For this Easter 2016 I thought I would try the Restaurant Zù in Riva di Solto... thanks to the beautiful location overlooking the lake that I love, and my parents and aunt coming to visit me. I'll be honest, I've never had such a hard time writing an opinion in my life. With the premise that you cannot judge a restaurant just by a shared menu like Christmas or Easter (at Christmas I had been to the Temptations of Pisogneand they had not been as excellent as on the normal day either... but between the Temptations of Pisogne and the Restaurant Zù in Riva di Solto there is a world... they are not even to be compared: at least at Christmas, Valentine's Day or Easter... go to Pisogne!) and that maybe I will give them another chance... but my disappointment is bitter!

I preface this by saying that out of respect for my father who was paying the bill and all the people who struggle to put something on the table, I ate everything. I premise that in respect of my family who invited us for lunch, I did not send any dishes back.

Let's start with the location: as I mentioned before, the view is beautiful and the garden is very well-kept, and for the occasion they had also created a lovely smoking corner overlooking the lake. I am not a smoker, but I liked it. On entering the restaurant is a little dated, but overall the ambience is pleasant and, if the cuisine were up to scratch, it would be the ideal restaurant in which to spend a romantic evening.

The mise en place doesn't shine with sophistication, but it's still discreet. The table centrepiece was a flower inside a white egg, very pretty and Easterly... now my dad has to make one for my mum because she liked it too much 😀 The first discordant note was the presentation of the day's menu: apart from the graphics, which left a lot to be desired, rolling it up like parchment and closing it with parcel ribbon pulled with scissors to make curls was impractical. What does it take to buy a few metres of satin or organza (which cost a few cents a metre) in a tone that matches the mise en place? Details always make a difference.

On the other hand, a nice detail that I appreciated was the easter egg from the pastry shop that they gave us at the end of the meal... too bad it was empty!!! How sad an easter egg without a surprise 🙁 even if it was a rubbish one, it's always nice to find something inside!restaurant-zu-menu-easter

The service in the dining room is of a medium/high standard, perhaps a little 'stiff', but the waiters are nevertheless good and extremely punctual. Never that my glass was empty for more than two minutes or that my dirty plate was on the table longer than necessary.

One thing I couldn't stand was the owner when he came into our room to extol the choice of wines to go with the menu, pointing out how well he made us drink and waving all the awards won by said wines. Normally I might have been lighter in my commentary, but here he had it coming! The wines offered in combination were:

"Rustico' - Prosecco DOC Treviso, Azienda Nino FrancoAccording to the owner during the aforementioned tirade, this is the best Italian prosecco. This is actually a good prosecco but 'nothing special'. In my opinion it is an 80 point wine, maybe 82... but that is because I feel particularly wide-eyed. Indeed, it is not even a Valdobbiadene DOCG prosecco, but is 'simply' a Prosecco DOC Treviso... so what? I would ask the owner to explain to me first of all why the menu had the words - Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC 'Rustico' di Nino Franco - what is Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOC? And then I would be curious to know who elected it the best prosecco in Italy!!!

"Ca' del Magro' - Custoza Superiore DOC, Azienda Agricola Monte del Frà - This is where it really hit rock bottom. Not for the wine, which I really liked and indeed am happy to have discovered (in an AIS tasting I would easily have given it 90 points), but for the owner's explanation that extolled the % of Picolit inside it. Granted that I did not know this wine, I was absolutely certain of one thing: it did not contain Picolit!!! For those who don't know, Picolit is a white grape variety indigenous to Friuli famous for its floral abortion, which causes few grapes to develop on the bunches, in which the sugars are consequently concentrated. It seemed quite impossible that a grape variety grown ONLY in the provinces of Udine and Gorizia had landed in the area of Sommacampagna, in the province of Brescia, west of Lake Garda!!! The vines present in this Ca' del Magro are in fact 40% Garganega, 20% Trebbiano toscano, 5% Tocai friulano, 10% Cortese, 10% Chardonnay-Riesling italico-Malvasia, 15% Manzoni crossbreed. Anyway, great choice, great wine.

