Ristorante Luci

★★★★☆
This beloved neighborhood gem has been a perennial favorite with chefs and other foodies for years.
  • 470 Cleveland Ave S

    St Paul, MN 55105

    Map & Directions
  • 651-699-8258

About Ristorante Luci

Hours
Tue, Thu 5pm-9:30pm Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm

Food

Food
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4.0 22
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.

The handmade pasta was unimpressive. The sauce tasted salty and the garlic was overpowering. I would not go back again. Definitely overpriced.

1
★★☆☆☆

The handmade pasta was unimpressive. The sauce tasted salty and the garlic was overpowering. I would not go back again. Definitely overpriced.

Pros: Good Service

Cons: Mediocre Food

.

Visited this restaurant and would not reccomend it to anyone. Ordered Bruschetta and it was burned, blackened actually. Lamb was disappointing and I'm not some kind of regular lamb eater. Service was uppity and cold. Bland food and we were also seated in a weird little table. NO GOOD!

0
★☆☆☆☆

Visited this restaurant and would not reccomend it to anyone. Ordered Bruschetta and it was burned, blackened actually. Lamb was disappointing and I'm not some kind of regular lamb eater. Service was uppity and cold. Bland food and we were also seated in a weird little table. NO GOOD!

Pros: none

Cons: bad food, bad service

.

Ristorante Luci is our new found Italian restaurant. My Husband is not the easiest to convince in trying new restaurants but since we where celebrating our 22 year anniversary, he agreed in trying a new restaurant. It was easy to find, casual atmosphere, amazing staff, great wine selection, variety of menu choices and not over priced. We can?t wait to try their sister restaurant Luci Ancora. Great wine selection, variety of menu choices and the not over priced! Was the best authentic Italian cuisine we?ve ever had!

2
★★★★★

Ristorante Luci is our new found Italian restaurant. My Husband is not the easiest to convince in trying new restaurants but since we where celebrating our 22 year anniversary, he agreed in trying a new restaurant. It was easy to find, casual atmosphere, amazing staff, great wine selection, variety of menu choices and not over priced. We can?t wait to try their sister restaurant Luci Ancora. Great wine selection, variety of menu choices and the not over priced! Was the best authentic Italian cuisine we?ve ever had!

Pros: The best authentic Italian cuisine

Cons: none

.

Luci has two locations. They are both wonderful and quite different at the same time. I like the Ristorante the best because of its intimate atmosphere, If you want a wonderfully romantic evening you cannot beat it! The other location is larger and better when I bring groups of people . You cannot beat the food. I also appreciate the history. It has been around for a long time.

2
★★★★★

Luci has two locations. They are both wonderful and quite different at the same time. I like the Ristorante the best because of its intimate atmosphere, If you want a wonderfully romantic evening you cannot beat it! The other location is larger and better when I bring groups of people . You cannot beat the food. I also appreciate the history. It has been around for a long time.

Pros: You cannot bring a date to a better location!

.

I have long considered Luci to have the best Italian in town, so I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy their wares at retro prices. The restaurant was packed, and I worried that the service would be unable to keep up.

My fears were unwarranted. The waitress was surgically precise in dispensing utensils, bread, side dishes, entrees and dessert. We opted to share several dishes between us, and they accommodated our request with aplomb.

But the food is the thing. Whereas most restaurants drown chewy noodles with floods of greasy, salty sauce, Luci's chefs are not at all ashamed of their fresh made pastas. This is one restauarant where I actually might consider ordering the butter noodles, but then I'd miss out on their delicately balanced, subtle (not bland, there is a difference) sauces.

Luci's pastas feature the usual accoutrements, such as smoked salmon, raisins, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes. And the chefs know how to use them. A fettucine highlights the delicious smoked salmon with an unobtrusive alfredo. When the linguini features raisins and pine nuts, they act as punctuation to an herby, nuanced sauce.

Our meat dishes (the flank steak and the pork tenderloin) could be cut with a fork. Luci is especially known for its pork dishes, and these cuts were seasoned to highlight the main attraction, which is the richest tenderloin I have had the pleasure to experience.

The menu offerings are fairly standard. Luci is more interested in impressing you with the how, not the what. You won't find chilean sea bass on udon noodles or seared ahi tuna here. Just great pasta and succulent meat.

