El Brite de Larieto,
Set in a grassy valley beneath the southern Dolomites, this restaurant is part of a working farm and dairy that produced the region’s first boutique cheese. Chef Riccardo Gaspari’s repertoire includes cured meats, gnocchi filled with artichokes, red beet canerderli (dumplings) with horseradish cream, and grilled meats from animals bred at the farm.
Says Bottura: “Not far from San Cassiano and just a few kilometers from the ski resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo—from the shops, ski slopes, and glare—El Brite is nestled into the hills with young chef Riccardo Gaspari, a native of the rocky Dolomites, at the helm of the family restaurant and working dairy farm. Gaspari’s cooking is ingredient based and imaginative while his wife’s flair for design and hospitality complete the restorative experience during any season, winter or summer.” elbritedelarieto.it
Gran Caffè Quadri & Ristorante Quadri,
Five years ago, this 17th-century
establishment on St. Mark’s Square was restored to splendor by Raffaele and Massimiliano Alajmo, the brothers behind the Michelin three-star Le Calandre near Padua. Ristorante Quadri, on the second floor, focuses on Venetian and Italian cuisine, with four tasting menus and à la carte options such as cappucino di laguna with mussels, clams, baby Venetian shrimp, mantis prawns, cuttlefish, sea snails, and seaweed. The Gran Caffè Quadri, a separate café on the ground floor, serves a simple lunch and dinner menu as well as breakfast pastries, bar snacks, and an inventive martini menu.
Says Bottura: “Raffaele and Massimiliano Alajmo took over a faded beauty of a Venetian café in the heart of Piazza San Marco several years ago and turned it into an absolutely fabulous bistro in one of the most touristic places in the world. Elegant, delicious, and atmospheric, Quadri means that there is no reason to end up in a Venetian tourist trap ever again, unless you forget to reserve a table. Plan ahead.” alajmo.it
L’Argine a Vencò,
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Chef Antonia Klugmann, a Trieste native, first gained acclaim at Venissa, Gianluca Bisol’s restaurant and winery in the Venice Lagoon. A little more than a year ago she opened this tiny restaurant in Dolegna del Collio in the province of Gorizia. The 15-seat restaurant serves ambitious tasting menus that include dishes such as chestnut gnocchi with cauliflower and mint, and carpaccio with marrow, birch, and black cabbage. In December it earned a Michelin star.
Says Bottura: “At the end of a long dirt road, you suddenly come upon the green farmhouse restaurant run by Antonia Klugmann, a passionate chef with a garden in one of Italy’s most interesting wine-making regions. On the confines between Slovenia and Italy, L’Argine is the perfect place to escape from reality. Imagine a late-summer lunch looking over the garden through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. A signature dish like risotto burro e salvia (risotto with butter and sage) captures the essence of Klugmann’s kitchen: powerful simplicity.” largineavenco.it