Category Archives: Restaurants

My reviews based on direct experiences and tips for you. My posts will help you to find and choose good restaurants around the world.

Restaurant: 4 elements for you to choose the best one

When I travel I go to the restaurant for a need. But also because I am curious about the local food. I want to taste the typical recipes. When I am at home I like to go out and to eat in restaurants. But I think that it does not make sense to have the same dishes that I can have at home and prepared by myself. I search for something special and innovative and of course well served, in a lovely location and with a nice setting.

These elements help me to select the restaurants where to go. Then they also help me when I make an evaluation. So I can write on the blog about my best experiences. The question is: how to evaluate a restaurant? Or better: how I evaluate a restaurant? I am not a food expert, but I like to taste and I try to search for the quality, that sometimes is even in a pizza.

Sometimes to cook something simple in the perfect way it is more difficult than to create something innovative. If you mix a lot of flavors you can cover a bad taste and the mistakes made during the cooking session. That is why to measure a good cook it should be enough asked to her or to him to prepare a very easy recipe. Anyway, let’s go to the restaurant’s evaluation.

 

The Michelin stars restaurants

The stars of Michelin guide give consumers information about the level of a restaurant, as it happens with the hotels. But how they are given to the restaurants and their chefs. Since 1926 the experts of the famous tires’ brand are going to visit places around the world to select the best and recognize their high quality with the stars, from one to three.

What is the meaning of the stars? One means ”very good restaurant in its category”, two represent an ”excellent cuisine” and three stars indicate ”exceptional cuisine”. These are the results, but what are the criteria used to decide how many stars attribute to the restaurants? The parameters are four:

  • quality of the product
  • preparation technique
  • balance between ingredients
  • the creativity of the chef

The inspectors do not check only these aspects, but they also focus on the quality of service, atmosphere, furnishings, and location. Every single detail is important and the staff of the restaurant has to take care of all the elements to pass the exam and to give to the customers high-quality experience.

The examinators fill a data sheet with a list of the ingredients of the dishes tasted, then they analyze the setting, the service provided by the staff, the hospitality and the comfort. These elements receive an evaluation with a different symbol: the forks, whose increasing number from 1 to 5 is a function of a huge number of factors. The inspectors have to consider the service, the crowding, the furnishings, the atmosphere, the wine list, all the details including greetings waiters and the arrangement of glasses and cutlery on the table.

 

Tradition and innovation

In many restaurants is now trendy to follow the tradition, but the best cooks are using it as the base. The chef proposes the innovation, they mix the traditional recipes with some creativity to give to the guests something new and particular. I like this way especially when I go out to eat around my region. I know the local food, I like it, but it is nice to taste something different that reminds the main ingredients of the tradition.

Another feature of the dishes proposed in many restaurants is the international contamination, that is happening also because the chef is going to work and make experience abroad, so they learn how to prepare local recipes and they use also competences coming from the dishes of their own countries. The result is, in some cases, quite interesting and to discover the similar taste and the new combination gives the chance to have a journey into the food culture.

The leitmotiv of the cuisine today, proposed and sometimes just respected by the chefs, is the lightness. This is good for the health and of course, you can eat a complete mail with more courses without any problems. To be sincere I have to say that in this aspect I agree only in part because in Italy the tradition in the kitchen is not so light.

Why renounce to the real taste of the territory? I guess it is better to eat certain dishes fewer times but properly have them. Alto the creativity of the cook should be something not related to finding the light way of the preparation but to give more taste.

 

The taste

As I already wrote I am not an expert, but just a person who loves to eat well and in good places, sometimes in a pizzeria in a Michelin star restaurant. The recipe and its result is the most important part of the evaluation for everyone. What I check is the flavor of what the chef proposes. A dish must impress, offer a pathway to discover the ingredients and culture. Every bite is a part of the travel.

If the recipe realized can represent this, the grade is high. Then, of course, there are other elements, because a restaurant needs to give a unique experience to the guests, not only serving good food. What are you looking at before to enter in a restaurant? Well about me I can say that if it is exposed, I check the menu and then the entrance. Hotels have generally great halls, also when they have awful rooms, but the door and the setting of a restaurant are, most of the times not always, well related to the food offer.

 

The setting

When the chef reaches a high level in the kitchen, even if she or he has the chance to develop something new and find other challenges, works on the other parts. Improve the table, the plates, and the dining room. Take care of all details is important and I consider an elegant place, with modern or ancient furniture, is lovely, it is something more that helps the atmosphere.