The portions are relatively small (and, yes, a bit spendy), so anyone looking for the usual, Buca-style calorie-fest should probably look elsewhere (Buca, for example). Though, if you are going to fill up on bread, you won't find better.

In a town with no discernible Italian scene, Luci is a diamond in the rough. Now go.

2
★★★★★

I have long considered Luci to have the best Italian in town, so I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy their wares at retro prices. The restaurant was packed, and I worried that the service would be unable to keep up.

My fears were unwarranted. The waitress was surgically precise in dispensing utensils, bread, side dishes, entrees and dessert. We opted to share several dishes between us, and they accommodated our request with aplomb.

But the food is the thing. Whereas most restaurants drown chewy noodles with floods of greasy, salty sauce, Luci's chefs are not at all ashamed of their fresh made pastas. This is one restauarant where I actually might consider ordering the butter noodles, but then I'd miss out on their delicately balanced, subtle (not bland, there is a difference) sauces.

Luci's pastas feature the usual accoutrements, such as smoked salmon, raisins, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes. And the chefs know how to use them. A fettucine highlights the delicious smoked salmon with an unobtrusive alfredo. When the linguini features raisins and pine nuts, they act as punctuation to an herby, nuanced sauce.

Our meat dishes (the flank steak and the pork tenderloin) could be cut with a fork. Luci is especially known for its pork dishes, and these cuts were seasoned to highlight the main attraction, which is the richest tenderloin I have had the pleasure to experience.

The menu offerings are fairly standard. Luci is more interested in impressing you with the how, not the what. You won't find chilean sea bass on udon noodles or seared ahi tuna here. Just great pasta and succulent meat.

The portions are relatively small (and, yes, a bit spendy), so anyone looking for the usual, Buca-style calorie-fest should probably look elsewhere (Buca, for example). Though, if you are going to fill up on bread, you won't find better.

In a town with no discernible Italian scene, Luci is a diamond in the rough. Now go.

.

I'd been to Luci before and really enjoyed my meal, so I wanted to go back this week while they were having their original menu prices for their anniversary. I knew that it might be pretty busy, even on a Tuesday night, so I called ahead and asked if I should make a reservation. The woman on the phone said that they might indeed be busy and took down our reservation for 2 people at 7. We arrived on time at the restaurant and were told that there was a private wine tasting party going on, and the regular menu was not being served, but we were welcome to go across the street to their sister restaurant. Upon arriving we were barely greeted by a very busy hostess who proceeded to ask us if we had reservations. We told her that we did, but she said we were not on their list. Apparently making a reservation at the main restaurant does not transfer over across the street! We tried to ask how long the wait would be, but she turned back to her phone call and proceeded to rush someone else off the phone, at one point saying something along the lines of "Sir, do you want to make a reservation or not? We're very busy here." She then ignored the two other parties who had just come in as well as my boyfriend and me while she went into the kitchen. After waiting for several minutes my boyfriend and I decided that it was not worth it and went somewhere else--without ever being told how long we would have to wait! Why bother to make a reservation if they're not even going to honor it? I really wanted to like this restaurant but good food with terrible service makes it very difficult. I would not recommend going unless you call beforehand, and explicitly discuss with the person on the phone that you want to have a confirmed reservation. But it's hardly worth it. Their lack of respect for potential customers is disgusting.

1
★★☆☆☆

I'd been to Luci before and really enjoyed my meal, so I wanted to go back this week while they were having their original menu prices for their anniversary. I knew that it might be pretty busy, even on a Tuesday night, so I called ahead and asked if I should make a reservation. The woman on the phone said that they might indeed be busy and took down our reservation for 2 people at 7. We arrived on time at the restaurant and were told that there was a private wine tasting party going on, and the regular menu was not being served, but we were welcome to go across the street to their sister restaurant. Upon arriving we were barely greeted by a very busy hostess who proceeded to ask us if we had reservations. We told her that we did, but she said we were not on their list. Apparently making a reservation at the main restaurant does not transfer over across the street! We tried to ask how long the wait would be, but she turned back to her phone call and proceeded to rush someone else off the phone, at one point saying something along the lines of "Sir, do you want to make a reservation or not? We're very busy here." She then ignored the two other parties who had just come in as well as my boyfriend and me while she went into the kitchen. After waiting for several minutes my boyfriend and I decided that it was not worth it and went somewhere else--without ever being told how long we would have to wait! Why bother to make a reservation if they're not even going to honor it? I really wanted to like this restaurant but good food with terrible service makes it very difficult. I would not recommend going unless you call beforehand, and explicitly discuss with the person on the phone that you want to have a confirmed reservation. But it's hardly worth it. Their lack of respect for potential customers is disgusting.

