Friday, October 29, 2010

Da Vittorio (Bergamo in Lombardy)

October 2010

Via Cantalupa, 17, Brusaporto 24060
Tel: +39 35 681 0240

Da Vittorio is a 3-Michelin star Italian restaurant located in a luxury resort of the same name, on the outskirts of Bergamo, an hour's drive from Milan. The resort itself sits on a large piece of land in a secluded area on the foothills of the Italian alps, and it was very picturesque and quiet. On the estate, there's a vineyard, ample parking, a tennis court, a nice swimming pool and at the far end, a pond with an assortment of live poultry (ranging from ducks, geese and swans - not sure whether these would end up on our plates for dinner!)

As we were staying at the resort for 2 nights, we initially planned to have a light dinner at the restaurant on the first night (as we had just arrived in Italy that morning and was afraid that our appetite for dinner would be adversely affected by jet lag) and come back on the second night for a bigger meal. However, once we had been seated in the very formal dining room at a very nice window seat overlooking the gardens, and each served with a glass of prosecco, we forgot all about our tiredness and proceeded to order their seafood degustation menu with some relish.

For our wine, we ordered from a very extensive wine list the 2002 Solaia. It wasn't the best year to be honest, but it was priced quite reasonably so we decided to take the chance. This super-tuscan had the unique name of 'annata diversa' because it was a rare vintage whereby the winemaker did not use the sangiovese grape (which is the mainstay of the super-tuscans) due to the weather and instead only used the cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc grapes. Despite that, the wine was drinking very well and we thought it was very good value for money.

We were served an amuse bouche of mushroom soup with puff pastry and a vanilla sorbet with beetroot. The soup was excellent and the sorbet quite good also. The first course of the meal was an interesting tuna tartare 'burger' with onion sauce and accompanied by a glass of gin tonic. This was very innovative: the 'burger' buns were made of meringue, and the gin tonic washed down very well the slightly fishy taste of the raw tuna.

Next was the king crab with parmesan, avocado and pomegranate, which was also very good. The parmesan was very light and almost foam-like and the crunchy pomegranate pulp added a sweetness which complemented the crab meat. This was followed by the slightly disappointing linguine with tomato sauce and razor fish (this is how they described the fish, not sure what it was exactly). We felt that this was a very ordinary dish.

However, our faith was restored by the next dish, which was the black cod with beans from tuscany (tasted like lentils) with crispy cod skin. This was possibly the best cod we have had. The crispy skin tasted like very delicious fish crackers and the cod was both succulent and tasty. The marinate tasted a bit like miso but much richer.

And finally, the chef's famous seafood platter. Many different reviews of Da Vittorio have raved about the seafood platter, and we have seen pictures of some really ridiculously massive seafood platters on other food blogs. Fortunately, the one we were served was much more manageable. This was an assortment of langoustines, prawns and calamari, which were, together with some vegetables and fruits, deep-fried tempura-style, accompanied by a yoghurt lime and prosecco sauce dip on the side. It was an excellent dish.

Dessert at Italian restaurants is never going to be the grand affair that we would expect at a french restaurant, nevertheless, we expected a bit more from Da Vittorio than the rather ordinary panna cotta with raspberry puree. Fortunately, the petit four (or in this case, thirty-two) was more than adequate and elaborate to satisfy our sweet teeth. Add to that a sweets trolley, which was unique from what we have seen before as it was exclusively sweets (no pastries) ranging from chocolate, chocolate-coated coffee and chocolate-coated liquorice.

During the cold months (it was low single digits in degrees Celsius in the evening when we were there), the resort sets up a bonfire outside the restaurant with seats surrounding it, for resort and restaurant guests to sit or stand around to drink their wines or smoke their cigarettes before, during or after dinner. We loved to stand by the fire after a particularly filling dinner and enjoy the chilly breeze under the clear star-lit sky. The resort has a house cat which you can find every evening curled comfortable under the bonfire.

This restaurant is extremely popular and it is regularly fully booked. Most of the guests that night were from Milan, and they could bother to drive more than 1 hour (not including peak hour delays) to the restaurant and then another 1 hour back after a long dinner, on a Monday night, no less. It is a testament to the quality of the food and dining experience at Da Vittorio.

Food: Excellent, worthy of its hype. Each dish was very meticulously prepared and well presented, except for the pasta which stood out as being average only
Wines: A very good wine list with a large selection and decent prices
Ambience: Very comfortable restaurant which is quite well lit and spacious. The bonfire outside for guests to mill around after dinner was a very nice touch
Service: Professional and flawless

Camera: Nikon D90 Nikkor 35mm f/1.8


  1. Restaurant looks class... great setting...

  2. It looked like a classy and formal restaurant but fortunately did not feel that stuffy..