Lido 84 has won the House Special category, for restaurants defined by one particular dish.
If ever there was a case of not comparing apples with apples, it was the selection of a winner for the ‘House Special’ category. Lido 84 is by far the most sophisticated and expensive restaurant on the shortlist and for that reason the inspectors were asked to focus completely on the dish in question and nothing but the dish. And that’s what they did. So, much as the Obano’s Grilled Eel, Yak Lok’s Roast Goose, Gazela’s ‘Hot Dog’ (which is not really a hot dog) and Trishna’s Garlic Butter Crab all thrilled, it was the pasta that triumphed.
Forget about the stunning view of Lake Garda from Lido 84’s dining room and feast your eyes instead on chef Riccardo Camanini’s Cacio e Pepe ‘en Vessie’. It appears tableside in a pig’s bladder, inflated like a football, which the waiter gives a little shake, like it’s a giant maraca that’s lost its handle, to mix the cheese, pepper and pasta.
Then comes the theatre, as the bladder is sliced, deflating like a punctured beach ball, splitting open to reveal its riches. The rigatoni is cooked true al dente, with more than enough bite to please the most fastidious Italian connoisseur (and possibly too much for an absolute pasta beginner). The flavour is something else.
Lido 84’s Cacio e Pepe ‘en Vessie’ is a dish truly worth writing home about, yours for €15 a head (minimum two people). Not bad for a ‘fancy’ restaurant. And then there’s that view of the lake!