Ristorante Roma to bring genuine Italian cooking to Carmel

 Lucio Romani said he wants Ristorante Roma to be a place where people can enjoy a slow meal. (Staff photo by Karen Kennedy)

Lucio Romani said he wants Ristorante Roma to be a place where people can enjoy a slow meal. (Staff photo by Karen Kennedy)

By Karen Kennedy

Carmel gained a new authentic Italian restaurant Dec. 11, as executive chef and owner Lucio Romani and his staff ushered in their first guests to Ristorante Roma in the Monon Square shopping plaza north of City Center and next to Soho Café.

The charming, two-level, 64-seat restaurant is painted in shades of yellow and gray and boasts a full wall mural of Romani’s native city of Rome.

Romani first came to the United States when he was 27 years old to visit his sister – a doctor who was participating in an exchange program at Methodist Hospital. He has lived here ever since and was a member of the opening crew at Seasons 52 at Keystone at the Crossing.

Romani learned to cook the way many Italians do – by watching his mother. He is passionate about fresh fish and fine ingredients and is anxious to continue to develop his menu and experiment with new and innovative flavor profiles.

He also put a piano on the upper level of the restaurant, and said he hopes to bring in local opera singers to entertain his guests.

“I want this to be a place where people come to enjoy a slow meal,” Romani said. “I love good food and I love sharing it with others.”

While Romani is currently functioning as executive chef, he is actively trying to bring a friend who is a chef over from Rome to take the helm in the kitchen for the long term.

Romani lives in downtown Carmel with his wife Karina and his three daughters, Gabriella, Sophia and Allison.

“The first thing for me is family,” Romani said. “I chose this location because I can run home any time I need to. It’s three minutes from my house.”

His opening menu has a solid selection of antipasti, salads, pasta, meat and fish, with a small offering of desserts. There are several really interesting menu items, including a prosciutto-wrapped fresh mozzarella, lobster ravioli with saffron cream and grilled sea scallops with risotto and fig relish.

A small but diverse wine list offers Italian and American wines, and there is a selection of beers as well.

“A restaurant of my own has been my dream since I came here,” Romani said. “Now my dream has come true. And now I hope Carmel loves and supports my dream.”

For more information call 848-4600 or visit www.ristoranteromaindy.com.

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