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Ristorante Santa Lucia

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Bahnhofstraße 7 69115 Heidelberg

Framed oil paintings and beautifully decorated ceramic plates ornament the walls inside the ristorante.  Bare white paint cover the walls around, bricks making up the bottom half.  Wooden cabinets and furnishings appear in different places.  Peach colored tablecloths cover the rather small wooden tables.  Flowers sit in translucent containers, next to a black pepper grinder and salt shaker, as well as a flickering candle, at each table.  Cozy cushioned chairs await guests at each end of the table.  Wine bottles are lined up neatly towards the back of the restaurant and provide a nice decorative touch.  The dining room is charming, lovely, and inviting.  This is the dining environment at Santa Lucia, one of numerous Italian restaurants in this romantic city of Heidelberg.

On the finely printed menu is typical Italian fare – salads, a variety of pizzas, a selection of pastas including spaghettis and tortellini, and a variety of meat dishes.  The list of desserts is very impressive – a larger selection in comparison to other pizzerias and restaurants – but not all of them is available each day (read on below).  The list of beverages is crammed into one page, but diners can find a large selection of Italian wines.  Naturally, hot and cold drinks are also included.

 

A bread basket containing five slices of warm complimentary bread is provided.  The bread is not spectacular, a bit tough and chewy.  But it’s free of charge, so you can’t really expect too much.

 

The homemade tortelloni is a seasonal dish featured on the special handwritten section of the menu.  Stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese, the large pockets of pasta are served in a mascarpone cheese sauce.  Accompanying the dish is a container of grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the pasta.  12 euros for 5 stuffed tortelloni is a reasonably fair price.

The pasta does look and taste homemade; however the filling looks far from being fresh.  Instead of clean, vibrant leaves of green spinach and creamy white and grainy ricotta cheese, the stuffing merely looks like a mash up of the two ingredients prepared days or even weeks in advance.  The pasta is not exactly ‘al dente,’ rather a tad overcooked.  Adding to the list of problems is the scant amount of cream sauce.  Instead of sitting in a thick mascarpone cheese sauce, the tortelloni is bathing in a milky and runny pool and ends up barely absorbing anything.  Fortunately, the complimentary bread aids in soaking up the remaining sauce.  Overall, the dish is not bad, but nothing to marvel at either.

Panna Cotta has always been a favorite of mine whenever dining at Italian restaurants.  So when I saw it listed on the menu, it was a guaranteed sure thing.  But when the waiter revealed it wasn’t any available today – only tiramisu and crème brûlée – there was no way this meal would end on a positive note.  Looking for something remotely creamy and close in texture to this gelatinous Italian dessert, I opted for the crème brûlée.

 

At 6 €, the crème brûlée is grossly overpriced.  Served in a ceramic container with a handle, the dessert is taken from a cooled glass display in the dining room back to the kitchen to be torched on the surface, giving it the classic, hard caramel top.  The result is a nice contrast of smooth, vanilla flavored custard with a crisp, caramelized layer that adds an extra dimension.  Vanilla bean specks are visible throughout the thin sheet of custard.  Though it tastes good, the dessert isn’t as rich and silky as one would expect and simply justify the price tag.

Santa Lucia is a family owned establishment and that warm hospitality is delivered.  However, the service can be a bit sluggish at times.  The staff is friendly, nonetheless.

Santa Lucia follows the formula of many other Italian ristorantes and pizzerias in Heidelberg – welcoming, charming dining room interiors but only decent, uninspiring food.  With some slight improvements and changes, though, Santa Lucia can easily become a fabulous, top notch Italian restaurant.

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Summary:

Located behind the Bauhaus not too far from Heidelberg’s Bismarckplatz, Santa Lucia is an Italian restaurant with charm.  Serving a reasonable selection of pizzas, salads, pastas, risotto, and meat entrées, Santa Lucia presents diners with a good Italian experience in a typical, yet pleasant, dining atmosphere.  Prices are fair.  Service is rather ordinary.

Overall – 3 stars

  • Hausgemachte Tortelloni mit Spinat-Ricottafüllung in MascarponeSauce (Homemade Tortelloni with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese, served in a Mascarpone Saucce) – 3/5
  • Crème Brûlée – 2.5/5
  • Service – 4/5

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Written by geschmack

July 2nd, 2010 at 11:55 pm