Posts tagged ‘Italian’
It was freezing and we headed for Dinner at Morgenstern da Mario. This is a typical restaurant with a host with a larger than life personality. The stairs to the washroom is filled with pictures of (assumed) Mario and an incredible variety of celebrities (or at least very important people with their own facebook page). We start with a large selection of warm and cold antipasti including homemade burata and seafood. The quality was nice, the selection was well thought out, certainly not of the plain old open a can variety and it was a generous serving. I can understand why people come here, this was a nice way to ease into the dinner. My pasta dish were some Orechiette with a hearty ragu, nothing to complain, except that maybe I should have ordered a larger portion. I greatly enjoy Baccala (salted cod) and they had a dish on the menu. I like the flavour which develops from the rehydrated fish and this here was no exception. I’m also happy when slightly unusual courses are available. While Mario’s charm can be hard to bear, the food is great and the prices pretty decent:
Barolo on Aemtlerstrasse just opened up last Saturday. My interest in serving you – my beloved readers – with the most current information on Zurich’s dining scene compelled me to visit immediately. The interior is quaint, it feels as if it was revamped by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares team of little helpers (or Rach der Restauranttester equivalent). Since the carpaccio was not available I went for Orechiette with dried tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and chilies. Nice combination of ingredients, but the whole dish was too dry. What would have helped is some more oil or similar fatty component to hold the dish together and make it silkier. Main dish was a classic piccata milanese with saffron risotto and vegetables. Unfortunately the risotto and the zuchini-eggplant side were completely oversalted, it was on the verge of inedible. I’m a big fan of this dish, and the piccata was nicely made, but I couldn’t overlook the risotto. This always raises the question, should you object on the spot and ask for a refire ? I only do that when I’m dining alone. When I’m with someone I don’t want to look at my dining companion eating while I wait for my dinner to get fixed. Hence I just leave it on my plate and let the waitress know when she comes to clear the dishes. My dining partner made a comment – this seems to be the place people end up in when the Bottega Berta is full. If they want it to be the other way around, then the food needs to be improved and a more proficient level of quality needs to be attained. To balance this review the shrimp and vegetable dish of my partner in crime was very nice. Prices are fair:
Giangrossi is located at the Rebgasse, just opposite of the commendable Restaurant Real. Giangrossi sports the atmosphere of a posher italian restaurant. Seating is a little on the tight end and the crowd is of the classic more mature and wealthier kind. The meal got off to a very good start. The house speciality is a Trio of Triangoli. Light and fluffy, almost melting in your mouth with three different flavors, the appetizer got my hopes up. Looking forward to a sole with some saffron risotto. But I wasn’t happy with what I got. The sole was much too salty and the risotto just had too much bite left in it for my taste. The salty sole was probably a mistake, but the risotto seems to be made this way on purpose and it’s just not something for me. Tiramisu was last, nice but nothing to write home about. The place was too sloppy in execution, for this price range, one should be able to expect more consistency:
Who isn’t always looking for a nice italian place, which serves great food at affordable prices ? Taverne Da Angelo could be well poised to snatch up the title of neighborhood favourite if you live close to the Lochergut. From the the outside and sitting right next to the Playboy Bar, it might not seem like a proper place for food. But then again, do I look like a proper food critic? Starting off with some Bruschetta with flavorful Marzano tomatoes and some red onions making this rustic dish carries a nice sweet note. I always get excited when a new type of pasta I’ve never had before appears on the menu. So the Cavatelli with its meaty sauce, tasting strongly of Umami were right up my alley. Not quite good enough to lure me away from my favourite Trofie. But certainly good enough to make me wonder why other italian restaurants often only feature spaghetti, penne and linguine….. Feeling like I had some more room, a Tiramisu made it to our table, nice but not spectacular. Unlike Da Angela, this place underpromises and overdelivers, certainly a better alternative. Price for a dinner for two including a bottle of wine:
Ever heard of a working german food concept ? Vapiano is one. Surprising to see the Germans actually successfully making italian food. An italian friend once told me that when the german engineers started analyzing water pressures, temperatures, flow rates… of espresso machines, suddenly decent coffee started appearing in Germany. So with the same seriousness and determination Vapiano was created as a franchise system. To cut to the chase, the food is surprisingly good. You get in line at the pasta station, pick your type of pasta (roughly 10 varieties) and choose a sauce. My choice was a Granchi di Fiume (River lobster) with linguine. The gentleman at the pasta station asked me wether I wanted chili with that and I was so stupid to say yes. The pasta was good, the sauce nice, the only thing which wasn’t good was the heat of the chili which overpowered the subtle crustacean taste. If this is where fast food is moving, fresh ingredients, nicely prepared at decent prices (keep in mind that you get a plate of pasta for the same price as a large Whopper menu with Onion rings) then the future is looking good.
