St. Paul >Food & Dining > Ristorante Luci
470 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510544.927479 -93.187254
Tue, Thu 5pm-9:30pm
Neighborhoods: Macalester - Groveland
Disappointed – The handmade pasta was unimpressive. The sauce tasted salty and the garlic was overpowering. I would not go back again. Definitely overpriced.
Wouldn't go back – Visited this restaurant and would not reccomend it to anyone. Ordered Bruschetta and it was burned, blackened actually. Lamb was disappointing and I'm not some kind of regular lamb eater. Service was uppity and cold. Bland food and we were also seated in a weird little table. NO GOOD!
You won't be disappointed! – Ristorante Luci is our new found Italian restaurant. My Husband is not the easiest to convince in trying new restaurants but since we where celebrating our 22 year anniversary, he agreed in trying a new restaurant. It was easy to find, casual atmosphere, amazing staff, great wine selection, variety of menu choices and not over priced. We cant wait to try their sister restaurant Luci Ancora. Great wine selection, variety of menu choices and the not over priced! Was the best authentic Italian cuisine weve ever had!
Super romantic. You cannot beat the ambience, food and wine is a winning combination! – Luci has two locations. They are both wonderful and quite different at the same time. I like the Ristorante the best because of its intimate atmosphere, If you want a wonderfully romantic evening you cannot beat it! The other location is larger and better when I bring groups of people . You cannot beat the food. I also appreciate the history. It has been around for a long time.
Celebrating 20 years – I have long considered Luci to have the best Italian in town, so I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy their wares at retro prices. The restaurant was packed, and I worried that the service would be unable to keep up.
My fears were unwarranted. The waitress was surgically precise in dispensing utensils, bread, side dishes, entrees and dessert. We opted to share several dishes between us, and they accommodated our request with aplomb.
But the food is the thing. Whereas most restaurants drown chewy noodles with floods of greasy, salty sauce, Luci's chefs are not at all ashamed of their fresh made pastas. This is one restauarant where I actually might consider ordering the butter noodles, but then I'd miss out on their delicately balanced, subtle (not bland, there is a difference) sauces.
Luci's pastas feature the usual accoutrements, such as smoked salmon, raisins, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes. And the chefs know how to use them. A fettucine highlights the delicious smoked salmon with an unobtrusive alfredo. When the linguini features raisins and pine nuts, they act as punctuation to an herby, nuanced sauce.
Our meat dishes (the flank steak and the pork tenderloin) could be cut with a fork. Luci is especially known for its pork dishes, and these cuts were seasoned to highlight the main attraction, which is the richest tenderloin I have had the pleasure to experience.
The menu offerings are fairly standard. Luci is more interested in impressing you with the how, not the what. You won't find chilean sea bass on udon noodles or seared ahi tuna here. Just great pasta and succulent meat.
The portions are relatively small (and, yes, a bit spendy), so anyone looking for the usual, Buca-style calorie-fest should probably look elsewhere (Buca, for example). Though, if you are going to fill up on bread, you won't find better.
In a town with no discernible Italian scene, Luci is a diamond in the rough. Now go.
Good food, but poor service – I'd been to Luci before and really enjoyed my meal, so I wanted to go back this week while they were having their original menu prices for their anniversary. I knew that it might be pretty busy, even on a Tuesday night, so I called ahead and asked if I should make a reservation. The woman on the phone said that they might indeed be busy and took down our reservation for 2 people at 7. We arrived on time at the restaurant and were told that there was a private wine tasting party going on, and the regular menu was not being served, but we were welcome to go across the street to their sister restaurant. Upon arriving we were barely greeted by a very busy hostess who proceeded to ask us if we had reservations. We told her that we did, but she said we were not on their list. Apparently making a reservation at the main restaurant does not transfer over across the street! We tried to ask how long the wait would be, but she turned back to her phone call and proceeded to rush someone else off the phone, at one point saying something along the lines of "Sir, do you want to make a reservation or not? We're very busy here." She then ignored the two other parties who had just come in as well as my boyfriend and me while she went into the kitchen. After waiting for several minutes my boyfriend and I decided that it was not worth it and went somewhere else--without ever being told how long we would have to wait! Why bother to make a reservation if they're not even going to honor it? I really wanted to like this restaurant but good food with terrible service makes it very difficult. I would not recommend going unless you call beforehand, and explicitly discuss with the person on the phone that you want to have a confirmed reservation. But it's hardly worth it. Their lack of respect for potential customers is disgusting.
Love This Place - Beautiful Italian Bistro Food!!! – My wife and I have visited this restaurant a couple times and love the food and service. We dined there this week, sampled a couple appetizers and a couple pasta entres. Our food was wonderful, nicely served, reminiscent of the food we sampled in Italy a few months back. We dined on a week night and were pleased to be offered a number of house specialties. We were also pleased to find a number of vegetarian options. An added bonus is the number of half bottle wine offerings. The brushetta was our only slight disappointment. The bread is perfect - crispy crust, soft, luscious middle - but the blend was fresh tasting (very nice) but lacking some of the bite of the true Italian fare (more garlic and salt, please!). The other items we ordered were all divine, though. Take advantage of the daily house specials - very inspired. We're planning on visiting again soon. I'd love it if the owners would paint the walls - that pink interior has got to go. And the seat covers are a little overdone. But the food...oh, that food...so good. Also great service.
This beloved neighborhood gem has been a perennial favorite with chefs and other foodies for years. – In Short
It's simple and small, with terra-cotta-colored walls and candlelight. Couples hold hands, foursomes crowd around too-small tables. A balance of Italian warmth and informality keeps the vibe romantic and friendly. You can order starters, like prawns dressed with salmon caviar, but most loyal patrons get right to the fresh pastas. Main courses are as lovingly prepared: organic lamb lively with lemon rind and spices, or tender sea scallops with a sweet dollop of zabaglione.
decent food, feels like a bar – my companion and i both ordered the 4 course pre-fixed. in general, food was above average. my capellini in arrabbiata sauce was great, the grape tomatos added a wonderful sweetness to the peppery flavor. the salmon with avocado and lemon/butter was also great.
the waiter answered questions about the food very well. he was very professional.
the interior feels like a converted bar, because that's what it is. this makes it loud and non-romantic.
Not good – While the atmosphere is quite quaint, the food is not very good. I ordered a pasta dish which sounded wonderful on the menu but when it came it was only a bowl of small noodles with diced chicken with brocolli and tomatoes. There was no complexity at all and it would be something that someone could cook having never cooked before, or something so lacking in flavor that it could be featured on a kids menu in applebees.
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