New owner reimagines Ristorante Roma


A native of Rome, Raffaele D’Eusebio has more than a passive knowledge of Italian cuisine. Having grown up Italian kitchens, he has an artisan’s touch for making it.

“My passion for cooking started young,” said D’Eusebio, who has owned and operated Ristorante Roma in Carmel for just more than a year. “I was only 7 when I began making tiramisu with my mother for the holiday family reunion. I was 10 when (I started) making handmade pasta with my grandmother. I (made) different dishes and learned different recipes.”

Today, D’Eusebio creates many of those same dishes at Ristorante Roma, 620 S. Range Line Rd. He and his wife purchased the restaurant last year from former owner Lucio Romani, who retired in 2020 and planned to close it.

D’Eusebio, a professional chef who has worked in the restaurant industry most of his adult life, had long aspired to open his own restaurant in the U.S. Purchasing Ristorante Roma from Romani, who is his wife’s uncle, gave him the opportunity. The couple reopened it on July 1, 2020, after moving from Rome to Carmel.

“At that point, me and my wife saw a great opportunity to move to the states and also pursue my passion for cooking,” D’Eusebio said. “(I was lucky) slowly reopening after COVID and used the time to adapt, create and renew what Roma had. We streamlined the menu, renewed it (and) created a new wine list from scratch.”

Ristorante Roma specializes in handmade pasta, made daily, with locally sourced produce and ingredients. The restaurant also has a small number of meat and fish dishes but D’Eusebio tries to keep the menu simple with an emphasis on quality and authenticity.

“Our menu is based on typical Roman cuisine, so not necessarily items that you would find anywhere in Italy,” D’Eusebio said. “We are not trying to be an Italian restaurant for the states. We are a window going back to Rome.”

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