The second day in South Tyrol and we took the recreational activities down a nudge, from hiking 20k to simply driving around the area and lying at the lake’s shore enjoying the sun before the clouds started rolling into the valley. It was food o’clock and by chance, we found ourselves back at San Valentino exactly like the day before.
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We left Franco’s behind this time and moved a block up north to Hotel Lamm where there still were some free seats on the sunkissed terrace. Not having done much moving our appetite wasn’t as massive to we went splitcies on a Margherita. The pizza wasn’t spectacular but pretty good, light char marks on the outer crust and fruity soggy in the centre, just a tad too cheesy which slightly overshadowed the otherwise great sugo.
Abbazia di Monte Maria
Abbazia di Monte Maria
Fountain at Abbazia di Monte Maria
Lago di Rèsia
We also had some apple strudel with vanilla sauce for dessert which was okay but didn’t quite knock me off my socks, but hey that’s maybe a bit much to ask for. All in all another nice place to grab a snack in the sun with very personal and friendly service as it seems to be common around these waters. I like it.
Get Your Grub On!
39027 San Valentino Alla Muta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
p: + 39 0473 634641
One of my food loving co-workers recommended to check-out this place in Haslach. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first as using the word ‘premium’ in your shop’s name often implies quite the opposite, but a good recommendation outweighs such reservations any day so we had a plan. It was a bit tricky to find, sitting on the second floor of a car rental and dealership.
This place has a nice bright interior with a big bar functioning as the centerpiece of the inside restaurant and the breezy terrace offers the best seats for a summer dinner.
When I come to an Italian restaurant like this for my first visit and feel like pizza, most times I do get a Margherita for two main reasons; for one it’s my favorite pizza of all times and second, it’s actually quite hard to make a really exciting one and it can reveal the true skills of a pizza chef. This Margherita (EUR7.00) was truly one of the better ones I have had here in Freiburg. Even though I’d prefer mine with leopard-crust, fruity with mozzarella islands and almost soggy in the middle this one’s paper thin and crisp dough and the focus on simple flavors did the job just fine and will find many fans under the crisp-crust-lovers-community. One more thing to add here was that they served some fabulous and pungent Italian chili in oil to pimp my pizza and I almost finished that little jar of fierce goodness myself. We also had their homemade salmon and ricotta ravioli and these were just delicious; an intensely flavorful salmon filling wrapped in thick and chewy pasta dough, covered with a sticky tomato gravy that accompanied but didn’t overpower the aromas of the filling. Nice one.
I liked this place. Except for the uninspiring mixed salad (EUR5.00) at the start, which I would give a miss next time the food was tasty and satisfying, service was friendly and the ambiance on the terrace great for a chill after-work dinner if don’t mind a commercial surrounding. Grazie mille.
Get Your Grub On!
Premium Restaurant Pizzeria Pinocchio
79111 Freiburg im Breisgau
p: +49 761 445617
I had recognised that the former seafood restaurant on the corner of River Valley and Zion Road had recently transformed into a pizza joint and today when I was on my way back from Tiong Bahru I stopped by to check it out. The concept here makes a lot sense for peak times with big crowds, they prepare some huge pies with the same tomato and cheese base and when ordered simply add the wished toppings and toss it back into the oven for a minute or two and there you go.
I ordered two different slices – ‘Cheese‘ and ‘Salami‘ – and five minutes later had them at my table. Since they serve New York style pizza I wasn’t expecting a super thin Italian crust but actually quite liked how it turned out, thinner than usual with a crisp bottom and not overly stacked with unnecessary toppings. I absolutely loved their sweet tomato sugo and wished that there would’ve been more of it but nevertheless just this alone made it a proper pizza for me. I particularly liked the peppery salami they used here and also the cheese tasted pretty good however I didn’t find it gooey enough and wished they would’ve left it in the heat a lil longer.
All in all Tony’s wasn’t half bad and from all I can tell they do a decent take on a NY pizza, not too overloaded with cheese and toppings yet unfortunately underloaded with that delicious tomato sugo. I will come back here for a quick slice anytime, ignoring the non-existence of any motorbike parking close by and simply refrain from using the bathroom.
397 River Valley Road
Tel: +65 65 677 PIZZA (74992)
Finally some heat.
After a couple of days on Trawangan we figured it’s quite tough to get real Indonesian food down here – maybe apart from the nightmarket – and therefore didn’t feel guilty going for some Italian tonight. I found the chain of ‘Trattoria Cucina Italiana’ on the internet and as it was also ridiculously close to our hotel and we were exhausted from all that sunbathing we came here for dinner.
I generally prefer a thin crust but this ‘Diavola’ was a tad too thin for me, still good but I missed a little bit of dough to chew one since this crust just crumbled away on me. The sugo-cheese-ratio was as usual leaning towards the cheesy side but the taste wasn’t bad at all and to my great joy this thing was sweat-on-forehead spicy. Funny only I had to go to an Italian restaurant for that.