"Buio' - Carignano del Sulcis DOC, Cantina Mesa - a discrete and clean wine, pleasant in fact... but easily forgotten. Definitely out of tune with the dishes on offer.

Greatly absent was a passito or sweet sparkling wine to go with the dessert. The waiter poured me Darkness with the dessert, and it was there perhaps that I never saw the light again in this lunch to forget.


Couscous salad with chickpeas, clams and prawns

Pleasant entrée, a nice idea. Good aromaticity, right cooking and the savouriness of the seafood was well balanced. Nice presentation in the coffee cup.


Golden courgette flowers stuffed with black truffle turbot, curry mayonnaise, courgettes and toasted almonds

Definitely the best dish of the lunch, I thought we were off to a good start! As much as the combination of curry and courgette is a bit corny, it's a classic I love. Well-plated, balanced flavours, perfectly cooked and dry. I loved it, although I personally didn't feel the truffle (the curry covered it up a bit).

The bread was really good, too bad it didn't make it to the first course: it was never refilled and five people ended up with the first starter!


Pan-fried monkfish Nocette, apricot agretti, lemongrass oil and crispy quinoa

This dish presents itself somewhat sadly to the diner! The anglerfish nocetta is really the size of a walnut, dry and quite tasteless. Fortunately, the oil gave an interesting touch, but unfortunately insufficient to lift a mediocre dish.


Cascina Brarola' Carnaroli rice with seafood amatriciana, fried squid, stockfish brandade, green broad beans and mullet roe

I'll be honest: in 30 years, I haven't had such a poorly executed risotto even in the university canteen! I took a closer photo to show it to you: it certainly didn't look creamy and wavy, but even the rice grains looked like a mash, they were so overcooked, and the rice also seemed to be of mediocre quality (I doubt that good quality rice can darken and become like this...). It just tasted like tomato! The fried calamari was very hard and raw, the stockfish brandade senselessly laid on top of the risotto.


Golden mouth ombrine fillet in golden potato threads with sakura sprouts and avocado guacamole

I really liked this dish and perhaps appreciated it even more because it followed the awkward risotto. The ombrine was cooked to perfection and melted like butter. The golden potatoes were very tasty and well cooked. The avocado guacamole was tasty and unctuously delicious.


Roast suckling kid with Rovetta roasted maize polenta quenelle

My kid was very dry, especially the almost black part, but otherwise pleasant. The polenta was good. Homemade dish, from an unpretentious house, but good. Definitely not in line with the restaurant.


Dark pyris, white chocolate mousse praline with crispy biscuit, fruit skewer, maracuja coulisse and red fruits

This dessert I think is the worst dessert I have ever eaten in my life! Definitely scenic for those who like the genre, the chocolate basket (they sell them in packs of 24 at Metro) with the mousse inside was something indescribable. Let the mousse was praline, but the floury texture was really annoying. Probably, for some strange reason, some biscuit was blended and put inside the mousse. It tasted of neither white chocolate nor biscuit. The fruit skewer was very pretty to look at. The combination with the Buio wine was impractical.

I usually consider the Michelin Guide to be a guarantee... but how can they write 'Excellent Level'? The three forks (on a scale of 1 to 5, they rate the quality of the experience and are not to be confused with Michelin stars which rate the quality of the cuisine) for the location are more than deserved: Zù stands in a truly enchanted place! Normally they have around 60 covers and for Easter they thought of making it 100... I know, money is needed... but it was a very serious mistake that probably affected the quality of the cuisine.

And finally a nice family photo:


Francesco, myself, Aunt Santina, mum and dad in the beautiful garden of Restaurant Zù

I hope you too had a wonderful Easter with your family... why don't you tell me what you did in a comment 🙂 🙂

By the way, if you know Ristorante Zù or have heard of it... always write to me in a comment! I'm curious...

A hug and see you soon,


P.S. The owner of the restaurant told us that on the Sebino there's a serious problem with the reproduction of lake fish because of the low water level due to Christo's work... do you know anything about this? I couldn't find anything on the internet....

P.P.S. if you don't know anything about Christo's work... read more Christo, Berlucchi and the Franciacorta Festival!

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