Though its location in a strip mall might not turn any heads, Ruffino Fine Italian Cuisine is actually one of the East Valley’s oldest and tastiest Italian-dining gems. Ruffino has been dishing up authentic Italian fare for more than 20 years in a dining room that boasts old-school, Rat Pack-style elegance will appeal to diners for a date night or as a way to unwind at the end of the week with a glass of wine and live tunes in the piano bar.
The menu–whether you’re looking at apps, pasta dishes, seafood or meat plates and more–is chock-full of decadent and classic Italian eats (think lasagna, eggplant parm and veal picatta, for example). The lengthy wine menu offers up a nice selection of reds and whites by the glass and bottle at a variety of price points.
For starters, the baked clams casino is a delectable way to kick off the meal; the fresh clams are stuffed with bread crumbs, bacon, bell peppers and a decadent garlic butter sauce. The usual suspects like caprese salad, fried calamari and bruschetta also make an appearance on the menu too.
A star (which even has the Ruffino name) of the entree lineup is the Seafood Ruffino (pictured). This heaping plate features calamari, scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams in slightly spicy marinara sauce on a bed of linguini. (The dish is mighty generous with its seafood portions, so be sure not to fill up on the pasta, though it is fab, too.) On the particular night of our visit, we were able to sample a combo plate of Ruffino’s traditional and tasty chicken marsala and cannelloni. Definitely be on the lookout for similar specials that allow you to taste more than one of Ruffino’s signature dishes.
To end the meal, a cappuccino and a yummy cannoli (which two can easily share) are in order to cap off a lovely evening at Ruffino. www.ruffinoaz.com.