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Posts Tagged ‘Italian restaurant’

Cuisine: Italian and Engadin (area around St Moritz) traditional.

Visit: January 2012

Price: Medium to high (if you get truffles on everything you order then you will get a three-digit bill).

Food, art and view from the slopes above St Moritz

Food, art and view from the slopes above St Moritz

Atmosphere: The outside terrace is very popular on sunny and warm days. Lovely views of the valley and ski slopes attract many diners. It is lively and refreshing. Inside there are two parts of the same restaurant. One is a bit more elegant and the other has a rustic mountain feel. When cruising the slopes we prefer to sit in the more casual one. Decorated with animal head trophies, horns and mountain photographs, the place assures you that you are in the European mountain area. Everyone wears their ski suits boots and even hats if they do not feel like taking them off. The room is pleasantly warm though so it is up to you how much you decide to undress.

Mountain interior at Salastrains

Mountain interior at Salastrains

Food: Honest, rustic and generous. The portions are not huge ( especially if you compare them to the portions typical in the US), yet most of the dishes are very filling. When skiing I like to warm up with a bowl of rich soup. The creamy Molligatawny Soup is my favourite. This curry-based creamy soup with pieces of chicken is hearty and tasty. It surely gives you a good base of energy for at least a couple of runs down the slopes.

Local meat platter is also a nice starter. Engadin specialities such as Deer carpaccio. Fish carpaccio or Tuna tartar are lighter and refreshing options.

Hearty creamy soup

Hearty creamy soup

The pizza is the reason why we return to Salastrains each time we ski in St Moritz. But  this is not just any pizza. Crisp, thin crust with a hefty dose of cheese, crowned by a light brown cap of white truffles. What to say – it is the most gourmet pizza (and probably the priciest one) one can imagine. You can get also deer carpaccio, house-made noodles or risotto sprinkled with the precious white truffles from Alba.

White truffle pizza

White truffle pizza

Pasta are the restaurant’s signature as well as the fresh lobster. The homemade pastas are delicious, especially the linguine. The lobster is very nice for Europe, yet not superb like the Main lobster. You can have it steamed or grilled, served with a green salad  or plain. Veal Milanese would surely please any lover of this Italian “schnitzel” style speciality.

There is a tempting dessert buffet in the restaurant, so if you still have a space for an “Apfelstrudel” , “Topfenstrudel” both served with vanilla sauce or a Chocolate mouse go for it. Not fussy, just home-style and generous.

Drinks: Warming up with a cup of mulled wine or tea with some schnapps (strong liquor) is a must in the mountains to get you soaked properly in the winter atmosphere. The wine list offers Italian, French and Swiss wines by the bottle and some by the glass (2 whites and 2 reds). If you feel like having some bubbles then a tiny bottle of Champagne (185ml Moet et Chandon) will not send your head into flying mode while replenishes your imaginary energy levels through the combination of sparkle and alcohol. Half bottles for those conscious about safe skiing are great option if you do not want to feel the drinks in your head. Magnums are perfect for big groups.

Opening season: All seasons. The restaurant is located at the Salastrains hotel.

Address: Via Salastrains 12, 7500 St Moritz, Switzerland

Contact: Tel: +(41) 81 830 07 07

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Cuisine: Italian, Piedmontese.

Visit: November 2012

Price: High (but for the quality it is a good value for money).

Umberto: the owner of Vintage 1998 shaving truffles for you

Umberto: the owner of Vintage 1998 shaving truffles for you

Atmosphere: It feels much more informal than at most of Michelin stared restaurants. Colourful walls, very friendly and upbeat staff including its owner Umberto and the dress code is also much more relaxed. The tables are elegant yet cosy and Umberto makes everyone feel like at home. I would call his approach a grandmother’s style – serving you generous portions and adding more and more tasty dishes than you would imagine ordering. But they are so good and he knows what is best on that day so trust him and forget about a light meal.

Vintage 1997

Vintage 1997

Food: Hearty, generous and superb quality of ingredients. We came still in truffle season so everything one can imagine was or could be enhanced by tremendous truffles from Alba. Impolitely staring at other diners’ plates I spotted amazingly looking Beef tartare served with white truffles, so I had to try it. The starter had not disappointed. I have never had before (yet two courses later it was repeated) such a generous hat of truffles on any dish. Even a thought back about this dish makes me salivating!

