Friday, September 15, 2006

Ristorante Brasserie Pompa Magna, Via Alberti, Asti

Ristorante Brasserie Pompa Magna, Via Alberti, Asti
Friday 15 September, 2006

This was a sensational evening - great atmosphere, food and wine! We had spent most of the day traveling from Monterosso (Tuscan region) to Asti (Piedmont region). So, when we arrived in Asti and realised what a beautiful town it was we were really excited.

There's no question about it, the best way to truly experience Italy is to go where the tourists are not. While small villages in Tuscany and the like are being flooded with new adventurers looking for authentic life, it's lesser-known cities like the Northern Piedmont's Asti that are the real diamonds in the rough. An affluent and older community, Asti clings strongly to the sense of tradition and community that represented the Italy of the early 20th century. Best known for its bubbly and sweet Asti Spumante wine, it is also home to an antique Palio horserace, as well as a respectable number of churches and cathedrals.

We walked through the town as it was being set up for the Palio race the following day - there was an air of excitement. They have constructed stadium seating throughout the town so that the locals can watch the horse race and the track is marked out with bales of hay.

We walked through the cobbled streets taking in the gorgeous surrounds before arriving at Pompa Magna. You enter through a small deli with jars and bottles of delicacies before heading down some brick stairs into the actual restaurant. The tiled floors and stone archways provided a wonderful setting. The menu was very limited but they are known for their fresh seafood, so my decision was easy.

I ordered the Octopus salad to start - it was served warm and the octopus was cit into large chunks. It was so good and I had great pleasure sharing it with one of dinner buddies who had never eaten octopus before (and probably won't ever again!).

For main course I ordered the Tagliolini with mussels - it came served in an enormous bowl of tagliolini piled high with the freshest mussels - what a sensational meal. The staff were very good, they were attentive, kept our glasses filled and came to take our dessert orders without being prompted.

Our entire group chose to kick on with dessert and I ordered the semi freddo which came served as bacci ice cream with hazlenuts - it was decadent and so, very good. We coupled this with the complimentary dessert wine that was offered and it was divine!

What a great place.

Ristorante Brasserie Pompa Magna - Via Alberti 65, Asti - T: 0141 324402


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