Risotto is an Italian glorification of rice, and therefore, as these things go in Italy, inspires raging debates as to the best rice variety to use (arborio, canaroli, baldo, and a very rare variety named razza 77 are but a few options), the best way to cook it, and the best things to add to it.

All Italian authorities, however, will insist that properly made risotto has a creamy texture, called all’onda, meaning wavy. The grains must never stick together, but they should neither be soupy nor overly tender.

Northern Italians are passionate about risotto — preferring it even to pasta — but there are plenty of wonderful Italian restaurants in America that produce risottos of impeccable creaminess. One of the finest is Valentino (3115 Pico Blvd.; 310-829-4313) in Santa Monica, California, where sweet corn is combined with the fattened rice to ethereal flavor. Here are some other U.S. restaurants that make risotto of which any Italian would approve.



atlanta: veni vidi vici
41 14th street
(404) 875-8424

boston: via matta
79 park plaza
(617) 422-0008

chicago: fortunato
2005 division st.
(773) 645-7200

dallas: mi piaci
14854 montfort road, addison
(972) 934-8424

new york: el monello
1460 second avenue
(212) 535-9310

oakland, california: oliveto
5655 college avenue
(510) 547-5356