At last, the Italians have arrived.
Say ciao bella to Allessandra Bartolini-Misir, a native of Rimini, the famous seaside resort town known as the ‘Miami of Europe’. There, the many restaurateurs do things to fish that will make you swoon.
Bartolini-Misir, who has been resident in Jamaica for more than a decade, was encouraged by friends who had sampled her cooking, to open a restaurant. After a stint serving her own handmade pasta on weekends at a local supermarket, she took the gamble and opened Caffe Da Vinci at the trendy Marketplace. She called in two of the island’s best: architect and interior designer Marcus Keusgen of Lush Image and Dean Kirkland to create a cozy, contemporary space in which you could order the prosciutto and imagine you we’re in Rome or Venice, while sipping the uniquely Jamaican drink, Campari and Ting, known as the Da Vinci Code.
But it is the savoir faire with seafood that has made Caffe Da Vinci’s name already, in the few months since it opened. Dishes such as crunchy pan-fried shrimps with tartar sauce (Gameroni Croccanti) and lobster salad with red onion and tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (Aragosta Alla Catalana) are delights that whisper, ever so sensually, of Bartolini-Misir’s impeccable culinary lineage. The chefs were trained by none other than her mother in the secrets of oral seduction.
Daily, starting from scratch, with fresh ingredients, they make magic with the Scaloppine ai Funghi (chicken breast in cream and mushroom sauce); Tagliata del casale (grilled tenderloin steak on a bed of arugula lettuce and parmesan shavings drizzled with balsamic vinegar); the ravioli with fresh tomato sauce and basil; and the tagliatelle with mushrooms and truffle oil.
- You can take it with you: all menu items including a full pizza menu are available ‘to go’, as are a selection of branded merchandise.
- For a light lunch option, go with a Piadine. It’s a Rimini tradition whereby unleavened bread is filled with quality prosciutto and arugula, placed on the griddle, and served on a small contemporary ‘cheese’ board.
- Of course you have to finish on a sweet note, as the Italians do, with tiramisu, panna cotta (white cream dessert with blueberry sauce, chocolate sauce and caramel) or in very fine style – with a Dolce & Banana (special bread pudding topped with banana flambé).