Beef tartare with white truffles

Beef tartare with white truffles

My friends from Turin are regulars at Vintage 1997 so I listened not only to Umberto’s suggestions but also to theirs. Their choice of a crispy Artichoke with egg and melting parmesan was exquisite. Again not a very light dish, but full of flavours and calling for some wine to lighten it up a bit.

Artichoke with egg and parmesan

Artichoke with egg and parmesan

The home-made pasta here are like from a grandmother – no eggs were spared. The Agnolotti egg pasta are one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. I got them simple with butter sauce and another generous shaving of white truffles. If one is very hungry this plate will satisfy immediately, but it can be a shock for some cholesterol-minding customers.

Agnolotti egg pasta with white truffles

Agnolotti egg pasta with white truffles

From the desserts the homemade Tiramisu is perhaps the most popular but the chocolate aficionados also find plenty of sweets prepared with chocolate. Turin is famous for high-quality chocolate and the tradition spans across centuries, so you much give it a try.

Drinks: The wine list is spectacular with high- as well as low-priced Italian wines, but also some French treasures. What I appreciated was that Umberto selected to me a lesser known wine for a very reasonable price which tasted marvellous! What more to wish for a serious and even a less serious but price-conscious wine drinker. A bottle of a red Merlot from La Morra Langhe DOC 2006 made without any chemical fertilisers and from low-yielding vines by Fontanazza-Pissotta was surprisingly fresh and deep for a Merlot. Not a very Italian grape, but this wine proved that Merlot can thrive in Northern Italy.

Contact: Tel: +(39) 0115136722; email: info@vintage1997.com

Opening hours: Lunch: 12:30-14:30; Dinner: 20:00-23:00; closed for lunch on Saturday and on Sunday.

Address: Piazza Solferino 16h, 10121 Torino, Italy.

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Cuisine: Traditional Italian, Piedmontese.

Visit: November 2012

Price: High (the crème de la crème of the Italian upper class gathers here for lunch and dinner, so the prices are high).

Turin is the “City where Italy was created”. It was at the Ristorante Del Cambio, where Giuseppe Garibaldi, Cavour and Mazzini often discussed the possibility of uniting North and South Italy in the 18th century (Risorgimento movement). The restaurant’s location across from the first Italian parliament is not a coincidence when history is considered. Until today the back wall table overlooking the parliament building, that Cavour – one of the fathers of the nation – used to sit at, is the VIP table that is highly desirable to reserve.

Del Cambio menu

Atmosphere: Del Cambio is the place to be seen in Turin. Its elegant interior, historical importance and a view of the first Italian parliament are the restaurant’s strong assets attracting not only curious tourists, but also the local society. Carla Bruni is one of the current personalities reported to be a big fan of Del Cambio. It is so pompous that one would think that dressing up is imperative, but that is not entirely true. The locals are quite casual so wearing a light sweater and jeans is totally acceptable.

Del Cambio historic interior

Food: High quality ingredients, authentic recipes and lots of flavour. Some people are surprised that such a popular tourist destination serves great food. Just the fact that you are in Italy, where great food can be found virtually on every corner, helps though. Del Cambio could make average dishes, but it chose to treat its customers with excellent quality ingredients with a gentle touch of luxury. The crisp and fresh grissini wrapped in a cloth on each table are a good sign of tasty things to come. Moreover, each dish has a slightly local adaptation.

Vitello tonnato

I loved the Vitello tonnato – slices of veal with creamy tuna sauce and capers. It was authentic, yet slightly different since the veal was more thick and served on the sauce instead of the usual underneath. The meat was generous and delicate, the sauce rich as it should be, the only drawback was the scarcity of capers that add more zesty freshness to this intense starter.

During the autumn truffle season you can savor a number of dishes prepared with the white truffles from Alba. From scrambled eggs, cheese to meats, all of them sprinkled with this precious and aromatic fungus. The pastas are tremendous. Homemade ravioli or taglioni are great with the truffle seasoning.

They have great deserts and coffee so you can treat yourself or reinvigorate after a big meal.

Drinks: The mostly local wine list is very good. We went for a glass of local white wine and were more than satisfied with the sommelier’s choice. The wine went well with our dishes.

Address: Piazza Carignano 2, 10123 Turin, Italy

Contact: +(39) 011 54 66 90; email: cambio@thi.it

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