Pros: Good food

Cons: Disrespectful/confused host staff

.

My wife and I have visited this restaurant a couple times and love the food and service. We dined there this week, sampled a couple appetizers and a couple pasta entres. Our food was wonderful, nicely served, reminiscent of the food we sampled in Italy a few months back. We dined on a week night and were pleased to be offered a number of house specialties. We were also pleased to find a number of vegetarian options. An added bonus is the number of half bottle wine offerings. The brushetta was our only slight disappointment. The bread is perfect - crispy crust, soft, luscious middle - but the blend was fresh tasting (very nice) but lacking some of the bite of the true Italian fare (more garlic and salt, please!). The other items we ordered were all divine, though. Take advantage of the daily house specials - very inspired. We're planning on visiting again soon. I'd love it if the owners would paint the walls - that pink interior has got to go. And the seat covers are a little overdone. But the food...oh, that food...so good. Also great service.

2
★★★★★

My wife and I have visited this restaurant a couple times and love the food and service. We dined there this week, sampled a couple appetizers and a couple pasta entres. Our food was wonderful, nicely served, reminiscent of the food we sampled in Italy a few months back. We dined on a week night and were pleased to be offered a number of house specialties. We were also pleased to find a number of vegetarian options. An added bonus is the number of half bottle wine offerings. The brushetta was our only slight disappointment. The bread is perfect - crispy crust, soft, luscious middle - but the blend was fresh tasting (very nice) but lacking some of the bite of the true Italian fare (more garlic and salt, please!). The other items we ordered were all divine, though. Take advantage of the daily house specials - very inspired. We're planning on visiting again soon. I'd love it if the owners would paint the walls - that pink interior has got to go. And the seat covers are a little overdone. But the food...oh, that food...so good. Also great service.

Pros: Wonderful, inspired food; responsive and polite service; intimate

Cons: pink walls; a little noisy

.

my companion and i both ordered the 4 course pre-fixed. in general, food was above average. my capellini in arrabbiata sauce was great, the grape tomatos added a wonderful sweetness to the peppery flavor. the salmon with avocado and lemon/butter was also great.

the waiter answered questions about the food very well. he was very professional.

the interior feels like a converted bar, because that's what it is. this makes it loud and non-romantic.

2
★★★★☆

my companion and i both ordered the 4 course pre-fixed. in general, food was above average. my capellini in arrabbiata sauce was great, the grape tomatos added a wonderful sweetness to the peppery flavor. the salmon with avocado and lemon/butter was also great.

the waiter answered questions about the food very well. he was very professional.

the interior feels like a converted bar, because that's what it is. this makes it loud and non-romantic.

Pros: food, service

Cons: noise

.

While the atmosphere is quite quaint, the food is not very good. I ordered a pasta dish which sounded wonderful on the menu but when it came it was only a bowl of small noodles with diced chicken with brocolli and tomatoes. There was no complexity at all and it would be something that someone could cook having never cooked before, or something so lacking in flavor that it could be featured on a kids menu in applebees.

1
★★★☆☆

While the atmosphere is quite quaint, the food is not very good. I ordered a pasta dish which sounded wonderful on the menu but when it came it was only a bowl of small noodles with diced chicken with brocolli and tomatoes. There was no complexity at all and it would be something that someone could cook having never cooked before, or something so lacking in flavor that it could be featured on a kids menu in applebees.

.

I have had this dish twice and it was absolutly fantastic. This very quaint spot is a diamond in the rough. Service was wonderful and very friendly. I like this place a lot.

2
★★★★★

I have had this dish twice and it was absolutly fantastic. This very quaint spot is a diamond in the rough. Service was wonderful and very friendly. I like this place a lot.

Pros: Great Quality, Service extra good

Cons: , Lack of ambiance, poor parking

.

