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albiston

2004 Gambero Rosso Restaurants

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Here are the restaurants that recieved the "Tre Forchette" awards from Gambero Rosso in their 2004 Restaurant guide:

1)Gambero Rosso - San Vincenzo (LI) 96 pts

2)Vissani - Baschi (TR) 94 pts

3)Ambasciata - Quisitello (MN) 93 pts

4)La Pergola de l'Hotel Rome Cavalieri Hilton - Roma 93 pts

5)Dal Pescatore - Canneto sull'Oglio (MN) 92 pts

6)Da Caino - Manciano (GR) 91 pts

7)Don Alfonso 1890- Massa Lubrense (NA) 91 pts

8)Antica Osteria del Teatro - Piacenza 90 pts

9)Le Calandre - Rubano (PD) 90 pts

10)Il Desco - Verona 90 pts

11)Enoteca Pinchiorri - Firenze 90 pts

12)La Madonnina del Pescatore - Senigallia (AN) 90 pts

13)La Siriola de l'Hotel Ciasa Salares - Badia (BZ) 90 pts

14)St. Hubertus de l'Hotel Rosa Alpina - Badia (BZ) 90 pts

15)La Torre del Saracino - Vico Equense (NA) 90 pts

16)Villa Crespi - Orta San Giulio (NO) 90 pts

Combal.O falls short at 88 pts together with a few palces that have a very high reputation in Italy such as Miramonti l’Altro, La Tenda Rossa, Uliassi, Arnolfo, Al Sorriso.

Anyone wishing to comment? Any places you feel left wrongly out?

On a more personal level: I'll be visiting my parents in Naples for Christmas and was thinking (already some months ago) of trying La Torre del Saracino. Has anyone been there?

Alberto


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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I will be in Milano for a couple of days next month. I would greatly appreciate knowing the 3 highest rated restaurants there.

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1)Gambero Rosso - San Vincenzo (LI) 96 pts

2)Vissani - Baschi (TR) 94 pts

3)Ambasciata - Quisitello (MN) 93 pts

4)La Pergola de l'Hotel Rome Cavalieri Hilton - Roma 93 pts

5)Dal Pescatore - Canneto sull'Oglio (MN) 92 pts

6)Da Caino - Manciano (GR) 91 pts

7)Don Alfonso 1890- Massa Lubrense (NA) 91 pts

8)Antica Osteria del Teatro - Piacenza 90 pts

9)Le Calandre - Rubano (PD) 90 pts

10)Il Desco - Verona 90 pts

11)Enoteca Pinchiorri - Firenze 90 pts

12)La Madonnina del Pescatore - Senigallia (AN) 90 pts

13)La Siriola de l'Hotel Ciasa Salares - Badia (BZ) 90 pts

14)St. Hubertus de l'Hotel Rosa Alpina - Badia (BZ) 90 pts

15)La Torre del Saracino - Vico Equense (NA) 90 pts

16)Villa Crespi - Orta San Giulio (NO) 90 pts

The 2003 list for comparison:

95 - Gambero Rosso, San Vincenzo (Livorno)

93 - Ambasciata, Quistello (Mantua)

93 - La Pergola dell'Hotel Cavalieri Hilton, Roma

92 - Vissani, fraz. Civitella del Lago, Baschi (Terni)

92 - Dal Pescatore, Canneto sull'Oglio (Mantua)

91 - Da Guido (closed)

91 - Don Alfonso 1890, Massa Lubrense (Napoli)

91 - Paolo Teverini, Bagno di Romagna (Forli Cesena)

91 - La Stua de Michil, Corvara in Badia (Bolzano)

90 - Antica Osteria del Teatro, Piacenza

90 - La Madonnina, Senigallia (Ancona)

90 - Enoteca Pinchiorri, Firenze

90 - La Tenda Rossa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, (Firenze)

90 - La Siriolo de l'Hotel Ciasa Salares, Badia (Bolzano)

90 - Il Desco, Verona

90 - Da Caino, Manciano (Grosetto)

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I find the overall score which includes up to a 5 point arbitrary bonus to be largely meaningless. Can you list the 60 point scale food only scores?

