Don't Tell Nonna: Michelin Mentions in Italia

Of course there's no debate, nonnas prepare the best Italian food, but you're allowed to look, right? Their undeniable skills, tricks & secrets can't be taught nor replicated. Give them all the fresh and varied bounty that the mother country has to offer and it's easy to understand why Sunday meals are five course affairs. Italy's food supply landscape is rich in that it has something to offer at all times of year. From the warm fields of Sicily, to the rolling hills of Tuscany and it's surrounding seas from coast to coast. Fresh produce, livestock, seafood, some of the best wheat in the world for pasta making, it's no wonder Italian cuisine has so much to offer.

Throughout my travels I took full advantage of this expansive repertoire and enjoyed some Michelin Platted ristoranti. The Michelin Plate is a new recognition in the 2018 Michelin Guide given to restaurants as an honorable mention to point out that "inspectors have discovered and guarantee a high standard food & wine experience" says Laurent Davis, a publicist for Michelin North America. Some have questioned the necessity of the Michelin Plate when the Bib Gourmand recognition continues to be in use since 1955, but I regress. Buon appetito!

Il Borro - Firenze

A stone's throw away from the Arno river - literally across the street, is Il Borro, a Tuscan bistro with exposed stone walls and wood beams, which also serves as a wine bar and delicacy grocery store. Owned by the Ferragamo family and named after a village of Medieval Tuscany Il Borro "doesn't simply offer dishes, rather emotions, believing every moment deserves special feelings"...ahh, welcome to Italy! Serving evolved Tuscan cuisine, Chef Andrea Campani takes advantage of gifts given from the land and pays close attention to the use of local produce and techniques of preparation. For more information visit .

Ricotta & Chestnut Gnocchi, Pumpkin Soup and Fried Black Cabbage

Olive & Potato Salad with Roasted Octopus

SE•STO on Arno - Firenze

Head West along the Arno and up to the elegant Westin Excelsior's rooftop and you'll be at SE•STO, the city's highest terrace. With spectacular 360 degree views from within the glass walled dinning room, or one of two terraces, the panorama is rolling tuscan hills by day, and illuminated cathedral domes by night; stunning! Chef Matteo Lorenzini flourished alongside Master Chefs such as Alain Ducase then returned to Florence to take helm at SE•STO and offers contemporary international dishes with classic French technique. Their Sipped Thats also hold their own as you can see below. For more information visit .

Mare brand Mediterranean Gin, Almond Milk, Vanilla, Lavender

SE•STO Terrace by Day - image source

Arno and South Florence views from SE•STO Terrace - image source

Da Michele - Napoli

To give you an idea of how seriously Italians take their pizza December 7th, 2017, the art of Neapolitan pizza making was added to UNESCO's "intangible cultural heritage" list. Long before that the Da Michele pizzaiolo tradition was incepted in 1870 when his father, Salvatore, passed on the art of dough working. At L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele the recipe is, and has been, simplicity and love for tradition since 1906. The "sacred temple of pizza" self proclaims the title "la migliore Margherita del mondo", the world's best Margherita, and with 112 years to perfect the two varieties they offer, it's not wise to doubt their claim. The experience was authentic and simplistic indeed. Not much weight is put on customer service here and patrons quickly realize that it's not about's about the pizza! You forget the flimsy plastic cups for your Peroni and that the plates that are too small as soon as the aroma of the pizza escapes the wood burning terra-cotta oven. Rougly translated, Da Michele's tradition keepers claim that if anything in the world is perfect its Neapolitan pizza, and they will continue to do everything in their power to keep it that way. For more information visit .

Margherita Pizza with Double Mozzarella

Da Michele Menu
You can't get a whole personal pizza, let alone of this quality, anywhere in North America for 6.50$!

La Pergola - Sorrento

Hanging off the edge of a cliff on the Costiera Amalfitana you will find Relais & Chateaux members La Pergola restaurant in the Bellevue Syrene hotel. Once a private villa built in 1750, it came into service as a hotel in 1820. It's clear what the hotel was named after given the endless breathtaking panorama of the Gulf of Naples. With such a view you'd imagine it difficult to pay attention to your dish, but the homemade fettuccine with a light tomato sauce were so exceptional that even Nonna would approve. This stays true to the resort's mission of making you feel at home not only in the hotel, but also in the kitchen. The cuisine is classical taking advantage of fresh & unique ingredients available in the Sorrento Peninsula and of course the treasures of the sea. Sit back, sip a limoncello, look out at the turquoise ocean as Emperor Augustus himself enjoyed.  For more information visit

The Gulf of Naples from the dinning room

Fettuccine & Prawns

Gulf of Naples from the Terrace

Caruso Roof Garden - Napoli

Italians and aficionados of Italian entertainers will immediately recognize the origins of the name of this prestigious restaurant atop the Grand Hotel Vesuvio. For the others, Enrico Caruso was, and even after his passing still is, the most famous Neapolitan singer and at the time arguably in all of Italy. Caruso's popularity and folklore was only matched by his passion for Napoli and Neapolitan cuisine. He was instrumental in Italian products breaking through to the American market and helped notarize Brooklyn's Little Italy in the early 1900's. Caruso spent his last years as a permanent guest of the hotel and so came the moral obligation, and honor, to name the restaurant after him. Although "Bucatini Al Caruso" are still a favorite, the restaurant is a long way from that era with a very sleek & modern decor. Focus is on Neapolitan specialties and in between bites you can enjoy wonderful views of the Gulf of Naples. For more information visit .

Royal Prawns Seasoned with Pistachio Crumbles,
Local Annurca Apple Salad, Endive with Citrus Jam

Rooftop view of Castel dell'Ovo -
The oldest standing fortification in Naples:Circa mid-5th Century

Rigatoni with Squid Julienne & Fresh Local Clams, Fried Friarielli Bitter Broccoli

It's no wonder that Italian is everyone's favorite cuisine! Alright, I may be exaggerating, but tell me you don't want a slice of pizza or some pasta right about now. Italy's cuisine has an endless array of options to offer and with young chefs reinventing classics there's no telling, or end to, what the culinary scene will have to offer in the years to come.

Luckily you won't need to book airfare for meals at these world class Italian cuisine restaurants, but you will need reservations. Have a look at Del Posto & Babbo in New York City.


Popular Posts