Al Bagatto is pricey (180 euros for two although it could probably be done cheaper) but it is in my opinion, excellent value. It is not just the food, it is the staff, their passion for local produce including regional wines and their ability to make you feel as welcome in their restaurant as you might do in a friend's home.
Al Bagatto is first and foremost a seafood restaurant and a seafood restaurant in a port city needs to be good. It doesn't disappoint. My friend and I opted for their tasting menu which consisted of the following: amuse-bouche followed by salt cod with two kinds of puree. This was an amazingly delicate balance of flavours. Cuttlefish with its ink on creamed new potatoes was simply divine but was followed by the quite perfect spaghetti with shrimps and tomatoes. The main course of mixed fried fish and yellow polenta was also delicious. To cleanse the palate before the 'pudding proper' we were treated to a lemon ginger and vodka sorbet which was quite amazing in itself but astonishingly trumped by the millefeuille with Chantilly cream and orange.
Five wines were served complimenting the meal as it progressed. These were all new to me and included a deliciously light Canevel Prosecco 2010. Following on was one of Edi Kante's astonishing Vitovska wines. Vitovska is a grape variety with the Carso appellation from very near Trieste - a pinky orange nectar that was just delicious! There was also a Malvasia Istriane Vinja Barde. This comes from the Rosandra Valley on the Istrian Peninsula and is another excellent local wine that deserves to be better known. A melon and apricot flavour from a Traminer Lorenzon 2009 was also offered together with a chardonnay (a Ronco Scagnet 2011). The breadth of knowledge and passion for offering these local wines beautifully matched to local produce which has been perfectly cooked and amazingly presented can only be complimented and commended. It was also the small touches...
...at each stage we were asked if we wanted to continue with the wine we had enjoyed with the previous course or if we wished to explore another suitable local wine.
Including mineral water, wine and coffees it was about £70 / $115 each. Whilst this is admittedly a pricey meal, ultimately it represented excellent value for money and I am already looking forward to returning. In my opinion it is on a par with the best restaurants anywhere in the world.
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