One of those memorable meals which I could write a full twenty pages about, but won't. Let it suffice to say that my review is based on a single 4-course dinner on a rainy Easter Monday evening, and while - to some - that may not seem sufficient empirical data to form a solid opinion of La Trattoria, I feel this rather new restaurant, whose (sur-)name "Cibo & Passione" is definitely not deceptive advertising, deserves a place among the best in Locarno and the entire region.
To keep it short, here are my notes:
Owing to the Milan origins of the owners (Lara Guelli and chef Simone Bianchi), inventive Italian cuisine with a local Ticinese touch (using a great variety of regional products); the menu is a brilliant read (some samples we tried: Garden salad with passion fruit, feta cheese, cress and warm shrimp; Steak tartare of Fassone beef with truffle oil and homemade brioche; Green asparagus soup with scallop; risotto of wild asparagus with candied lemon and goat cheese; Crisp suckling pig with rhubarb sauce and new potatoes; Grilled monkfish with black Piedmont rice and fresh vegetables; Dark chocolate fondant with cardamom semifreddo and fresh strawberries), dishes are presented with great attention to detail; absolutely every component of the meal was cooked to perfection, fantastic composition of each dish - in short, I felt I had rarely eaten at a restaurant where such care was given to the individual ingredients as well to the meal as a whole.
Clean but (literally) playful decoration, stylish enough but customers are quickly made to feel at ease by the friendly staff and the overall atmosphere.
Dishes larger than expected (must be the Swiss tradition...); we went for three courses each (starter-primo-secondo) plus a shared dessert, hardly managed to finish...
Excellent service (although communication was sometimes hindered by my very poor Italian); attentive, friendly, knowledgeable, genuinely passionate about the food.
Good if relatively small selection of wines and spirits (go for the recommendations)
Very reasonably priced for local average and that kind of quality.
Will definitely return to try the large patio that must be great for warm summer nights; this is already an all-time favourite.
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