In Clinton Hill, Brooklyn lies a quaint and down to Earth Italian restaurant called Locanda…no not Locanda Verde but Locanda Vini e Olii. Housed in a former 130 year old pharmacy, this Brooklyn eatery comes equipped with rolling ladders and apothecary drawers as well as a full kitchen serving traditional Tuscan food. Normally on weekends the wait to get into the Brooklyn Locanda is very much similar to that of the Manhattan Locanda so reservations are strongly suggested. Once inside you can take a seat at one of the cozy tables and order off the menus that are made of cardboard. The wine list is presented on two wine bottles that are already on the table, one is the house wine list and one is the reserve menu. Of course, we recommend the reserve menu.
The menu really features only traditional unrefined Italian dishes such as an array of small plates like Baccala and Sardines as well as pasta and meat dishes. To start we ordered a few of the small plates, the Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu, Tagliatelle with Beef and Pork Ragu, The Grilled Duck Breast and Grilled Piedmontese Beef. The smaller plates were fantastic and a great way to start off the meal (especially the Baccala). The pasta dishes, while good, unfortunetly didn’t please us as much as we had anticipated. The Pappardelle was actually a rather small portion but the ragu was quite good. The best pasta dish on the menu is easily the Tagliatelle. The pasta was cooked well and the portion was quite generous. However, your dinner should stop right at the pasta dishes, there’s no need to go any further on the menu. The grilled duck breast as cold and dry and the beef was basically dry and inedible (we’re pretty sure they used the beef to sand down some of the tables). But the Semolina Cake for dessert gave us a reason to stay after the horrid entrees.
We can sum up the food at Locanda Vini e Olii pretty quickly: only order the small plates, pasta dishes and perhaps a dessert. While the restaurant is intimate and provides a nice atmosphere, the food really isn’t all that good. Sure it will please those who can’t cook at home and want a decent plate of pasta but those looking to be “wowed” perhaps should go to Sfoglia or Sandro’s instead.