Guest review by Eva Lock, fine artist in Lunigiana
“Crisi? What crisi?” seems to be the cry in Barbarasco. The small town in the Comune of Tresana in Lunigiana is revamping itself, despite the general mess that seems to be going on economically. Over the last few years, Barbarasco has expanded with stylishly built new condominiums and villas (one rumoured to have its own ballroom), a summer full of sagre and culture events, a new bar, a chemist and even a new covered fountain for free drinking water with a choice of sparkling and still. But the icing on the cake has to be the opening of a smart, contemporary restaurant offering a sophisticated but relaxed dining experience – the Ristorante Locanda San Quirico.
The San Quirico opened in July 2012 with a party. Gorgeous food, prosecco, mayoral speeches, journalists, and a private viewing of my paintings. The restaurant, which is situated in the building where the tired Rolando’s restaurant used to be, has been completely gutted and refurbished in a clean, modern style. It offers a pleasant change from the usual meat and pasta on offer at the more traditional trattorie in Lunigiana.
Small touches make the difference – wine coolers, paper bread baskets from Le Sorelle in Lucca, and huge sparklingly clean wine glasses. There is a different and innovative fish and seafood biased menu every week and, whenever possible, the San Quirico, uses local produce such as Rita Tomà’s chestnut flour, bread from the bakery in Corneda, and local wines. The restaurant design is clean, there are original artworks both in the restaurant and foyer, the tablecloths are white, the seating is comfy and the toilets… (well, you can always judge a restaurant by the facilities). Above all, the charming host Giuseppe, and his brother Roberto, the very talented and internationally experienced chef, and their energetic team of waiting staff will ensure you enjoy your experience.
Recently four wannabe professional restaurant critics (unbiased by the surrounding art work) went through the entire dinner menu, and here’s what we enjoyed:
The antipasto was a typical plate of local specialities that offered no surprises, but was nicely presented and clearly very fresh. For primi, we enjoyed a special spaghetti made from a specific type of flour with clams and tomatoes, and chestnut lasagna with radicchio and thyme sauce. Both were popular, but the lasagne was spectacular.
Our secondi were fillets of red mullet with lentils and a red wine reduction, a plate of mixed fried seafood, and roasted prawns in a sauce of chickpeas with pickled onions. Again, all the dishes were beautifully presented and the ingredients were obviously of the highest quality. The mixed fried seafood was definitely better than others I have eaten. The batter was crisp and light, and there there was a proper mix of prawns, squid, anchovies and calamari.
We finished off with a stunning vanilla panna cotta and tiramisù, which we shared. Roberto treated us to his trademark Barolo sorbet, which is made to a secret recipe, so secret that Roberto came out to tell us what was in it, but you’ll have to go to the restaurant to find out yourselves.
Our bill for four people for one antipasto, three primi, four secondi, two desserts, two bottles of house wine and two bottles of water came to a reasonable €120.
It is very easy to get to the restaurant from Aulla – five minutes from Terarrossa castle towards Barbarasco with plenty of parking in the adjacent piazza.Ristorante Locanda San Quirico Via Roma 193 – 54012 Barbarasco di Tresana. MS Tel: 0187 479091 email@example.com More information