Last evening we went to Cesena, the nearest large town, for ice cream and dinner.
Satnav lady took us straight to a great parking spot just steps away from Antica Gelateria Malatestina on Piazza del Popolo which we remembered as being very good from last year and did not let us down. For some reason this place is not rated by the locals, Stefano at least, who prefer a new one called Mascarpone Gelateria Artigianale, which have yet to locate. I don’t think this is down to the quality of ice cream, more likely the ownership. The guy who runs Antica is a pretty miserable Scrooge who always seems pissed off about the lack of customers and checks how much cash there is in the till every 10 minutes. The ladies who actually serve you are fine.
In search of dinner we ended up walking down the same cobbled alleyway as last year. The path splits with the left leg leading to Tre Papi, a traditional Italian place guaranteed to have a bucket of ragu handy. We ate there last year and it was fine. The right leg drops down to the “trendier” La Grotta 1922 so we decided to give it a try.
The menu was of the anti-ragu style, I suppose this is a fair strategy given the proximity of the traditional and popular Tre Papi. With preferences being declared for spaghetti vongole and for grilled fish we ordered their extravaganza fish menu for two thinking this would be enough for three. Turns out it was enough for six, which would have been fine had it not been for the pretty awful quality which made the never ending attack of dishes seem like some kind of slow torture.
We like raw fish and there was a little of that. We like cooked fish and there was a little of that too. We don’t like fish that is hovering somewhere between the two, which was the majority of the meal so unless we missed the trend for half-cooked fish this food wasn’t great.
We suffered through a plate of cold fish starters, a plate of half-cooked fish starters, a pasta with half-cooked tuna, the spaghetti vongole and then a giant plate of half-cooked fish much of which was unrecognisable. Desert was chocolate cake with goo. The wine was average. We skipped the coffee. Water came in bottles that were fancy looking but too small so we had to order three but at least they didn’t charge for those.
Next time we’re going to ask Stefano for advice. He lives there so he knows the places to go.
This afternoon we have storms all around but none that have rained on us yet. The Noir filter on the iPad shows one of them best as it marches up the valley. Stefano just told us four people died in Refrontolo yesterday when huge amounts of water rushed down from the Prosecco growing hills near Treviso.