The best dishes of 2016

We asked 101 food writers their favourite dish of the year. Most mentioned chefs: Riccardo Camanini and Niko Romito

Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Ricc

Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Riccardo Camanini, chef at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia). It’s the most voted dish (3 times) in this end-of-the-year survey, interviewing 101 Italian and foreign food writers. A list of deliciousness worth reading from one end to the other (photo Brambilla/Serrani, translation by Slawka Scarso)

We asked 100 Italian and foreign food writers what was the best dish they tasted in 2016, in Italy and abroad. A cruel question («Only one? It’s impossible», almost all of them said at first). The resulting picture is, however, a rather faithful portrait of today’s cuisine, in Italy and beyond, both innovative and traditional. The dish mentioned most times? Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Riccardo Camanini (3 times). Camanini himself, together with Niko Romito, was the most voted chef (6 dishes, ex aequo). Followed by Antonia Klugmann and Mauro Colagreco, 3 times each.

Crapaudine, beet and caviar by Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur in Mentone (France). Amazing texture of the beet, made with salt crust, bizarre combination with the fishy and salty caviar and its cream... Elegant and refined but with powerful flavour.
(Xavier AgulloEl Mundo)

Filippo Saporito’s Liver terrine and its crème caramel at La Leggenda dei Frati in Villa Bardini, Florence: the 3.0 reform of grannie’s liver paté in a fun mix of comfort food and originality.
(Chiara AiazziIdentità Golose)

Espardenyes (sea cucumbers) Noodles by Oriol CastroMateo Casañas and Eduard Xatruch, chefs at Disfrutar in Barcelona. A very tasty dish, thanks to ingredients (cucumbers) and tradition (suquet). A new identity is born from the Catalan one. New Catalan cuisine.
(Pau ArenosEl Periodico)

Parpatana of tuna by Hedeki Matsuhida at Kak Koy in Barcelona. It is the cut just below and behind the jaw, with some belly meat, head meat, even some meat from the neck area. Lightly grilled, each section of the chop had a totally different texture, flavor, and intensity. A familiar ingredient cooked in an unfamiliar way. It left me speechless.
(Aaron Arizpe, Chefs Club New York)

Franco Pepe’s Margherita sbagliata at Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo (Caserta): substantial but ethereal, an explosion of flavours and food for the soul at the same time. Unforgettable.
(Francesca Romana BarberiniAlice)

Andrea Berton’s Chicken stock with squid, saffron and Calvisius caviar, restaurant Berton in Milan. I was struck by its neat flavours, never mixed or overlapping. Though the flavours are completely different, there’s harmony in the play of textures (basically there’s all three of them) and in the beauty of the composition.
(Camilla BaresaniIO Donna - Corriere della Sera)

Paolo Mangianti’s Hare, polenta with vanilla and beetroot at restaurant Due Spaghi in Barcelona. Hard to find hare under the influence of the extraordinary French “royals”. This Catalan-Italian chef successfully combines all the characteristics this cultured, beautiful and delicious dish requires.
(Angela BarusiForma Libera)

Marco Stabile’s Lièvre à la royale with a Tuscan touch at Ora d'Aria in Florence. Crispy black cabbage and vin santo from Tuscany add a Florentine touch without changing the classical feel of the recipe.
(Piero BenvenutiIdentità Golose)

Roasted wild duck with black truffle pappardelle by Luigi TaglientiLume in Milan. Purists might turn up their noses but the perfect cooking of the duck and the paired pasta is pure umami. Genius.
(Davide BertelliniPassione Gourmet)

Iceberg leaf with foie gras at Tiglio in Montemonaco (Macerata): a contrast of textures and temperatures that makes you understand you can thrill with just two ingredients.
(Cinzia BenziIdentità Golose)

Soft-shell crab with an aromatic crab-coriander bisque shot by Pablo Pavón and Barbara Verzola of Soeta in Vitória, Brazil: a poetic representation of their territory, and a homage to local fishermen and artisans. Delicious, beautiful, sustainable, ethic and authentic.
(Luciana Bianchiwww.luciana-bianchi.com)

