Ristorante San Giorgio

February 5, 2007

Via Volta, 19; Cervo; 0183 400 175

(February 2007) The Guide Gantie is right. The town of Cervo is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy (see the Seborgo-Perinaldo-Cervo write-up in the Liguria west section).

They were also right that Ristorante San Giorgio is very special (they gave it three olive branches). Entering through an unassuming looking door, we were not quite sure what to expect; and lo and behold, we found ourselves in a series of lovely, small dining rooms.

san-giorgio-1.JPGWe were seated in the only dining room in use this Friday night; and it is probably the main one, with its Oriental carpets over the stone floors, exposed beams in the ceiling, whitewashed old walls hung with traditional art and scattered about with antique silver and small sculptures. By 9:30 it had pretty much filled up with Italians, either from Cervo itself or nearby towns, a largely attractive collection of maybe 18-20 young people.

The staff immediately poured us a prosecco, and we set about reading the menu, munching on the warm bread and chick pea flour puffs they put before us.

 We did not have the tasting menu (55 €) for two reasons—first was we weren’t that hungry and the second was that the dishes on it were not as appealing as some of the a la carte offerings. Orders placed, wine selected, we then sat back to enjoy the amuse bouche of a “farinata” I think they called it. It was sort of a thin, crust less quiche with scallions and quite good.

Our first course, which we split, was an interesting combination of lobster and foie gras with a pumpkin sauce and a red onion marmalade. Sublime is the only word to describe it.

san-giorgio-4.JPGGary continued with a veal fillet (30€) with a fabulous red wine sauce and perfectly cooked potatoes, crisp on the outside and soft inside. The meat was a little tough but that didn’t really keep him from enjoying it.

san-giorgio-3.JPGVarian’s pan-cooked loin lamb chops (28€), four of them, resting on a bed of sautéed artichokes were wonderful.

We couldn’t resist one of the cheese courses offered and were particularly impressed with the plate.

There was a whole, round cheese (tomino, I think), probably sautéed briefly. Garnishing the plate were walnuts, baked pears with cinnamon, and a sweet, fruit jelly. It was a spectacular way to eat cheese. The 1999 Tignanello (65€) was as smooth as it should be and opened up nicely as we worked our way through the meal. Passing on dessert, however, didn’t stop us from enjoying a grappa for Gary and a limoncello for Varian and some light, home-made cookies.

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