Low cost star @ Sarri – Imperia

Sarri Imperia

I think I lost count of all the "cheapest Michelin starred restaurant" lists that are duly rediscovered at every presentation of the red guide, mainly because (at least concerning Italy) many reports regard restaurants whose prices are absolutely aligned with equally-prized eateries which, however, integrate their offer with a business lunch at a reduced price, whose composition has nothing to share with what you can buy at full price.

It’s quite strange that none of the aforementioned rankings mention this establishment in Imperia where, both lunch and dinner, customers can order a surprise tasting menu, whose dishes are also available à la carte, at the competitive price of 38€.

Andrea Sarri is an old acquaintance of the "tire guide", having been chef and owner of the Agrodolce in Oneglia, where he already earned the red asterisk. The location change coincided with the conversion to chef/farmer: a line of thinking having in Enrico Crippa (Piazza Duomo at Alba) its leading authority. In fact the words "from our orchard" appear quite often in the menu. Continue reading “Low cost star @ Sarri – Imperia”

Route change? @ Villa Crespi – Orta San Giulio (NO)

Villa Crespi Orta San Giulio

Villa Crespi is Antonino Cannavacciuolo’s main restaurant, whose popularity has exponentially grown in the past few years. In fact the waiting list is about two months for every day of the week. For the not informed, we are talking about one of the most mediatically exposed chef in Italy: judge in Master Chef and host of our version of Kitchen Nightmares. Direct consequence of his acclaim is the opening of a bistrot restaurant in Novara (you can find here my review in Italian) and very soon in Turin too.

This kind of popularity tends to attract far less demanding customers (if we can say so), and premature estimators may ask themselves if this excess of success (forgive the rhyme) can have an impact on the overall quality of his restaurant.

For sure the amenity of the location was not affected: we are still in a wonderful moorish style villa near the shore of the Orta lake with baroque halls, silver cutlery and long clothed tables with no concessions to the nordic minimalist style. Service seemed a bit in trouble during our last visit, but we also have to consider that the end of the season was near, and the tiredness of the staff was palpable. Continue reading “Route change? @ Villa Crespi – Orta San Giulio (NO)”

The dark side @ I Tigli in Theoria – Como

Tigli in Theoria - Como

Actually it reminds me more of an asterisk, but trying not to be ironic, the Michelin star is undoubtedly one of the most wanted prizes for a restaurant, considering its international fame and the real capacity to attract customers, with effective economic advantage. A power that other Italian guides retain much less.

Of course, just after a chef can pin the red badge on his apron, customers have to be cautious about the dark side: it’s widely believed that in newly-starred eateries, you can see prices leaven just like the bread .

To be honest I’m not particularly scandalized. Obtaining and keeping the award requires considerable investments and, when the milestone has been reached, there’s nothing wrong with reaping the benefits of one’s labour. Too bad someone gets carried away sometime. Continue reading “The dark side @ I Tigli in Theoria – Como”

Angry French @ Mirazur – Menton

Mirazur Menton

Well, ok. This is not exactly Italy, but I hope you’ll forgive me, considering that Mirazur is no more than 50 meters from the Italian border, and the chef owner (Mauro Colagrego) is Italian/Argentinian. I will also add that he will be one of the four judges of the Italian version of the TV program “Top Chef”.

As usual, the 2016 edition of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant award has not brought significant achievements for France, and our cousins beyond the alps (how we call them) didn’t take that very well, because they still consider themselves the keepers of haute cuisine in the whole world. However the reaction was tragicomic: with the endorsement from the government they invented “la liste“, a list based on a scientific algorhytm, whose results are much more appreciated. Too bad the winning chef committed suicide just after a few days (obviously for independent reasons), casting a macabre shadow over all the operation.

I’ve expressed some doubts on the World’s 50 best too in my Italian language blog, but I can agree that the world is not looking at France as the homeland of gastonomic avant-garde, since the attention has been focused firstly on northern Europe and then on Italy, or at least this is what I hope ;-). Continue reading “Angry French @ Mirazur – Menton”

The No 1 @ Osteria Francescana – Modena

This is my first post on the new blog, so there’s no better way to start from the best, where the best today is Osteria Francescana in Modena, led by the skinny Italian chef (as he defines himself) Massimo Bottura. I’m obviously referring to the famous/infamous "World’s 50 Best Restaurants" which, for the first time since its creation, has an Italian restaurant at the top position.

I tend to consider this list quite playfully, mainly because the criteria on which is built are at least self-referential, but its commercial power is today comparable to that of the historic Michelin Guide. I only hope that this achievement will bring more attention to our restaurants, generally poorly considered at an international level. Continue reading “The No 1 @ Osteria Francescana – Modena”