Hokkaido pumpkin with fiordilatte ice cream and honey by Antonia Klugmann at Argine in Vencò (Gorizia): in its functional (it’s an amuse bouche) and structural (it’s just made of pumpkin, milk and honey) humbleness, it’s a small miracle full of deliciousness and harmony, elegance and simplicity, territory and character.
(Gianluca BiscalchinTouring)

Chicken raviolo with peppers and ash by Iside De Cesare at La Parolina in Trevinano (Viterbo). The pasta hints at Roman tradition (chicken and peppers). The touch of ash recalls the burnt peel of chargrilled peppers. Pure emotion.
(Maresa BisozziIdentità Golose)

Stewed spinach with almond milk and olive oil by Josean Alija of Nerua in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. A perfect synthesis of the best contemporary product-based cuisine. A very interesting dish without animal proteins. Josean is possibly one of the best creative talents in Europe right now.
(Marco BolascoGiunti Piattoforte)

Warm cream of fresh borlotti, chanterelle mushrooms, snails and summer truffle by Valeria Piccini, restaurant Da Caino in Montemarano (Grosseto). Marvellous snails, a non-banal product: perfect texture in harmony with all the ingredients. Excellent.
(Belinda BortolanFood & Beverage)

Kung-Fu Panda Bolognese by Enrico Crippa at Piazza Duomo in Alba (Cuneo) cooked by Christophe Hardiquest on the occasion of Gelinaz at Bon Bon in Brussels. Bolognese sauce, served with a Sicilian aubergine and Japanese flavour. The dish had perfect balance and was one that you wanted to never finish.
(Ivan BrincatFood and Wine Gazette)

Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Riccardo Camanini at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia): when creativity touches void and transforms it into something.
(Stefanno CaffarriCucchiaio d'argento)

Manioca mochi and taioba matcha by Roberta Subrack at the homonymous restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. A 100% Brazilian dish that looks 100% Japanese on the outside. Made of two roots. Love the idea, because cooking is about ingredients travelling since centuries.
(Maria CanabalParabere)

Pumpkin, liquorice, oil and powdered toasted seeds by Davide OldaniD'O in Cornaredo (Milan). An incredibly simple dish yet memorable, especially if you eat it in the "tinello", that is to say the chef's table at his new, beautiful restaurant.
(Giorgia CannarellaFine Dining Lovers)

Almond mousse, lemon gel and salted whole wheat shortcrust pastry by Niko Romito and Gaia Giordano, in the menu at Spazio Milano since its debut. Elegant and balanced, it’s a non-sweet cake in which the almond mousse is perfectly balanced by the freshness of the lemon and the crispiness of the pastry. A dessert that never tires.
(Lydia CapassoCorriere Cucina)

Germano reale dell'Appennino tra un bollito e una royale by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena. "Great poetry is evocation", is what my professor used to say. French and Italy in a sole masterpiece. A moving tasting. 
(Angelo CarrilloAlto Adige)

Fusillo cacio e pepe with raspberry sauce dedicated to Salvatore Tassa by Oliver Piras and Alessandra Del Favero at restaurant Aga in San Vito di Cadore (Belluno). The version Tassa prepared at Aga in only enriched by raspberries in a play of textures, sour, bitter and sweet rhythms and a textbook aromatic character. A true masterpiece.
(Giuseppe CarrusGambero Rosso)

Be vegetarian, be happy! by Pietro Leemann at Joia in Milan. Winter roots cooked in a pot, cicerchie and santoreggia paté, sand made with legumes and thyme, two refreshing, contrasting sauces. It’s fresh, balanced, healthy and with a very low environmental impact. A real manifesto-dish for the future.
(Lisa CasaliEcocucina - D di Repubblica)

Red mullet steak by Giuseppe Iannotti at Kresios in Telese Terme (Benevento). A concentrate of technique at the service of flavour and originality, something rare. Giuseppe has all it takes to emerge.
(Alberto CauzziPassione Gourmet)