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I will be in Milano for a couple of days next month. I would greatly appreciate knowing the 3 highest rated restaurants there.

CraccoPeck - 85 pts.

Don Carlos del Grand Hotel - 85 pts

Joia - 84 pts.

Amio e Nadia - 85 pts.

...but for better advice:

here

...and here

...and here

...and more with the "search" tool

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I find the overall score which includes up to a 5 point arbitrary bonus to be largely meaningless.  Can you list the 60 point scale food only scores?

I agree, but they make their top 16 list based on total scores.

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I'm glad to see that La Calandre has fianlly cracked the top 16 (although its is surely amongst the top five). Nevertheless, I'm at a loss to understand the continued presence of EP in the top 16 with the same overall score as La Calandre. I might be a bit naive but I have considered Gambero Rosso to be a more dynamic and responsive critic of restaurants than michelin. Yet both organizations continue to bestow honors upon an institution that is past its prime.

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I'm glad to see that La Calandre has fianlly cracked the top 16 (although its is surely amongst the top five).  Nevertheless, I'm at a loss to understand the continued presence of EP in the top 16 with the same overall score as La Calandre.  I might be a bit naive but I have considered Gambero Rosso to be a more dynamic and responsive critic of restaurants than michelin.  Yet both organizations continue to bestow honors upon an institution that is past its prime.

You need to look at the scoring system, where the problem really lies, before reaching this conclusion. EP is quite properly the only restaurant that receives 20 out of 20 points for wine. I would also guess that EP may score higher in decor and service. If you think that these are valid components of a restaurant rating system, then you really have no quarrel with GR. In my view, the only interesting question is the food score that each received.

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I should have been more specific in my complaint. I think that wine, decor and service are all important aspects of the restaurant experience. In the case of the Gambero Rosso rating system, I think wine receives too much weight in the overall equation. I think of wine as its own separate course in a meal that desrves the same care and consideration one uses when choosing an individual course; however, as such it should be incorporated in the judges deteremination of the food score. Moreover, if a restaurant such as EP can warrant inclusion in a list of the top 16 restaurants based upon strong showings in wine, decor and service with such uninspired cuisine, I think such result is sufficient proof of that the scoring system is flawed.

I don't see the value in a 20,000 bottle cellar in terms of the added benefit it brings to a fine dining establishment. As one who often dines with only my wife, an apertif and a bottle of wine are usually sufficient for our purpose. If I were, for example, to dine at La Calandre and have their full menu, a '61 Haut Brion or a '96 Dal Forno Amarone would not be appealing in such circumstances (given the 17%-18% alchohol content of Dal Forno, two people would need a very strong liver to enjoy such bottle). The progression of a meal at a great restaurant does not compliment a "great" bottle of wine nor does a "great" bottle of wine enhance a meal at a great restaurant. I yearn for that restaurant that does not focus on a wide breadth of wines that include Bordeaux from the 19th century but a small hand-crafted list that seeks to compliment the cuisine. The wines don't have to be the most expensive or rarest but rather they should meld into the symphony of flavors that are revealed from the kitchen. This might require more wines by the glass but it surely does not require more DRC or Margaux. In the end, I see EP as a very expensive Enotecha. Many people go there for the wine, the chance to have that rare bottle, and that, for me, is the antithesis of what a great restaurant should be.

