24 October 2012
Welcome to Gabriella Candela and Gaspare Ruggeri who moved to this country from Sicily nine years ago. Residents of Louisa, Gaspare traveled to Hanover for eight years as he cooked for another restaurant. This summer, they experienced the American dream as they opened their own restaurant in Zion Crossroads (in the strip shopping center in front of Walmart). This is a small neighborhood restaurant with only three large booths, two small booths, and six other tables and chairs. Gabriella is thrilled with their reception as sometimes people are lining up outside to wait for tables on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights as well as Sunday mornings after church.
What you need to know is that they have an extensive menu that offers everything from appetizers to subs, paninis, soups, salads, burgers and other sandwiches, pasta dishes with a variety of sauces, and dinner entrees made with fish, chicken or meat. And wonderful desserts imported from Italy. As everything is made to order, Gaspare will accommodate diners who are diabetic or need a gluten-free meal. I have been to Il Castella three times and have eaten from a different part of the menu each time in order to give my readers a better feel for this new restaurant.
Great Buy Alert: Lunch specials are available every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This means that all 7” subs are $6.95 with a soda and fries or chips. And the fries are really crispy and delicious. A real favorite of several friends is Nonna’s eggplant sub consisting of grilled eggplant, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and basil. I enjoyed the chicken sausage sub with peppers and onions and fries. I like my hot subs with tomato sauce and they brought me some on the side.
The soups are prepared daily and the minestrone soup was a light broth filled with tomatoes, beans, broccoli, spinach and pasta. The soup comes in a square white bowl (cup) served on a square white plate for $2.95. A bowl is $3.95. Daily soup specials are $3.50 and $4.50. The house, spinach, Caesar, and Greek salads from $3.95 to $7.50 can be turned into a meal by adding fried or grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or even a crab cake for a small additional charge. The antipasto and Castello salads include several Italian meats, cheeses and olives and would make a great lunch all by themselves for $8.75. All the salad dressings are homemade and include some unusual choices like mango, cucumber and chianti. The salads are fresh and crispy.
The first time I stopped at Il Castello, it was for pizza and I was not disappointed. Their pizzas are thin crusted and crisp with lots of sauce, cheese and seasoning - just the way I like it. My friend Linda’s family also enjoyed the Sicilian pizza.
If you want a more substantial lunch (or dinner), Il Castello offers 19 different pasta and sauce combinations for your spaghetti, penne, linguini, or fettuccini. Once again, you can add meat ball, sausage, chicken, shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops or calamari for a small charge. Baked lasagna, ziti, shells, tortellini and ravioli are some of the other baked pasta dishes to enjoy. Bonnie liked her baked ziti which was served in a bowl on a wooden board with three rolls. She thought the ziti’s ingredients tasted fresh and she had enough to take home for another meal.
Another choice is a regular dinner item served with a house salad and a side (pasta, vegetable or potato). My husband really liked the chicken marsala entrée. The two chicken breasts were tender enough to cut with a fork and the sauce had lots of mushrooms. I thought the chicken parmesan was excellent and the breading was crisp and light. Dinner entrees include chicken, fish, shellfish, and veal and range in price from $12.95 - $17.95.
And last but definitely not least, the desserts. Garbiella and Gaspare import their desserts from Italy and let me tell you, they are truly special. Patsy and I shared the tiramisu at lunch and it was served beautifully and tasted so light that I expected it to float off the plate. It was created with mascarpone cream on a sponge cake base covered with a row of espresso drenched ladyfinger, topped with mascarpone and dusted with cocoa powder - YUM! Bonnie and Linda really loved their lemoncello-raspberry cake consisting of lemoncello soaked sponge cake filled with lemon cream and raspberry mirour and white chocolate piping. Their other desserts sounded just as wonderful and I think Il Castello would be a great place to meet some friends for coffee and dessert during the cold winters months. The cost was $3.95 for cannoli’s and $4.95 for all other desserts.
Italian Restaurant and Pizza
47 Market Street - Zion Crossroads
Gordonsville, VA 22942
540-832-3781 or 3716
Tuesday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday 11a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday noon – 9 p.m.