After hours:Germany: Ristorante Carpaccio
A warm spring night and one of my favorite restaurants only a 10-minute walk from my home made my decision where to eat dinner a no-brainer.
The Ristorante Carpaccio in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim is a short drive or bike ride away from Wiesbaden Army Airfield and offers fresh Italian Mediterranean cuisine.
The restaurant is full of charm, with Italian music softly playing in the background amid a clean and open interior offering seating to accommodate an intimate meal or a large gathering. With tables and chairs draped in white and red, and with roses and candles at every table, it is an ideal place to impress a date, but not so overdone as to discourage a night out with friends.
Guests can also take advantage of the warmer weather by sitting on the restaurant’s cozy outdoor patio while taking in the neighborhood atmosphere.
"All our food is fresh and the restaurant is a beautiful place to spend some hours enjoying Italian wine or German beer," said owner G. Russo, who with his wife prepares all the dishes.
Russo, a native of Rome, placed a chalkboard with the daily specials on a seat between my girlfriend and me. Bread topped with oil, cheese and tomatoes was brought to us as we decided what to order.
I wanted to try something new, so I fought the temptation to order my usual, the Bistecca al Pepe Verde, a rumpsteak smothered in pepper sauce. I opted for the carbonara, a pasta dish with ham in a creamy sauce similar to Alfredo, but lighter. Each of the pasta dishes allows you to choose from spaghetti, penne, tagliatelle or tortellini noodles.
Once my girlfriend decided she wanted pizza, choosing from the 20 types listed on the menu was the toughest part. She settled on the Capricciosa pizza, topped with salami, ham, olives, paprika, mushrooms and onions.
The dishes arrived without fanfare, and we dug right in. The carbonara was delicious and the sauce wasn’t so heavy that it left me feeling too full. I also sampled the pizza, which impressed me even more than my own dish.
The meals aren’t small, but it would be a wise choice to save room for some of the restaurant’s homemade tiramisu.
As our meal came to a close, Russo insisted I try some grappa — an Italian brandy — which made my walk home a little more leisurely.
In addition to pasta and pizza, Ristorante Carpaccio offers a wide range of salads, soups, appetizers and several meat and fish dishes.
A separate room accommodates large groups, making it a nice pick for a permanent-change-of-station farewell dinner or a retirement gathering.
Russo said reservations aren’t required for most evening meals, but they are encouraged for lunch because of the restaurant’s high number of local business clientele.
Location: Tempelhofer Strasse 2, Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, GermanyDirections: From Wiesbaden Army Airfield, exit the airfield and turn right on Zum Friedhof before you reach the exit for the autobahn. Follow Zum Friedhof about a mile until it ends, and turn left onto Berliner Strasse. Stay on Berliner Strasse about half a mile. Ristorante Carpaccio is on the right.Hours: 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. Monday-Friday. Saturday open for dinner only and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. only.Food: Italian.Clientele: Mostly German.Prices: Pasta dishes range from 7 euros to 13.50 euros, pizzas range from 4 euros to 8.50 euros and meat dishes range from 10.50 euros to 19.50 euros.English-language menu: No.Phone: 0611-701810 or 0611-713899.Website:www.ristorantecarpaccio.de, English only.Dress: Come as you are.