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I don't see the value in a 20,000 bottle cellar in terms of the added benefit it brings to a fine dining establishment.  As one who often dines with only my wife, an apertif and a bottle of wine are usually sufficient for our purpose.  If I were, for example, to dine at La Calandre and have their full menu, a '61 Haut Brion or a '96 Dal Forno Amarone would not be appealing in such circumstances (given the 17%-18% alchohol content of Dal Forno, two people would need a very strong liver to enjoy such bottle).  The progression of a meal at a great restaurant does not compliment a "great" bottle of wine nor does a "great" bottle of wine enhance a meal at a great restaurant.  I yearn for that restaurant that does not focus on a wide breadth of wines that include Bordeaux from the 19th century but a small hand-crafted list that seeks to compliment the cuisine.  The wines don't have to be the most expensive or rarest but rather they should meld into the symphony of flavors that are revealed from the kitchen.  This might require more wines by the glass but it surely does not require more DRC or Margaux.  In the end, I see EP as a very expensive Enotecha.  Many people go there for the wine, the chance to have that rare bottle, and that, for me, is the antithesis of what a great restaurant should be.

Great insight - I absolutely agree with each and every point.

The reason they construct such cellars is more commercial than artistic. If someone insists on drinking overrated and overpriced wines how can you resist selling them to them at a 300 or 400% mark-up.

Few restaurants have the discipline and courage to offer a wine list as streamlined and focused as their menu.

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The progression of a meal at a great restaurant does not compliment a "great" bottle of wine nor does a "great" bottle of wine enhance a meal at a great restaurant.

I see a kindred spirit. I have long maintained, and this is not a popular view here, that great wine and great food fight with each other, and do not go well together. In addition, wine and cheese do not go well together at all.

Getting back to the Gambero Rosso, I do regard it as the best of the 3 leading restaurant guides. I find the Espresso guide focused totally on high end cooking techniques with scores awarded for aspiration rather than accomplishment, and all of the very excellent middle level Italian restaurants falling by the wayside. Michelin in Italy is a complete mystery to me, in many circumstances I find a Michelin star in Italy to be a negative recommendation unless I have other info indicating differently. In this company the Gambero Rosso shines, but you need to read the reviews and focus on the food scores only. When I discuss GR scores I talk about restaurants getting 51 or 45 and ignore the total score. Otherwise their scoring system pushes you to the very highest end restaurants only.

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The reason they construct such cellars is more commercial than artistic. If someone insists on drinking overrated and overpriced wines how can you resist selling them to them at a 300 or 400% mark-up.

Few restaurants have the discipline and courage to offer a wine list as streamlined and focused as their menu.

This is a bit unfair, the wine cellar at Enoteca Pinchiorri is a labor of love, and a key differentiating feature of that restaurant, including a selection of French wines unmatched in France. Until a few years ago it was also very inexpensive, a treasure trove of values. 5 or 6 years ago I had an 82 Trotanoy for under $200 which of course includes tax and service. Although I have stated that fine wine and great food do not go well together, I am more than willing to put up with this problem when a great wine is available at a great price. Unfortunately, when I last went back about 2 years ago, the wine prices had increased 350-400% and were no longer a bargain, although still significantly below the prices at high end NYC restaurants.

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This is a bit unfair, the wine cellar at Enoteca Pinchiorri is a labor of love, and a key differentiating feature of that restaurant, including a selection of French wines unmatched in France.  Until a few years ago it was also very inexpensive, a treasure trove of values.  5 or 6 years ago I had an 82 Trotanoy for under $200 which of course includes tax and service.  Although I have stated that fine wine and great food do not go well together, I am more than willing to put up with this problem when a great wine is available at a great price.  Unfortunately, when I last went back about 2 years ago, the wine prices had increased 350-400% and were no longer a bargain, although still significantly below the prices at high end NYC restaurants.

I was not referring to an individual restaurant, but a common industry phenomenia. While I would agree that many large lists are a labor of love, like the Italian Village in Chicago or EP there are also many that are not.

However as you note the experince at EP has changed much over the years. Now the prices do not reflect either a labor of love or an Italian concept of wine list pricing. Consider this and the dull food quality you have to really ask how they stay on this list?

