News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Eats: Bring your appetite to Castiglia’s
BY LINDA SALISBURY
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
Castiglia’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria, one of the most popular downtown eateries, has reason to boast of its success. One of two locations in the Fredericksburg area, the family-owned restaurant with a recently renovated dining room has an extensive menu appealing to a variety of tastes, from traditional to the more exotic. And, the dishes are generous and affordable.
My Dining Partner and I visited Castiglia’s on a Saturday evening with family members who were visiting from out of town. Given the large crowd gathered by 5:30 p.m., we were lucky to get seats either inside or out.
We began with an assortment of appetizers (each $10): octopus carpaccio, burrata caprese and the mix from the grill. The colorful octopus was thinly sliced, almost shaved, and served with a delicate marinade. Our companion described it as “light, fresh, spicy and not chewy.”
The mix from the grill consisted of vegetables, including artichoke hearts, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms and olives, that were both attractive and fresh.
I especially enjoyed the burrata caprese appetizer, a ball—or “glob” as our server described it—of buffalo mozzarella filled with creamy ricotta cheese. The creamy cheesiness was a satisfying complement to the grilled vegetables and the house salads that came with our entrées. Three of us enjoyed the house Italian dressing, and I was pleased with my blue cheese dressing.
With Castiglia’s boasting a new brick oven, we decided to order a 12-inch vongole pizza ($12) to share. Falling into the nontraditional category of pizza, the vongole featured garlic, grated gran cheese, capers and baby clams, including half-shells for decoration. MDP also discovered, however, a few small pieces of shell in the pizza and in his clam and spaghetti pasta dish ($12). He had ordered the spaghetti with white clam sauce, but a mix-up brought the red sauce, which was nevertheless good.
One of our guests ordered the four-cheese ravioli ($11), which comprised four large raviolis with “meat sauce that wasn’t overwhelmingly meaty. Just enough in the red sauce,” she said.
Her husband ordered the eggplant Romano ($15), filled with spinach and ricotta, with a red sauce over penne pasta. He described it as “simple, but fresh and delicious.” He was glad that the spinach was not overcooked.
My baked lasagna ($11) was the perfect size for a hearty portion and was served piping hot. It had a homemade quality.
We were impressed that the red sauces for each dish seemed to have different spicing even if they came from a single “mother” sauce. This added character to each dish.
The dessert case features a number of traditional favorites, some imported from Italy, for diners who have not overindulged in the appetizers, pizzas and entrées. We will try the desserts on another visit when we try additional types of pizza from the brick oven.
WANT TO GO?
What: Castiglia’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria
Address: 324 William St., Fredericksburg
Info: 540/373-6650; castigliascatering.com
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Soups and salads: $4-$13
Children’s menu: $2.50-$5.50
Beer, wine and mixed drinks available.
The Scoop: Busy, so reservations are recommended, especially during the weekend, when you might also be treated to live music such as a jazz ensemble. Parking on street.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted.
Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award-winning adventure series for kids.