Raviolo proibito by Keisuke Koga at restaurant Gong in Milan. It’s a raviolo made with pasta aromatised with saffron, enclosing a tasty char siu pork, cooked following an ancient Cantonese recipe. Every mouthful bursts with a smile.
(Annalisa Leopolda CavaleriGraffi di Gusto)

Torta de nata by Leandro Carreira, soon at L.C. di Climpson's Arch in London. A classic Portuguese recipe made with custard, baked in a wood oven so as to add a smoky note. Leandro will open his restaurant in London this spring. Keep his name in mind.
(Tokyo CervigniGiunti Piattoforte)

Cabbage and potatoes by Niko Romito, Reale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila)

Cabbage and potatoes by Niko Romito, Reale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila)

Fondant venison, Swiss pine oil, tubers and roots by Fabrizia Meroi at Laite in Sappada, Belluno. The dry marinade adds a lovely texture, really fondant, to the meat. And the distillation of the Swiss pine gives intense mountain aromas to the palate. A real delicacy.
(Andrea CiprianIl Gazzettino)

This little piggy went to the market by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena. An imaginary journey around the world, in continents where pork is a main ingredient (North Africa, North America, Asia and America). A tasty, brilliant and ironic dish.
(Eleonora CozzellaRepubblica Sapori)

Torch burnt ravioli with orange duck and almond milk with umeboshi by Mariano GuardianelliAbocar Due Cucine, Rimini. A beautiful, unexpected, surprise.
(Luigi CremonaTouring)

Pollo in due "culture" peperoni e teriyaki by Francesco Apreda of Imago at hotel Hassler in Rome. Syncretism and travelling in a dish between Roman tradition and Japanese technique. Succulent chicken, evoking the comfort of homemade meals. It is portioned in the dining room, recuperating the ceremonial pleasure of the great classic restaurants.
(Federico De Cesare ViolaIl Sole 24Ore)

Risotto di piselli nani di Baone by Biancarosa ZecchinLa Montanella in Arquà Petrarca (Padua), with a beautiful view of Colli Euganei: simplicity bordering on perfection [in this risotto with peas].
(Claudio De MinIl Gazzettino)

Cabbage and potatoes by Niko RomitoReale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila). A gastronomic calembour respectful of the soul of the initial ingredients. It’s surprising, both to the eyes and the palate, but it’s as if it was a quiet surprise, with no special effects, going deep as if it were revealing something extra of those ingredients. A meaty, intense, frugal, luxurious and extremely poor dish.
(Antonella De SantisGambero Rosso)

Abalone schnitzel from Noma in Sydney by Rene Redzepi. I liked the idea of a simple well-known dish like schnitzel made with exotic ingredients like different Australian algae and finger lime as well as the texture of the abalone.
(Georges DesruesDer Standard)

Green lentils from Puy, caviar and crustaceans gelatine by Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée in Paris. A totally new, unimaginable and very successful match. Overall it’s sapid but also delicate and extremely elegant.
(Fiammetta FaddaPanorama)

Lake ravioli in a broth of beetroot and cumin with black truffle from Como from Federico Beretta, restaurant Feel in Como. The meeting of lake flavours and aromas: four different types of fish for the filling, with the black truffle picked in the hills around the lake.
(Raffaele FogliaLa Provincia di Como)

Sartù di riso by Don Alfonso in Sant'Agata sui due Golfi (Naples). It’s a traditional dish they make with rare elegance and huge research. I could eat it on a daily basis (and I believe this is the secret of an unforgettable dish).
(Angela FrendaCorriere Cucina)

Tortelli wit gorgonzola and cumin, with sea urchins in a broth of Breton seaweeds by Giovanni Passerini at Passerini in Paris. They’re served like a progressive rock piece in a playlist of traditional ballads, breaking the format of a menu that Giovanni intends as extremely Italian and direct, thus inverting the classic fine dining game. Love at first sight.
(Lorenza FumelliAgrodolce)

