Restaurants & Bars 34

Italy Last Week: Le Calandre Best In Country, Dal Forno Incredible, Venice Disappointment

Joe H. | Dec 15, 200309:50 AM

My wife and I just returned from a six day eating binge in Verona, Rubano and Venice. Le Calandre, which we first visited a year ago, has just introduced their 19 course (with amuse, eight course dessert called "The Game of Chocolate") Winter prix fixe.

I am convinced this is the best restaurant in the entire country. Three Michelin stars, now up five points in Gambero Rosso (53 for 2004 for food), just an incredible experience with the chocolate dessert ranking as the best and most spectacular I have ever had anywhere. At 125 Euros prix fixe this is actually a bargain, even with the horrible exchange rate. Understandable instructions on how to eat perhaps a half dozen courses which involve complex flavors, contrasting textures, layers of a dish where as the spoon descends more flavors come in. Smoked risotto.

Tre Marchettis was terrible in Verona, Il nuovo Galeon surprised in Venice, Alle Testire predictably excellent and fairly priced and, the absolute dog of this and any trip was the world class nightmare: Avogaria. Absolutely mind boggling that any magazine would call this an excellent restaurant.

High point of the trip along with Calandre was a visit to Romano Dal Forno whose amarone is the best I have ever tasted. I cannot say enough about the hospitality of this man and his family. Anyone reading this who is going to the Veneto should seriously consider a bottle of his Valpolicella which is around 70 Euros in most restaurants and just outstanding. If you can find it in a store try it. And the '97 Amarone is awesome. HE SAYS HIS '98 WILL BE BETTER. He releases magnums and double magnums of the '97 in three years. Barrel samples of his 2000 and 2001 Amarones and Valpolicellas with him and my wife may be the highlight of any wine experience I have ever had!

I'll put a longer and more detailed post later.

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