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Oct 11, 2012 03:57 PM

Guides 2013

L'Espresso is first out of the gate. The guides come out earlier and earlier each year.

L'Espresso has really become a joke as far as we're concerned because its reviews are too short to be meaningful and there are far too many times when it promotes new restaurants based on hope... only to see them falter soon afterward.

No real changes at the top. The usual suspects which mostly serve food as theater, use culinary jokes, put far too many ingredients on a plate ,and where the ingredients are often synthetic (hadn't realized that liquid nitrogen and such were foods fit for a plate).

Oh, and did I mention that most of these places feature chefs who say "it's all about me."

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  1. Gambero Rosso was out before Espresso. Some big differences in evaluations to Espresso. What do youthink of them?

    7 Replies
    1. re: vinoroma

      Hadn't realized that Gambero was already out. Thanks for the correction. Will get it now.

      In general we pay attention to the Gambero Rosso, not L'Espresso. Both have major drawbacks and, as I've explained before, and as you well know because of where you are, one has to be able to read between the lines over a period of time (my wife does this very well). The "one number" that everyone seems to focus on is not good to use, similar to focussing on Parker's or The Wine Spectator's "one number" for a bottle of wine.

      The guides have their uses, but should be handled with (a lot of) care. There is not a lot that is new for us in where we go in Italy ( mainly Piemonte, ER, Liguria, southern Lombardia, Tuscany and the eastern part of the Alto Adige). We've eaten out over 1600 times in 35 years and have tried lots of places.

      Every once in a while now, we find a new place to try, either a new restaurant/trattoria... with traditional values in food preparation, or an older place that we've overlooked.... also with traditional values.

      We find more and more of a split in restaurants. Many more are getting away from their roots and are trying to cook like Adria (or the Italian version of it). Few can pull it off, but the guides go crazy for it and those are the restaurants which have been graded the highest in the last ten years. Who cares! On the other hand, particularly in Piemonte, there are starting to appear on menus, traditional/classic dishes that disappeared in the 80s, and have reappeared now. Very appealing to us.

      1. re: vinoroma

        Some very big differences between the two guides, but most of the "top" restaurants are the same. Who cares. Not the type of food we want to eat (and I've been to a fair number of them).

        Two big changes. I've mentioned in the past , Da Caino (in Montemerano in southern Tuscany), as a type of restaurant that didn't merit its hype. Good place but nothing more. For years Gambero Rosso was wild about it. Not any more.

        I see Scabin moved from Torino to Milan.

        @ vinoroma: What did you see?

        1. re: allende

          No Scabin did not move and seems had no intention of doing so. It was a asort of misunderstanding that has been going around for a while now. All other guides came out before Espresso, GR, Identità Golose, Repubblica, etc. last one will be Michelin in November.

          1. re: cristinab

            So he's demoted in the guide big time and it's all a nice misunderstanding. Unbelievable... so typical.

            1. re: allende

              but...didn't he get the award "best lunch of the year"?

              1. re: cristinab

                My point was that because of a GR mistake, this is going to cost Scabin some ( a lot of?) business. Because restaurants only make their money at the margin (of the number of customers coming), this is going to cost him money.

                A few years ago GR screwed up the phone number of one of my friends, a very well known restaurateur with a high rating. Not strange at all that his business was off 10% that year.

                My wife told me that one of the Italian papers today said that Fulvio Pellegrini, late of the restaurant Gambero Rosso, is going to attempt a comeback somewhere near San Vincenzo.

                As I've said here in the past, his former place was the most "overhyped to quality" restaurant that we've ever been to. What a disaster.