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Marcus:

Wine and cheese paired correctly provide one of the most sublime culinary experiences available (and one of the quickest). Please get a copy of Max McCalman's "The Cheese Plate" for an excellent guide on pairings. Also, if your lucky to live in an area with an excellent cheese store (Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA or Murray's in Greenwich Village), I have often found them helpful (I recently had an excellent artisinal Comte paired with a white wine from the Jura region, yum!).

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I find the overall score which includes up to a 5 point arbitrary bonus to be largely meaningless.  Can you list the 60 point scale food only scores?

I actually wanted to but had problems with the link on the gambero rosso web site. Here is the list with only the food votes taken in account, which as you rightly point out cahnges the things a a bit:

56

Gambero Rosso San Vincenzo [LI]

Vissani Baschi [TR]

53

Da Caino Manciano [GR]

Le Calandre Rubano [PD]

Combal.0 Rivoli [TO]

La Madonnina del Pescatore Senigallia [AN]

La Torre del Saracino Vico Equense [NA]

Uliassi Senigallia [AN]

52

Ambasciata Quistello [MN]

Antica Osteria del Teatro Piacenza

Il Desco Verona

Don Alfonso 1890 Massa Lubrense [NA]

Hostaria Santa Lucia Jesi [AN]

Paolo e Barbara San Remo [iM]

Perbellini Isola Rizza [VR]

Al Sorriso Soriso [NO]

La Terrazza del Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Bellagio [CO]


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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I actually wanted to but had problems with the link on the gambero rosso web site. Here is the  list with only the food votes taken in account, which as you rightly point out cahnges the things a a bit:

56

Gambero Rosso San Vincenzo [LI]

Vissani Baschi [TR]

53

Da Caino Manciano [GR]

Le Calandre Rubano [PD]

Combal.0 Rivoli [TO]

La Madonnina del Pescatore Senigallia [AN]

La Torre del Saracino Vico Equense [NA]

Uliassi Senigallia [AN]

52

Ambasciata Quistello [MN]

Antica Osteria del Teatro Piacenza

Il Desco Verona

Don Alfonso 1890 Massa Lubrense [NA]

Hostaria Santa Lucia Jesi [AN]

Paolo e Barbara San Remo [iM]

Perbellini Isola Rizza [VR]

Al Sorriso Soriso [NO]

La Terrazza del Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Bellagio [CO]

Albiston, thanks, very interesting. I note that Gambero Rosso and Vissani now get a 56, both one point higher than last year, and to my recollection, the first time restaurants have ever received a food rating higher than 55. Of the 17 top food restaurants listed, only 10 are among the 16 restaurants with scores of 90 or higher, and the order of the scores is quite different as well.

When you visit Naples be sure to have dinner at Da Dora, the most wonderful fresh fish, and pizza at Trianon and Da Michele. I haven't been to Torre del Saracino, but many people find these nuova cucina French influenced restaurants in Italy to be ultimately unsatisfying. If you do decide to go, particularly for lunch, you can probably take the Circumvesuviano railroad.

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When you visit Naples be sure to have dinner at Da Dora, the most wonderful fresh fish, and pizza at Trianon and Da Michele.  I haven't been to Torre del Saracino, but many people find these nuova cucina French influenced restaurants in Italy to be ultimately unsatisfying.

Thanks for the tips. I should have maybe mentioned that I lived in Naples for about 20 years (till 1999) :biggrin::biggrin: .

Anyway I agree with the pizzeria tips, although I find the service at Trianon really unfriendly. I also appreciate the die hard purist attitude of Da Michele (only margherita and marinara) better. I've heard good about Da Dora from friends in Naples too but I never ate there.

About Saracino: I'm really tempted to go as I've read good reviews on different italain discussion forums, although some don't think it deserves the tre forchette from GR. I'm not really sure I'll get a chance because celabrating Christmas with my parents will mean two (or even three days) at the table plus one day trip to eat at Minicuccio (in Valleseccarda, Avellino province) a trattoria doing wonderful traditional local food. I don't know if my belly will be able to take it all

:smile:


Edited by albiston (log)

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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Are you familiar with E Curti in Sant'Anastasia on the north slope of Vesuvius. This is my choice for the ultimate trattoria in Campania.

