Food: Creative Italian
Address: Via Liguria 1 – 35030 Sarmeola di Rubano (PD) – Italy
Phone Number: +39 049 630303
Guide Michelin: 3 stars
What I paid: 627 € (tasting menu for two persons including water and wine)
Visited: April 20, 2013
Le Calandre originally opened in 1981 by Erminio and Rita Alajmo. Their son “Massi/Max” (Massimiliano) Alajmo took over in 1992 and is now the head chef who in 1996, at age 22, became the youngest chef with two Michelin stars and in 2002 the youngest one with three stars (a record he still holds). Brother Raffaele is responsible for the wine cellar and the dining room.
Le Calandre is currently one of the most interesting restaurants in Italy and is by many appreciated as one of the greatest in the world for the time being (e.g. Andy Hayler ranks Le Calandre 20/20 and also voted this his best meal for the entire 2012 and Andy is the first and only person, to my knowledge, who have visited and reviewed every one of the world’s 109 three-star Michelin restaurants…).
The restaurant is located in the pretty boring “town” Rubano about 6 km west of Padova (which on the other hand is a very nice town). Le Calandre is a perfect match for a visit to the close by Venetia (about 50 km away) and the Valpolicella wine region (or Padova for that matter).
Massimiliano’s cooking makes the most out of the excellent local produce. The food is in part based on traditional Veneto recipes and is often given a highly sophisticated and creative treatment by Massimiliano.
When initially seated there were already some bread and a “cornetto” and a gougére of Parmigiano-Reggiano on the table.
We had a Franciacorta as the aperitif to a trio of amusements.
There are a number of different menus to choose from and we opted for the tasting menu called “the grand classics of Le Calandre”. We also decided to have the wine package that goes with this menu.
Before we had the first “real” dish from the menu we had another amusement, which was a feather light pizza slice that was just gorgeous.
Al Aimo (dish dedicated to Aimo Moroni with tomato, oil, ricotta, fava beans, Sardinian flat bread, green beans, basil and chili pepper):
Crispy buffalo ricotta and mozzarella cannelloni with tomato sauce:
Saffron risotto with liquorice powder:
A signature dish of Le Calandre and the best risotto I ever tasted, period!
Hand-chopped raw Piemontese beef with black truffle (to be eaten with your hands):
Roast suckling pig with mustard sauce coffee powder and sautéed chicories:
An apple based refresher:
Pineapple, strawberries, melons…
There were two alternatives to choose from in regards to the dessert.
Dessert (option 1): Extra virgin olive oil puff pastry with apricot and vanilla pure:
Dessert (option 2): After six (in memory of Max’s 6th birthday cake made with strawberries, spinach and mint):
This is definitely one of the best, if not the best dinner I have ever had. I loved every single dish we had and this is (unfortunately…) usually not that common to experience. The only other dinners I can remember that I had a similar good experience of is Victor’s Gourmet Restaurant (in the south part of Mosel/Germany) and Frantzén (Stockholm/Sweden).