by Meredith Kay

Tucked into the back corner of Cadillac Plaza, on Blanco Road, near Churchill Estates, one of the city’s best new European restaurants has begun to make a name for itself. Valentino the Bistro is th

e latest venture from long-time residents Ezio and Maria De Rosa, following a brief diversion back to where they both met, in Munich.

As Maria states, “The culture of Munich has changed drastically since Ezio and I lived there, twenty years ago. The influx of Eastern Europeans and Arabs has created an atmosphere where fine dining is not valued as highly as it used to be. The entire face of the city has changed.”

Previously, Ezio and Maria ran Rossini Italian Bistro, and before that, they spent many years impressing diners at Ristorante Grissini. Valentino the Bistro features many of Chef Ezio’s signature Italian dishes, but the menu has expanded to include several German classics, such as Wiener Schnitzel and Schweine Braten, a beer braised pork roast, honoring the country that they both loved. Ezio grew up in Lecce, which is in the heel of the boot, in Italy. Maria is American, and together they have been satisfying the increasingly refined palates here in San Antonio for twenty years.

The restaurant is modest, and very welcoming. Maria runs the front of the house, and both of their sons can usually be found waiting tables. It is a true family affair. Valentino serves lunch and dinner, and they carry an impressive selection of Italian wine and beer to compliment everything from the house made pastas, to their aged beef filets, and incredible seafood dishes. The menu changes often, and maintains the freshest ingredients of the season. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to find the Costata al Cognac, a New York strip bathed in a green peppercorn and Cognac sauce. For pasta lovers, the Pappardelle Aragosta features perfectly sautéed shrimp in a lobster cream sauce over large, flat fettucine pasta. Regardless of what you order, you can be certain that you will walk away from Valentino a little more in love with each visit.

You will not find your traditional Spaghetti with Meatballs on the menu at Valentino the Bistro. Instead, expectto find simple and delicious Italian and European fare with intense flavors and textures. My favorite dish is, and always has been, the Shrimp in White Wine Sauce. I don’t know what Chef Ezio does to the shrimp to elicit such a delicate flavor, but it is divine, and I most definitely will not share. Valentino the Bistro truly brings an authentic Italian flavor to San Antonio, and hopefully they are here to stay this time.

Valentino the Bistro

14357 Blanco Rd. @ Churchill Estates

(210) 314-7883

Lunch – Tuesday – Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Dinner – Tuesday – Sunday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.