A comfortable table and a spacious dining room with tables well separated are important to give to guests the privacy that they deserve to chat in peace and do not disturb the others or to be disturbed by other guests. The food is the first aspect, but to have the meal in a pleasant place makes the people happy. This is what usually happens to me.

 

The service

The chef is the main protagonist, but in certain restaurants, he is the master, so he (or she of course) needs a good team to be supported in the preparation. The main cook creates, gives the idea for the menu, but all of them are working together. This is what happens in Michelin star restaurants. The people in the kitchen are doing the best part, but they are not the only staff members of the restaurant.

Waiters and the maitre have the task to serve properly the plates, the drinks and also they are engaged as councilors. I know, this word is exaggerated, but they are most of the times responsible to suggest what to choose, as food and especially as a drink, selecting the proper wine according to the dishes.

They need to have competences for that, they need to know how to serve, starting from the right side from where to put the plate. Waiters have also to be kind, to answer properly to the question of the guests and to fill empty glasses maintaining the right level. The customer of the restaurant must be at the center of the attention during all meal, this is what the staff have to take into consideration to do its work correctly.

 

These elements help me to do an evaluation, even if I am not a professional inspector, I do the selections following a bit the procedure of the Michelin star experts. If a restaurant makes me happy and I want to visit it again, this means that I can write about it on my blog and suggest you try the same experience.

Last tips

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The pizza with…view

On the Lake Avigliana you can easily find places where to eat and drink in front of the lake, but the best position is occupied by a pizzeria. To be honest it is not properly the location, because it is perfect, but also other bars and restaurants are in a similar position. What is different is the terrace. They have one that it last over the walk and it is the best to see the water and to enjoy the panorama, also in the evening.

The name of the restaurant is Ristorante Lago Grande – Pub Bel Sugnè. It is infact also a pub. Outside there is a terrace with tables to eat in front of the lake. Inside the setting is very particular because there are different toys inspirated to comics of various dimensions. The smallest are in cabinets like in an exposition, the biggests are in the different rooms as guests.

As I mentioned the position is simply perfect, but also the pizza is very good. Well cooked and proposed in a large variety of versions. I did not try other recipes from the menu, but it is also a restaurant and this means that you can find pasta, fish, meat, desserts and so on. You can also just go there just to drink something during the day or during the evening.

The staff is kind, but when it is crowdy you need to wait a bit, even do the waiters try to do their best to satisfy the customers. The service is good especially for a pizzeria. There are other places around the lake, but this one has really the best terrace and quite chip prices. I went there with a client last Tuesday and I had a really positive feedback.

Anasa

Ice cream in Milan

In summer ice cream in Milan is the best solution to fight the hot temperature. What about winter? Even if it is cold I can’t renounce to good ice cream. Never! Well, since I am often in the capital of Lombardy, I made a personal map to find it. It is easy to have it in the city, but I am telling you where to have the best ice cream in the area. Imagine when you need to walk in a big city and you need something fresh with you.

There are different options: to have a small portable cooling fan, to have a fresh bottle with a drink or to eat ice cream. I am Italian so it is obvious what I prefer. When I go to Milan in the hot season, and in winter as well, I always try to have a break. Why? To visit the best shops to buy one. It is a need and of course a pleasure. Then you can’t be in Italy and don’t eat ice cream in Milan. It is a pity, a big one.

Ice cream in Milan: where to taste it

I like to change and of course, it depends on the exact place where I am in the city center. In the neighborhood ”Isola” there is a lovely shop with walls of bricks. It is called Artico and it offers a good variety of flavors, most of them very new and creative. Among them, you should taste Araguani chocolate. But for summer the fruit flavors are more popular. They always work on seasonal ingredients and selecting the best quality products to realize a delicious ice cream in Milan.

Few steps from Piazza Duomo there is also Cioccolatitaliani, with a lot of different flavors, especially a variety of chocolate. The ice cream in Milan is tasty. But the place is very popular so you need to be patient. Because it is all the time crowdy. Not only locals are going there, but also many tourists. You need to wait. But I can say that it is worth it. You will be delighted by the taste.

In the area of Navigli, where the restructured water channel is passing and where many nightlife places are located there is Rinomata Gelateria. It is a small shop well known and positioned on the Darsena. They propose Nutella flavor, but also a great variety of fruit flavors perfect for the summer time. It is quite crowdy because in the area there are a lot of tourists and events. but you will never regret to wait. You will get one of the best ice creams in Milan.

As usual, my day in Milan is good thanks to the ice cream. With it also hot weather becomes more pleasant.

More advice

Now you know where to go to have ice cream in Milan. If you want to know more about Italy or other destinations check out my posts. There are also many restaurants and bars reviews. Because in each travel the food has a big importance. Not because we need energy, but because it is part of the local culture. To eat helps a lot to know better the country we visit. 

