Some of the recent reviews are pretty harsh. Our experience at lunch today was quite pleasing. I think you have to be in tune with the personality of the place and the owners and prepared to pay for fresh fish. Overall, I think their inclusion in Michelin is justified, but clearly this restaurant is not for everyone. The restaurant aspires to high quality, and on this day they delivered.
First, it is an old family owned establishment, and the owners are proud of the fine quality of their fresh fish and perhaps somewhat enthusiastic in showing you what is on offer. It is true that most of these denizens of the deep will set you back 60 to 70 Euros for two persons..But that is true of many restaurants in resort areas. On a warm early Fall day, the outdoor terrace was a pleasant place to enjoy lunch. The inside restaurant looked inviting for the evening.
While you are presented with a menu, there are rather strong suggestions of what might be good choices. I can see where some people would rather sit back and make their own choices. We declined a seafood appetizer course, but were presented with a complimentary small one, a good quality white anchovy and a small preserved sardine on a crouton.
From the first courses, we were encouraged to try the lasagna with pesto, and it was quite excellent. I realize every town, and perhaps every family in Liguira has their own version, but this dish was remarkably light, quite tasty and not overbearing.
From the fresh fish tray we selected an Orata, and the massive fish was filleted and presented in a classic Ligurian presentation, some diced potatoes, lovely black olives, parsley in a small pool of good olive oil. The dish is simple, unadorned and is a direct descendant of something the owners' fisherman grandfather might have prepared at home for a celebration. I suspect on most days it would be sold as part of his livelihood.
For dessert, we opted for, and enjoyed, a delicious peach sorbet. Afterwards, the owner gave us a complimentary sampling of a delicious vanilla custard with berries and cherries, another choice she had recommended. It was an equally pleasing dolci. A fine cup of espresso completed the meal.
In comparison with a number of other restaurants we have tried in the region, the wine list seemed a little narrow; still we were quite happy with a Lupo Pigato from Albenga at 20 Euros, a very fair price. There were several other choices that would have been quite suitable.
Yes, the fish prices are a little steep, but all of the other courses, by contrast, are quite reasonable. The overall quality is good, the welcome is genuine and this family merits their loyal customers. Those of us passing through are also greeted cordially. The enthusiasm for particular dishes seems more a desire to show the restaurant's strengths rather than a marketing ploy.
We were very glad we gave Bri a try, and would go back when we are in the area. Varazze has some charm; a stroll through the budello is rewarding and this makes a nice outing between Savona and Genoa.
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