Meet Raffaele Ronca, Executive Chef and owner of Ristorante Rafele the newest restaurant on our Original Greenwich Village Tour!

Whenever a new restaurant is added to the tour, the tour guides get together for some “research,” i.e. we go out for dinner as a group and try as much of the menu as possible. We had the pleasure of dining at Rafele recently where Chef Raffaele prepared a tasting of nearly the entire menu. Here is a slideshow of what we got to try:

MUST EAT ITEM: This is Raffaele’s first restaurant (that he owns) so everything on the menu is very personal to him making it impossible to pick a favorite. Since Raffaele is the king of the house, he lets his mood dictate what he is going to eat for dinner, but if he had to pick what he is most proud of it would be the steak or the chicken. Honorable mention also goes to his house made pastas.

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Born and raised in Naples, the food capital of Italy, food has always been an integral part of Raffaele’s life. He comes from a long line of fishermen and butchers, a background which he credits with his ability to artistically de-bone a chicken

Immigrating to New York 20 years ago, before NYC restaurants were ‘authentically Italian’ instead of ‘American Italian,’ Raffaele missed the foods from his homeland. So Raffaeli picked up the phone to call home and got some cooking advice and began to cook at home. Without stepping inside a formal cooking classroom, Raffaele learned to cook. Day in and day out Raffaele would call home to his Mom, his Grandmother, his Aunts and Uncles and work through those old Italian recipes. He would cook – so he could eat. Raffaele was like most immigrants, his talents were born out of necessity. 
This video is of Raffaele sharing childhood memories of his mother cooking meatballs on Sundays. The meatballs on the menu are inspired by his mother’s meatballs.