Those who know Italy will tell you that the best places to eat, where they have the best food, are the 'trattorias' – smaller, more casual and more affordable than 'ristorantes'. These are modest, usually family-run establishments, where you'll often find the matriarch in the kitchen, her husband in the dining room, and if their offspring are old enough, they'll be the wait staff. Nicola Villano and Adriana Guilardino, from Naples and Piedmont, respectively, have successfully reproduced this all-important part of Italian dining culture in the Born, although here it's officially a restaurant.
The Neapolitan-Piedmontese combination is also one that happens to work in the diner's favour, as these may be the two most disparate cuisines in Italy, but at the same time they enjoy complementary flavours and quality: pasta and fish from the south, and meat, stews and stuffed pasta from the north. But during the week, when they do an affordable set lunch menu where you can choose from four first courses, four mains, drinks and desserts, the Neapolitan cuisine prevails, thanks to the addition of Simone Mandic to the team, who's a very good Neapolitan chef with a great mastery of pasta (usually hand-made daily by Adriana) and seafood and their combinations such as the fabulous 'spaghetti alle vongole', with clams. Adriana also occasionally makes agnolotti, which is typical of the Asti area, prepared 'al plin', which means 'pinched' in Piedmontese: it's formed with a pinch of the thumb and index and middle fingers, closing the flattened, fresh pasta around a filling made with meat and veg and served in broth, as is done in Catalonia with cannelloni.
Besides the 'vitel tonné' (Piedmontese for a beef with a tuna flavour) and the 'bollito misto' (Turinese stew), the signature dish of this fine kitchen is the 'Bagna cauda' – fresh, raw and crunchy vegetables in a warm sauce of anchovies, garlic and oil, which Adriana prepares to order and for a minimum number of diners, so it's ideal to share with friends. If you order lunch or dinner from the à la carte menu, you'll spend around €25.
|Venue name:||Alta Italia||Contact:|
Portal Nou, 19
Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
|Opening hours:||1pm-4.30pm, 8pm-midnight|
|Transport:||Arc de Triomf (M: L1)|