We were lucky be pampered with a number of culinary delights by the most charming and equally becoming proprietor, Maria Gans. She carefully explained each dish to us and brought appropriate wines with each course. I cannot pick a favorite among the dishes we sampled including baked polenta topped with shredded braised duck, tender sweet crab and scallops simmered in a rich broth and topped with gremolata, or the silky homemade ravioli stuffed with butternut squash. Equally pleasing to the taste buds were the earthy and intensely rich flavored papardelle with braised shitake mushrooms and seared fresh sea scallops piped with truffled zabaglione that filled my palate with a tart, yet briny and sweet burst of flavor. At the end of the myriad of courses, I was at a loss for words to explain what a passionate experience the previous hours of five star service and cuisine had been.

2
★★★★★

We were lucky be pampered with a number of culinary delights by the most charming and equally becoming proprietor, Maria Gans. She carefully explained each dish to us and brought appropriate wines with each course. I cannot pick a favorite among the dishes we sampled including baked polenta topped with shredded braised duck, tender sweet crab and scallops simmered in a rich broth and topped with gremolata, or the silky homemade ravioli stuffed with butternut squash. Equally pleasing to the taste buds were the earthy and intensely rich flavored papardelle with braised shitake mushrooms and seared fresh sea scallops piped with truffled zabaglione that filled my palate with a tart, yet briny and sweet burst of flavor. At the end of the myriad of courses, I was at a loss for words to explain what a passionate experience the previous hours of five star service and cuisine had been.

Pros: Atmosphere, Lighting, Service

.

I had AWESOME scallops, bland dinner had by companion. (teeny tiny set 4 course thing. Don't suggest this to a big guy who loves to eat, Flo!)
Cute place, love the idea of a neighborhood "fav" spot, but for GOSH SAKES!!! Dim those harsh lights, and light little votives on the tables. It's a cheap looking place, that needs the ambiance to make it worthy of it's pricetag. Seriously, I felt weird in there, like they forgot to get the place ready for the night. Ruined the great food and company.
ps- decent wine list, but the Reserve list was silly. Find some great borolo's or something in the $50-60 range, and skip trying to get people to spring for the $500 bottles of grape juice.

1
★★★☆☆

I had AWESOME scallops, bland dinner had by companion. (teeny tiny set 4 course thing. Don't suggest this to a big guy who loves to eat, Flo!)
Cute place, love the idea of a neighborhood "fav" spot, but for GOSH SAKES!!! Dim those harsh lights, and light little votives on the tables. It's a cheap looking place, that needs the ambiance to make it worthy of it's pricetag. Seriously, I felt weird in there, like they forgot to get the place ready for the night. Ruined the great food and company.
ps- decent wine list, but the Reserve list was silly. Find some great borolo's or something in the $50-60 range, and skip trying to get people to spring for the $500 bottles of grape juice.

Pros: some food is great!, small, intimate, different

Cons: very bad ambiance, too tiny if UR shy, no ambiance !!!!!!

.

My wife and I had a wonderful time at Luci. The waiter was excellent and helped us pick a great wine and took his time to explain them to us. I had the fixed priced dinner and enjoyed every course, even the pasta which sounded a little wierd at first. I may add that the dinner was under $26. My wife had the scallops and thought they were amazing. Overall it was a fantastic night.

2
★★★★★

My wife and I had a wonderful time at Luci. The waiter was excellent and helped us pick a great wine and took his time to explain them to us. I had the fixed priced dinner and enjoyed every course, even the pasta which sounded a little wierd at first. I may add that the dinner was under $26. My wife had the scallops and thought they were amazing. Overall it was a fantastic night.

Pros: Value, Service, Wine List

Cons: Tight Spaces

.

Whomever makes their pasta and mozerella is doing one bang up job. Try the sampler for a good variety of their offerings.

2
★★★★★

Whomever makes their pasta and mozerella is doing one bang up job. Try the sampler for a good variety of their offerings.

Pros: pasta, mozerella, sampler

.

Don't bother eating at this doldrum restaurant. We were horribly disappointed with the food. Bland, bland, bland and very small portions for the price. We decided to try this establishment for a special occasion based on citysearch reviews, what a disappointment!! We all agreed we could have made a better dish in our own kitchen! Not worth it! Prima, Broders or pane vino doce has by far better food, service and ambience.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Don't bother eating at this doldrum restaurant. We were horribly disappointed with the food. Bland, bland, bland and very small portions for the price. We decided to try this establishment for a special occasion based on citysearch reviews, what a disappointment!! We all agreed we could have made a better dish in our own kitchen! Not worth it! Prima, Broders or pane vino doce has by far better food, service and ambience.

