Ristorante Bianchi, Zurich, Switzerland
Bianchi, Zurich’s only serious fish restaurant, is from fine stock. On one side is the Bianchi family, which has been in the wholesale business for 130 years and specialises in supplying fine seafood to the landlocked country; on the other is the Bindella family, one of Switzerland’s longest-established wine merchants and Italian restaurateurs.
The menu at Bianchi is a homage to traditional Italian fish cooking. The riverside restaurant’s excellence lies in its painstakingly-sourced fish: the catch is so fresh it’s displayed proudly by the entrance - no glazed eyes and curling tails here. Most customers will simply opt for a whole fish, grilled or baked and de-boned with surgical efficiency table side. It’s served with steamed or grilled vegetables in the customary Italian way.
Playing a supporting role are fish and seafood-based pasta and risotto dishes of exceptional quality. Committed carnivores are catered for too with the likes of calves liver served simply with sage and onion. Bianchi has an eye (and stomach) widening range of desserts while its serious wine list featuring many Swiss producers. But the real attraction remains the whole fish, a commitment to Italian culinary traditions that must be applauded.
Trullo will not be final destination on Tim Siadatan’s journey, but it’s a fine place to stop for refreshment. Siadatan learnt the language of Italian food at Jamie Oliver’s much lauded Fifteen restaurant in London. Now head chef at Trullo, in Highbury, he brings the best of vibrant, unfussy Italian cooking to one of the trendier parts of north London. His menu is uncompromisingly seasonal: game, fish, and meat, the best that week has to offer, are grilled or roasted, and served with no-nonsense accompaniments. Trullo’s unpretentious Italian manner shows in its stripped back décor, but when the flavours are this good no one need be afraid of simplicity.
Caffei Dei Cioppi, Paris
Snuggled away in a quiet passageway that doubles as outdoor seating in the Bobo district of the Bastille, Caffe dei Cioppi looks like a cute ‘mom and pop trattoria’. But it’s more serious than that. This small and often congested Italian garners rave reviews for its intense flavours. The menu is short, with a couple of options for each of the trattoria staples, so you know it’s freshly made, and if you’re not sure, you can see it all being prepared in the open kitchen. The tiramisu is finished just before serving, and it oozes pungent espresso and silky fresh cream. Many diners wish it was in their neighbourhood, then they eat at Cioppi so often, it might as well be.
(+33) (0)1 43 46 10 14