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When it comes to the art of casual dining, it's hard to top Italian delis. They make no pretense of fancy dining but are perennially popular dining spots.
For many, Italian cuisine evokes memories of culinary delights inspired by that land surrounded by mountains and water, where food means pure pleasure.
Italian food is a feast for the senses whether eaten in the company of family or friends, at home or in a good restaurant. Highlights of Italian cuisine include antipasti and pasta of every shape and form, delicious sauces, crisp salads, fresh fish, meat and lamb of the highest quality. Entrees are best accompanied by or followed with baked goods ranging from savory focaccia to sugary confections such as Mascarpone cream.
Traditional recipes are now enjoying something of a renaissance not only in Italy, but in other countries where there has been a revolution in what constitutes Italian cuisine.
Until ten years ago, Italian food simply meant pizza, spaghetti and cheap chianti. But those days are long gone, thanks to excellent chefs and food retailers who brought Italian specialties far beyond their country of origin.
At Ronimotti, the recently opened Italian deli in Ramat Gan not far from the Diamond Exchange, one can find a full-service deli counter filled with everything from salads and olives to marinated artichokes, red peppers and fresh and hard pasta.
Though "Ronimotti" doesn't sound Italian to me - the word is a combination of the two owners' first names - the first true test of an Italian deli is its aroma. If there are no traces of freshly baked breads, mozzarella cheese, olives, antipasti and, of course, garlic, walk out. The place is a fraud.
But Ronimotti is the kind of place where everything smells (and looks) so good, you want to sample it all.
Owner Motti Sofer, a former chef at Pronto, one of Tel Aviv's leading Italian restaurants, decided to set up this charming place together with Roni Belfer. The menu has been influenced with pleasing results by Sofer's culinary experience in Tuscany.
Roni and Motti are sure to greet you with a warning that this is not a fast food joint, and that their food is worth the wait. It is.
"I always had a passion for Italian food, and I spent a lot of time scouting the many villages in Tuscany for perfect homemade recipe," says Sofer. "We haven't been open long, and we already have people coming in saying they heard we have good food. That's a good sign."
Offering a wide variety of ravioli and gnocchi dishes, freshly baked calzones, breads and crostini, this is a lovely spot to enjoy an Italian meal.
And while you're waiting for Roni or Motti to prepare your order, feel free to ask them about the names of the items on the menu. The time will fly.
Ronimotti. 40 Menachem Begin Road, Ramat Gan. Open Sunday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tel: (03) 751-6566. (Kosher, but no certificate).