Monday, November 14, 2011

Padova - Ristorante da Giorgio

Our last day in Italy was a simple one. We didn't trek out of Padova, instead opting to sleep in a little (or a lot), marvel at the Church of Saint Anthony again and check out the lovely markets in the squares of Padova.

There is an outdoor area, which is heaving with fresh produce, fruits and veggies galore (although we noticed that Barcelona still had the best prices….), and a covered section which consisted of butchers, delis and other cute little emporiums to poke your nose into.

Since we were spoiled with summer-esque weather, we brought along our picnic set (which we brought from Melbourne. We had plans.), and bought fairly easy to handle food and found ourselves in Padova's biggest square, Prato della Valle, which is also one of the biggest in Europe (at 90,000 square metres) and one of the prettiest. Historically a Roman theatre, with manicured green lawns, stone statues, a canal and a bit of a bric' a brac market going on around, it was a perfect little picnic spot in the sun.

We nibbled on cheese, bread, pate (which we had bought while we were in France), corn thins, prosciutto, a sacher chocolate cake we randomly found and a…urm…'raw' salad (which I didn't realise wasn't cooked until I bought it. Duh).

And some juicy giant strawberries.

Afterwards, an afternoon of napping (for Daddy), tramming up and down the line to expore what was around (my mum has a habit of doing that), a touch of shopping and before long it was dinner time.

We actually wanted to eat in a 'restaurant', but we struggled to find one that suited our tastes. Most of the places in the squares were laid back drinking spots, rather than places to have dinner, and we had no idea where to look for restaurants!

After strolling down a few alleyways, we came upon Ristorante da Giorgio, which is apparently Michelin recommended…although it was closed. At 7pm. Huh.

The chef however saw us loitering, looking at the tease of a menu outside, and greeted us and let us make a booking with him at 7:30, when the restaurant actually opened. Alright, half an hour, we could do this.

We ended up being too punctual even though, showing up at 7:30, with their doors still not open! How odd is it? I think we would shriek with discontent in Melbourne if a restaurant did not open at 6! Whilst Melbourne continues to open up all hour eateries, Italy still keeps time. Our patience did pay off eventually!

Inside was quite rustic and charming, we were led to our table, in a little side room, keeping us separate from the bigger dining room. Which was certainly pleasant. Maybe they thought we were going to be loud and rambunctious tourists? Teehee. There was certainly a touch of old school to the restaurant, a touch of silver from the plates and bowls, and a candle in appropriately matching holder.

Dad was suitably impressed by the silver plates.

Mum commented that whilst the bread was lovely, it was a bit difficult to beat the bread in Switzerland or France. Switzerland with the advantage of insanely delicious, hip-expanding, butter, and France…well. It's just France.

As I do not have notes of exactly what we ate, I won't be able to tell you exactly what everything was. I still just had to share this meal, because it really was such a lovely meal indeed. As it was our last dinner in Italy, before we headed back to Switzerland the next day, we revelled in all that we had been able to do thus far, the adventures had, the food eaten.

My mother's always had a soft spot for seafood type soups, filled with all those delicious sea creatures.

I believe, that this was cod and soft polenta. Although the two blobby looking mounds may not look like the most appealing thing in the world, this was absolutely delicious. The polenta so soft, yet so full of flavour which somehow worked exceptionally well with the salty, but mild fishy flavour.

Mum ordered more seafood. It's flared up tentacles makes the octopus look so lively and fresh. It's just asking to be bitten...

Dad ordered macaroni, with some chicken.

And Tim and I shared a mushroom risotto. Just beautiful, I've said it before, but there's absolutely nothing like having a risotto in Italy. The texture and consistency always seems to be right and the mushrooms are so much more flavourful.

As my brother is a rather large eater (and because Dad and I love offal so much), we also ordered a main that had calf liver in it. Saucy and rich with a big wallop of a pile of mashed potatoes next to it.

And to complete our night, a sweet, of course. A flan, I would say creme catalan, but that is far more Spanish than Italian!

All night, we laughed, we joked, we entertained the waiters with whatever broken Italian we had managed to pick up. Although it may have been one of the most dressed up meals we had, at least in Italy, it certainly was not stiff and fussy, with the staff making us all at ease.

With that, we meandered on back to the hotel, feet and legs, tired and sore from endless days of walking. There, we stuffed our many bags, heaving at the seams with clothes….clothes….shoes….and chocolate, to squeeze into our rented VW to drive back to Switzerland the next day…although we still had a few days there…

Ristorante da Giorgio
Via Daniele Manin, 8 35139 Padua, Italy
049 8360973

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