Matthew Kenney’s Vegan lasagna, a raw food entree where the freshness of the zucchini and tomato layers were accented by a trio of pastes or salsas: pesto, macadamia nut ricotta and tomato salsa. The best dish I enjoyed in 2016.
(Vince GerasoleCbs Chicago)

Sweetbreads and lamb gnumarieddi, lampascioni and peperone crusco from Senise by Domenico Schingaro at restaurant Due Camini in Borgo Egnazia (Fasano, Brindisi). Deep and neat flavours and the courage of the author, presenting an authentic traditional cuisine in a context where the temptation for glossiness and naïf is always round the corner.
(Danilo GiaffredaIl Ventre dell'Architetto)

Quasi un raviolo (di seppia) by Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan. A play for the eyes and the palate. It looks like a raviolo, but what you bite is raw squid from the Adriatic Sea. Put the beetroot granita in your mouth and the palate awakens. Charming balance.
(Barbara GiglioliCorriere della Sera)

Green Rice Tamale by Mitsuharu Tsumura at restaurant Maido in Lima, Peru. In the style of a northern Peruvian town called Catacaos, but fused into a sort of dumpling that sits in a reduction of chupe de camarones. It’s a small dish, just a couple of bites, but contains so much flavor, tradition, technique and creativity. 
(Nicholas GillNew Worlder)

Calamari, pink pepper and lettuce by Niko RomitoReale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila). There’s a saying about "drawing blood from a beetroot" but only because Niko’s lettuce arrived later. An exemplary dish.
(Sonia GioiaRepubblica Sapori)

Baby spinach, mackerel, broccoli and salsa brusca by Enrico Crippa at Piazza Duomo in Alba (Cuneo), a gem among other gems in the necklace of small gourmet jewels, from the small cabbage with mustard to the potato wafer with liver. An admirable example of how a bite can give the palate an infinite sensorial joy.
(Licia GranelloRepubblica)

Insalata di Mare by Carlo Cracco and Luca Sacchi, at restaurant Cracco in Milan: the last episode in the trilogy that started with Marinara and Libro di pesce: the butter amplifies the brilliant play of counterpoints, unravelling the complex bundle of aromas.
(Andrea GrignaffiniSpirito Divino)

Caviar gelatine with cauliflower cream by Frankie Semblat at L'Atelier de Robuchon in Shanghai, China. A great classic, I know. But the elegance and the strong delicate note of the caviar, matched with the dignified humbleness of the cauliflower, makes this a perfect dish.
(Claudio Grillenzoni, Identità Golose)

Cappelletti with scampi, crustacean broth and tarragon by Niko Romito and Gaia Giordano at Spazio MilanoThe balance between the cappelletto pasta and the scampi filling, the limpid and light broth, the aromatic notes of the tarragon, both pungent and bitter, adding strength and soundness. An essential, extremely elegant dish.
(Giulia GrilliIdentità Golose)

In Toshijima, Kamishima and Sugashima, three islets in the prefecture of Mie in Japan, next to women catching abalone and seaweed. The freshly picked wakame seaweed blanched in boiling seawater. And raw liver. The most refined pastry making could not equal this sweetness and texture.
(Serena GuidobaldiCook_Inc.)

Sirloin, the wagyu beef sirloin by Sumibiyakiniku Nakahara in Tokyo. Sliced by chefs' hand. Marbling score 10/11 out of 12. Teeny explosions of fat can only be described as the meaty version of the pockets of pleasure that make up a pomelo. The best bite of beef I’ve put in my mouth.
(Leiti Hsu, Word of mouth

Palamos prawn marinated in rice vinegar, prawn cream with plankton and seaweed sponge; lyophilised head and legs by Joan Roca at Celler de Can Roca. 15th April 2016, 6 friends visiting the 3 brothers (thus half a brother each). This is the dish I still have in my heart, of all. If only they invented a machine that makes you relive flavours (without paying the bill again)…
(Luca IaccarinoRepubblica)

