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Northern Italy


vmilor
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Cy,

Do you also mind telling us some more on Soriso? it was not on my radar screen but after your A+ i can change my mind.

I must admit I was a bit surprised about this. I went about two years ago and found the cuisine good but nothing really earth-shattering. They were quite kind to us but also stingy on the truffles: we had just been a few days earlier at Guido on the very last night of the restaurant and the comparisons in terms of generosity on the plate was not flattering for Il Sorriso at all. In general, as Cy hints, they tend to be more expensive than one would expect.

Gosh, how I miss Guido! :sad:

May i also request the address of Rigoletto?

Il Rigoletto

Piazza Martiri, 29

42046 Reggiolo (RE)

Tel: 0522 973520

Fax: 0522 973520

E-mail: ilrigoletto@ilrigoletto.it

website: http://www.ilrigoletto.it

Closed: June-Sept - sunday and monday lunch

Oct-May - sunday evenings and mondays

Best,

Francesco

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Cy, I give your commentary an A+. They are endearing and never boring. You tell it like it is and give us very good guidance. Overwrought details of diner's reports are often counter-productive. Please return. Why not find a nice hotel in Piemonte for the truffles and make it easier on yourself? The trip I'm planning for the summer is less taxing than yours.

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I've been carelessly and inexcusably misdescribing the location of the restaurant Il Rigoletto as in Reggiolo, 29 kilometers due south of Verona. It is not due south of Verona, it is due south of Mantova.

If you can navigate that trip at night in your own car, I tip my hat to you. We needed a Mantova taxi to take us there and back. Expensive, but worth it.

The place just earned its second star. It deserves three.

It is run by a husband-wife team. The wife is nice, the husband-chef weighs over 300 pounds. He has obviously been gorging on his own cuisine and who can blame him?

Price for the tasters menu was 96 euros. Talk about bargains!

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Cy, I had Il Rigoletto on my itinerary, but removed it. I think I did because I couldn't find an agreeable-enough place to stay. Perhaps it was also because my wife and I really like Mantova and having shown up at Al Berasaglieri the night it was closed, I felt that after a friendly chat with the chef's brother who was doing some work there, I owed it to myself to actually have a meal there. I imagine you stayed at the Hotel San Lorenzo in Mantova (no great shakes, but adequate), but did you find anywhere closer to Il Riggoletto that may have provided a pleasant overnight stay?

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Robert-

The internet shows one hotel in Reggiolo, the Cavallo Bianco. It has 3 stars, under the Italian Govt. rating system, not much of a recommendation, but not the world's worst either.The Michelin online lists only one hotel in Reggiolo, the Nablia, but it is no longer there.Michelin does nt list the Cavallo Bianco, usually a bad sign, some defect or other may exist there.Michelin shows the nearest town with a recommended hotel,(two roofs) as Fabbrico, 5 kilometers away. Sounds close, but I wouldnt want to have to try and find it at night. Both the hotel and the restaurant would be basically impossible to find.

The way we did it, hiring a Mantova taxi, is the simplest, but it means an extra 100 euros.

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I just returned from a business trip through four countries which culminated with a dinner at the two star Bareiss in Baiersbronn in Germany's Black Forest. I was unable to get into the three star Schwarzwaldstube which has almost a year's lead time for a reservation (we went last September). For what it's worth both of these have the best service I have ever experienced in my life anywhere.

I believe I was the first to ever mention Le Calandre on another board over three years ago http://www.chowhound.com/boards/intl2/messages/8826.html and on here sometime after that. I have seen Massimiliano grow to the point where his is the best restaurant I have found in Italy with a number of dishes that are just outstanding. It lacks the sumpuous luxury of other restaurants and, for me, the room is actually lit too brightly. Still, I find it extraordinary. Cy, I am glad that you were able to experience it. I'm also glad that you liked Alle Testiere which is a totally different type of experience. We'll go back to both Schwarzwaldstube (in one of the most beautiful places on earth) in December and ALSO return to both Le Calandre and Alle Testiere. Calandre is different from the German restaurants in that it is more inventive, a greater emphasis on textures than the traditional and more indulgently classical Bareiss and Schwarzwaldstube.

I also thank you for your adventure in finding the restaurant that Apple had raved about. Hearing what you went through to get there solves a problem for me: we won't go!

I also applaud you for your stamina and will to survive dinners like this on successive nights! There are not many people on earth that can do this!

