May 8, 2012
Ristorante to Remember
Exotic tastes of Il Castello
By Jill and Nathan Barnes
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A new dining experience has recently sprung up in downtown Idaho Falls. Il Castello Ristorante, serving Mediterranean style cuisine, opened late last year near the corner of Capital and A Street. Chef Roberto Larrea and his fellow investors eagerly jumped at the chance to open their doors in downtown and happily moved into the space at 445 A Street.
Already, Il Castello is a popular lunch location for downtown workers and visitors. For only $6.99, you can order all you can eat soup and salad. The soup comes in eight ounce portions and there is always something new on the menu, from Zuppa Toscano (sausage and white bean) to Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Cream. If you have a craving for a Panini, then look no further. At $6.99 the Cranberry and Chipotle Turkey or Steak Portabello Paninis will certainly do the trick. You can choose a full size or a half with soup or salad. Salad choices include a House with cranberries, apples and gorgonzola or Caesar. For $7.99 main lunch dishes include the always classic lasagna, which is made fresh everyday. This dish’s hearty homemade pasta is generously layered with tasty cheese, chicken, green peppers, spinach and portabello mushrooms and glazed with a creamy Alfredo sauce. You may also choose from Chicken Artichoke Manicotti, Pasta Carbonara, Sicilian Fettuccine, Greek Tuna Pasta and Spanish Pasta.
Although Il Castello is popular with the lunch bunch, it is also busy when there is a show across the street at the Colonial Theater. If you are dining pre-show, reservations are recommended and you should plan on arriving between 5:30 and 6:00 to make it to your 7:30 pm event. They can accommodate a group as large as 30 in your own room.
When you visit for dinner, you will want to start out with a delicious appetizer, such as the Stuffed Portabello, which includes chopped sirloin steak, onion, jalapenos, fresh tomatoes, and creamy, spicy Alfredo. Or try Castello’s Jumbo Shrimp bathed in a fresh pineapple and coconut sauce if you are looking for something tangy. You might also sample the Calamari and Mussels, flavored with an orange citrus onion sauce, Bruschetta or Tapas of the day.
For your “piatto principale Castello” (entrée), the Sicilian Steak is definitely noteworthy! Prepared to your desire, it is encrusted with a spicy seed blend, then sautéed in olive oil. It’s likely you have never had a steak prepared quite like this. The Frutti Di Mare Risotto is a spicy spin on this classic seafood dish, with garlicky shrimp, calamari, mussels, craw fish, crab meat and paprika spice served on top of a creamy risotto. The Spanish Pasta is a guest favorite; slightly sautéed chicken is topped with a poblano creamy sauce, mushrooms, poblano peppers and asparagus over spiral portions of linguine pasta.
Il Castello features over 50 wines from around the world, including Argentina, Spain, Italy, with a few domestic choices from Oregon and California. These wines are only available on the premise, and are not available in stores. There are six beers on tap, along with twelve other imports and microbrews available by the bottle.
For a truly special dining experience, make reservations for the last Thursday of every month when Chef Larrea puts together a truly spectacular five-course dinner paired with five different wines. Depending on the entrée, which could range from elk to lobster, the price is $55-$100. For more information, including daily specials or wine dinners, check out their website at www.ifcastello.com.
© 2013 Idaho Falls® Magazine