After all the weird stuff in Japan, I decided to treat myself to some italian food and headed to Da Angela. The restaurant is an institution and has underwent an owner change two years ago. This seemed like a decent choice for me. The place was full, it was noisy, the crowd a mix of affluents and families. I started off with some white asparagus with parmigiano. Hmmmmmmm, not really a winner. While the asparagus were cooked on the verge of perfection, putting parmigiano on top of it wasn’t the most sensible choice. The cheese totally killed the dish and stole the elegance of the asparagus by overpowering it. Next dish was the famous Cappelletti Angela, the pasta was exquisite and elegant, and clearly a highly skilled craftsman made these. But, the filling was lacking flavour and the sauce was just too dull and too greasy (plain butter). I felt it was strange that such a delicate hand made pasta would be ruined by grease and a boring stuffing. Main course was a europen seabass (Wolfsbarsch, branzino) with spinach and risotto. The side dishes were oversalted (spinach) and on the verge of overcooked (risotto). The fish was juice, nice flavour and was well cooked. The waiter, must have watched “The Return of the Chainsaw Massacre”, since he completly butchered the fish while dissecting it. It I looked like a can of tuna was dropped on my plate. All in all, the place is living off it’s reputation and totally not worth the money. It sort of fits the crowd, mostly older and reluctant to try something new. The 200 CHF just for the food (2 persons) wasn’t worth it:
It’s getting worse, again I forgot to take a picture of the main course. Certo is the successor of the Cooperativo, if you read closely that all they had to do is get rid of the oopaiv to turn one into the other. They have a decent lunch menu and we gave it a try. I ordered the Strozzapreti with leek, cream and prosciutto. A small salad was placed in front of me (could have chosen the soup if I’d liked to) which had a lot of variety (spinach, frisee, nüssli …). Unfortunately the sauce was lacking acid and the salad was barely covered enough. The pasta was nice and just what you’d expect from an italian place. Other people seem to think the same because it was packed for lunch. The best thing was, that Manu from the now closed Zentraleck was working here. Finances:
I felt really hungry on Sunday and decided to go for italian. Pizzeria Mario seemed like a nice place. The only downside is that it is located in a dodgy neighborhood. Walking down Brauerstrasse after dark, means dodging aggressive prostitutes and stepping around out-of-town heroine dealers. Mario is just as you’d expect it on the inside, neither flashy nor trashy, but well kept and tidy. The crowd is rather diverse from singing african women, to a deaf guy selling trinkets and a family of five enjoying a dinner. I decide to get going with some mixed bruschette, the one with the mushrooms was very nice, the sour pickles on the side were superflous and cheap. The spaghetti pesto I had were cooked al dente, the pesto was good but too oily. My main course was a filet of beef, wrapped in prosciutto served with porcini and pumpkin ravioli. Meat was great, prosciutto was great, but the ravioli were dreadful. The pumpkin filling was too sweet and was completely off next to the beef and the porcini, they should have just been left away. Decent italian restaurant in a fun and exciting neighborhood….
Paneolio is a small, non-smoking restaurant with about 20 seats. Small restaurant, small tables, small menu. I chose a salad with some smoked cheese and followed up with some pasta mattriciana. The paneolio follows a more modern style of italian cooking which doesn’t have as dominant flavours. I guess something which in our glutamate infested times is a step in the right direction, still not all palates will enjoy this. The salad was nicely balanced with some apples and cheese to make it a playful dish. No gripes on the pasta, except that the bacon could have been a bit more salty. Nice small place, nice italian cooking. Prices:
Sunday night, looking for a nice meal we ended up at Ristorante Italia. A rather busy place, we saw a whole slew of tables being turned after we arrived at 8 pm. We sat down at a nice round table and looked around. It’s called being waited on not waiting for, but I’m not sure if our waiter understood those nuances. He looked like Hansi Hinterseer with curly hair and made the impression that his day job is rubbing sun tan lotion on ladies in Rimini. Finally we got some menus and after chasing him he brought us our beers. The place has an impressive selection of meat and cheese, so we decided on some lardo and some ham from a young pork. The lardo had a powerful smell while the porchetta was smoother and more complex. Interesting both of us preferred the lardo initially to the porchetta, but changed our minds since the lardo lost its appeal much quicker than the porchetta. Goldilocks came back and brought us our appetizers. I opted for the sepia pasta with tomatoes and shrimp. It turned out to be a superb dish. The sepia pasta were coated with a bit of cream, sweet chunks of tomato contrasted the crunchiness of the shrimps and the dish was nicely seasoned. I followed up with pork served on some beans. The pork was very salty, the beans were okay but it didn’t hit any major buttons with me. What I saw then really got me angry – this place has a wine tasting machine. 20 odd bottles hooked up to individual pipes, you can grab a glass, enter a chip card and fill it with half a deciliter to taste. Why wasn’t this explained to us, when we sat down by Goldilocks ?! What an unbelievable idiot. Still even he couldn’t ruin the food. I’ll be back to try the wine tasting machine and just hope that I’ll get a different waiter. Prices: