Dining at Luca's Ristorante your senses are immersed in authentic, traditional, artisan Italian cuisine. In Italian, "Di "means "of" or "from", and "Meglio" means "better" or "best". How appropriate. . . this Di Meglio Ristorante. . ."of" and "from" the "best". Here heritage and family are the ingredients of life and food.
Born on the island of Ischia, sister island to the Isle of Capri, just off the coast of Naples, Andréa Di Meglio learned how to authentically combine the simplicity of old-school Ischian classics with the creativity of contemporary Italian cuisine.
Ischia has a long history of occupation from the Greeks in 474 BC, to the Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, and Normans. It was shelled by the British in 1809 and fought over by the French and Spanish. Two features, the volcano Mount Epomeo, and the fortress Castello Aragonese dominate the island of Ischia. The volcano last erupted in 1302, and the Bourbon ruler of Naples used the castle as a prison well into the 19th century.
For the Ischians, Castello Aragonese provided protection from military occupation and pirate marauders. Mount Epomeo created rich sulphate-based volcanic soil, providing lush vegetation, thermal spas, lemon groves, vineyards, bee keeping, island raised meats, poultry and coastal fishing. All this sustained the island and its people. Ischian craftsmen worked in ceramics, bronze, iron and other metals. Their work brought trade to the island. With trade came varied cultural imprints on the cuisine, the art, and the architecture. The lifestyle of Ischia fostered an island society of artisans devoted to the ethic of "use what you have" and "do it yourself".
Influenced by the quality time spent in the family kitchen and the homemade meals served by loving family members, Andréa grew up loving his diverse heritage and sought to bring it with him when he moved to New Jersey and opened his ristorante. Two ingredients combined, first the inspiration of family and homeland and second, the passion of Andréa. The result was the arrival of Luca's Ristorante, Somerset in 1994.
Entering the ristorante patrons walk through an unassuming exterior and are visually transported to Ischia. Andréa's passion for heritage and homeland is represented on wall tiles handmade by the workshop Keramos D'Ischia, depicting Italian notables and views of the Island. Rustic pottery, handcrafted glazed earthenware dishes and serving platters, immerse patrons in the blues, greens and browns of the Ischian sky, sea and soil. Diners can even find Ischia in the black and white wall mounted masks of Pulcinella, a historical comedic character dressed in a large, white smock and soft white hat, wearing a black half-mask characterized by a hook-nose. Pulcinella is there to remind patrons to emulate his love of good food and his zest for life.
Dine and enjoy simple fresh ingredients creatively cooked, infused with Ischian history and Di Meglio family memories: handmade pastas, homemade aperitifs, Limoncello and Rucolino digestives, aperitivos to antipasti, primi to secondi, contorno to dolci, artesian breads, cheeses, reductions, and sauces with rich flavors, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables and imported tomatoes from Italy. Specialties like Fico in Camicia, Mozzarella Di Bufala, Agnolotti Di Cacao, Gnocchi Di Spinaci Genovese, Chicken Pulcinella, Veal Epomeo, Zuppa Di Pesce, Shrimp Amalfi, Lamb Ossobuco and Personal Pizzettes embody the Di Meglio inspiration and passion.
All these wonderful ingredients plus personal service with attention to detail, quality, and value, served with confidence and consistency complete the Di Meglio Fresh Approach to Traditional Italian Cuisine.