In South Tampa's crowded restaurant scene, I confess I tend to forget about The Ravioli Company. But I will try my hardest to remember to stop by, because this place is the real deal.
Located on Manhattan between Bay to Bay and El Prado, The Ravioli Company is owned and operated by a pair of passionate cooks who even grow their own tomatoes herbs, arugula and other produce. Everything on the menu is fresh and made in house. The list of ravioli is dazzling, everything from your basic 4 cheese to prosciutto with fig, gorgonzola walnut, chicken artichoke, butternut squash... it seems endless, at least 18 varieties. They can cook up the ravioli with the sauce of your choice (also made in house, pesto, alfredo, vodka, marinara, fra diavolo, you name it) and you can reheat it at home, or you can buy a pound frozen, throw it in your freezer and cook it yourself whenever you're ready. Or you can buy a whole dinner to go: lasagne, side salad and a freshly baked roll, or a whole pan of lasagne, meat or seafood. Or you can pick up bread, ravioli, sauce, salad and dressing and whip it all up at home.
So last week I got one piece of seafood lasagne, two side salads and two rolls for dinner for two. The lasagne, rich with bechamel, scallops, shrimp and crabmeat, was perfect, but the salads were the rock stars: romaine, wildly peppery arugula, artichoke heart, olives, asparagus, tomato, cauliflower and broccoli, feta, and a hot pepper, with a homemade pesto balsamic dressing alive with fresh herbs, could have been the whole meal. Even the rolls were a cut above, yeasty and chewy, clearly baked that day and not a preservative in sight. All this for $18.95? What a deal. Bring this feast home, heat it up, present it well, and your every proposal will be accepted, I guarantee.
This modest little storefront has food that beats the pants off every Italian restaurant in South Tampa, with a devotion to quality and freshness that is inspirational and bargain prices. Do stop in.