Cons: bland food

.

This is the best restaurant I've ever been to! The food is excellent, the service is wonderful! The presentation is great!

2
★★★★★

This is the best restaurant I've ever been to! The food is excellent, the service is wonderful! The presentation is great!

Pros: food, service, owners

Cons: parking

.

It started ok. The waiter asked if I would like to taste the 2 wines I was considering, a viognier and a soave. The viognier had subtle but complex flavor and was dry. The soave was sweet but had a ling finish. I choose the 375ml of viognier. I got something sweet with no flavor, served in a carafe.

For dinner, my shrimp with arugula, tomatoes and 12 year old balsamic vinegar came with watercress rather than arugula, and so little of the vinegar as to be indetectable.

The bread was just ok. The mixed green salad had a ton of arugula!

The tables and chairs are cheap and crowded together.

1
★★☆☆☆

It started ok. The waiter asked if I would like to taste the 2 wines I was considering, a viognier and a soave. The viognier had subtle but complex flavor and was dry. The soave was sweet but had a ling finish. I choose the 375ml of viognier. I got something sweet with no flavor, served in a carafe.

For dinner, my shrimp with arugula, tomatoes and 12 year old balsamic vinegar came with watercress rather than arugula, and so little of the vinegar as to be indetectable.

The bread was just ok. The mixed green salad had a ton of arugula!

The tables and chairs are cheap and crowded together.

.

I thought that the atmosphere was wonderful. Small and very intimate. The service was a bit slow but this is one restraunt that I did not want to rush the meal at. GREAT people watching. Perfect for a date or a family, very diverse.

2
★★★★★

I thought that the atmosphere was wonderful. Small and very intimate. The service was a bit slow but this is one restraunt that I did not want to rush the meal at. GREAT people watching. Perfect for a date or a family, very diverse.

Pros: Atmosphere, Dessert

Cons: Service

.

Consistant Value and Quality are expected and always given to their customers.

2
★★★★★

Consistant Value and Quality are expected and always given to their customers.

.

Possibly one of the top Italian restaurants in the country

2
★★★★★

Possibly one of the top Italian restaurants in the country

.

By far Luci has the BEST steak in the twin cities, albeit pricey ($30) the bone in tenderloin is a must have if you love steak. Always cooked to perfection, not always on the menu, but they will make it for you if you ask for it, it is by far the most incredible grilled steak I've ever had out. Forget about Manny's, Mortons and those "big" steak houses that serve huge portions and lack in juicy flavor. Spend the time and money to savor this culinary delight. It is by far my most favored meal in town. As a native Argentine, I know my steak, so I hope you trust me. Take someone out for a special and romantic night out and be sure to order the steak...but like I said, it's usually the most spendy thing on the menu, but well worth it. The ambiance doesn't hurt either.

2
★★★★★

By far Luci has the BEST steak in the twin cities, albeit pricey ($30) the bone in tenderloin is a must have if you love steak. Always cooked to perfection, not always on the menu, but they will make it for you if you ask for it, it is by far the most incredible grilled steak I've ever had out. Forget about Manny's, Mortons and those "big" steak houses that serve huge portions and lack in juicy flavor. Spend the time and money to savor this culinary delight. It is by far my most favored meal in town. As a native Argentine, I know my steak, so I hope you trust me. Take someone out for a special and romantic night out and be sure to order the steak...but like I said, it's usually the most spendy thing on the menu, but well worth it. The ambiance doesn't hurt either.

Pros: 2 menus, cross road, Parking, fireplace

Cons: Not close, Make reservations, not centrally located

.

I really enjoyed eating here. I am not certain if people recognize the authenticity of the food- very similar to good establishments I have dined in Italy. Was a bit crowded, but then again, so are all the restaurants in Italy!

2
★★★★★

I really enjoyed eating here. I am not certain if people recognize the authenticity of the food- very similar to good establishments I have dined in Italy. Was a bit crowded, but then again, so are all the restaurants in Italy!

Editorial from

In Short
It's simple and small, with terra-cotta-colored walls and candlelight. Couples hold hands, foursomes crowd around too-small tables. A balance of Italian warmth and informality keeps the vibe romantic and friendly. You…

 

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