Few combinations can match Italian food and Jazz music, so when a buddy of mine suggests we head to the local Italian Bistro Grapevine II for the live jazz that the restaurant hosts every Monday night. He then goes on to tell the group that this particular Italian restaurant is possibly the best Italian restaurant in Richmond, and that they’d made a regular out of him on his first visit, and he had little doubt they would make regulars out of us as well. My curiosity peaked, my friends and I set out for the Grapevine II, though I wonder if it can indeed meet my friends enthusiastic boast.
Located on Three Chopt Road, the restaurant itself looks much like any good Greek/Italian bistro should, complete with a Greek statue out front. As soon as you step inside, that bistro-feel increases tenfold, with the interior itself being everything you’d expect from a classy Italian joint, without crossing over the line into pretentiousness. The lighting is good, the tables clean, and the live acoustic jazz really adds to the entire experience. It’s nice enough you could take a date there, but relaxed enough you could come with friends or by yourself for lunch.
The service was top of the line, with the servers always very gracious and tending to your every need. I don’t think my glass was empty for longer than ten seconds before one of the waitresses would come by and refill it. They make every effort to see you are satisfied and well attended, and the wait for food is never too long. While falling just short of perfection, the service certainly is incredible, and it certainly left an impression.
Of course, the main attraction of any good Italian bistro is the food, however good the atmosphere, service and jazz music may be, and I’m happy to say the Grapevine really flourishes here. I would be well within my right to say that it may rank among the best Italian food I’ve ever had, and I’ve put away my fair share in my time. The Italian wedding Soup, despite going against tradition by using tomato broth rather than the usual chicken broth, was warm, hearty and satisfying. My Chicken Alfredo was top notch, with the chicken well cooked, the sauce rich and flavorful, and the noodles even tasted homemade. Having had a slice of one of my friends White Pizza, I can say I will have to order that next time. The pièce de résistance however was the baklava, with a the maple smell noticeable as they brought it to the table. Words fail me when it comes to describing the flavor, and it quite literally melts in your mouth. The joy on my face must have been evident, as it inspired the rest of my friends to order it as well. Best of all, the entire meal cost less then $20, and it was worth every cent.
Much like the jazz music that permeates throughout the restaurant, the Grapevine boasts a very mellow atmosphere which is enhanced by it’s outstanding service and mouthwatering food. I literally cannot think of a single thing to complain about, with even the price proving amiable. It is everything a good restaurant should be, going above and beyond in every fashion. My friend may have very well been correct when he called Grapevine II the best Italian restaurant in Richmond, and it certainly earned a spot as my new favorite. There is little doubt in my mind I will be a returning customer, and if you have the chance, you should stop in for a meal too. Trust me when I say they will make a regular out of you too.