Ankimo (monkfish liver) at Sushi Sugita in Tokyo. Gently simmered over low heat for several hours in a sweet soy sauce with a dab of fresh wasabi. Ankimo is often called the foie gras of the sea. It’s just two bites, but so dense and satisfying. Simple but outstanding.
(Melinda JoeThe Japan Times)

Clams glazed with lemon; Cold fried mole and squid; Creamy emulsion of squid with hake shavings, was much greater than just three stunning dishes by Andoni at Mugaritz in Errenteria, Basque Country. 
(Lotta e Per-Anders JorgensenFool magazine)

Spaghetti with strawberries presented by Antonia Klugmann at L’Argine in Vencò (Gorizia) at the latest edition of Le Strade della Mozzarella in Paestum (photo by Alessandra Farinelli)

Spaghetti with strawberries presented by Antonia Klugmann at L’Argine in Vencò (Gorizia) at the latest edition of Le Strade della Mozzarella in Paestum (photo by Alessandra Farinelli)

Spaghetti butter and dry yeast by Riccardo Camanini at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia). The dish is deceivingly simple – just three ingredients – but the taste is so deep, evolving and moorish I had to return four hours after first eating to try it again. Simplicity has never tasted so complicated and so damn delicious.
(Ryan KingFine Dining Lovers)

The trout by Philip and Helmut Rachinger at Mühltalhof in Neufelden, in the Upper Austria. Lightly cooked in the Western Red Cedar Chingle, reviving an old method of cooking which adds a beautiful scent of pineapple and incense. The trout was served with wood sorrel and elderberry vinegar which enriched it with a delicate freshness. Such a subtle creation!
(Andreja LajhHaut De Gamme)

Prawn with almond, cherry and pink pepper by Luca Abbruzzino at restaurant Antonio Abbruzzino in Catanzaro. It’s spring in the South. Pure and aromatic. Perfect in its essential character. It freshens up the palate and calms the soul.
(Manuela LaiaconaRepubblica Palermo)

Sandwich piemontese by Enrico Crippa at Piazza Duomo in Alba (Cuneo): is a small steamed bun with rabbit, marinated egg, mayonnaise and kombu seaweed. Palate, technique and deliciousness.
(Stefania Lattuca, Identità Golose)

Roasted beetroot by Dan BarberBlue Hill at Stone Barns, New York. The beetroots come from the restaurant’s farms. They spread beef fat on top and leave it to ferment for 4 weeks, roasted. It is served as a steak, with its nice and sour “jus”. It’s vegetal elegance, complexity and satisfaction.
(Laura LazzaroniL'Uomo Vogue)

Tiramizucca by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena: the best dessert tasted in 2016.
(Martina LiveraniDispensa)

Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Riccardo Camanini at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia): the chef reinvents a pillar in Italian cuisine, confirming that an intelligent chef can be creative even with a recipe that most considered already fully exploited.
(Paolo MarchiIdentità Golose)

Squilla mantis broth with raviolo, garlic, oil and chilli pepper by Andrea BertonBerton in Milan for the idea, neatness, technique and elegance. It extracts and represents the flavour of one of the crustaceans that’s most “jealous” of its taste in a sequence of elegance and flavours you’d wish it would never finish.
(Valentina MarinoGambero Rosso)

Mozzarella di bufala IN.Consistenza e scapece di appiccatelli by Francesco Apreda of Imago at hotel Hassler in Rome. Francesco, born in Campania, enhanced two simple and essential ingredients like mozzarella and tomato, a real “concentrate” of Italian flavours. All the flavours of the South in just one dish.
(Tania MauriGazza Golosa)

Rigatoni cacio e pepe cooked in a bladder by Riccardo Camanini at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia) for the short circuit of classical and popular Italian character that creates an emblem of Roman essence: offal and strong flavours, with a perfect creaminess.
(Alessandra MeldolesiReporter Gourmet)

Topinambur by Marco Sacco at Piccolo Lago in Mergozzo (Verbania). It is made entirely with Jerusalem artichoke: cream first, then a slice, then the fried peel. I love dishes with just one ingredient because – when properly made – they can perfectly convey its real essence.
(Daniele MiccioneGazza Golosa)

Broccoli, bone marrow and bergamot by Antonia Klugmann at Argine in Vencò (Gorizia). I love bone marrow and in this tasting it is fully enhanced: pink, served with broccoli seasoned with purée and bergamot oil, a few drops of fermented broccoli stalk, and raw spinach. A bite from heaven
(Anna MorelliCook_Inc.)

