Chile, fértil provincia, y señalada / en la región antártica famosa, / de remotas naciones respetada / por fuerte, principal y poderosa, / la gente que produce es tan granada, / tan soberbia, gallarda y belicosa, / que no ha sido por rey jamás regida, / ni a extranjero dominio sometida. La Araucana. Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga

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Location: Santiago de Chile, Región Metropolitana, Chile

Editor: Neville Blanc

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Kody Merrival waits tables Wednesday during the lunch hour at Baroncini Ristorante in downtown Iowa City.

/ Press-Citizen/Benjamin Roberts

Nuestro socio Roberto Ampuero tuiteo hoy, desde Iowa City, totalmente restablecido:

Cené con mi señora y amigos en el nuevo Baroncini Ristorante Italiano, Iowa City. ¡Al fin un local italiano de verdad y calidad!

Baroncini drawing diners
Written by
B.A. Morelli

Soft music, bottles of Chianti, marinara sauce, black and white framed photos of Italian landmarks, and a family crest cast in copper plating adorning the entrance sets the mood in one of Iowa City's newest restaurants.

Baroncini Ristorante, 104 S. Linn St., opened in late May in downtown Iowa City. The restaurant features the culinary creations of chef and owner Gianluca Baroncini, who said he wants his guests to come, relax and get taken away to Italy.

"I want to share my Italian culture with my customers," Baroncini said. "They can go on an hour or two trip. Come here and get exposed -- immersed really -- in Italian environment."

The restaurant features upscale dining with classic Italian cuisine, such as raviolis, rigatoni and Bolognese sauce, as well as more creative dishes, such as a rigatoni with a sausage, stewed artichoke heart and porcini mushroom sauce.

Pastas, breads and sauces are made from scratch on site, and the menu is updated daily, Baroncini said.

"It's like music, you start creating and imagining sauces in your mind," he said.

The recipes come from Baroncini, 42, a culinary trained chef who was born and raised in Italy. He moved to the United States in 1994 and to Iowa in 2000.

Baroncini hasn't always been in the restaurant business. He worked as an airline pilot for United Express until he finally chased his dreams of being a restaurateur as the airline industry suffered.

"I always wanted to get back into cooking. I always wanted to have a relationship with people and make people happy," he said.

The cozy restaurant has 13 tables and about 50 seats. The walls are an off-white Venetian plaster and the tables are lined with white linen table clothes and napkins. There is a staff of 10 servers, cooks and managers, and Baroncini also works hands-on in the kitchen.

Since opening May 26, they have been "very busy," and they haven't even advertised, Baroncini said. There is much foot traffic in the area, and reservations are recommended, he said.

The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.

"It seems like people are happy. I am getting a lot of positive feedback," he said.

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