Il Ristorante in Montecatini alto dal 1951
“My constant surprise is La Torre, in Montecatini Alto. I go back every time I am in Italy, Tuscany to be precise, and order the same dishes over and over again – this will be my twenty-third year, in July. I must not be the only one, as the place is open since 1951. I don’t need great changes to the menu to be attracted to a restaurant, I actually enjoy finding those very same dishes year after year, yet more beautiful than previous time, with that little add-on element that will twist it all, although nothing changed.
I love the tongue pricking that comes from their oil in the zuppa: it’s like an unexpected, innocent kiss on the neck. I adore the consistency of the filet – and I like it quite raw. No lunch passes without a cheeses board, for Fabiano, the maître, goes up and down in Italy to find some weird stuff which results to be fantastic.
It’s a successful family run business, yet they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, between tables, in the cellar, and that to me makes an immense difference: beware of those who place people to do a job they probably don’t like as soon as the ‘business’ has taken over. I will drink whatever Fabiano or one of the Sabatini says: I have tasted in this place some amongst the best bottles uncorked in my entire life, I trust each one of them like a confessor. They smile with composure, it’s not meant to make you feel special, or a very important person that deserves to be adored – there are Freudian analysts for that purpose.
I will have my coffee with vin-santo and some cantuccini biscuits. I will have spent hours at the table outside, I will have felt endlessly happy, accomplished, like this little hamlet where brains, behind hands, have created a magnificent oasis of tradition and integrity, a place with soul.
This is what matters to those like me, who don’t rely a lot on luck and prefer ‘timeless’ to ‘fashionable’.”
Juanita de Paola in The Wall Street Journal