Italian cuisine

Ristorante Casanova impresses with its Italian cuisine, homemade pasta

Ristorante Casanova, a new Italian restaurant at the foot of the DoubleTree hotel, elevates pasta with its unique and flavorful dishes. The restaurant replaces the former Fire Restaurant and is owned by Elma Carreto.

Led by Chef Jesus Martinez in the kitchen, Casanova’s dishes are impressive, from the elegant presentation and homemade pasta to the use of fresh ingredients from Borderland’s business partners.

Martinez, who honed his culinary skills at the best restaurants in San Francisco’s Little Italy, said he wanted to bring the flavor of Italy to your table, but with a hipper twist. In other words, don’t expect traditional spaghetti dishes.

Recently, Martinez treated us to a food tasting that resulted in a dramatic, unique, and tasty journey for our eyes and taste buds.

The salad, to start, was a lovely presentation of baby arugula tossed with nuts from a local farm, rolled up pieces of prosciutto, cubed sweet melon and melon, and drizzled with raspberry mint vinaigrette.

Impress a date by ordering the squid ink pasta at Ristorante Casanova.  It's delicious.

For our starters, Martinez presented a pasta with squid ink, which means the pasta is made fresh with flour, egg yolks and squid ink, which gives it its blackened hue. . The pasta was topped with shrimp, mussels, scallops, breadcrumbs and broccolini which made for an amazing and flavorful dish.

The other dish was the special of the week and equally good in flavor and texture variations, consisting of a cannelloni stuffed with short ribs braised for 12 hours.

The cannelloni were made with a special sauce and savory ricotta cheese and served with Full Circle mushrooms (from a vendor in New Mexico) and glazed baby carrots.

Ristorante Casanova chef Jesus Martinez, 38, has two of his special entrees: squid ink pasta with seafood and cannelloni stuffed with short rib of beef.

For dessert, it’s impossible to go wrong with the crispy espresso sorbet or the no-bake goat cheese pie. Neither are overly sweet and are the perfect complement to a lovely meal.

The dishes are carefully prepared by Martinez while coming out on time. So the next time you want to make a date extra special, consider Ristorante Casanova in your evening plans.

The restaurant serves dinner seven days a week from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. It has live music Wednesday through Friday and a “sister” rooftop bar, Terrazzo.

María Cortés González can be reached at 915-546-6150;; @EPTMaria on Twitter.

make plans

What: Restaurant Casanova

Where: Inside the DoubleTree Hotel, 600 El Paso St.

Hours: Dinner seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: Admissions start at $22; the weekly special is $24.

Information: call 915-532-8733 or visit Casanova’s Facebook page at