Luci Ancora – July 17, 2010

24 07 2010

Luci Ancora
2060 Randolph Avenue
Saint Paul
www.ristoranteluci.com

Needing an excuse to venture across the river and into St. Paul, we trekked through the rain, wind and tornado sirens to try Luci Ancora.  While our overall experience was fine, we were constantly puzzled about what type of restaurant Luci Ancora is.  The clean, bright, and modern website gives an energetic feeling.  But sitting at our dark table by the fireplace, we found mismatched décor and thick wine glasses that ran counter to the bright, modern vibe we were expecting. Regardless of Luci Ancora’s identity crisis, it appeared to be a dependable neighborhood Italian joint for St. Paul residents.

Our first goal was to find a good glass of wine and the waitress was cooperative in letting us have a small taste of two wines offered by the glass. After those two disappointed, we requested a less sweet red wine and she promptly brought the sweetest wine we tried all night.  Thankfully the glasses of wine we picked without trying turned out fine.

My Rigatoni

We opted to skip the first course and jump right in to the entrees.  Our first observation about the entrees was that they were the perfect size (and price).  Italian restaurants typically deliver a mountain of pasta, but Luci Ancora serves just the right amount—enough to be full, yet not so much that you have to take some home.

Jacque's Spaghetti

I had the rigatoni which featured a slightly spicy sausage over undercooked pasta.  The tomato-based sauce was enjoyable and it was a better rigatoni than many Italian restaurants. Jacque had a dish of green bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, grape tomatoes, garlic and a light olive oil based sauce over spaghetti.  Like a good drink, it tasted better as she got to the end and all of the spice and flavor combined together.

So would we recommend Luci Ancora?  If your expectations are in check (just above average food, a mixed vibe and very reasonable prices) you’ll enjoy your time there.  However, expecting much more will set you up for disappointment.  If you’ve read our review of El Meson (check me out), it would be accurate to say this was the Italian version of El Meson – well regarded by many, but not meeting our expectations based on word of mouth and the restaurant’s website.

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠1/2
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Service: ♠♠♠

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠

Total bill, including tip: $47

Luci Ancora on Urbanspoon

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26 07 2010
Steel Toe Brewing and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

[…] Toe Brewing is in the works in St. Louis Park (via MNBeer), a lukewarm review of Luci Ancora, the Heidi’s/Blackbird building gets demolished, a native Southerner vouches for the boiled […]

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