Saturday, January 21, 2012

An Evening at Il Villaggio Restaurant

A few nights ago my husband and I had the privilege of attending a special event at Jeddah's Il Villaggio Restaurant which was celebrating its 5th Annual International Day of Italian Cuisines. About fifty invited guests feasted on this year's official specially selected dish, Ossobuco in Gremolata alla Milanese, made of tender veal shanks and traditionally served with risotto. The evening's menu also included Sprout Salad with fennel, orange, olives, lettuce, and almonds, and for dessert a delicious Grapefruit Sorbet with cinnamon fragrance.

Prior to the meal, Executive Chef Vincenzo Raschella began the evening with a live cooking demonstration on how to prepare the Ossobuco dish and gave tips about the ease of growing your own sprouts. He was assisted by Sous Chef Raffaele Cuomo.

Il Villaggio Restaurant is housed in a beautiful building on Al Andalus Street, in a bustling part of Jeddah which is home to many consulates, businesses, and other restaurants. The ceiling in the main entrance area is a gorgeous stained glass dome.

Inside there is a lovely courtyard open above to the twinkling stars and the deep cerulean sky where we served a choice of luscious fruit juices. There is also a lovely little shop where one can purchase special Italian ingredients.

My husband and I enjoyed meeting many of the invited guests which included dignitaries from the Italian Consulate, representatives from news sources, as well as other expatriates and Saudis.

I would like to thank the management for including us at this very special event and the finely trained service staff at Il Villaggio Restaurant, who were ultra-attentive and ever-present without being obtrusive.

Stay abreast of what's happening at Il Villaggio Restaurant of Jeddah: LIKE their Facebook page.

For an in depth interview with Chef Vincenzo Baschella, including his recipe for Ossobuco in Gremolata alla Milanese, check out this Arab News article written by Amjad Parkar.


  1. Stunning! The meal and the place~!~

  2. How delightful to go out with your hubby to dinner, and with others. It looks and sounds delish.

    Hope all is well with you back home now.

  3. Looks beautiful! Ossobuco is one of my very favorite dishes.

  4. We had a wonderful time Susie. We sat in the upstairs patio- backs to the street side and it was a beautiful evening. Delicious food- also enjoyed the little Italian Market they had. Thank you for the opportunity!

  5. are those drinks containing alcohol?

  6. Those drinks look like martinis. isn't alcohol banned?

  7. Amarten - Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia, but that doesn't stop them from using the beautiful stemware for their delicious fruit juice concoctions!