Monday, May 3, 2010

Primi Piatti

There are no Olive Gardens in Italy. In fact, I don't remember seeing any big chain restaurants in Italy. It's not that there weren't any, it's just that given the incredible number of unique restaurants and cafes, there was no impetus to even pay any attention to large commercial ventures. The food itself was almost consistently amazing and far more varied than one would be lead to believe coming from the US.

primi piatti

That's because, back here in the States, Italian food has all but lost its meaning where "Italian Restaurant" loosely translates to pasta and/or pizza with a glass of wine. There are, however, some authentically Italian restaurants in our area run by authentically Italian people that serve authentically good Italian food. One such example is Riverside's Primi Piatti.

spinach salad

Apparently the menu used to be even more authentic but slight concessions were made in order to attract business. Regardless, the food here is quite exquisite and the dear lady has even gone so far to say that the meal we enjoyed is the best she's had in years. For a starter I had the Spinach Salad: spinach, red onions, almonds, and a creamy gorgonzola dressing. I don't typically like dressing on salads but this particular one was incredible. A lovely salad indeed, well worth the horrendous breath you end up with after eating the onions and gorgonzola.


For our main courses we ordered the the Spinach and Garlic Ravioli, a special, and the Chicken Primi: chicken sauteed in artichokes, fresh herbs, and a black truffle and brandy cream sauce. I've been emphatically assured that the ravioli was "the best ravioli I've had in my entire life" but I'm unable to corroborate because I didn't get to try any for that very reason. I did, however, enjoy my chicken primi so much that I used what little remaining bread there was to sop up the last traces of the sauce.

chicken primi

I've read a few complaints about the prices at Primi Piatti but I can only counter with the old adage that you pay for quality. If you add the bill to the distinguished decor and low lighting, you've got the perfect place to take a date for a romantic meal that's sure to impress. I know I'll be convinced to go back, especially if they keep me informed about when they'll be serving the spinach and garlic ravioli.

Primi Piatti on Urbanspoon

Primi Piatti
2722 Park Street
Jacksonville, FL 32205-7608
(904) 389-5545


Linda Blakely said...

I'm glad you reviewed Primi Piatti. My husband and I have eaten there several times and just love it!

Frederick Wright said...

Thank you for giving this place a positive review. I agree with what you have said, especially since I've spent a great deal of time in Italy (more than just a two week vacation after college -- actually at least 10 trips, including some long solo hikes down the coast)

My review on UrbanSpoon which makes reference to the higher prices wasn't meant a jab, more as a warning to those locals here in Jacksonville who might be expecting Olive Garden prices. Olive Garden, and indeed most chain restaurants in the United States, doesn't cook food at all, but instead reheats food from little vacuum packed bags produced in a centralized factory somewhere. You are better off getting a Hungry Man dinner if you want to save money.

Primi Piatti makes their food from scratch and it shows, and you pay for that.

01001111 said...


Your reviews are always fair and it didn't seem like you were complaining about the prices as some people, both on Urbanspoon and elsewhere, were. I also try to warn people when prices can be a little higher than expected. Take the French Pantry, for example. Nine dollars for a sandwich can seem a little exorbitant to some but I'd gladly pay that for the incredible quality you get.

Thanks for all of your contributions to Urbanspoon; seeing that you've given a place a positive review certainly helps in the decision making process.

Alyson and Ford said...

My husband and I just went for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the food, atmosphere and found our favorite wait-staff person from the past. All was delicious! Will review it on our blog as we will be going back and want to spread the word to others.

Alyzabeth's Mommy