We both live and work within a few miles of Chianti, but in seven years I confess I had never tried it (and Adam had only bought takeout once or twice). I think it’s the name. Fair or not, I associate the word “chianti” with terrible cheap wine in a basket. Scratch that, it’s completely unfair, because I was fortunate enough to visit Tuscany a few years ago and found that chianti can be delicious and I shouldn’t confuse it with cheap American supermarket wine. So for no good reason, this restaurant resided in a blind spot for me.
And that’s a shame. Adam and I visited the restaurant located in Gayton Crossing Shopping Center and had a lovely meal. We both felt like salads this day and thankfully were offered a much better selection that your standard “House or Caesar” choice. The menu offers these of course, plus eight other choices. Adam ordered the Annabelle Goat Cheese Salad, a spring mix salad with beets, tomatoes, walnuts, and (you guessed it) goat cheese. Adam loved his salad, Adam calling the warm goat cheese “fantastic” and later telling me it was a top-3 salad for him, ever. I got over my prejudice and ordered the Chianti Special Salad, a spring mix salad with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers,and grilled chicken and each ingredient was excellent, culminating in a satisfying whole.
One note about the location itself. The service was very friendly and efficient, but the atmosphere was perfect. In 2007, I visited Italy during the summer, and loved the respite of a meal indoors, a shelter from a persistent sun. Chianti used natural lighting and stone-colored tones to provide this same feel. I can’t say that I forgot I was in Richmond, but I felt that same embrace, a lovely and content meal while hiding from the sun.