Visited: October 2022
Rating: 3 Michelin Macarons
We visited Le Calandre for the first time in 2018, had the menu “classico” and were very pleased. On being in the area for the autumn holidays, I took the chance and called them on Tuesday for a reservation the same week. They had free tables for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We even could take our small dog with us.
When we arrived, we were guided to a table in a relatively bright area of a room that normally seems to be used for bigger parties. At the table, we already found on each place a tissue sleeve with four bread specialties and two bowl shaped pastries on skewers.
As usual the menu “classico” is offered and two other menus called “max” and “raf” which contain more seasonal ingredients. Since we had the most suited menu for those with intolerances and allergies at the first visit, we decided for à la carte. I ordered a Vie de Romans Sauvignon Blanc Vieris 2020 as wine companion.
These whole-wheat pastries were so light and fluffy that you could keep them in the mouth and they slowly dissolved.
A demonstration of what is possible in a variety if you use different kinds of wheat, spices, and grains for the creation of quite different bread. Some were very good; others did not match the taste of us eaters.
Amuses bouches: tartelette with tuna sauce and capers, crispy parmesan roll with lime, a caramelized anchovie with olive cream, fruit gel
The tartelette was really good, the very crispy roll only discloses cheese taste but not lime, the little fish shaped amuse was good.
Warm bread with olive oil from Sicily served on little white porcelain handles with indentation
Jelly of mackerel, caviar, cold tuna belly foam, bottarga disk
This, I wanted to have again – the only repetition from our first visit.
I had the impression that last time it was a real, more dense ice cream and the proportions of the compounds were better balanced. Still a very good and impressive course.
From the menu raf: bowl of warm pumpkin orange puree with coffee sauce at the rim and walnut, pumpkin, orange, and gold decoration. Second bowl with walnut ice cream and decoration of the other components.
From the menu classico: three with ricotta cream filled crispy rolls, burrata with olive oil, a pastry pillow filled with basil cream and very aromatic tomato sauce served separately.
From the menu classico: al dente cooked spaghetti, egg yolk pepper sauce, guanciale ham jelly cubes of broth and a dried egg yolk on top. In a beaker, à part smoked broth was served with the recommendation to drink it after. A modern interpretation of carbonara.
From the menu max: Sounds fancy but promised more than it revealed in the end. Very al dente cooked pasta, sauce with sole pieces, aromatized with Gewürztraminer and capers. Sea urchin powder on top. I guess the sea urchin powder covered it all with a fishy taste so that no other tastes had the chance to compete with it.
From the menu max: 3 green and 3 beige colored ravioli filled with shellfish cream, artichokes, picked spider crab meat, lime oil and basil sauce. OK, but not overwhelming.
The next course I wanted to order was
FRIED SOFT-SHELL CRABS WITH FIG BLOODY MARY
Unfortunately, the supplier did not deliver the main ingredient of that course that day. “Moeche”, soft shell crab, has season in the Venetian lagoon in spring and autumn but this autumn is too warm so the season starts later. This might be the reason for the delivery problems. We know that from calls in other restaurants, which serve Moeche normally.
Instead, they offered a sea snail course but I decided for purple sole from the menu raf.
Two rolled filets of sole come with a purple potato puree with capers, raw radicchio, and pomegranate seeds. An unspectacular course that does not show its ingredients from the best side.
Pre-dessert: apple rose water, salty plum, cinnamon pear
From the menu max: discs of pear, fig, blackberry, and pear, soft meringue from aqua fava, crispy roll with fruit sorbet. Is this a dessert you’d expect from a restaurant with highest accolade?
Excellent dessert and a big enjoyment for those on the table who had it. Unfortunately, they do not offer anymore the spectacular chocolate game which was available in different versions throughout the years. You can see some of them in Massimiliano Alajmo’s book “Ingredients”.
Mignardises: Remember almond – Marzipan, coffee, walnut; rice crispy with black cherry, soft meringue and chocolate; vanilla ice cream and plum
While you find a lot of reviews about other Italian 3 macaron restaurants like Osteria Francescana, you do not hear much internationally about Le Calandre. It is perhaps better that way.
In contrary to our first visit I was disappointed. Probably my expectations were too high. Most of the courses we chose were missing the twist that one expects from a restaurant of this quality and price level.
A word about the pricing policy. I absolutely agree that high quality food has a certain price tag and I am willing to pay that if it rewards me with high pleasure and extraordinary experiences. This was with few exceptions not the case during this visit.
Since 2018, the menu bill has increased by almost 25% and is now close to 300 Euros. I doubt, that a carbonara is worth 60 Euros when ordered à la carte.
The service was impeccable and for me above expectation.