Emilio Barbieri is not one of those chefs whom you always find on TV and at celebrity meetings: he is one of those very serious professionals working out of the limelight, but with no less ability and no lesser produce than the better known colleagues.
We had an all seafood lunch (with a tortellini sampling out of sheer gluttony) which was spectacular. Lobster from Brittany, prawns and fish from Southern Italy...and more beautiful produce that is masterfully treated in rather complex dishes, with much layering of flavours. Notable the use of spices and herbs. Yet there is a firm focus on the main ingredient and attention to deep flavour extraction. Not something common even in top restaurants nowadays. It's a very peculiar cuisine, with some audacious moves but very logical and never straying too much from the classical Italian tradition.
Service is from 'the wife', who is also a wine and cheese expert (the cheese trolley, which we didn't have the space to try, looked lovely). The room is intimate, the atmosphere is family-like. The prices are very reasonable for quality of this level.
The best way to describe my feeling is by saying that we had had an all seafood meal also at Osteria Francescana the week before and I was happier here.
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