A Jause Through an App

Location:Nessun Dorma
Address:Località Punta Bonfiglio, 19017 Manarola SP, Italy
Status:Open (last checked on 7 April 2023)
Eaten:"Menu 2," three "Primavera" bruschettas, ½ liter of white wine

Less than 10 years ago I got excited about a Heuriger having wi-fi. Today in order to get my meat and cheese platter I had to install an app on my phone. It was quite a cool app actually, allowing me to reserve a place in the queue of people outside the restaurant and get automatic notifications as my turn was getting closer. The idea of choosing the ingredients online, which I had a decade ago, has not been realized yet though. When the corresponding AI arrives, it will probably ask you in very vague terms what you like in your Brettljause and then come up with a perfect dish just for you. Unless the AI kills us all before. Or, even worse, turns us into vegans.

Anyway, if you have ever been to Cinque Terre, Nessun Dorma needs no introduction. It is officially the eatery with the most incredible panorama. The view over the village of Monarola does not only look like a postcard; it is quite certainly the spot where photographs for the postcards are taken from. A restaurant at such a location could serve dog shit and still be successful. Instead, it decided to serve bruschettas and cold cuts, which is quite a feat in the region famous for its fish and pesto and seriously lacking cows and pigs (the most famous meat being rabbit).

In a way, it is unfair to compare Nessun Dorma’s offering to a traditional Brettljause. It looks like one, however, though the number of ingredients – two salty meats and one cheese type – is greatly underwhelming. To be fair, there are other types of platters (called “menus”) that look more varied, but they are all intended for two or four persons. From the quality point of view, I cannot criticize the dish. Both the salami and the coppa (I hope I got the name right) were fresh and tasty, and the cheese was hard with a pleasantly strong flavor. I have issues with the bread, however. It was toasted and oiled, which is a good thing in some situations, but not when combining it with cold cuts. The bread was simply too crunchy, probably to hide the fact it was not completely fresh, and the effort to break it with the teeth without sacrificing the latter was too distracting. Funnily, the same problem spoiled the bruschettas for me. Had the restaurant served fresh bread or even toasted fresh bread, I would have easily given it an extra point.

Do I recommend Nessun Dorma? Hell, yes. If you can, try to choose a not too cold and windy day to visit it (today was the limit of what I could bear), and go there with many friends in order to try the “more advanced” menus. And then, if you like what you ate, think of Austria and its Heurigers, where you can get much better stuff at a much lower price. You won’t have a picturesque view of a sea, unfortunately.

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