Via Cantalupa, 17
24060 Brusaporto, Bergamo,
Telephone: +39 035 681024
Overall rating: 6/10
Date of visit: September 2012
Da Vittorio holds three Michelin stars, but I actually hadn’t heard of the restaurant until I read a very favorable review on Andy Hayler’s website
Da Vittorio is outside Brusaporto, which is a suburb to Bergamo. It’s part of a holiday resort if I’m not mistaken, and the restaurant is very beautiful. The other classic looking restaurants I went to in Italy simply looked old-fashioned, whereas Da Vittorio exuded elegance. This is simply one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever been to.
The restaurant specialises in fish and seafood. As well as a la carte dishes, the restaurant also offers two menus: One with the classic dishes of the restaurant at €170 and one with their latest creations for €220 if I remember correctly. I chose the classics as per their recommendation, which didn’t have any meat in it at all except for the appetizer and the stuffing for the squid.
I had one glass of white wine, which was €10. Water was €5, which was the second cheapest of all the places I went in Italy.
The bread here was exceptionally good – especially compared to the rest of the places I went to in Italy. It was light and fluffy, but still with bite. Especially the one with butter is worth mentioning, as it really tasted like butter.
Before the menu started I had a small appetizer kind of like a Panini: Bread sandwiched around melted cheese, ham and basil (7-7.5/10).
Tuna tartar was the first real course. On top was fennel and underneath was a fig sauce. On the side was a olive purée. The tuna itself didn’t have much flavour, but it was really improved a lot by the added lemon, just in the right amount. Because of this, this might have been the best tuna tartar I’ve had. But nevertheless it wasn’t much different than for instance the one I had at Kaymus in Valencia i Spain, where a menu was only around €50 + drinks. The olive, though, was too salty, which is often a problem, and the fig was watery in flavour. As I’ve said before, figs in southern Europe are simply not very good compared to the ones from The Middle East. Overall, nice though, and one of the best dishes in the meal (7-7.5/10).
Squid stuffed with sausage meat was grilled, and on the side was toasted hazelnuts, popcorn and two creams. There wasn’t so much to criticise about this dish, but not much to enchant me either. There simply was no excitement here. What I can criticise, though, was that the popcorn were chewy, and the two creams (the dark one was probably made with squid ink) were completely tasteless (6/10).
The next dish they presented as a prawn, but I’m quite sure it was actually langoustine. It was served on a almond cream and with black beans. The langoustine itself was wonderful, but if you get a good langoustine and cook it well, it will always be wonderful. The almond cream and the beans were plain and forgettable (7.5/10 because of the langoustine).
Rock lobster was served with spaghetti, green beans, runny pesto and a hazelnut foam. The beans here were a lot better, and better seasoned, than the ones I had at Dal Pescatore the day before. The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente. The lobster had good texture, but no flavour. Again, I lacked excitement here. Spaghetti and pesto doesn’t really cut it – at least not if you serve it with a lobster with no flavour (6/10).
Again I believe there was a mistranslation, as the next dish was presented as turbot with a mousse of salted cod and shallot rings. I’ve never had turbot with flesh this limp, if it actually was turbot. I don’t believe it was. In any case, it was in no way a bad fish, but simply too limp flesh, and again the entire dish seemed plain (5/10).
The main course was a trip to the fish and chips shop: Fish and shellfish and a thin slices of potato, shaped into a tube, were all battered and then deep-fried. Yes, the batter was light, but this didn’t make much of a difference. The langoustine was cooked more than the previous one, and too much. As mentioned, this really seemed like something you would have in a fish and chips shop. There were a few refreshing touches on the plate: A bit of fruit, pineapple I believe, was also battered and deep-fried, and there was a lime dressing too. The dish was generally a tad too salty, and there was simply way too much food on the plate. I finished less than half. Clearly the worst dish of the meal (4/10 if I’m being very generous).
Then came desserts, and when I compare these to the rest of the meal I can only assume the restaurant has its own pastry chef.
The first dessert was clearly the best dish of the entire meal: Mozzarella ice cream, tomato sauce, and frozen basil “caviar” as well as a fresh basil leaf as decoration. I remember lighting up just by hearing the description. This was really a great and inventive take on three classic Italian ingredients. It also tasted great and was well-balanced. My only technical complaint was that the basil caviar was a bit too defrosted, so it quickly became runny. That is really a minor detail (8-8.5/10).
The next dessert was a pineapple cannelloni with a white chocolate filling, berries, a paper-thin sheet of caramel, a soup made from passion fruit and cacacha as well as a mint sprig as decoration. The cannelloni was very nice, although the filling lacked a bit of flavour. The berries were nice too except for the blackberry, which was very sour, but still not as sour as the soup, which was hardly edible. I really doubt that they had tasted the soup before serving it (overall 6.5-7/10).
Petit fours were the second best I had in Italy. Although they were mostly classical, and hence not so creative, there actually seemed to have gone some thought into them. I must admit that I can’t remember them all, but some of them were with pistachio, cherry or other berries, and one of the lollipops were with eucalyptus (7.5/10).
The service was polite and attentive (my glass of water was for instance only empty once – at the very end), but otherwise robotic. The waiter didn’t ask where I was from, how long I was going to be in Italy, what I thought about any of the dishes or anything else at all. He just explained what was on the plate and then said “thank you, sir” when he took the plate away.
The meal was the fastest one I had in Italy at 2.5 hours despite its ten courses. There was a bit of waiting in the beginning and after I had asked for the bill, but other than that the pace was very good indeed.
As you can see from my comments for each dish, the general problem here was simply that the food was too plain. The mozzarella dessert, and to some extent the cannelloni dessert and the petit fours, was the only dish that had any kind of identity. The desserts were the highlight, which was surprising, as desserts usually seem to be the weakest part of the meal in both Italy and Spain. The rest seemed like something you could have had at any other decent restaurant. Rarely was it thrilling nor creative. Then €170 is simply too expensive.
The overall score mostly reflects the food. The food was worth a 6/10 alone, but if I had taken the robotic service and the price more into consideration, the score wouldn’t have been this high.