Flawless and unpretentious cooking from the first family of Italian cuisine
Who’s behind it: Brothers Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo inherited the Paduan restaurant from their parents and have spent the last decade and a half perfecting it to create something very special. Massimiliano’s domain is the kitchen, with older brother Raffaele overseeing Le Calandre’s dining room and heavyweight wine list.
What’s the food like? Though modern in style, Max’s cooking is far from avant garde, so a meal at Le Calandre is refreshingly free of high-concept culinary posturing. Dishes are relatively simple and, above all else, delicious. There are three tasting menus available, one comprised of Le Calandre classics while the other two – ‘Max’ and ‘Raf’ – offer a window into the brothers’ own tastes.
Typical dishes: Must-try plates include the chef’s famed saffron, juniper and liquorice powder risotto as well as the crispy buffalo ricotta and mozzarella cannelloni with tomato sauce. Newer dishes include seared turbot with yellow potato purée, cardamom carrot juice and black olive powder.
Other ventures: The Alajmo brothers have amassed an impressive culinary empire that includes several restaurants in Padua, one in Paris and the reassuringly expensive Quadri in Venice, which offers stunning views over Piazza San Marco.
Worth noting: Max was the youngest chef in history to have been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide.