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Gambero Rosso, San Vincenzo

13 Piazza della Vittoria
San Vincenzo
Italy 57027
Tel: 39 0565 701 021's insider take:

Fulvio Pierangelini, the moody but brilliant front man of the "Red Shrimp," is a real chef's chef, a man who is better known within the trade than he is to the general public—perhaps because his creations (which lean toward seafood, with the occasional foray into meat and game) are neither loud nor flashy. Take one of his signature starters: passatina di ceci con gamberi, which is just what it says: lightly steamed prawns in chickpea purée—the latter consisting of nothing but chickpeas, water, and a little olive oil. It's such a simple combination that you wonder why nobody else thought of it before. Since then, of course, plenty have—but Pierangelini keeps an edge thanks to the perfection of his cooking techniques and times, which are also on display in exemplary dishes like pigeon-breast risotto or herring-filled ravioli with burrata (a sort of buttery, melting mozzarella from Puglia). Desserts range from classic (crème brûlée) through creative (licorice gelato) to bizarre (little parcels of beans and peppers served with custard). There are only 20 covers in the sea-view dining room, which is elegant without excess. Pierangelini and his wife usually greet diners personally—so if you speak a little Italian you'll have a richer experience, as the chef likes to embellish his tips and explanations with anecdotes and ironic asides. Compared to many restaurants at this level, the Gambero Rosso is not prohibitively expensive: Count on $200 a head with a good bottle of wine.

Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and from the end of October until mid-January.

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