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'E curti is surely a great example of a trattoria campana. Went there a few times and was always happy. I also like La caveja in Pietravajrano, near Caserta. Only ate there once as they're always quite full. If you go there try to get a reservatopn for the caveja (cave), it has a very special atmosphere.

Alberto


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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I note that Combal.0 nailed a 53 for food. I think thast its overall score may have been adversely impacted because it has a really reasonably priced wine list that strives to provide options well-suited to the food, rather than flashing the big-bucks bottles!


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Le Calandre also has a very reasonably priced wine list if such a thing exists in Italy today. After the conversion to the Euro many top end wines went up 50% or more in price in shops. I love Le Calandre and believe it to be my favorite restaurant in Italy. Gambero Rosso is superb also but I still prefer Calandre. Il Desco was a huge disappointment on my only visit three years ago. If there is a food rating that is too high, in my opinion, it would be Il Desco. If there is a food rating that is too low it would be the 50 points given to Il Postale which I feel should be perhaps two points higher. I have not been to Ambrasciata but will visit it on back to back nightwith le Calandre in a bout a month.

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Le Calandre also has a very reasonably priced wine list if such a thing exists in Italy today.  After the conversion to the Euro many top end wines went up 50% or more in price in shops.  I love Le Calandre and believe it to be my favorite restaurant in Italy.  Gambero Rosso is superb also but I still prefer Calandre.  Il Desco was a huge disappointment on my only visit three years ago.  If there is a food rating that is too high, in my opinion, it would be Il Desco.  If there is a food rating that is too low it would be the 50 points given to Il Postale which I feel should be perhaps two points higher.  I have not been to Ambrasciata but will visit it on back to back nightwith le Calandre in a bout a month.

I just don't agree that wines have increased in price here by 50%. If you insist on drinking outrageously overpriced wines like La Spinetta and Gaja then you are probably right - but then it is your own fault after all, not the Euro's.

If you are obsessed with the Gambero Rosso top 16 and the top 10 wines of Parker and the Gambero Rosso then you are not only begging to get ripped off, but missing the experience of Italian cuisine.

Just read Bills Klapp's review of Combal.0 and you will get clear picture of what is wrong with the Gambero Rosso and Michelin rating system. Combal.0 chooses wines based on what goes with their food - not based on the latest hot review and then get downgraded in the guides even though their food is clearly exceptional.

Le Calandre also has a very reasonably priced wine list if such a thing exists in Italy today

I don't know where you are eating, but it must be based on the Michelin guide if you have had this experience. Italians cannot bear outrageous wine prices and do not frequent such places.

Recently I enjoyed a 97 Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli in Pisa at La Mescita for under Euro 50 not much more than the retail in the USA.

Let the buyer beware.

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I didn't ask for a lecture. I've been eating all over Italy for 15 or more years. I said top end wine. It has gone up 50% or more. Period. I've eaten in three stars such as Calandre and Pescatore and hundreds of little mom and pop places as well. I haven't missed anything. I suggest before you lecture someone you ask them what their experiences have been.

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I didn't ask for a lecture.  I've been eating all over Italy for 15 or more years.  I said top end wine.  It has gone up 50% or more.  Period. I've eaten in three stars such as Calandre and Pescatore and hundreds of little mom and pop places as well.  I haven't missed anything.  I suggest before you lecture someone you ask them what their experiences have been.

Not a lecture just a daily observation of fact from someone who lives in Italy and has traveled and eaten there extensively for over 30 years. Your claim of wine prices increasing by 50% since the Euro was introduced is simply not true unless you isolate individual producers or wine lists. While there was an overall increase it is no where near 50%.

Oh I probably forgot you are including the 20 to 30% increase in the strength of the Euro against the dollar - that would account for most of your huge increase. Hardly the fault of the producers or restaurants.

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