Cy, did any of your experiences remind you or rival earlier experiences you've had elsewhere over the years?

Last, I took notes at Bareiss-for three or four courses (of twenty). Finally, I gave up and just decided to enjoy it.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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My daughter points out to me that the owners of Il Rigoletto told us they were re-opening their hotel, the Nablia, the next night. My memory on this is blurred, but if she says that then I assume that is correct.

I would advise anyone planning to visit Il Rigoletto to check with the owners by phone . Spending the night there is obviously the easy way to do it.

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The vaporetto for Punta Sabbione leaves SantaZaccharia every half hour.Its line number, I think I remember, is LN. The dock is a particular one of several in a row, its close to the Metropole Hotel.

Its a tedious 40 minute ride on an always over-crowded boat.

When you arrive at Punta Sabbione a big orange bus is waiting to meet the boat. But its out of sight, hidden behind a building to your right as you emerge.We didnt see it, wandered around, suddenly it took off right near us. I yelled for it to stop but was ignored. So we had to phone for a taxi, waited 20 minutes for it to arrive and another 20 minutes to reach the restaurant. If we had caught the bus, I dont know how close it would have taken us to the Trattoria Laguna, but presumably close enough.

Vedat says when he inquired about being met at the dock by the owner's son, was told no dice.But someone who posted on E-Gullet, or perhaps another channel, I forget, said his hotel made his reservation and he was in fact met at the dock. So maybe if your hotel has enough clout, you can get the same treatment.Apple certainly had no trouble getting the VIP treatment.

Now about the return trip.

When you e-mail for your reservation you will be told that Alvise, the owner's son , will personally drive you to the dock in time for the last boat at night.(at least he will if you ask) Or if he's too busy, as he was the night we were there, he gets a friend to drive you. This is gratis(but a tip for the friend is obviously called for..)

The problem lies in the scheduling situation. I thought there would be boats every half hour, as there were coming from Venice.But it wasnt so. We were deposited at Punta Sabbioni around 10:45, and discovered the next boat wasnt until 11:43 (PM). So we had to sit on an outdoor bench for an hour, half frozen. A very miserable situation.But if you find out the exact schedule of return boats, you can avoid that.Or just time your dinner to catch the 11:43.

This is all based on the assumption that you're going for dinner, not lunch.If you're going for lunch, I really cant supply any pertinent info, other than what I've spelled out already.

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Cy, thanks so much for the vital information. Indeed I am going for lunch since I have a reservation for dinner already made. I am staying at a hotel that should have some clout, so I'll have the concierges try to nget it straigh for mke. It seems, however, that you liked the restaurant and perhaps would have liked it more under less difficult travel circumstances. Thanks to my research, both printed advice from big names I trust, and people such as yourself on e Gullet, I anticipate correct, honest and tasty food in Venice. A good gourmand tries everything from the most humble to the most pretentious!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 1 month later...
My daughter points out to me that the owners of Il Rigoletto told us they were re-opening their hotel, the Nablia, the next night. My memory on this is blurred, but if she says that then I assume that is correct.

I would advise anyone planning to visit Il Rigoletto to check with the owners by phone . Spending the night there is obviously the easy way to do it.

I don't read Italian, but the description on this page seems to asnwer the question.

I don't read Italian, but I'm surprised by how much I've learned just by knowing a bit of menu Italian. Knowing the Italian for angel hair pasta and dried pasta, it was easy to identify "hair dryer" as one of the amenities listed in another hotel web site. Experience with pasta has a broadening effect beyond just one's waistline.

Let me add that this is a very helpful thread as we start to contemplate a trip to northern Italy for a fall. Cy, you've got a few years on me, but I don't think I can match your eating pace, let alone take notes on all I eat.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I visited the Rigoletto about a month ago, and their hotel was just opened. It's adjacently situated. The cooking style of Rigoletto is very elaborated, and the quality, the service, and the wine list is 2 star without any question. It was a very friendly atmosphere, and our limited knowledge about Italian language and history and social environment of the region helped to fire an almost familiar discussion at the end of the meal. Highly recommended indeed for those in search of fine dining.

