DINING WITH PENNY: Mediterraneo’s full menu and classy atmosphere bring a touch of Tuscany to El Centro

Feb 1, 2009

If you love Italian food, be sure to put Mediterraneo at 7-64 Honorato Vasquez, between Luis Cordero and Hostel Cafecito on your “to-do” list.

The first thing I noticed were the new restaurant’s wall decoration. Rich Tuscan colors and a rogue’s gallery of famous Italians –Marcello Masatriani and Sophia Loren, among others— are sure to put you in an Italian mood. There are cozy nooks for private dinners and larger spaces for family sized groups. The fully stocked bar is ringed in soft blue lighting, adding a touch of sophistication.

The menu is extensive, and  in typical Italian fashion, includes several courses of mouth watering delicacies. To begin with, there are six different types of bruchetta ($3) and several other antipasti selections such as gamberelli en bellavista, crudo fromaggi e crostini, caprese and involtini di peperoni al tonno and others ($3-$6.50). The menu offers twenty-four pasta selections as the primi piatti (first course), including spaghetti, penne, lasagna, fettucini, canneloni, tortellini, risotto and gnocchi created in a wide variety of sauces ($4.80-$9). Segondi piatti (second course) include chef’s special preparation of beef, pork, talapia and salmon, and shrimp ($5.60-$11).

In the back of the restaurant, the wood-fired pizza oven issues forth over 20 types of pizzas and calzones, including such unusual concoctions as wurstel, zagalo and biancaneve pizzas and calzone farcito and liscio. All the usual toppings are available.   Pizzas are baked in both personal ($4.50-$7.50) and grande sizes ($9-$12) while one size of calzones fits all ($6-$6.50).

Desserts include tiramisu, crostata di fantasia, Bigne’s with crème and chocolate sauce and torte and brownies as well as gelatos ($2.40-$3.50).  Espressos, cappuccinos, latte’s, teas and hot chocolate are also featured ($1-$2).  Juices, batidos, sodas, wines, beer and mixed cocktails are reasonably priced.
You won’t leave Mediterraneo hungry, that’s for sure! This is a great place to dine, and a wonderful way to introduce visitors to Cuenca. The management is eager to hear all your comments, so be sure to meet owners Laura and David when you visit.

Mediterraneo is open Monday through Sataurday from 12:30 noon to 10 pm, and on Sunday from 12:30 noon to 5:00 pm. Of course, they will send your order in a taxi if you prefer. For further information, reservations or home delivery, call 07-284-4138.

Photo captions: Mediterraneo is next to Cafecito on Calle Honorato Vasquez; the colorful bar is fully stocked; photo credit: Penny