Friday, July 12, 2013

Ristorante alla Grotta - Our Memorable Meal(s)

Yesterday, Jim and I had the pleasant opportunity to spend the day with friends who live part of the year in Lazise, Italy at Garda Lake.  While another blog entry will document the wonderful day, this is to share our experience at Ristorante alla Grotta.  (At the grotto)

Barbara and Sal have always spoken of their favorite restaurant and if we were to visit, we would go to their special place.  Yesterday was the day!  We were told we were heading for a light lunch followed by dinner later and it turned out they were both at Ristorante alla Grotta.  As we enter, it is clear they are known, we were taken to our table and there was no menu.  Sal discussed a few things with our adorable waiter and the "light" lunch began.

Lagostino crostini with fig jam and shaved carrots

                          Scampi with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil oil

                       Octopus involtini with ricotta, coriander and peaches

     Zucchini with scampi, filled with a tomato purée

Turbot (high end fish caught in the Black Sea) sautéed with tomatoes, spinach, capers and olives in a most delicious sauce.  The crusty, tasty bread placed on top was used to soak up the goodness.

                    Scallops stewed and placed with caramelized onions and pear.

One would think that was enough but they brought out a snack which they knew to be Barbara's favorite along with caffe to end our light lunch!

Are you full?  We were over the top full and headed out for an afternoon in Lazie.  Last night we headed back to what is now my favorite ristorante in the world and were met by Pino and Luciana as they were invited guests of Sal and Barbara.  The staff remembered everything we ate on our earlier seating and said they would not duplicate.  

We began with a lively discussion of what vino bianco to order from the same waiter from lunch.  All I knew was I would be enjoying whichever was chosen.  Guess what?  We ended up with both the Custoza and Lugana, both local wines.

And then it began...

Calamari stewed in oil and stuffed with pesto, eggplant, crushed almonds with a beet cream

                                                       my personal favorite

      Anchovies with escarole, hazelnuts and raisins

Octopus with potatoes, olives and a red pepper sauce

                           Scampi with a cucumber sauce and fried onion rings

      Tuna with an orange sauce and shaved fennel

           Lobster salad with Parmesan and celery

Shrimp with black ink, Buratta cheese and tomato ice cream.  

             Another look.  This dish took the award of most creative combined taste!

                           Scallops - one with a white sauce and another in cognac.

And finally, our last plate...

              Scampi with thinly sliced calamari and leeks with a sweet and sour sauce.

Oh, I forgot, we were not finished as dessert was mandatory, according to Sal.  We had many variations but the winner was the mango mousse made that afternoon.  

In season, booking a table is almost always required and could take weeks to get one.  They have approximately 70 seats inside with another 30 overlooking the water.  The food was exceptional and unparalleled.  The friendship and kindness of our friends goes beyond words.  

The ristorante website states, "with us you feel better".  For me, there are no truer words...



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