A week ago, when we had our "Corelli event", and eGulleteer "francesco" suggested an excursion to the "Ristorante Il Sole - Antica Locanda del Trebbo" in Trebbo di Reno, about 5 miles to the north of the tangentiale of Bologna (and with guest rooms as well). It has a michelin star and they could be heading for more. The cooking style is simpler than the one of Rigoletto but they marvelled with a clear cut and well defined zuppa di parmigiano and with two dishes made with phantastic (but really phantastic) porcinis. A dessert with gelato di basilico is my favourite as dessert of the year until now. Service and sommelier was correct and what you can expect of a one star.

I liked the place very much. We had almost exclusively local wines (of the Emilia Romagna, that is) and the "Sangiovese di Romagna" are really fantastic food wines if you stick with the ones below the top line (less alocoholic, less concentrated, less barrique). Also very recommended are the wines made from the native Albano varietal.

For €100 per person for a multi course menu and a fine selection of these local wines, there's no room for any complaints, of course. Great price/performance ratio and very recommended for the ones interested in a somewhat simpler and more traditional cuisine than Rigoletto.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Funny thing about eating a restaurant, its not just about the food. Robert makes mention of feeling uncomfortable being one of only two other tables, and he's right, it is uncomfortable. Its like throwing a party and no one comes. But when a restaurant gets it right, its unforgettable.

Just now I was searching eGullet for something when I came across Boris's description of Il Sole. That was a wonderful evening, from the moment we walked in. The head chef was enthusiastic and could not have been happier when we all agreed to just put oursevles in their hands. Go ahead, dazzle us, and they did. From the fantastic apertivo of an ice cold gin fizz sipped thru warm foam to each successive course of treats for the tongue, and that fantastic basil gelato. It was a fabulous evening, remembered for the food, the good company and the cheerful enthusiasm radiating from the kitchen and the wine cellar. I'd go back in a heart beat (and stay in the very comfortable lodgings). Thanks for reminding me, Boris!

We had a similiar, magical kind of lunch at I Setti Consoli in Orvieto recently. Wandered in off the street, into the garden that seemed as if it were on a floating island far from the crowds, and proceeded to be dazzled by the kitchen and their enthusiasm for what they were sending out to feed us. There was a heavy reliance on beautiful vegetables presented at their peak. It was an unforgettable lunch.

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Now I'm wondering if there are more Il Sole's than Gambero Rossos. This is the one near Cremona where the owner shot himself about ten years ago? It was great in the early 1980s and then supposedly went downhill. I'm glad it has climbed back. The cuisine sounds Modernist.

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Now I'm wondering if there are more Il Sole's than Gambero Rossos. This is the one near Cremona where the owner shot himself about ten years ago? It was great in the early 1980s and then supposedly went downhill. I'm glad it has climbed back. The cuisine sounds Modernist.

Robert,

the restaurant you are referring to is in a town called Maleo and the chef was Franco Colombani, one of the major figures in the revival of Italian restaurants in the 70s and 80s. It's still owned by the family but as you say it isn't considered nearly as good as it was then.

The restaurant the "Corelli event" people went to is in Trebbo di Reno and is on the outskirts of Bologna. The kitchen is run by the Leoni brothers who started their careers at Igles Corelli's two-michelin star restaurant in Argenta and worked at Vissani for a considerable time.

Francesco

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  • 4 months later...
Just returned from a 14 day eating tour of Northern Italy.

. . . .

  Il Rigoletto  (Bravo, Francesco!) A+

. . . .

. . . .

I would like to hear some more details about Arquade and Il Rigoletto because I am the one who insisted on them . . .

Thank you both for recommending Il Rigoletto. We ate there in October of last year and have finally got around to posting our comments here along with some snapshots of our dishes. It was a most enjoyable meal. Just as people have trouble picking their favorite child, I have trouble ranking superb meals. If were to rate the meals on my trip, this would have to be a strong contender for the best food.

I'm glad the information about the adjoining hotel has been set straight. A room at the Hotel Nabila is less than the cost of Cy's taxi ride, and while it's far from a plush hotel, I supsect it's a lot more comfortable than the taxi. It lacked none of the amenities I absolutely need and we found the service and welcome to be most gracious. The location, a few steps from a superb hotel, can't be beat from the gastrotourist perspective.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello everyone,

I am sure that this type of post has been done a thousand times over, but the since the Italian form can be a little intimidating, i figured I would start my own thread and hope for the best!

I will be staying in Chamonix, France for the winter to work as a chalet host, and considering the proximity to Piedmont and the Aosta Valley I will be making many day trips over to Italy, mostly to explore the food and wine. I am also considering taking 10 days to just wonder around the area in search of culinary adventures, because my job doesn't start till december.

