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This is the blog of Steve Burkett of Italy, Our Italy

Eat Here: Il Flauto di Pan

In a followup to last week's article on the beautiful Villa Cimbrone, I present their fabulous restaurant, Il Flauto di Pan.

Wow! I’m very excited about Villa Cimbrone gracing the walls of a new development in San Antonio, Texas. Be sure to read the late-breaking addition to this article at the very bottom.
I have never lied to you, and I won’t start now — so when I say ‘we ate every bite’, trust me on that

We have a general feeling in our family about the quality of a restaurant versus its height above its surroundings...you know, the meals in space-needle-like settings, tops of very tall buildings, etc...often it is the quality of the view that takes precedence over the  quality of the food...not always, but often enough that we steer clear without a recommendation.

Here is a restaurant that sits high above the Amalfi Coast, which has both a quality view and quality food. 

The remarkable gardens of the Villa Cimbrone extend to the entrance of Il Flauto di Pan, as you can see here with a wall of petite white flowers.

As you are seated, you will find a lovely welcome at your place setting, as shown in the first photo at the top of this article, complete with embroidery hoop. So striking, don't you think?

As we sat, we were treated to both a view of the Amalfi Coat and bread sticks -- two of our favorite things!

 

In addition, there were two varieties of butter from which to choose. 

 

Il Flauto di Pan is a Michelin-starred restaurant. Having a star is of great significance, and it is extremely hard to get.

If you have watched 'Chopped' on the Food Network, you know that they judge the food on taste, presentation, and originality.

These, of course, are important to the Michelin folks, too. But beyond the food itself are the aesthetics of the restaurant and the ways in which the diner is pampered. Touches like the orchids on your table are taken into account. 

 

As Italian wine lovers, we seldom have cocktails whilst in Italy...well maybe a Negroni or Campari & soda on occasion -- but the suggestion of a Bloody Mary made with fresh-squeezed tomato juice sounded too good to pass up...so we didn't. And man-o-man was it ever good! 

We had course after course, some of which I'll show you here. I won't try to tell you exactly what each dish is, because frankly, I can't remember.

I think you can get the gist of a Michelin-starred restaurant from the photos...lots of garnish, debris, drops and plops on decorative substrates with well-placed and tasty sauces. Not only is it pretty to look at, but it is most excellent in taste!

Of course, right now you are asking, "But what about desserts?" My response would have to be, and is, "Yes, they have admirable desserts -- which we did indeed admire, right before we ate them." I have never lied to you, and I won't start now -- so when I say "we ate every bite", trust me on that. And, as unusual, we also enjoyed a dessert wine.

 

I have to say that we had a wonderful afternoon and evening at the far reaches of Ravello at Villa Cimbrone -- at the villa, the gardens, and the extraordinary restaurant. As I finish, we toast you and say 'thank you' to all of you who loyally read the articles of Italy, Our Italy.

 

Villa Cimbrone in San Antonio!

You can now find Villa Cimbrone in San Antonio, Texas...at least photos of the villa. 

I'm pleased to announce that 210 Development Group, one of the premier property developers in San Antonio and beyond, has ordered eight of my photos of Villa Cimbrone as the wall art for a model in their recently completed Aviator project. This housing project is on the site of the old Brooks Field of World War II fame, now called Brooks City Base.

Here, you can see photos of the installation. My thanks to Alyson Callison, Director of Design for for 210DG, for putting her confidence in my work, and for creating the beautiful model that surrounds my photos.

I suspect you will recognize these photos from last weeks article, titled A Visit to Villa Cimbrone.


  

Ciao for now,

Steve

 

p.s  You can see other Amalfi Coast blog articles here:

Eat Here: Ristorante Antico Martini

This restaurant has been in continuous operation since 1720, which means that it is approaching its 300 year birthday!

One of the charms of Italy is its food. With one exception, I've always enjoyed every meal. Today's article is about one of our favorite Venetian restaurants -- Antico Martini.

Here is a photo of the restaurant late at night. The photo shows one of the four dining areas -- this one the Terrace -- and it was taken from the campo that Antico Martini shares with the La Fenice opera house.

[click an image for larger view]

Like most Venetian restaurants, Martini is open late for dinner, because that's when Italians tend to eat. This makes it an ideal place to eat after an opera, which we did after a fabulous performance of our favorite, La Boheme. 

Any idea who the first party to make an Antico Martini reservation via the internet might be? We have that distinction! Long before restaurants created their own systems or began to use those such as Open Table, we used just plain, old email. The owner at that time, the charming Emilio Baldi, had a table set with a nice bouquet of flowers and the prosecco was on the house to celebrate the occasion. 

Here is a photo of the main entrance to Antico Martini, on Calle Veste, just over a small bridge.

Like most all of the Venetian restaurants, seafood is the predominate fare. And the seafood is fresh and delicious. Local chefs visit the Rialto Market each morning to gather the makings for the day's meals. You can read more about The Rialto Market in one of my previous articles.

Here are a few photos of our times at Ristorante Antico Martini, starting with a prosecco toast.

I've mentioned the seafood served in Venice before...and I will continue to do so. Here is an appetizer of very thinly sliced fish, caught just the previous evening. I'm not a sushi fan, but I had no trouble with this outstanding item. Notice how the candle light shows through my next bite!

One of our favorite things is having the fish presented, then de-boned, and then set before us. Here you see our server de-boning one of our dishes.

 

And here is our prize!

Antico Martini also has an excellent wine list. Here is a bottle of Valpolicella I enjoyed one evening. Note the 'legs' on this glass of red!

Here are a few photos of other dishes we've enjoyed at Antico Martini.

Always save room for dessert! 

We have eaten at Antico Martini six times and for sure, the next time we go to Venice it we will make our seventh visit. 

Here is the web link to Ristorante Antico Martini.

And here are two very happy patrons of Ristorante Antico Martini.

We are always happy to introduce friends to Antico Martini...so join us?!

Ciao for now,

Steve