Friday, May 15, 2015

Italy 2015: Genova Eats

We had some delicious food in Genova.
This is the birthplace of pesto, it's known for focaccia, and it's a seaport town so the seafood is incredibly fresh.

Our first meal was at Zeffirino, reputed to be a favorite of several Popes and Frank Sinatra.
We were treated with an amuse bouche from the chef which was a spinach and artichoke pie. It was incredibly simple and delicious.
We were also given complimentary prosecco (why don't American restaurants do this?) and we cheersed to a happy meal.
We also decided to get a bottle of Moscato, because that is my favorite wine and my sister loves juice-like libations only.
The restaurant was gorgeous.
We went a bit overboard here so we had the menu degustazione (prix-fixe) which included starters, primi piatti, and a main. Oh, and we had dessert too.

Baby sister started with a seafood salad. It was incredible with really tender seafood and really fragrant olive oil.
I opted for a carpaccio. The meat was pounded really thin (as thin as tissue paper) and it was smothered in a delicious salad made with fennel and lots of parmesan cheese shavings. It was the best carpaccio I have ever had.
For the primi piatti, my sister had the mushroom ravioli smothered in a creamy pesto. The pesto was killer and the ravioli was really smooth and delicious.

For my main, I had a seafood ravioli - complete with both plain and squid ink pasta - and it was smothered in a seafood sauce with prawns. Apparently one of the Popes was into this dish.
For our main, we both decided on the white fish with tomatoes and potatoes. The dish was wheeled over to us and then deboned and served with a flourish.
Our waiter did an amazing job serving the fish; there wasn't a bone on my plate. The fish itself was incredibly fresh and tender and meaty and the sauce was savory and briny because of the olives.
For dessert, we shared the creme caramel, which was like an incredibly firm flan. The caramel flavor was delicate and the custard was perfectly smooth.
At the recommendation of the waiter, we also got the millefeuille. The layers were crisp and decorated with a perfect amount of delicious custardy cream and the smear of raspberry sauce added a lovely tartness and brightness.
I know, I'm so beautiful when I'm eating.
For a little digestif, we were offered a little shot of grappa. The waiter told us to say "when" but of course, he ignored us and poured us really generous shots. We both went for the brown grappa because it was supposedly sweeter.
It was a fiery end to an amazing meal.
ANTICO FORNO DELLA CASANA
For a fun and local experience, head to the Antico Forno for some baked goods.
If you want focaccia, they'll grab a huge sheet and measure out a piece for you. They'll cut it as small or as huge as you like.
Because it gets bustling and busy, they'll ask you to grab a number and wait.
We got a plain brioche and an apple brioche and a piece of focaccia to eat on the run.
The focaccia was soaked in olive oil (in a good way) with a deliciously chewy dough. It was awesome. The brioche (which I forgot to snap) were fluffy and sweet and (almost) better than French pastries.
L'ATELIER DEI SAPORI LIGURI
This was where we had our last lunch in Genoa. They had an amazing wine cellar, which you could grab a peek of through the glass floor.
For our starter, we had a cod carpaccio. The cod was bland and needed lemon, but the raw sliced artichokes on top were delicious.
For her main, my sister had the seafood pasta. The noodles were chewy (definitely fresh pasta) and the sauce was briny and delicious.
I had the mandilli with pesto. Mandilli means "handkerchief" and it's just big sheets of pasta and I loved it. The noodles were chewy and I loved cutting them apart with a knife and fork. The pesto was fragrant, perfectly seasoned, and thick enough to cling to the noodles.
GELATO
There are gelaterias on every corner so we had to grab some, especially after we climbed up Genova's mountain and climbed back down. One tip I learned from an Italian is to always check a gelateria's pistachio ice cream. If it's a lime green color, skip it and find the next one because a gelateria that uses food coloring is not a good, genuine one. This place had an ugly blue targeted-to-kids gelato but their pistachio was a perfect muted pale green.
My favorite flavor is nocciola (hazelnut) and my second favorite is pistachio.
And that was our last taste of Genoa before hopping on a plane to Bari. I still have three more cities worth of food to share and all of it is really good so come back!

xoxo.

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