Pasta with clams by Viviana Varese, restaurant Alice in Milan: the chef managed to transform such a simple and well-known dish into an artwork.
(Maria Greco NaccaratoKitcheninthecity.it)

Pane cunzato from the "u friscu" bakery of Francesco Marrone in Scauri, Pantelleria. Before it’s baked, this bread has already got all the ingredients of this specialty: capers, tuna, olives, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, pecorino. Unforgettable.
(Desirée NardoneFood Genius Academy)

Lamb offal flatbread by Lee Tiernan at Black Axe Mangal in London. Musty, offal-y, spicy and on the freshly baked heavenly flatbread. It is both boundary pushing and something I would want to eat everyday.
(Poonperm PaitayawatWorld's 50 Best)

Le 1608 – Double baked cheese soufflé from Neil McCue’s Whitehall in Calgary, Canada. Rich and decadent. Le 1608 is a typical hard cheese made from 100% Canadienne breed cow’s milk with 30% fat (raclette-like).
(Mijune Pak, Follow Me Foodie)

Rosso, a new take on spaghetti with tomato sauce by Antonio Zaccardi, sous chef at Piazza Duomo in  Alba (Cuneo), within The Vegetarian Chance: excellent technique, harmonious and balanced flavours.
(Davide PaoliniGastronauta)

French bean salad by Mauro ColagrecoMirazur in Mentone. With cherries, pistachios, trombetta courgettes, rocket salad... A dish from 2007: it’s now 10 years old but extremely contemporary, charming, surprising, a masterful vegetal interpretation of our theme "The luxury of simplicity".
(Carlo PasseraIdentità Golose)

Abbacchio from Antonello Colonna at Resort in Labico. Aromatic and crispy, served on a wood cutting board with potatoes and vegetables. Simple, just the original flavours. The future of cuisine is in respecting the flavours of good products.
(Roberto PerronePerri's Bite)

Home made soba with green tea and sobatsuyu sauce with yuzu by Jorge Muñoz at Pakta, Barcelona, a crystal clear example of perfect style and flavours. Simply impeccable.
(Bruno PetronilliJames Magazine).

Tourte de pigeon et Foie Gras by Tatiana LevhaLe Servan in Paris. A pastry dish with a lovely salty filling, perfectly balanced. When tasting the second bite, I immediately recalled my grandmother’s and mother’s hot Vietnamese pastry. A starter served on every festive occasion.
(Julien PhamPhamily First)

Burnt wheat orecchiette with courgette tips (cium de cucozz) by Pietro Zito at Antichi Sapori in Montegrosso di Andria, Apulia. A delicious dish, full of different textures and flavour, a recipe recuperating a piece of history and farmer’s wisdom.
(Elisa PoliD.repubblica.it)

Lemon pain brioche with buffalo milk ricotta, anchovies from Ponza preserved in salt and seasoned with oil and lemon zest, the amuse bouche from Tommaso Maddalena at SanLorenzo in Rome. This year’s most memorable dishes are not that creative: instead, they are the result of a magical meeting of product, technique and pure flavour. Like this one: it’s not inventive, but it’s brilliant.
(Sara PorroAmica)

Mar y Montaña by the chefs at Disfrutar in Barcelona. Extremely intense palate. Two flavours: the deepness of the game sauce and the marine strength of the anemone. Two soft textures that meet happily. Magic ying yang.
(Philippe RegolObservador Gastronómico)

Crapaudine, beet and caviar by Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur in Mentone  (photo by Xavier Agullo)

