Finally the famous Le Calandre last night. We stopped in Padova to try the cuisine of three star Michelin chef Massimiliano Alajmo and visit the UNESCO’s botanical garden. The city is charming although it feels far away from home.
The restaurant is close to the city’s center and it only takes 15 minutes to get there. The first impression as you enter the door is a view to the kitchen under the shadow of a dark atmosphere. The restaurant is carefully crafted with a selection of natural materials.The chef is a Champagne fanatic and his list extends several pages of varying brands.
Originally opened in 1981 by Erminio and Rita Alajmo, Le Calandre is currently one of seven restaurants in Italy to be recognized with three Michelin stars. The chef Max’s cuisine, is based on the concepts of natural lightness and special attention to detail on each plate. The chef is not only meticulous about how things are done and everything is carefully selected as he tries to imbue his sense of style. I think he is religious in more than one way and perhaps this shadows his sense of humor. His style of cuisine is carefully thought out and his cook book well done; warm and cold at the same time but the restaurant has its’ own well-defined direction.
Massimiliano known as Max is very friendly and attentive, as he chats with clients. He pays special attention to details everywhere and the entire restaurant is filled with his “little details” or are they big details. The tables are customized oak to fit a loaf of bread in the center and the underside is angled to give perfect comfort. The walls manicured with fabric and the ceiling with cork, all to add a quietness.
The cuisine is interesting and the dishes are very animated yet have a subtly that is worthy to try. The atmosphere sets a background that is moody and the wine list delivered on an ipad although not in English, it is easy to navigate.
We tried Vitovska 2009 Zidarich, a white wine with a foggy presence and seem to fit the food perfectly. The wine was mineral and had lean yet firm and powerful fruit. After this white, we tried a vino rosso named Gemola 1999 Vignalta. This wine was less sophisticated and more typical of the style I expected. The volcanic soil of Gemola add some dimension to the overall impression.