This is a top notch seafood temple in Marche in a coastal town which lacks character.
There is a creative and traditional menu. We tried dishes mostly from the latter.
There are not many amuses offered, just tasty burnt wheat bread sticks with reggiano, and a very likeable foie gras and hazelnut butter on a waffle.
We opted for the mixed antipasti composed of four small plates. They were outstanding in composition, execution, and taste. “Gamberi Rossi, acqua di limone, melone e basilico”, also contained sun dried tomato, cumin, and turmeric. “Cannocchie n’briaghe all’Anconetana” featured very flavorful cannocchie, a shellfish from the Adriatic (deboned), a bitter herbal white wine, and cannocchie head sauce with vinegar and salt. “Triglie croccanti, zuppa di prezzemolo e cavolo con misticanze di campo” was also heavenly, and included deep fried, but juicy, deboned triglie, sitting atop creamy parsley soup, wild herbs, and rhubarb. Finally “Seppie giovani arrostite sporche e granita di ricci di mare” turned out to be sliced, barely cooked, tiny seppioline and sea urchin tongues on top of several wild leaves, such as beet and sorrel leaves. For Ceylan (our daughter), they offered calamaretti and seaweed, but she did not eat much.
One pasta not to miss is “spaghetti affumicati alle vongole e datterini arrostiti”. This was spaghetti cooked al dente, smoked, and was a touch spicy, with excellent quality deshelled vongole and datterini cherry tomatoes. It sounds simple, but it really is a great seafood pasta.
An equally stunning pasta was with cod tripe, with pepper, fossa pecorino cheese, and a tad honey. It is called “mezzi rigatoni, trippa di baccala, cacio di fossa e pepe”.
The only pasta that did not make an impression was the one with my favorite seafood, ricci di mare. Ricci di mare should be freshly deshelled, , and this was not. What I liked in the “fusilli ricci di mare,” which was cooked a tad more than al dente, was the use of wild herbs, both raw and pureed, like sorrel and chicory-ortichie.
“The brodetto di pesce” is probably the best in the world and should not be missed. I would drive four hours to savor the most intense seafood broth on earth. It is prepared from mostly shellfish and tomato. The soup features excellent vongole veraci, sole, branzino, small scampi, crab, skate wing, and triglie, but it is the broth that makes it so distinguished. (The fish is cooked separately.)
They buy frozen game from Scotland, because the chef knows how to handle game.
“Oca laccato alte di cilieghe, fegato grassa d’oca, mirtilli, lamponi e ananas” was very tasty, and we noticed the excellent quality foie gras and very expert handling of the goose which is very hard to cook. The skin was glazed nicely and sweet-tart fruits counterbalanced the rich and fat meat.
“Beccaccia alla marchigiana” was also very good. The internal organs of the woodcook were spread on a brioche, and an intense sauce was prepared with internal organs, bread, and olives. The dish was served with onions and smoked potatoes.
Desserts were nice, but not outstanding. We had a de-construced tiramisu and “passion fruit soup with yoghourt ice cream, pink pepper and candied banana”.
We had a great champagne for 85 Euro: Georges Laval, Cumieres 1er cru, brut”. It has a leesy nose, with caramelized nuts and crème brulee. The full palette is basically crisp tart apple. The boules are small and persistent. The long finish leaves a nicely ripe exotic fruity aftertaste, with a touch of caramel. 95/100