This restaurant was recommended by a student of mine. She informed me the atmosphere was "particolare" "ricercato"and the dishes "raffinate" and "curate".
I can only confirm the validity of her opinion. What a delight, what a feast for one's taste-buds. Each dish, impeccably presented. By the time dessert arrived my dearest companion and I, thought it couldn't possibly get any better-but it did!
But first of all let me start at the beginning. The restaurant itself, from the outside, is utterly ordinary and could lead one to believe it is a common trattoria, specializing in a typical Ligurian cuisine with the ubiquitous lasagne, ravioli, tagliatelle, and cotolette that one usually expects from these institutions. Good solid home made food. No! You would be hugely mistaken! It is far far superior; the quality and the originality of Elsa's (the chef) dishes are unique, delightful, adventurous albeit genuine and non-threatening. This is not a pretentious minimalist haute cuisine that leaves its clients ravenous and far poorer. The menu is one only. You have to accept what they offer, unconditionally, as a child knows instinctively his or her parents know best, you, the customer, must have faith. The only choice you are allowed is to choose whether to come on a Thursday or Friday for a menu based on fish, or arrive on any other day of the week, for the inspired "terra" (meat and vegetable) recipes.
My companion and I arrived on the Sunday 20th March. We had booked a table at 12.30-booking is essential. As I mentioned earlier, the menu is set and this is usually five "anti-pasti", two first courses, a main dish and then dessert. We were concerned that we would be unable to meet the deadline, but the portions are, in a word, perfect. Beware time is slow, you will not be waiting interminably between one dish and another but you will find the time to talk to your partner-go with someone whose company you enjoy! We left our seats at 3.00pm...
The indoor decor is floral, tasteful, refined, elegant and very feminine. I was not aware of any outdoor seating. This more than made up for the disappointing surrounding area, the view is plainly uninspiring and quite depressing. Don't expect to see spectacular sea fronts-go either to Portovenere or Lerici. However, the minute you enter you do feel comfortable and reassured.
Ahhh the "pietanze", the dishes, the exquisite amalgamations of flavours, sublime! The truffle polpette (meat ball) was...heavenly. I swear I have never tasted anything more sublime, more delicious. Then the chick peas crepes with the lightest of pure lard slices, slowly melted, which your tongue and your senses cried with gratitude. The spaghetti; with a rich, creamy pesto of broccoli and walnuts-to die for! The pork ravioli, yes, in the end there were ravioli, were divine. My companion especially appreciated the thick red tasty Chianina sauce. Then there was the tagliata with red sea salt, and stir fried artichoke slices. Could it get better? Yes.
Dessert. Usually I skip dessert. I am not a aficionado of sweets but this, I had to taste... I trusted my carers. I opted for blueberry panna cotta, my darling companion, picked the crema pasticciere, with an aubergine slice and chocolate sauce. How weird was that?
We fed each other, I feel my boyfriend had the upper hand, his dessert was mouthwatering, unbelievably good. Mine, delicate, almost ethereal. I had to refrain from tasting his any further.
In short, this is one of the best restaurants in La Spezia I have been to. The price was 32 euros per head, including the house wine and coffee. Well worth the price.