Autentico Italiano© by John Axelrod Contact

where to find the best italian food outside Italy

As goes the Chef, so goes the guest: Il Grappolo Blu, Copenhagen

This is the way of Alfredo Franco, master chef. And also, expert Sommelier Giovanni Bagnara.

A Chef’s menu is all that is offered at this Michelin deserving Autentico Italiano in Copenhagen. The old wood decor, candlelight and Napolitano songs over the speakers add the typical gourmet Italian atmosphere, but it is the creative cooking and formal, yet familial hospitality that make the real difference here.

A zuppa di carciofi, (jerusalem artichokes!) with a roasted, tender scallop, swimming in basil and creme with an essence of caramel, had just the right balance and texture of land and sea. This was washed down with a glass of Violante, a light, but fruity rosso from Puglia.

An eggplant parmigiano that is more than a simple melanzane followed, with a sugo di pomodoro and basilico, but with a presentation as superb as anything found in a French 3 star restaurant. Delicate, sweet and spicy, all perfectly blended with a Syrah from Sicily! Alfredo’s signature dish worthy of its praise.

Next, with a Carignano di Sardinia called Terrerare, and a young, but potent Chianti Classico, Castellare di Castellina, comes two different primi: a moist risotto with shrimp and zucchini, and an open ravioli made a la casa, with a scamorza of mozzarella with smoked duck and bianchetta truffles, made by the Chef. Sounds different? But the taste is supremely Italian: Fresh ingredients, simple presentation, made with a full, robust flavor, like the wines that accompany it. Normally, with truffles, a Piemontese Nebbiolo d’Alba would be best. But the smoked flavor of the cheese and duck are complimented best by the earthy Sangiovese. And the dark Carignano supports the lightness of the risotto, like the light of the sun on the deep Sardinian sea.

And there is more: A Barolo Grimaldi 2005 to accompany a moknfish on a bed of cabbage and chicory, whose bitterness is softened by the elegance of this Piemonte wine. Followed by a filet of antelope, yes antelope, prepared in the most delicate way, slices of tender meat laid over the filet, which could be cut with a fork. Mixed with truffle infused potatoes, the antelope was more tender than a filet mignon. (No wonder lions go crazy for this galloping treat!) The game was further tenderized with a 1997 Brunello di Montalcino, from one of the best and underrated producers: Talenti.

Without resistance, I welcomed a glass of a 1999 Barolo Camerano, deep and powerful for the plate of cheese, parmesan, pecorino, tallegio and gorgonzola. Even homemade fig bread and cheese rolls added to the guilty pleasure. Finally, at the end of the line (and room in my stomach!), a present from Giovanni: a 1997 Amarone from Bertani. With what? Only my taste-buds to enjoy it, and a memory of one of the best Autentico Italiano meals I have ever enjoyed. Copenhagen may be cold in March, but it is red hot for culinary excellence and a chef’s creative passion.

Vester Farimagsgade 35
1606 København
3311 5720