Thursday, June 15, 2006

Il Tavernetta dell' Aia

This restaurant was the best of our trip! Right down the street from Castello di Monterado, it was truly unique. No written menu- our waiter told us (in very fast Italian) our choices for each course. We got a shock when our food arrived: the portions were enormous, different from Venice. We arrived when it opened at 7:30pm; by the time we left at 9:45 it was jammed to capacity with all locals- we were certainly the only tourists there. Our waiter moved like the wind- he flew, taking care of every table in the place! The owner (in the photo with Bob) stopped at every table to chat. Since there was no written menu, we had no idea of what anything would cost, and didn't ask, thinking it would either be an amazing deal or over our budget and we didn't care! What great food it was, all local and fresh. Our primi were asparagus risotto (the creamiset risotto I ever had, though each grain of rice was separate and tender; it was infused with the flavor of asparagus, and small pieces throughout) and white truffle and porcini mushroom ravioli (the ravioli were filled with dense chopped mushrooms, the sauce was the most amazing flavor, very smooth and creamy). Our secondi were one winner, and one that we ordered by mistake- oops. The winner was bistecca, and what a steak it was! It was simply chargrilled with salt and pepper, and it was the largest porterhouse steak we'd ever seen! The 'oops' was ordering something when you're not 100% sure of what the word means: 'cinghale". It turned out to be wild boar stew! We each had a bite and knew it wasn't for us, but since we had enough food to feed a family of 10 anyway, it didn't matter. Our contorni were a giant insalata mista and sauteed spinach. We were also served great fresh bread and a local bread called pantadini: a flatbread served char-grilled. We were stuffed but had an urge for a sweet taste, and like magic the owner appeared with a beautiful ceramic pitcher and 2 small glasses. He poured us what tasted like a magical elixar- I've forgotten the name, but it was a mixture of hot espresso, limone, and cognac. It hit the spot! So this feast, with aqua frizzante, and a carafe of the house wine (a Verdicchio) was a total of 45 euro for the 2 of us: the best deal ever!
We decided to return the next day, though determined to order less! We began with antipasto, and it was amazing. A wooden platter of proscuitto, salamis, and cheeses, the bread and pantadini, and a seperate dish of bruschetta with pate, roasted vegetables, asparagus frittata, and olives. We ordered a primo to share: we asked if the paparadelle (served with ragu di anatra-duck) could be made vegetarian. The answer was yes, and we got the most amazing dish- fresh tomates, garlic and grilled eggplant on the pasta. We got 2 insalata mista, and shared a dessert- dolci di nana which was a type of zuppa inglese (truffle). We had wine and aqua frizzante and our bill this time was 22 euro!


Blogger richbet said...

We ate at this very same restaurant, at the very same table as you. The owner, Livio is very friendly and hospitable. The chingiale, by the way is a local favorite and is very good.

10:14 AM  

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