Italian cuisine is among the most celebrated of offerings, yet there aren’t many Italian restaurants in Whitewater’s part of the state. Despite many choices, Whitewater hasn’t had a full, primary Italian menu.
Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano adds something lacking in our restaurant scene; I’m happy to recommend what it adds.
This review comprises two dinner visits, separated by over a month. During the first, campus was in session; during the second, more recently, Whitewater was a sleepier place. I dined in a full room on the first occasion; patronage was less (as would be true across Whitewater) during the second.
Fratelli’s is a storefront restaurant along Main, the location formerly having been café. Whitewater’s had more than one light, American eatery; Italian is a nice addition to the city’s offerings. (If anything, it’s surprising that we’ve been without one these recent years.)
They’ve a full Italian menu, for lunch and dinner. One finds a half dozen appetizers (incl., calamari, bruschetta, zucchini or mozzarella sticks), three salads & a soup of the day, a half dozen pasta entrées, and about three each of chicken and of seafood.
You’ll find dishes you know well among these entrées, including penne alla vodka, penne primavera, spaghetti pomodora or puttanesca, chicken marsala or piccata, farfalle mare e monti, and two steaks including a porterhouse.
Patrons needn’t recall all the names to recognize the dishes easily.
Fratelli’s menu, and the experience, is something like attending a Rolling Stones concert: one goes expecting a good time, with familiar songs, and is pleased to hear again those now-venerable hits that made one a fan so many years earlier. (For Fratelli’s, both literally and by genre, it’s more likely to be Sinatra.)
That’s to the good.
I enjoyed the chicken piccata, a dish of sautéed chicken breast, in a white-wine sauce, with capers. The farfalle mare e monti (calamari, shrimp) was equally enjoyable. The dishes are balanced by elements and attractively presented on one’s plate.
Portions are ample; I think you’ll find there’s something to take home, if you’d like.
They’ve wine and beer, and you might try a Peroni, if you’ve not yet tried one, or any of the wines served that might match well with your selection. Over time, I’ll think most patrons would choose wine; Peroni is likely to be in the middle of one’s experience with beer.
Your server will offer breadsticks, with olive oil, and olive oil makes almost any bread better. The breadsticks arrived warm, moderately infused with garlic. I would have happily enjoyed warm Italian bread with the olive oil alone.
Now, I will admit my own dislikes, and how they might shape a review. Many people enjoy iceberg lettuce, including as a wedge, but where iceberg lettuce dwells on a plate, I’ll not venture. It’s something like a do-not-enter sign for me. Just about any other kind of lettuce suits me well. Knowing that many people like iceberg lettuce, I see that my own tastes are a minority view.
As Fratelli’s was once a café, still some signs of that former life linger (although I think they needn’t). Cream comes in small individual servings rather than a creamer, and the establishment places community notices on the glass entry door. A creamer would be preferable; the notices detract from the décor and ambiance inside.
You’ll find about a dozen or so tables inside, and a few outside, for those who would prefer a sunny venue. (I was inside on both my visits; the dining room is just dark enough for a soothing evening.)
Service was prompt and friendly on both my visits. In particular, I thought my server on the second visit was knowledgeable, attentive, and genuinely interested in my experience. She showed pride in Fratelli’s, and she was evidently pleased when I told her, in response to her question, that I was happy with my meal.
There’s also a lunch menu, serving some of the selections of the dinner menu, but adding other fare, including wraps, and a children’s menu.
I think you’ll enjoy your visit.
LOCATION:162 W. Main St, Whitewater, WI 53190. (262) 472-0747.
Tuesday 11-9 pm
Wednesday 11-9 pm
Thursday 11-9 pm
Friday 11-10 pm
Saturday 11-10 pm
Sunday 11-8 pm
PRICES: Main dish and a drink for about $15-20, depending on selection.
DRINKS: Wine, beer soda, water.
SOUND: Light music.
SERVICE: Attentive, friendly, knowledgeable.
VISITS: Two (dinner).
RATING: Recommended 3.25 of 4.
RATING SCALE: From one to four stars, representing the full experience of food, atmosphere, service, and pricing.
INDEPENDENCE: This review is delivered without financial or other connection to the establishment or its owner. The dining experience was that of an ordinary patron, without notice to the staff or requests for special consideration.