Top Italian Restaurants Special Awards 2021
Italian cuisine is deeply loved around the world since it makes us travel. And in a bitter and dull year for travel, the origin of our products ignites imagination even further. The subtle and intoxicating scent of a white Alba truffle, the intensity of Cicerale chickpeas, the natural sweetness of a Piennolo tomato, with its typical oblong shape, set people in motion towards Italy. With legs under the table. The digital guide Top Italian Restaurants guide, in its fourth year, showcases the evolution of Italian restaurants abroad, capable of relaunching and innovating even in the most difficult of contexts. While fine dining restaurants, especially those in large hotels, suffer, and it could not be otherwise, the number of osterias, pasta producers, small bistros and pizzerias is instead multiplying. In total, there are more than 700 venues of authentic Italian flavour listed in the guide, with the classic rating going from one to a maximum of three. In the final scoreboard this year we counted 18 Tre Forchette (fine dining), 14 Tre Gamberi (traditional trattorias and bistros), 15 Tre Spicchi (pizzerias) and 20 Tre Bottiglie (the best wine bars and Italian wine cellars in the world). Plus the special prizes of the 2021 edition: yes, it is indeed possible to raise the bar of quality despite all pandemic-induced limitations and closures.
Pizzeria of the Year: Napoli sta’ ca’’, Tokyo
Our journey starts from Japan with one of the best pizza Margherita tasted outside Italian borders. Credit is due to the talent and tenacity of Giuseppe Errichiello, who was able to hold out in the most difficult moments. He has run the apprenticeship gamut, working as dishwasher and napkin juggler, today he is the owner of two very popular pizzerias. The leavening process is slow, the dough and stretching show technical mastery, a rare manual skill: the pizza is airy, melt-in-your-mouth, and topped with certified flavour origin ingredients. The conspicuous distance between Naples and Tokyo is zeroed out with a single bite.
Restaurant of the Year: Da Vittorio, Shanghai
The Restaurant of the Year overlooks the Shanghai Bund. Behind it is all the serious and professional approach of the Cerea family who have faithfully reproduced, as rarely happens, the know-how of the historic venue in Brusaporto. The credit goes to a perfectly formed and trustworthy team, led by the talent of young chef Stefano Bacchelli. The quality standard is very high, the cooking technicalities phenomenal, among the best dishes in addition to the timeless paccheri alla Vittorio, a perfect pigeon. And thanks to the sudden success, in a few months the place will double its offer with a bistro located inside the new Ucca museum.
Chef of the year: Mario Gamba, Munich
Instinct and a constant desire to improve: the chef is a true master of Italian cuisine in Germany. Mario Gamba, from Bergamo, travelled around half the globe and then chose Munich as his base, opening the Acquarello restaurant in 1994. For 26 years he has been offering an inexhaustible repertoire of regional recipes, revisited with creative spirit and classic taste. The bases, the textures, the fine dining register like fresh pasta are perfect. And in such a difficult year, he has been able to make the most of the possibilities offered by the delivery service, proposing even the most articulated and complex preparations with grace and consistency.
Wine List of the Year: TentaziOni, Bordeaux
Finally a wine list made with love. Nestled in the alleys of the historic centre of Bordeaux, TentaziOni is a very small, delightful bistro: a handful of tables, vintage furnishings and a cuisine of crisp creativity in as far as contrasts and flavours. Few ingredients and the very happy hand of chef Giovanni Pireddu. His wife Johanna has calibrated a wide wine list on the cuisine, but above all with great personality and character, full of artisanal producers, classics but also lesser known denominations. There are many brilliant choices for a wine list that exudes curiosity and research: a jewel. Bravo!
Emerging Restaurant: Mono, Edinburgh
Finally something new! We have been following the evolution of this restaurant with great attention, complete with an adjoining bar, and the result of the experience of Joseph Crolla and the young chefs Andrea Pruneri and Simone Croci. Minimalist decor and a menu that brings together the best of local products and Italian recipes, for a healthy dose of stimulating experimentation. The tasting menu is a real experience based on flavours and perfect textures. Equally the wine list: young, fresh and super usable. The growth is impressive less than two years after opening. We hope to find it working at the same rhythm as soon as the venue reopens its doors on January.
New Opening of the Year: Cori Pastificio Trattoria, San Diego
Ownership and independence are the ultimate goal for every chef. Accursio Lota, Sicilian, had a brilliant career in California, first as a chef at Solare restaurant and then he opened Pastificio last January. The place makes use of his wealth of experience. the menu ranges from arancini to perfectly stuffed pastas, plus classics like parmigiana. All paired to a lean wine list, with small producers and many gastronomic wines offered at extremely fair prices. Accursio put his heart into it, “u cori” in Sicilian dialect, and it is palpable indeed.
Guardians of Tradition Award: Da Emma, Montreal
The prize that we annually reserve for the most authentic tradition takes us to Quebec among the pots in the kitchen of Da Emma restaurant. We meet the energetic and inimitable Emma Risi, who moved here in 1992 with her husband Lorenzo Aureli. The accent is exquisitely Roman, the dishes and recipes have never changed. The war horse dishes are pasta and beans, meatballs with sauce (“veal only,” Emma screams with pride!), roast lamb or cacio e pepe to begin with. Gestures are a ritual here, for simple, authentic and flavourful cuisine, rarely found in North America.
8 e ½ Bombana, Hong Kong
Acquarello, Monaco di Baviera
Acquerello, San Francisco
Buona Terra, Singapore
Da Vittorio, Shanghai
Dono Alfonso 1890, Toronto
Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
Il Ristorante Niko Romito, Dubai
Senza Nome, Bruxelles
Angelini Osteria, Los Angeles
Belotti – Ristoranti e Bottega, Oakland
Ciuri Ciuri, Seoul
Pausa, San Mateo
Pianeta Terra, Amsterdam
Tipo 00, Melbourne
Torno Subito, Dubai
‘O Munaciello, Miami
50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo, Londra
Al Taglio, Sydney
Leggera Pizza Napoletana, San Paolo
Montesacro Pinseria, San Francisco
Napoli Sta Ca’, Tokyo
nNea Pizza, Amsterdam
Ribalta, New York
Song’ e Napule, New York
Spacca Napoli, Chicago
The Pizza Bar on 38th, Tokyo
1889 Enoteca, Brisbane
A 16, San Francisco
Ai Fiori, New York
AltoVino, San Francisco
Casa d’Angelo, Miami
Enoteca Italiana, Bangkok
Gallo Nero, Amburgo
Giando, Hong Kong
L’Enoteca di Mr. Brunello, Copenaghen
Marea, New York
Osteria del Becco, Città del Messico
Piccola Enoteca, Zhubei City
Sistina, New York
Terroni Bar Centrale, Toronto
Trattoria Popolare, Oslo
by Lorenzo Ruggeri