Now you can eat good food in Portofino too

Carlo Cracco's Pitosforo project is the latest in this pearl of Tigullio and the most important because it brings back to life a place that has made the history of lifestyle

04-08-2021
Carlo Cracco with 25-year-old Mattia Pecis, resid

Carlo Cracco with 25-year-old Mattia Pecis, resident chef at the newly reborn Pitosforo in Portofino

Portofino is not one of those pit-stop tourist places in Liguria, even though from dawn to dusk it's always a coming and going of boats from the nearby towns, unloading as many tourists as possible and then loading them again when they no longer know what to do, since there's little to do except taking plenty of photographs. It's not such a place because the road from Rapallo, ten km all in all, is narrow and full of bends and dangers especially for pedestrians and cyclers, including the wild boars that in the middle of the night leave the woods in search of food.

This pearl, a reason of pride for the Gulf of Tigullio, and Italy, and rightly so, is a concentrate of beauty that requires time and adequate resources to fully enjoy it avoiding tourist traps, especially when dining and drinking out. You'd never go there, beyond Santa Margherita, to dine well - well in the sense we give to it at Identità Golose. But much has changed over the past few months, and Langosteria in nearby Paraggi is no longer the exception.

Outside Pitosforo in Portofino during the four years it was closed

Outside Pitosforo in Portofino during the four years it was closed

The Cereas have opened Splendido a mareLuigi Taglienti was called to add aroma to SplendidoCarlo Cracco has completely renewed Pitosforo, tel. +39.0185.1636026, which had been closed for four years, after years and years of rich life on the Umberto I dock, right where the most beautiful yachts moor. Opened by Marco Vinelli in 1951, it would be easier to tell which VIPs haven't set foot there, rather than those who have.

They look the same, but now the establishment is signed by Cracco

They look the same, but now the establishment is signed by Cracco

Cracco changed the name, which is now Cracco Portofino, but for everyone this will be Pitosforo for a long time, or if anything di Cracco who opened it on Friday 2nd of July. All this after much thinking over, with no big announcements, with 25-year-old Mattia Pecis as resident chef, who took his first steps when he was not yet eighteen with the same chef-patron in Via Hugo in Milano, followed by a nice experience with Norbert Niederkofler where he would have returned, in Alta Badia, after the pandemic, if it wasn't that Carlo called him to hand him Pitosforo. Gourmet restaurant, bistro, aperitif and lots of hope that, after the summer, the vaccine will do its job and avoid us another wave that will block the world once again.

Cracco Portofino: moscardini

Cracco Portofino: moscardini

Your eyes move from the dishes you're being served to the view in front of you, the colourful houses in the little square and the port, one next to the other, the nature and the villas all around, the yachts and the sailboats. They called from one of these asking for five pizzas because they didn't want to make the effort to get off the deck, while from another one, as tall as a three-floor house, the ship owner sent a sailor to Cracco's and with his mobile phone he chose a table for eight, the distance from the deck and the terrace on the rocks being ten metres or so. This too is richness.

Cracco Portofino: swordfish cutlet

Cracco Portofino: swordfish cutlet

The restaurant is still not fully running, it's as if it was on a pre-championship retreat, and some details are missing, like some staff between dining room and kitchen, which forces them to reduce the number of tables. A common problem, after all. But it's clear that this is an important place, with a ten-course tasting menu for 195 euros, plus a menu with some fifteen more dishes: Squid sea saladRaw prawns;

Moscardini in tomato sauce; a brilliant take on mullet and then a surprising tribute to Milan in a restaurant that doesn't offer meat. It's basically a swordfish cutlet, breaded without the egg as it doesn't go well with fish. And then there's Pansoti in walnut sauce, which will be an important dish in the bistro more focused on Ligurian tradition than on the chef's vision.

A vivid memory? Fish R-amen with vegetables from the kitchen garden. A thought for the autumn: Rabbit alla ligure and crispy flan of mushrooms and potatoes.

 

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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