Recently we were on a trip in Italy staying at a villa near Citta Della Pieve, Umbria. We stayed at the wonderful Podere Baicco Villa with 8 or so friends. A wonderful experience in it's own right. We noted before going on the trip it was close to Mondo X, a restaurant that has been on my radar for about five years. We were told of this place several years ago by the lovely proprietor of Avignonese Winery, Elano Falvo. After a tour of the winery she invited us to stay for a wonderful lunch. She mentioned this place as her favourite restaurant in Italy. So now five years later we go.
As you may know, this holy and tranquil 13th century Franciscan monastary is now used to mentor and rehab addicts and troubled youth. They work in the grounds, the farm and the restaurant under the direction of the father, Padre Eligio. The grounds are truly amazing and you get a short tour of the facility, (in Italian), and the incredible art and artifacts that grace the grounds. There were three of us for lunch and we were shown to the dining area. We sat in the small veranda overlooking the grounds. By now, we are totaly relaxed and in an almost tranquil state. The beauty, the holiness and the grace ooze to make an ambiance that is undescribable. We have two waiter attendants. Both lovely young men, one is the young man who conducted our tour. He gleamed as we told him he resembled Cesc Fabergass, a famous Spanish soccer star who plays for the greatest team on earth, Arsenal. On the table we are shown our hand written menu. There are no choices, they bring what the chef feels is best suited for the day and season. Flowers adorn the table and an assortment of breads are laid on the table. They are as good as they look, but don't eat too much bread, there is a lot coming. They bring a bottle of sparkaling white wine made there at the facility that is superb. We drink a toast and start with our first several courses. All are presented perfectly. We look at the wine list and pick our red wine for the later courses as each course moves closer and closer to red wine territory. We go for a 2005 Argiano Brunello at 50E's. What a deal. Wine list is extensive and not marked up. After the first few courses including a salumi plate made at the restaurant, a turkey grapfruit salad combination, local fresh water fish, escargo and crostini then comes a plate of beef stuffed pasta. Time for the red? Of Course. Then a platter of the most wonderful risotto, bright lemmon yellow coloured from the local saffron and adorned with grilled quail. All courses are presented and served family style by our servers table side. Then out comes a huge black marble slab with a sizzling steak. A huge bone in ribeye that is cut table side and seved with fried sage leaves and grilled tomato. Finaly a desert of cloud like panna cotta and compote of fresh fruit.
Nothing too complex or too rich but done so well we all agree it is in our top 2 or three. Interestingly we all three rate this experience close to if not higher than Arzak in San Sebatian Spain, a place we had all been before at different times and a place that is 180 degrees opposite of MondoX. The cost is quite high but for the experience we felt like we had the better end of the stick and also contributed to something very positive. We toured the kitchen and met a few of the young people working there. They were so proud of themselves and proud of what they are doing. And knowing that these people wanted to meet them and take their picture makes them feel even more important and gives them the self respect they need. By the way, the cure rate at Mondo X is over 90%. Truly tranquil, truly holy and worth your time.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.