Crapaudine, beet and caviar by Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur in Mentone (photo by Xavier Agullo)

The cassoeula presented on two occasions (Identità Milano March 2016 and Alma 7th December) by Paolo Lopriore of Il Portico in Appiano Gentile (Como). Memorable recipes, a meeting of history and contemporaneity, technical pureness and a profound idea.
(Gianni Revello)

Veal sweetbreads with shallot, powdered liquorice and jus from brothers Floriano and Giovanni Pellegrino at restaurant Bros in Lecce: the liquorice balances the fat flavour of the sweetbreads and the sauce gives an overall balance.
(Vincenzo RizziCorriere del Mezzogiorno Puglia)

Veal tendon with clams and lily bulbs from Mauro ColagrecoMirazur in Mentone, France. Contrasting flavours and feelings on the palate. A dash of French classicism as well as a modern and Mediterranean brush. And the ingredients: there’s the discarded one, the nobler one and the vegetal-wild ingredient. A small, perfect symphony.
(Gabriele RossoGiunti Piattoforte)

Manti with burnt yogurt by Civan Er at Lokanta Yeni in Istanbul. Turkish style dumplings prepared with a dried aubergine filling, topped with Antakya’s salted yogurt with a hint of tahini and droplets of chilli and mint infused butter. The reworking of a traditional carnivorous recipe into a luxurious vegetarian bowl. 
(Arzu SakXoxo the Mag)

Sweetbreads with lamb gnumareddi and lampascioni and peppers from Senise by Domenico Schingaro of restaurant Due Camini in Borgo Egnazia (Fasano, Brindisi): a thrilling mix of intense lamb flavour, bitterness from the lampascioni, cream of chicory and fried and crumbled pepper from Senise.
(Sara SalmasoIdentità Golose)

Spaghetti, hempseed oil and black truffle by Mauro Uliassi, restaurant Uliassi in Senigallia (Ancona). The chef is successful in dressing this dish in its seeming “nakedness”. Rhythm and deep tastes, generated by a limpid vegetal and earthy structure in contrast. The spaghetti keep the main role and are a channel of primordial stimuli. 
(Lorenzo SandanoL'Espresso)

Uni Ika Sugomori Zukuri ("Sea nest") by Sotohiro Kosugi at restaurant Soto in New York. A real aesthetic masterpiece, it melts irresistibly on the palate and with an extreme and magnificently combined harmony of flavours. Too bad the place recently closed.
(Paolo ScarpelliniUpper)

Milk tripe: blood sausage, milk skin, white berries by Norbert Niederkofler at St.Hubertus in Badia (Bolzano). A summer, intense, elegant, visually simple dish, full of ideas. Good. In just a bite it gives you a vision of the possible journey towards the future of fine dining.
(Margo SchachterVanity Fair)

Padellotto, a dish made of sole entrails, from the historic Checchino dal 1887 restaurant in Rome.
(Antonio Scuteri, Repubblica Sapori)

Prawns, liver and radish by Emanuele StrigaroPalazzo Foti in Crotone: great balance of textures and flavours. Sweetness and roundness dominate though the radish gives a strong push.
(Eugenio SignoroniOsterie d'Italia - Slow Food)

Mojito di Parma by Igles Corelli, restaurant Atman in Lamporecchio (Pistoia). Three exceptional maturations of Parmigiano, lime, mint and Acquerello rice: this dish is like an embrace, it’s warm, thanks to its deliciousness and pleasing in that it has no other goal than that of being delicious.
(Pina SozioGambero Rosso)

Rice gnocchi, songino root, cream of smoked oyster, pimpinella, chestnuts and shallot in vinegar by Lorenzo Cogo at El Coq in Vicenza. A multi-flavoured dish, a superlative pandemonium of sourness, bitterness, umami, gelatine texture and smokiness, savoury and sweetish, starchy and spicy, seafoody and murky, foresty.
(Carlo SpinelliItalia Squisita)

Scampi with mango chutney, dry and salted herring bouillon, pumpkin, coconut and curry, with scampi tartare, cucumber and combava lime by Soenil BahadoerDe Lindehof at Nuenen (Holland). Freshness and balance in a complex dish that lights up different light bulbs at every bite.
(Gualtiero SpottiCook_Inc.)

