Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lunch at Ristorante Ottavius

When we headed out to Bevagna (as detailed below) one of our main drivers was a particular restaurant, Da Nina, which served (as landlord and pal Marianne told us) a wonderful gnocchi, perhaps the best in the whole of Umbria. Well, I couldn’t stay away from that, so we did indeed head to Bevagna, loved it muchly (and medievally, again as detailed below), but discovered soon that Dan Nina was no more (or had changed names--and if that was the case, we had no luck tracking down the new name). You may think, at this point in this short story, that we starved. However, we didn’t--cause we’re resourceful. Once we realized the Nina was nowhere, we followed the signs to Ristorant Ottavius (who boasted outside on a board about their gnocchi). While I’ll never know if it was as good as Da Nina, it sure tasted dandy to me. I started with an omelet topped with freshly grated black truffles (and I know I’m really out of truffle season, but these tasted fantastic):
Wait, wait, that was a lie—I really started (as did Nat, who shared my omelet, too) with some sips of Grechetto dei Colli Martani, a local DOCG white wine that is understandable renowned, because it was delicious, crisp, light, and lovely:
After the startings, we both headed to main course, the dish Ottavious likes to brag about, the gnocchi al Sagrantino:
Sagrantino (if you didn’t already know, and if you did, well, bully for you) is a famous wine that’s only available from this area (Bevagna and Montefalco—which is another lovely little town—and the areas around them), as the grapes don’t grow anywhere else (at least that’s the fable). It’s a rich, complex-but-friendly wine (also available in a dessert style), and made an absolutely fantastic sauce for the gnocchi. Really, it lived up to and backed up all the bragging they do about it.

To round out the meal, I ended (and again shared, cause good food should always be shared if possible) with an ensalata mista that was pre-dressed. This is almost unheard of (usually the bottles of vinegar and oil are brought up with the greens), shocking even. You know Italians don’t like a lot of “road-less-traveled” when it comes to the basics, so I have to imagine some are aghast! when they get their salad here, but I was overjoyed, because the dressing was delicious:
If I’m going to have to miss a meal at a restaurant whose praises have been sung to me, then I’m glad I missed it by going to another restaurant whose praises I’m happy to sing (if that sentence made sense, then I’m happy about that, too), much like happened in Bevagna.

*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's,Nonna Gelsa, Le Capannine di Sommavilla, Calagrana, Trattoria Il Saraceno, L Enoteca Wine Club, Mastro Dante, Bar Fizz, Da Cesari, al Frantoio, La Balestra, Lo Strattoio, Mencuccio, La Fortezza. La Tufa, Kentia Pizzeria, Il Feudo del Vicari, Buca di Bacco, Camino Vecchio, Quattro Leoni

*See all Italian restaurants

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