Trattoria Cucina Italiana
West Nusa Tenggara 83000
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Tel: +62 8190 798 2995
Bigger’s Not Better
I had been to ‘Valentino’s’ before when they still were in their small shophouse at Riffle Range Road and since a colleague and I didn’t have anything better to do tonight we decided to try out their new location at the Grandstand, former Turf City Shopping Mall.
After a lovely nutty ‘Ham Platter‘ and some creamy ‘Vitello Tonnato‘ I ordered one of their off-menu specials, the ‘Aglio e Oglio Linguini Nero di Seppia‘ with king prawn. The linguini were nicely al dente and not too oily. The prawn was humongous, quite fresh but rather bland. The kicker though were the roasted garlic gloves that melted in my mouth and had a nice charr flavor without being to overwhelming garlicy. A bit more seasoning and this would have been pretty great.
Out of pure curiosity we ordered a pizza ‘Margherita‘. Unfortunately this was pretty underwhelming. The dough was thin and crispy but the sugo didn’t taste like much and the amount of cheese on top was simply too much for my preference. It was not a bad pizza but from a place with such a reputation I was expecting a little more than just ok.
The ‘Panna Cotta‘ I had for dessert was not that special either with very little vanilla and a bit amateurish in presentation but what I really liked was the berry sauce that came with it. Nice and sour.
The quality and taste of the food was pretty good but because I thought to remember it a bit different and also because ‘Valentino’s’ is not necessarily a cheap restaurant I was just expecting a little more. On the upside the service was outstanding and the staff super friendly but it was a bit sad to see they had lost a bit of their family run restaurant charm which only small places have and small is not was ‘Valentino’s’ is anymore.
Ristorante da Valentino
#01-19 The Grandstand
200 Turfclub Road
Tel: +65 6462 0555
New Pizza Joint in Novena
A friend and I were in a hurry as we wanted to go watch a movie and therefore needed something quick and dirty for dinner. We decided to try out a recently opened pizza place at United Square in Novena, ‘Extra Virgin Pizza’ just next to the future location of ‘Wee Nam Kee’. The increasingly popular concept of restaurants making you place your order before sitting down is not really mine but since we needed to rush anyway I didn’t mind this once.
I usually try the ‘Margherita‘ when I first visit an Italian place as it gives you an opportunity to judge their skills with the most basic ingredients yet very difficult pizza but since I had to be quick on my feet I went with the ‘Prosciutto & Arugula‘. Literally five minutes later it was already sitting on my table; steaming hot. It was a quite night for them but I found this still pretty impressive.
On top of the speed I was also positively surprised with the taste.The parma ham was of good quality but did lack a bit of the the strong nutty flavor parma usually has. The arugula was mildly sharp and not too bitter and they didn’t go too strong on the parmesan cheese which nicely covered everything under a salty cheesy blanket. I ate the toppings off one piece to get an idea of what a ‘Margherita‘ would taste like and also that one was a winner. The sugo was fruity and close to sweet and actually tasted like real tomatos and the dough was thin, crispy charred and crunchy on the outside crust which was slightly to fat for me but nevertheless was seasoned well and tasted great.
I am happy to have another respectable pizza place close by as I can’t stand most of the deliveries here which overload their pizzas with meats and cheeses. If I would need to pick something negative about this place it would probably be the price as a 26 dollar pizza – even that not unusual for Singapore – simply is too expensive, especially for a ‘fast lane diner’.
Extra Virgin Pizza
101 Thomson Road
#01-14 United Square Shopping Mall
Tel: +65 6247 5757
Bella Italia in Shinagawa
After a long day at our Tokyo office one of my colleagues and I went to ‘Vento’s’ pretty much only because it was the most convenient and only two minutes from both our hotels. We sat down outside and I felt a bit bad being in Japan and having Western food already on the second day.
My regret only lasted until my beautiful ‘Margarita’ showed up. This was without lie one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life; pure brilliant simplicity. I haven’t had tasted such a fantastic and sweet tomato sugo in a very long time. The pizza was not overloaded with cheese so I was able to really taste all of the few ingredients as well as the thin dough. It was so thin that the area in the middle became juicy tomato-y goodness whilst the outer crust stayed chewy and tasted like very well seasoned pizza bread.
Service was very friendly and fast and the outside seating was just the right thing to do after a day locked inside an air-conditioned meeting room. Most importantly the food was outstanding so I give this place a double thumbs up. Bueno!
Vento Italian Bar & Grill ヴェント高輪
1F Keikyuu Shopping Plaza Wing Takanawa West
4-10-18 Takanawa Minato-ku
Tel: +81 3 3441 7952