I had eaten at Pasta Ravello twice already before I came across the previous review while on this website. I was quite surprised as both my experiences had been overwhelmingly positive and the restaurant that I remembered bore no resemblance to the previous reviewer's experience. So I went back last Sunday night. And I was nothing but pleased.
First off, hats off to the planning behind this restaurant. They claim to be a 'bridge between Oregon and Italy', and I think they accomplish this mission beautifully. The ingredients used are either local (and mostly organic) or Italian imports, and the menu reflects a well-balanced combination of these two regions. There are actually three different menus - the regular menu, a vegan menu, and a gluten-free menu. I greatly prefer this to most vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurants that simply have one menu with a 'V' or an asterisk next to the vegetarian options. The regular menu itself is mostly vegetarian...the only meat items that I could see were one of the sauces (meat ragu) and the classic antipasto. I'm a vegetarian and my boyfriend is a vegan...we both had plenty of yummy sounding options.
All the wines on the wine list are either from Oregon or Italy, and it was obvious to me that whoever picked the wines very much knew what they were doing. The previous reviewer complained about them being out of a certain wine (the Sangiovese) and commented that they should have bought the wine retail instead of disappointing a customer...perhaps he did not realize that many of the wines on the list cannot be found at your average wine store. And I know from working in restaurants for a decade that wine suppliers often need a day or two's notice to replenish an import wine that a restaurant has run out of. But enough said on that.
We ordered the veggie antipasto as an appetizer, and were brought a lovely little plate full of marinated mushrooms, roasted peppers, caper berries, cipollini onions, and a few other similar treats with herb-covered crustini bread. I asked our server where they get the veggies...she told me that they are either high-end Italian imports or local organic products that they marinate in-house. The pepperoncini was especially good.
My boyfriend ordered the roasted veggies pizza (they offer both a vegetarian and a vegan version of this dish) and I ordered fettuccine with a mushroom bolognese sauce, which the server described as "three types of mushrooms slow cooked for 12 hours in a tomato base and finished with butter". The food arrived hot and quickly, and both dishes were delicious. I had a bite of my boyfriend's pizza...it was cooked to perfection and quite tasty. I inquired as to where they get the flatbread for the pizza. Turns out that it is organic wood-fired bread from Hideaway Bakery, not store-bought bread as the previous reviewer assumed. My dish was absolutely wonderful...the mushroom sauce is intensely rich and savory and the fettuccine (organic, from Pasta Plus here in Eugene) cooked to perfection.
We finished off the meal splitting a vegan chocolate cake, also from Hideaway Bakery. The cake which looks like a miniature Bundt cake, was topped with a raspberry sauce and heated up. Yum. Small little cake, but quite filling.
I understand all too well that every experience at a restaurant is different, and that everyone interprets and enjoys meals differently, but after my third visit I am even more puzzled by the previous reviewer's experience. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant to both vegetarians and vegans. The prices are reasonable, the servers are impressively knowledgeable about the food they are serving, and the atmosphere, while slightly spartan, is quite welcoming and comfortable. I prefer Pasta Ravello greatly to most of the other vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Eugene.