Eat at Ruffino’s in Port St. Lucie like a homemade Italian meal

I want Italian food. Often and in large quantities. Slow cooked rich tomato sauce, fresh ingredients and pasta make me very happy.

So, naturally, what could be happier than a family-run Italian restaurant offering traditional dishes in my garden? It was an excellent choice.

The Ruffino Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria at Rivergate Plaza has served residents of Port St. Lucie since 1992. Enter and you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere – colorful and clean with Italian murals on the wall and Italian music in the background.

Ruffino's Italian restaurant and pizzeria is located at 1145 SE Port St. Lucie Boulevard in Port St. Lucie

We arrived after 8pm on a Saturday and most of the diners were finishing their desserts or coffees. However, takeout sales were stable throughout the evening. Our waitress told us that at 6 p.m. customers start to line up for a table. Reservations for 5 or more people are accepted.

Ruffino’s is a family business. Dad and son are in the kitchen, Mum is outside welcoming guests, filling orders and accepting payments. Daniella, the daughter, was our attentive and knowledgeable waitress.

We started with an order of bruschetta ($ 7.95) which was delicious. The crispy golden crostini were served with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil. My husband, who happens to be a bruschetta lover, proclaimed it to be the best he has ever tasted.

We also ordered Mozzarella Caprese ($ 10.95) with crisp red tomatoes, fresh and sweet mozzarella, slices of basil and roasted peppers which added a sweet and smoky flavor to the salad.

Ruffino Caprese Mozzarella with crisp red tomatoes, fresh and sweet mozzarella, basil slices and roasted peppers.

Ruffino’s claims to serve over 70 menu items, including Italian dishes such as sandwiches and pizza, as well as plenty of seafood, chicken, veal, pasta, and eggplant dishes.

My husband ordered the penne bolognese ($ 14.95) and it was perfect comfort food. The robust meat sauce and fresh Italian tomatoes with peas had just the right amount of spice and tasted like it had simmered on the stove all day. Main dishes are served with soup or salad and pasta.

I chose the fagioli pasta with a rich broth, orzo, cannelloni beans and crispy prosciutto pieces which were a nice savory addition to the soup. For my starter, I ordered a dish that I had never eaten before.

Le Poulet Galante ($ 19.95) was a wonderful dish of sautéed chicken breasts, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers in a succulent lemon sauce. The chicken was chewy and flavorful, and the flavor combinations delighted my taste buds.

Ruffino's Galante Chicken consisted of sautéed chicken breasts, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers in a succulent lemon sauce.

Just returned from southern Italy where Limoncello is popular, we shared the Limoncello Cake ($ 5.95) for dessert. The yellow cake was moist with the lemon liqueur and glazed with mascarpone. It was decadent and delicious.

Ruffino’s Italian restaurant and pizzeria are reasonably priced and will satisfy all your Italian cravings. It’s wonderful to see a family owned restaurant that has endured and thrived in the era of chain restaurants. Eat local. Eat happy.

Lucie Regensdorf dines anonymously at TCPalm’s expense for # WhatToDoIn772. Contact her at [email protected] or follow @LucieLovesFood on Twitter.

Ruffino restaurant and pizzeria

Food: Authentic Italian cuisine and pizzas

Address: 1145 SE, boulevard Port St. Lucie, Port St. Lucie

Call: 772-335-2988

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday

Alcohol: Beer and wine

In line: www.ruffinos.net