My problem is that I don't really have any frame of reference to start with. I have been to Rome and know Italian food about as well as anyone for outside Italy can, but wish to know it as you only can from being in Italy and taking part first hand.

I am not trying to chase Michelin starred restaurants, but quite to the contrary, would rather go to small villages and find local (but presumably delicious) food that is unpretentious and steeped in tradition. As my Italian teacher once told me, Italian prefer things to be "less but good." In other words, simpler but done properly. And that is what I would like to find, places that may not be considered grand, but have a simplicity that is what makes them great.

Has anyone though of doing or done this type of trip before (other than Mario Batali) or know of how to go about finding these towns, restaurants, wineries, hunters of all kinds (from mushroom and truffle to wild boar), butchers, and everything in between?

I am just a lost culinary soul in search of new experiences, and hopefully someone will be able to help me out.

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Well, you'll be in Piemonte during December, which is still white truffle season, so you can't get much better than that! There's plenty of Piemonte discussion threads on the forum, though.

If you are wanting to expand your range just a little, when you're talking "epicurian" and "Northern Italy" I think you really owe it to yourself to check out Emilia Romagna, esp. Bologna.

Also, do you have a car?

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Browse thru the Italian forum...there is a ton of info, and some great people that can guide...Swiss Chef, etc. Not all intimidating, and the Piemonte folks who post are extremely generous with their knowledge.

I live in Umbria....there's nothing to eat in Umbria, so I'm not much use!! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

You are in for a treat...enjoy every mouthful!

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The question is really will you have a car or not? If you have wheels, then you are a hop down in Val D'Aosta, well worth a day in Aosta ton, and a skip into Piedmont, which is quite adequately covered in the forum, maybe even too well - I fear sometimes maybe Piemonte is becoming to famous for its own good as a gastronomical mecca!

If you don't have wheels, you will need to get through the tunnel and down to Aosta probably by bus and pick up the train to Turin (or I am sure there is a bus to Torino). Turin is a great city lots of attractions and being the capital of Piedmont, obviously has a selection of fine restaurants, although I think that some of the best are to be found in the countryside, especially in the Monferatto and Langhe hills, but a car is almost essential. None the less if you don't have wheels, you can train it to the major towns, such as Asti, Alba, Bra, Saluzzo, Acqui T, etc, all of which have great restaurants.

But since you mention 10 days to wander before you take up your job, I would rent a car and base yourself somewhere central in Piedmont in Monferrato or Langhe and tour. Most of the main central part of eno-gastronomical Piedmont is fairly compact. For example here in Asti we are 40 minutes from Turin and not more then 45 -60 min from anywhere you want to go, loads of small towns to the North and South, a little further to Saluzzo and Lake Maggiore (90 minutes) or to Liguria, which you should alos check out, Genoa is one hour away too. And November is on eof the best times for an epicurean to be in Piedmont, not just for the truffles.

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

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Thank you all for the help. These are all great suggestions that will help me while I am there. I do not have a car unfortunately, but maybe I will look into renting one, or maybe a motorcycle if it isn't too cold or expensive.

I am more inclined, like Sampaguita suggested, to look for the great little restaurants in the country side. Where the food is rustic and tradtitional, and also won't kill the bankbook...lol

As it stands right now I am going to head to Torino when I leave Chamonix. I will be couchsurfing, so will therefore get to meet some people from the area and will figure out where to go next from there.

I will try to keep you guys updated if you are interested, and will take pics of anything I think you might like.

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Thank you all for the help. These are all great suggestions that will help me while I am there. I do not have a car unfortunately, but maybe I will look into renting one, or maybe a motorcycle if it isn't too cold or expensive.

I am more inclined, like Sampaguita suggested, to look for the great little restaurants in the country side. Where the food is rustic and tradtitional, and also won't kill the bankbook...lol

As it stands right now I am going to head to Torino when I leave Chamonix. I will be couchsurfing, so will therefore get to meet some people from the area and will figure out where to go next from there.

I will try to keep you guys updated if you are interested, and will take pics of anything I think you might like.

If you wind up in the Valle D'Aosta, you might try the restaurant La Clotze in the hamlet Planpincieux, about 10 km. outside of Courmayeur. For us, it has been by far the best restaurant in the Valle D'Aosta.

You'll need a car to get there as you will in order to get to any "country side" restaurants in that region or Piemonte.

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