A new restaurant in the area is always something to talk about—anticipating how it will look and what the food will be like. Ramata Italian (1201 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson, 417-231-9559) the new eatery at Branson Landing, has outdone itself as a fine dining destination for the Branson area. The space itself is quite large and beautiful, modern looking and elegant, yet approachable and inviting. It has a large 360-degree bar with lots of seating, a comfy lounge in front of a fireplace and a wall of refrigerated bottled wine. The kitchen has a glass wall so diners can get a view of the busy team hard at work on their entrees.
On a recent visit, I requested a table in the main dining room, in front of that glass wall so I could see into the kitchen. A well-set table was in front of me, and I realized all the other tables were neatly set as well, just waiting for customers. The hand-crafted cocktail menu was long and entertaining, with every major spirit represented. I dwelled on every option and considered what libation I would choose to start the evening with. I ended up choosing the Business Class Perks, a cocktail made with Basil Hayden Bourbon, Aperol, Lucano Amaro and lemon. This particular drink caught my attention for several reasons: one, I love a good bourbon-based cocktail, and two, it has not one but two Italian bitter liqueurs—which I happen to really appreciate. The use of lemon let me know that this would be a shaken cocktail, just the right thing to get my taste buds going for a night of eating.
Our server, Natalia, came by to check on us, and we ordered three appetizers: the Calamari Fritti, the Arancini & Meatball Combination and finally the Spinach Artichoke Shrimp Dip. We were assured by Natalia that these were great options, then off she went with the order. The plates arrived, and they looked wonderful. All three appetizers were plated in large, beautiful white plates that highlighted each dish.