Le Calandre– A true dining experience.
In 2008, Le Calandre (aka “Max Alajmo’s culinary playground”) was rated the 36th best restaurant in the world. Now in 2017, it has jumped up to the 29th best restaurant in the world. The Italian eatery is located in Rubano, about a 45 minute drive west of Venice. The restaurant is one of eight in all of Italy to boast three Michelin stars. Chef, Massimiliano Alajmo, is also the world’s youngest chef to garner three Michelin stars by age 28. Super impressive!
We made reservations a couple weeks in advance for the three and a half hour meal. Walking in the front door, the space resembled an Italian cafe with casual tables. Once the host asked us if we were there for Le Calandre, we were led into a back room behind a black door. The dining room consisted of about seven hand-carved wooden tables and an attentive waitstaff. Everything was top-notch – the chef, the wine sommelier, and the restaurants award-winning waitstaff. No detail was overlooked and each element was impeccable.
We sat down at our table with a warm welcome from our server. He explained the three menus to choose from and that the whole table must order the same menu. Our table decided to order the “Classico” menu. The wine sommelier visited us shortly after to describe the vast wine selection. We were treated to a scrumptious selection of bread and a small welcome dish of three tart-like appetizers. This was the beginning of our 11 course meal.
We settled on a white wine to compliment the beginning seafood and pasta dishes. The second course was refreshing shrimp in a light sauce. The third course continued on with seafood and the restaurants most popular dish.
The most famous dish at Le Calandre is the squid ink cappuccino with a smooth potato cream topping. The combination of these two ingredients melted in your mouth with the potatoes nicely contrasting the fishy flavor in the squid ink.
The ricotta and mozzarella cannelloni with tomato paste was a favorite of mine and the fourth course on our menu. With the placement of each dish, the server described the ingredients and inspiration for each course.
The fifth course was a smoked tagliolini pasta with egg yolk-type sheets. A perfect transition preparing our taste buds for the meatier dishes that were to follow.
Our sixth course, a saffron risotto, was the best tasting risotto I’ve ever had. (Note to self: must try and recreate some form of this at home!) This dish gave way to the heartier main dishes and a recommended bottle of red wine to compliment the next phase. The seventh course (not pictured) was a beef carpaccio topped with black truffle shavings.
The eighth course was grilled bone marrow with smoked herbs. This was my least favorite dish (solely because of personal preference and the bone marrow taste), but I was most impressed with the presentation of this one. This course was followed by our last main dish – a slice of suckling pig with mustard and coffee powder atop.
Just after we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, the waitstaff suggested a dessert wine to compliment the ending of our meal. We were served pre-dessert skewers of petit fours and dried fruits to be shard with the table.
Each guest could choose between two desserts. One was an almond mozzarella egg that oozed with almond-y goodness. The other was a crostini topped with an apricot-like glaze. Both equally delicious!
We couldn’t have asked for better company to share this experience with – sharing these times with family creates life’s greatest memories!
I love these below photos from our night. They perfectly capture the mood of the evening with great company, fine wine, and exquisite food.
I was born into a family of foodies, and the experience we had at Le Calandre is one that I don’t think will ever be beat! My photos cannot do the whole experience justice – check out Le Calandre’s website for a better look at their famous dishes. And if you’re ever in Venice, take a detour to Rubano.