  Compared to past experiences at Italian restaurants in Germany, Ristorante Cavallino Bianco does not provide guests with the complete Italian dining experience.  No complimentary bread or salad accompanies the meal, which can be disappointing.  Instead, you simply get what you order.

 

The Risotto frutti di Mare, priced at 10,50 €, is a delicious seafood risotto.  The rice is cooked well – the grains are creamy and slightly chewy.  This creamy texture goes great with the varied textural combination of the seafood.  You will find countless chunks of clam meat, squid, a baby octopus, four mussels, and tiny shrimp scattered throughout the risotto.

Whether it’s the luxurious, smooth texture of the octopus tentacles, the firmness of the shrimp, or the slightly chewy consistency of the squid, the seafood greatly complements the soft and creamy nature of the risotto rice.  The flavors of the sea get absorbed into the rice quite well, creating a rich overall flavor.  Also hidden among the grains of rice are slices of softened garlic, providing bursts of tang to the dish.  Unfortunately, you will also find some of the seafood slightly gritty – certainly unappealing.

 

Desserts are also your standard Italian delights – tiramisu, Italian ice cream, and panna cotta.  Many of the desserts seem overpriced, such as the panna cotta at 5,50 €.  But how could you not be tempted by Italian desserts?   The panna cotta is a delectable treat.  It has a rich and smooth texture.  Served simple and direct with a wild berry sauce, the combination of the cream, milk, and sugar is perfect.  For me, the seeds in the berry sauce were off-putting.  But aside from that, the panna cotta is a delightfully refreshing way to end any meal.

Of course, Ristorante Cavallino Bianco offers a selected number of wines to go along your meal.  Unsure of wine pairings?  Just ask the waiting staff for some advice.  As an alternative, there are hot drinks, in addition to cold beverages.  What’s a classic Italian dining experience without cappuccino?

It’s such a shame that, on a gorgeous Friday afternoon in Heidelberg, there was no one else present at the restaurant.  Maybe it’s the location near the end of the Hauptstraße that makes it unattractive to diners.  Nonetheless, Ristorante Cavallino is a decent choice for Italian food in the Heidelberg Altstadt.   The service is excellent and attentive; the food flavorful.

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Summary:

One of the few Italian restaurants along Heidelberg’s Hauptstraße, Ristorante Cavallino Bianco is a great Italian eatery serving up a respectable amount of true Italian dishes.  Cozy dining environment, good attentive service.  Prices are moderate.

Overall – 4 stars

  • Risotto frutti di Mare (Seafood Risotto) – 4/5
  • Panna Cotta – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

March 19th, 2010 at 8:13 pm