If you are searching for a hotel where to stay in Milan, I suggest you Petit Palais Hotel de Charme. Read about my experience. The last advice if you are not only searching for ice cream in Milan, but you are visiting Italy. Read the bookThey Really Say, Mamma Mia! – Discovering Italian Family Roots“. It costs a few dollars, but it guides you to the Italian habits. You will get support to interact with people in Italy. It’s a great one.

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A luxury lunch on the lake

Last Sunday, after my work week in Jesolo, I decided to have rest and to go on my favorite lake: Maggiore. It is big, full of nice villages and towns all around and it has lovely islands in the middle. It has the capacity to make me feel very good all the times. After around 150 km. of driving from Turin, I arrived in Verbania from where I took a boat. My destination was Isola dei PescatoriFishermen’s Island ), a lovely place with around 60 inhabitants and few accommodations.

As the name suggests was in past the island where fishermen were living, but not, despite someone who is doing it, it is a piece of land in the middle of the lake where visitors can stay for a part of the day or for few days going around Lake Maggiore. Among the hotels, there is the Hotel Ristorante Verbano. It is quite famous because some important people slept there: orchestral director Arturo Toscanini, the writers Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, and Alessandro Manzoni, the Emperor of Japan, members of the British royal family and the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio.

I did not stay for the night, but I limited my experience, just because of a matter of time, to the delicious restaurant. On the menu, there is a good selection of recipes realized innovating the local tradition. The ingredients and the dishes coming from the towns around the lake are the bases of the proposed cuisine. The ability of the chef is to offer new taste and some experiments.

The main food is certainly the lake fish, served in different ways, also with pasta and rice as the first course. Anyway, that ingredient is not the only protagonist of the menu. In fact, there are many typical tastes of the surroundings. The great selection of wines is a good surprise and perfect to accompany the dishes. The waiters can always give some advice to support the guest choice.

I love rice, so I tried it and it was superb, cooked as we say in Italy ”al dente”. Then I had of course fish and a dessert that you can see in the picture. I have eaten it and it was really amazing. The food is important, but to make the meal a luxury one it is not enough. I noticed other elements there: a professional staff, kind and discrete, a very good presentation of the place and an elegant setting, not too pretentious.

I left at the end the aspect that it is visible immediately: the incomparable panorama on the lake. The guest is seated in the courtyard under the trees and in front of the water and of another small island. Even when there are many people the environment is peaceful, there is the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the meal and the company. I will return to Ristorante Verbano for sure.

After lunch, I had a walk around the island watching the old houses and the sunny lake. Then I had a trip back by boat and I went around by car and walking again in the town of Verbania, the capital of the province, and Stresa, a lovely tourist village with a small center full of good quality shops for clothes, food, antiques, and art. Stresa is as well know for music festivals.

I really had a great Sunday and I suggest you visit that area if you have the chance.

The cuisine of the lagoon

Jesolo is a very small town located few steps from Venice by boat and it offers a good location for many tourists who want to add to their visit to the city on the lagoon sometimes on the beach. For this reason, the place is full of hotels, restaurants, and services dedicated to the visitors, active mainly during summer time. It is possible to eat almost everything, especially pizza and fish, the leitmotiv of many of the local restaurants, but there are also some elegant places where to taste high-quality food.

The food is a need for our body, but it is also a pleasure, that is why I generally search for a restaurant where to taste something typical and special, served by a professional and kind staff and consumed in a smart and original setting. Otherwise, I can just cook some pasta at home and that is it. Traveling for me it is always the chance to discover the culture in a deep way and cuisine is, of course, a part of it.

In Italy, food is quite popular, but there are not only pasta and pizza. In Jesolo, on the Venice lagoon, in town center few steps from the sea, there is a place that reminds a French bistro with brick walls and lovely objects disseminated as to underline the elegance of the dining room. The modern furniture well spread around the restaurant gives a precise style.

The menu offers dishes coming from the local traditional cuisine proposed with great quality ingredients and accompanied by homemade bread. There are cold and hot appetizers and different recipes for the first and the main courses. Also, the list of desserts leaves the embarrassment of choice. Also, the wine cellar is well stocked with a big selection of wines.

If you like fresh fish this restaurant is highly recommended, especially because it is not too elaborate. Do you want to know the name of the place? It is called Ristorante da Omar and you find it in Via Dante Alighieri 21, in Lido di Jesolo, it is in the main street of the center. It is a good choice also for the tourists who are searching for something different from the most famous Italian recipes.