Restaurant review: Magnificent or not?

Newsroom 18/05/2009 | 16:16

To clarify this issue, what you get in 99 percent of so-called Italian Romanian chophouses is tourist-tat bullshit called ‘Trattoria'. You will see the same rubbish menu in virtually every non-Italian restaurant in this country. So look out for ‘Steak Gorgonzola', ‘Spaghetti Bolognese', ‘Pizza'… and so much more of the same.
Beyond belief, this tourist rubbish is sold to ignorant tourists in Italy. And when the local Italian waiter in a tourist Trattoria stops laughing at his ignorant customers (mostly Romanian, Russian and Swedish), what do you think he does when he goes home? Let me help you.
His loving wife will give him everything that he does NOT serve to his stupid customers. So he will dive into local cured hams, perfect local olives, fabulously baked meat and fish dishes (al forno) homemade hot bread, dishes infused with seasonal herbs, and so much more.
Our satiated waiter will thank his loving wife, kiss his kiddies and then leave home to make love either to his mistress or his best friend's daughter. You see, the point I am making is that food in Italy is a passionate affair of the mind, the heart and the libido.
None of these rules apply here in Romania because virtually every bullshit, phony Italian restaurant is ROM-ALIAN, simply using Romanian produce with Italian names attached!
So along comes Il Magnifico restaurant. Two things caught my attention. The name was outrageous, until I saw the menu, and I realized it was named after a Medici thug, Lorenzo the so-called Magnificent, in the 17th century, a mere buffoon who has since disappeared into historical oblivion and is only famous for both incest and appointing a murderous Pope or two as his paid assassins.
Well, this House has got something right, namely; ALL real Italian cuisine is based upon regional recipes, handed down from mother to daughter to modern Chef. The House boasts that they are regional Tuscan. “So what?” you may well say. But it means a lot, for there are 20 different regional cuisines in Italy.
Tuscany is one of them and it borders Umbria, Liguria, and Emilia Romagna, each of which has its own distinctive cuisine. Tuscany has chosen as its signature beef in its finest quality, together with white truffles.
OK, I accept that I am never going to enjoy real truffles in this gastronomic desert, but the House really has made an effort to adhere to Tuscan foodie values. Their steaks are superb. They serve them in a variety of ways, correctly based upon a helping hand from balsamic and olive oil. It sound simple, but I have to say that I had one of the best steaks I have enjoyed here in years.
I missed the traditional Tuscan dish of ‘Steak Cacciucco,' which is combined with fish (hopefully not Romanian river fish) because every faithfully prepared Tuscan dish had to be ordered in advance! Yes, that is seriously dumb. But you have their phone number, so if you want to escape from tourist crap, this is your best choice.
Forget the usual starters and pastas, their mains are fabulously tempting. I will leave you with
this thought and tease you accordingly by not listing the main course menu.
The food is good, the chefs are good, the waiters are good – but the management are morons. I asked for a factura fiscala, so that I could charge my inexpensive meal to my company. NO WAY. Contrary to Romanian law, the house had no invoices and no stamp on the premises. Draw your own conclusions!

Michael Barclay

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