After gorging on fish and risking mercury poisoning from tuna overconsumption during our vacation, we decided to check out Ristorante Via Veneto for a change of pace in Provo mid-week. Living near NYC, we’re spoiled by great Italian options so it takes a lot to impress, but my wife and I both agreed our meal there was one of the best Italian dinners we’ve had in recent memory.
Here are the pluses of Ristorante Via Veneto:
Great wine list + half price happy hour from 5-7pm. Wine will still run you up to $10 a glass (hey, better than $20 a glass). It is actually great wine versus the iced skunked reds that seem to abound in the Caribbean. Start with a glass (or three) at the beautiful white marble bar before you sit for dinner here or elsewhere!
The interior of Ristorante Via Veneto is surprisingly beautiful given its location on the second floor of the Ports of Call mini-mall. There’s a long white marble bar, tasteful furnishings and an overall feel of understated elegance. If you want to dial it back to a more beachy vibe, there is also more casual outdoor seating.
Related: Caravel Restaurant Review
The Food – Holy Cow! Honestly, we may have had the best eggplant parm I have ever tasted and the Tonnarello all’Amatriciana wasn’t far behind. Both dishes could have been served in a NYC Batali restaurant without question. Simply prepared, perfectly executed – amazing flavors! It’s not easy to make an eggplant parm dish or spicy pasta pop, but Veneto delivered on both.
The owner/manager comes from Rome and makes pilgrimages back often to stay connected and bring new flavors to the restaurant. His care and pride show, and the food is truly outstanding. Typically in the Caribbean, you get punished when you try something other than Surf & Turf, so it was refreshing to find such a great Italian option in T&C. We’ve eaten at Bella Luna and Baci as well, and Ristorante Via Veneto has better food by a mile. (Honestly, it’s really not close.)
A few drawbacks
Ristorante Via Veneto suffers a bit from being the nicest house on the block, so to speak. Most people would not expect fine dining in this location, and they do themselves a disservice with the low rent neon signage, but I promise, the food is worth it.
Making reservations at Ristorante Via Veneto is difficult – these guys need to have someone picking the phone up during the day.