Golden Spoons Review: Ragazzi

| 26/07/2017 | 10 Comments

(CNS Foodie): Ask anyone for a top 10 list of restaurants in Cayman and Ragazzi is sure to be on every one. Not only is it a longstanding, Italian mainstay in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, but also its reputation for fine dining makes it a “go to” for residents and visitors alike. Having said that, it had probably been about five years since I’d last dined there, so I took the opportunity to grab a quick dinner the other night and left nicely pleased.

We had not booked so were thankful to be able walk in and get a table, since the place was bustling with lively patrons that evening. There was a robust bar crowd comprising people hanging out and those waiting for pizza. Unfortunately, all those people blocked the entrance and even though that was slightly annoying, I still enjoyed the energy of the beautiful large bar at the head of the space.

Next to our table of four was a group of ten, of what seemed to be two or three families with kids of varying ages. They all looked very happy and it was nice to see families enjoying their dinner as we also had a child with us. Our server was friendly and offered us the drinks menu as soon as we sat down. The beer list offered a good selection and after studying the menu, my companion chose the Green Devil IPA ($6), a craft brew he hadn’t tried before and which he thoroughly enjoyed. I ordered an Italian Sauvignon blanc called La Cappuccina ($9) off the impressive wine list that was delicious — crisp, bright, and a little fruity.

The menu is a comprehensive list of appetizers, salads, pastas, entrées and pizza, with a strong focus on seafood. Though we were intrigued by the blue crab spring rolls ($10.95) and lobster quesadilla ($14.95), we opted to start with the yellowfin tuna carpaccio ($14.50) on special that night.

Since Ragazzi is an Italian restaurant and known for its pizza, that steered our menu choices. We selected a classic chicken pesto fettuccine ($17.95) but also of interest were the orecchiette in spicy butter sauce with broccoli and shrimps ($23), the mushroom ravioli with porcinis and fois gras ($21) and the homemade gnocchi ($18). Whole wheat and gluten-free pastas are also available for $2 extra.

It was even harder to choose a pizza, with 30 varieties offering everything from classics to the exotic, including a simple no-cheese marinara with garlic, herbs and sauce ($12) to the Norwegian with smoked salmon, caviar, capers and onions ($18). Again, whole wheat and gluten-free options are available for additional charges. We finally decided on the gipsy with pepperoni, roasted peppers, onion and black olives ($15.95).

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Yellowfin tuna carpaccio

Shortly after our order was taken our drinks arrived along with a breadbasket, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which was great because we were starving. I love focaccia bread and was pleasantly pleased to tear and dip some fresh, spongy, herby focaccia into the light oil and rich vinegar as my pre-appetizer. Suddenly, an amuse-bouche arrived as our server placed some complimentary bruschetta bites down in front of us. We happily sipped, ripped and dipped through our pre-dinner selections.

Next came our tuna. Thin slices of raw yellowfin were layered beneath an arugula, orange, onion and tomato salad. The brightness of the orange really lifted the fish to a new level. We both really enjoyed it.

When our mains arrived, we were ready to dive in. The pizzas are baked in a real wood-burning oven, which you can view from the dining room. They’re a modest medium size, thin crust and bursting with freshness and flavour. No wonder Ragazzi’s pizza is among the best on island. As a pizza connoisseur myself, I might have to agree. Our gipsy pizza was crispy, cheesy, sweet and savoury in all the right places.

The tender fettuccini tasted like it was freshly made but I found the pesto sauce so salty I could barely eat it. My companion agreed it was salty though not to the degree that I found it. In hindsight, we should have sent the dish back and requested a new one but instead we picked at it and focused on the pizza.

We couldn’t linger over dessert due to our fussing baby but we still managed to enjoy their authentic version of tiramisu, which was made with real coffee, and was light and not too sweet. We had to save the mango cheesecake and Sicilian cannoli for the next time (each dessert was $7.50).

Just shy of 20 years old, few restaurants in Cayman have been around as long as Ragazzi. Simple, delicious food, great service and a central location rarely fall short and certainly these boxes are all checked, but I think Ragazzi’s attention to detail with things like fresh pasta, homemade bread and personable servers are what really give this establishment its heart.

Ragazzi website

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Category: Golden Spoons Review

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ragazzi is excellent and I love their Calzone… outstanding! It is just sad that the average Caymanian can’t afford to take their family to a place like this.

  2. Rainbow Anderson-Bytnar says:

    Given all of the comments about the consistent quality of food and service, I am surprised this is not rated a 5 STAR restaurant. I agree it is truly one of our best restaurants, serving imaginative delicious food in a relaxed family friendly atmosphere.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ragazzi is hands-down one of the top restaurants in Cayman. The staff are actually attentive, friendly, and prompt. The food is consistently good. You just don’t find that around here that often!

    • Anonymous says:

      The staff are mostly pleasant but I feel like they are just going through the motions especially if you’re a local?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ragazzi was the first restaurant we went to when we came here 6 years ago and remains our default “go to” restaurant because of the friendliness, quality and in fact just about everything you can think of. That is also precisely the reason why all 3 of Andy and Paolo’s restaurants are on our default list..detail, service, quality…that is what the other restaurants have to learn from, and match. Some have, some haven’t. On the very rare occasion (and I mean once in that time period) when something has gone wrong-it was dealt with immediately, no fuss and all left happy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The pesto fettuccine at Ragazzi introduced me to pesto 15 years ago and I was immediately in love. In my opinion it is one of the best dishes at any restaurant on the island. I’m sorry yours was too salty for you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All time favourite. Never disappointed in the 20 years I’ve been going to Ragazzi. Friendly staff. Friendly owners. Service is ALWAYS good. Food is ALWAYS good.
    This is the only other Italian Restaurant besides Pappagallo’s that you would ever want in Cayman. (Wait. Agua too, but they’re fusion…)
    If I had to pick one negative thing, it would be the specials. Too many to choose from and they all sound so good!! Seriously though, it’s nice that they keep the specials changed up.
    Thanks Andy and Paolo, for keeping it real.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have never been disappointed with the food at Ragazzi. I almost always go for either a special or the orecchiette although the lasagna is really good also. I just wish they would do a half pizza with a salad for lunch or something along those lines. It is hard when you are with someone who doesn’t want pizza 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    Also one of the very few restaurants on the island with a reasonably priced wine list

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ragazzi has never disappointed. Food is great, interesting and authentic and a wonderful contrast to the overly-sweetened tourist offerings elsewhere

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