Having had our fill of traditional Spanish tapas fare, MLW suggested we have dinner at l’Oca Giuliva, an Italian restaurant 3 doors down from our apartment. We’d been there twice in the past and their food is always great so why not? The only catch – they’ve clearly been discovered since on last two walk-bys, there had been a line out front.
I put on my thinking cap and decided to avail myself of the current state of technology and checked to see if I could book a reservation on The Fork, that universal booker of restaurants the world over. I’d used it twice before, once in Barcelona where the proprietor looked at me like I was speaking Klingon when I told him I had a reservation, and once in Paris where the proprietress acted though she knew it was me when I came in the door. Tonight would be a third take.
We had a half-hour to kill so we took a long promenade around the cathedral, stopping to look in the always-open side door to the orange tree garden. A common feature in al-Andalus mosques, where the Caliph would roam in quiet contemplation of the wonders of the world, these enclosed gardens were often kept when the Christians ran off the pagans and dropped a giant cathedral down on top of what was already there. I took a photo through the bars just as two Kestrels began lazy circles across the garden and up the tower, no doubt thinking about a late-night aperitif of pigeon al fresco. We killed a few more minutes watching people from the stone bench in the cathedral square and then went on to the restaurant.
Sure enough, a line was forming so we casually cut in front of the people who were already there. The first couple through the door was sent packing – no reservation! The second couple was seated. When it came our turn, I said I had made one on El Tenedor (Spanish for fork, I figured that must be right since in Paris it’s called La Forchette.) The server considered me for a moment and then yelled my name across the length of the restaurant to a young man who was checking names on a computer behind the bar. We were approved! Technology works!
It turned out to be an exceptional meal, MLW continued her World Tour of Pomodoro and pronounced this plate “as good as the best in Rome.” I had paccheri with buffalo mozzarella and it too was extraordinary. We gilded the lily with a wonderful panna cotta topped with a persimmon and raspberry coulis.
A great departure from bacalao frito.