Grilled octopus, potatoes confit, black onion and burnt leaves with extra virgin olive oil from Adam HandlingThe Frog in London. An exemplary use of proteins: the intense Spanish extra virgin olive oil perfectly enhances the grilled tentacles, the bitter and crispy leaves of brassica add texture, the onion and potatoes add sapid and sweet contrasts.
(Federica Squadrilli CarrPasta Bites)

Duck, watermelon, coconut, salicornia from Floriano and Giovanni Pellegrino at Bros in Lecce: possibly the best duck I ever tasted, a great meeting of classic school and creative verve.
(Luciana SquadrilliGazza Golosa)

Fake saffron risotto with cauliflower and smelt roe by Terry Giacomello at restaurant Inkiostro in Parma, an explosive mix of technique and flavour, lightness and voluptuousness. You’d wish it would never end.
(Errica TamaniGazzetta di Parma)

Cold linguine, raw potato, oyster by Niko Romito, restaurant Reale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila). It shows both total minimal simplicity and absolute conceptual complexity, summing up the intense research conducted in the past few years by one of the greatest chefs in the world.
(Massimiliano TonelliGambero Rosso)

Pesto testaroli by Yuri SperindèOsteria San Francesco e il Lupo in Pontremoli (Massa Carrara). Testaroli are the oldest pasta ever. Simple to make, they’re a poor farmer’s recipe, made just with water, salt and flour. Here they make them fresh every morning, with a simple and light pesto.
(Giulia UbaldiLa Cucina Italiana)

Rice with fermented black garlic, red fruits and vegetal carbon by Riccardo Camanini at Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (Brescia). A dish surprising the eyes, and reassuring the palate. Rich, intense, yet gentle.
(Niccolò VecchiaIdentità Golose)

Risotto with Gilbach Gin by Alessandro Gilmozzi at El Molin in Cavalese (Trento). A risotto concentrating the aromas of the mountains: the chef picks the berries to make the gin (elderberries, juniper and sloe) and adds the frozen gin nuggets at the table. A unique contrast of cold and hot.
(Stefano VeglianiPremium Sport Mediaset)

Cream croissant by Corrado AssenzaCaffè Sicilia in Noto (Siracusa). The most common pastry finds a new shape, a new texture, a new aromatic power with Assenza. So soft it seems empty.
(Enrico VignoliPostrivoro)

Courgette carpaccio by Massimiliano Alajmo at Calandre in Rubano (Padua). Incredible structure and complexity: it contrasts with the simplicity of the description, it respects the season and it’s very light yet pleasing.
(Andrea VincenziDiadema)

Pigeon with pistachio by Niko RomitoReale in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila). An essential and not minimalistc dish. A work of extraction of flavours and of research on cooking procedures that must be interpreted as an affirmation of a theoretical and executive philosophy full of character, and not a lack of identity. An ideological manifesto of the cook.
(Enzo VizzariGuide de l'Espresso)

Tripe, tomato and hazelnut plin, celery leaves, coriander and sour duck jus from Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France. The vinegar mixed to the duck jus is the result of a simple and logic idea. It’s so good it admits no comment, an example of how French cuisine is as current as ever.
(Paolo VizzariL'Espresso)

I join the praise for Daniel Humm’s Roasted chicken for two at Nomad in New York. It’s such a scenic, good and perfect dish we can’t wait to see who will manage to improve it.
(Gabriele ZanattaIdentità Golose)

Spaghetti, strawberries and mountain garlic seeds by Antonia Klugmann at Argine in Vencò (Gorizia). The strawberry juice, made with hot extraction, creates a stable sauce which, together with tomato, gives a sour note to the dish. Unexpected and unsettling. Perfect technique and immediacy.
(Annalisa ZordanGambero Rosso)

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Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes. 
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