Ristorante San Giorgio, Cervo 2

October 5, 2007

Having read Gary and Varian’s enthusiastic blog post on their evening at the Ristorante San Giorgio in Cervo, Linda and I reserved one of their two rooms and went for the evening of September 26, 2007. Cervo is a short drive east of Imperia. It sits on a hill just over the coast, which made it defensible site for fishermen. It has long been surrounded by olive groves benefiting from the mild Mediterranean climate. The young men of the town were required to serve in Genoa’s navy and came back with seafaring skills. One of their specialties was coral gathering in the western Mediterranean. The riches from coral built Cervo’s sumptuous baroque church of Saint John the Baptist. 

We drove up the hill to the top of the town, dropped off our suitcase and parked the car in the convenient lot above.

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The San Giorgio has two spacious rooms quaintly, but comfortably, furnished. Our two windows had a stunning view along the coast. The other room has a terrace, but we didn’t miss it as the sky was threatening. Our bathroom was modern. 

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We walked in the little streets and alleys of the old town; bought a few things in the shops, visited the church and returned to relax in our room as the rain started. 

When we arrived in the dining room at 8:00, it was over half full; it filled up shortly thereafter. On sitting down we were immediately given a glass of prosecco, an excellent Northern Italian custom which isn’t as common as it used to be.

 

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A plate of olives and then one of fried fritters and onion crisps was put on the table.

 

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We ordered the tasting menu and a bottle of 1999 Cerretto Asij Barbaresco.   

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Nice little fried wafers with scallions arrived. 

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The first course was a warm octopus salad on a bed of shredded eggplant with a caper berry on top. 

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Next came two seared scallops with crushed almonds in a cream of zucchini.  

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Then we had stockfisch with a saffron-onion mousse sprinkled with tuna bottarga. 

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Gnocchi in a light shellfish stock with two shrimp followed. 

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Next came a piece of sesame-coated and grilled white tuna. 

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Dessert was a flan with crème caramel and sabayon. 

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In the morning we had a nice little breakfast of coffee and sweet cornetti. 

It seemed to us that the chef had lost her way. When the cuisine was local: the antipasti, the octopus and the gnocchi, it was good. But most of the meal used imported techniques and ingredients. The scallops and tuna didn’t seem fresh. Cream sauces and mousses belong in France; they just didn’t work here. Gary and Varian had been wise to order à la carte; they steered their meal to local cuisine. But we had a good time.

 

  www.ristorantesangiorgio.net  

2 Responses to “Ristorante San Giorgio, Cervo 2”

  1. belsha Says:

    I grew up eating at San Giorgos, this was nearly 40 years ago, when it was still run by the owner’s mother. It was a very traditional trattoria, back then.The owners late husband then reformed the cooking there, it became a smarter, more modern variation on the traditional ligurian cuisine, but still excellent.
    Somehow, the restaurant got spoiled by the Michelin stars they occasionnally earned and lost. They try too hard to make grande cuisine, the results seem stifled and contrived.
    By all sympathy and respect for Caterina, and her immense courage in face of the hardships of life, we haven’t went back there in ages.
    Your post’s conclusion is very true.

  2. Ciaccio Says:

    How very true comments. I have been there yesterday evening. Went a la carte and choose some kind of refurbished ligurian cuisine with a touch of fusion such as the celebrated sesame coated grilled tuna. All what one could taste was salt. No room for the food flavors left. And there was too much sesame on the tuna, which spoiled that dish. They pretend to be upmarket and sophisticated, they are just parvenus. Only the prices are upmarket: I paid some 150 euros for a meal for two that was not even worth 20 euros…


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