The best restaurant in Italy? Le Calandre in Padua

It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments: for the one night where we hadn’t already planned where to eat, we dined at Le Calandre in Padua — a 3-star Michelin restaurant.

tagliolini di mozzarella

the texture of the julienned mozzarella released unexpected flavors from the plastic cheese

scampi tostati con “formaggio fresco” di latte di fave, radicchio di Treviso e mele

toasted langoustines with a “fresh cheese” of fava milk, radicchio trevigiano, and apples

battuta di carne cruda piemontese al tartufo nero

as instructed by our server, you wrapped the nuggets of raw beef in the shaved truffle, served on a piece of bark, and then dipped them in light beaten-egg sauce

cappelli liquidi di brodo d’oca all’arancia

these were cappelletti filled with an orange-goose broth, like soup dumplings

cannelloni croccanti di ricotta e mozzarella di bufala con passata di pomodoro

crunchy cannelloni filled with ricotta and buffalo mozzarella with tomato sauce

risotto di zafferano con polvere di liquirizia

saffron risotto with licorice dust

maialino di latte arrostito, salsa di senape e polvere di caffè

roast milk-weaned suckling pig, mustard sauce and coffee dust

proiezioni al cioccolato

dessert came with a mini-screening to complement the physical sensations

Many believe that Massimiliano Alajmo is the best chef in Italy today. He might very well be. Le Calandre was a fantastic experience… And for however experimental and avant-garde his cooking, the flavors were pure Italy… A stunning and thrilling evening, full of sensual surprises…

Nota bene: Le Calandre is not a cheap date (THANK YOU GOSSIP GIRL!). But you can order à la carte and there are a lot of very reasonably priced, wonderful wines on the list, like this Malvasia Secca dell’Emilia by Donati, one of my favorite producers. Natural and wonderfully stinky and crunchy, lees-aged, bottled fermented… Perfect with the wide range of flavors…

10 thoughts on “The best restaurant in Italy? Le Calandre in Padua

  1. It’s an absolutely incredible place! Definitely over the top, but that’s what you expect out of a three star restaurant. We were told that we needed to eat the carne cruda with our hands to get us in touch with the caveman in all of us.

  2. One of the most memorable evenings ever! Sadly, I was covered in hives after a visit to the botanical gardens, but soldiered through anyway!

  3. This was one of the best food voyeur experiences I have had. Ajamo is a genius. I’ve never been to the restaurant but was introduced to some of his specialties but a very knowledgeable friend in Italy. How lucky you and Tracy are to have this exquisite trip although I wonder how you aren’t getting gout :). Just kidding. Looks like a perfect trip for all and what an exquisite wine choice. I’m a big Malvasia fan these days.

  4. Pingback: Francesco Zonin braves triple-digit heat in Texas and doesn’t wilt ~ Thanks to Prosecco | The Blend

  5. As/per the management of restaurant La Calandre, taking photos are normally not allowed (see notice below). Would that possible for you to explain how you managed to pick photos of your meal?

    Notice of Marisa Huff from restaurant La Calandre: ”””’We generally do not allow for photos to be taken during lunch or dinner service””””

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