Best of the Italian Restaurant Guides 2016
We are still in the midst of the “Bottura era”. The great Massimo has been reconfirmed at the top of the Best of the Restaurant Guides 2016, Civiltà del bere’s super league that compares the ratings from the main publications in the sector each year: Michelin, Espresso, Touring, Gambero Rosso and Identità Golose (which doesn’t give a score, but selects the most interesting restaurants). Also the rest of the podium remains unchanged with respect to 2015, with joint second place going to Le Calandre, owned by Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo from Padua, and La Pergola, owned by Heinz Beck, the Capitoline-German.
From the fourth position…
All of the positions from fourth to tenth are the same, starting with Enrico Crippa of the Piazza Duomo restaurant; Niko Romito of the Reale; Annie Féolde of the Enoteca Pinchiorri (in the kitchen with Italo Bassi and Riccardo Monco); the Santini family at the helm of the Pescatore; Antonino Cannavacciuolo of the Hotel Villa Crespi; Gianfranco Vissani of Casa Vissani and the Cerea brothers of the Da Vittorio restaurant. However, lower down everything has changed. Let’s start with the good news, i.e. Mauro Uliassi’s leap upwards, entering the top ten. However, Norbert Niederkofler of the Hotel Rosa Alpina and Pino Cuttaia of the La Madia lose a place slipping down to 12th and 13th respectively. A good performance from Enrico Bartolini of the Devero Hotel (now moved to Enrico Bartolini Mudec in Milan), who went up two places (last year he had already gained three places and the previously year +20) sharing 14th place with Moreno Cedroni’s La Madonnina del Pescatore (+1).
Esposito, Sultano, Scabin and Perbellini
The classification continues with the Neapolitan restaurant industry, with Gennaro Esposito’s La Torre del Saracino (fresh from his debut as Junior MasterChef judge) and Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino’s Don Alfonso 1890, who have moved up 5 places. However the most significant Neapolitan performance is by Francesco Sposito with his Taverna Estia restaurant, entering the top thirty, going from 37th to 22nd place. Also going up is Sandro and Maurizio Serva’s La Trota (+2) and Emanuele Scarello’s Agli Amici dal 1887 (+5). Like last year, we find Ciccio Sultano in 19th place with the Duomo, while La Peca and l’Antica Corona Reale have gone down. But the biggest drop is Davide Scabin’s: his Combal.Zero plummeted from 13th to 24th. The reason is easily explained: the Michelin guide did not confirm his second star. However we need to remember the positive result of the family’s bistro, BluPlum, which jumped +83 places to 510th. Limited damage (-1) both for Carlo Cracco, who dropped 6 places in 2015, Philippe Léveillé of the Miramonti L’Altro and Fabrizia Meroi of the Laite. On the other hand Giancarlo Perbellini has come in with a bang, last year he left the historic Isola Rizza (it lost 333 places after he left, falling to 484th) to set up Casa Perbellini in Verona, achieving immediate critical acclaim.
Outside of the top 30
Just outside of the top 30, and undoubtedly one to keep an eye on, is Andrea Berton who, after the split with the Trussardi alla Scala, found his own dimension at a restaurant in Milan that bears his name. Also on the up is Davide Oldani of the D’O, 50th with a sprint of 36 places (after losing 12 and 13 respectively in the previous years) and Matteo Baronetto of the Del Cambio restaurant: Carlo Cracco’s ex sous chef has jumped from 100th to 55th. Another upward leap is by the Lorenzo restaurant in Forte dei Marmi, going from 234th to 40th. What is the reason for such an abrupt change? Being mentioned by Identità Golose, which didn’t even rate it until last year, and half a point more from Espresso. While marking the turning point for the Hotel San Domenico Palace – Principe Cerami is the Gambero guide, which gave it 80 points instead of just a mention, taking it from 187th to 72th place. Let’s conclude with some points on regional distribution.
North, Centre and South Italian restaurants
The north dominates Italian haute cuisine with 396 restaurants, followed by 156 in the centre, 90 in the south and 34 on the islands. Th e region with the most restaurants is Lombardy (114), but also Piedmont (76), Tuscany (62), Veneto and Campania (both 57) and Lazio (55) hold their own. Finally, we should mention the 80 new entries, some are brand new and others have come back aft er one or more years of unfavourable ratings from the guides. Th e 2016 classifi cation totals 676 restaurants, compared to 652 in 2015, portraying a dynamic situation where there is certainly no lack of innovation. Among others there is Tokuyoshi’s entry into the classification with his Ristorante Armani, in Milan (under the guide of Massimo Bottura’s former sous-chef), the Manna restaurant, Niko Romito’s Spazio Formazione and the Tre Cristi. In Rome, the green light for Al Ceppo, Osteria Fernanda and Bistrot 64, while in Turin the Vo restaurant has made ground. Among the new restaurants, there are two with the same name – Essenza (Essence) – chosen by Eugenio Boer in Milan and Simone Nardoni in Lazio. But this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Th is is basically every chef’s aim: to get straight to the customer’s heart with their own ideal of cooking.
To read all the Ranking of Best Restaurant Guides 2016 buy Italian Wine Chronicle #2 2016