Where and what to eat in Italy according to Chef Massimiliano Alajmo

by Gigi Griffis
eating out in Italy

This interview was originally published in Italy: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In. This post may contain affiliate/sales links.

What should you eat on your trip to Italy and where should you eat it? We asked Chef Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calandre–one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, according to this ranking. Here’s what he had to say.

About the chef and his restaurant

Le Calandre is a fine-dining Italian restaurant located in Sarmeola di Rubano, a small town just outside the city of Padua in Italy’s Veneto region.

We believe in dishes that capture all of our senses, beginning with the most evocative of the five, our sense of smell. Aromas have a special ability to create lasting memories, particularly in relation to food.

We also believe that every element in a recipe must make its own contribution to create harmonic balance, carrying with it the memory of where it has been.

The result is combination of intense sensations—an original presentation of ancient flavors using a fresh and reassuring approach.

Of course, dining is about more than food. Which is why Raffaele (my brother) gives special attention to the restaurant’s wine list, the knowledge of our staff, and the warm, loosen-your-tie-and-get-comfortable atmosphere of the dining room.

Tortelli en brodo.

What to eat in Italy

I would begin with, in no particular order:

  • Spaghetti aglio (spaghetti with a garlic sauce)
  • Olio e pepperoncino (spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, and chili pepper)
  • Baccala mantecato (Venetian-style whipped salt cod)
  • Tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth)
  • Fave e cicorie (fava beans and chicories)
  • Granite di gelsi neri e mandorle (black mulberry and almond granita—a Sicilian sorbet-type dessert)
  • Panettone (sweet leavened bread typically served at Christmas)
  • Brasato al Barolo (beef braised in Barolo wine)
  • Mailalino sardo (Sardinian roast suckling pig)
  • Caprese (the original tomato and mozzarella salad)
  • Risotto alla Milanese (saffron risotto)

Foodie regions of Italy

The Italian foodscape is so rich and varied that no matter where you go, you are certain to discover something wonderful to eat.

Where to eat in Italy

In addition to our own restaurant, some of my favorites are:

Aimo & Nadia at Via Privata Raimondo Montecuccoli 6 in Milan

Ristorante Duomo at Via Captain Bocchieri 31 in Ragusa (Sicily)

Spinechile at Contra Pacche 1 in Schio (outside Vicenza)

Foodie etiquette

Avoid drinking a cappuccino with lunch or dinner. Italians simply don’t do this.

Find Chef Massimiliano at www.alajmo.it.

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