Do you know who Arkady Novikov is?
Well, he is the founder of number of restaurants, some of them are big chains like Yolki Palki, Yapona Mama, or high scale places like GQ bar, Vogue Cafe or the matter in hand: Cantinetta Antinori.
Cantinetta Antinori was first opened in Florence, which I read great restaurant reviews about, but haven't been yet (or I don't recall). There are Cantinetta Antinori restaurants also in Zurich and Vienna. The one in Moscow is a joint project by Antinori wine house and Novikov Group.
I read the reviews before I went there because I chose the spot for our 7th anniversary with Asko-my hubby (btw it's our start-to-date anniversary, not marriage). But still I wanted to go to a nice romantic place with good food. Almost all the reviews I read about Cantinetta Antinori was negative, they said that it is a great restaurant chain but the moscow version is just not worth going because of the ridiculously overpriced menu.
Live and learn right?
We went there and as usual I was the only well dressed person there because it seems that mostly businessmen preffered the location since they could expense the meal. The prices are more ludicrous than Plyushchenko winning the silver medal.
I was in the supermarket earlier that day and waiting for Asko to come pick me up to help carry the bags. He got a little late so I walked around the wine part and looked at the prices a little bit. I swear I saw the half of the wines on the menu that night and it is beyond reason. 300 rubles a bottle Chile wines was priced for 600 rubles a glass. Have some commonsense!
So it is not a place to drink a lot of wine, ok...but the food? I consider myself an italian-cuisine fan, I couldn't believe my taste buds. I ordered spaghetti alle vongole and Asko ordered Tuscan bean soup and lasagna. My spaghetti came in 3 seconds which we didn't understand how? There were no shells to begin with...It is for me one of the best things about spaghetti with clams, you play with your food, you extract the meat from the shells. Plus you can see how healthy your clams are. Also it looks much better on the plate. Anyway...since it came so fast it got cold even faster. I really love asparagus in that dish but I've never had one undercooked. And pasta was overcooked. The sauce was more than juicy and it needed a little salt because there was nothing resembling a flavor in that dish. (it costs 1400 rubles btw)
Asko's soup was good but came in a very tiny portion and it costs 700 rubles (for 100 g of soup, figurati!). His lasagna was good but nothing special. I stand corrected that I make the best lasagna bolognese in the world (and I've been to Bologna).
The interior, I have to give them credit, was sweet and comforting. All the jars of pickles and pasta looked so enriching. However, I am not a big fan of FAKE flowers in that type of a restaurant. You over-charge anyway, give something back in return!
And for the complimentary stuff; like juice they serve as soon as you sit on table (very unnecessary) and the sweets they bring with tea are very inadequate, just for sake of serving something.
Soon I will try "Da Cicco" in Profsoiusnaya. One dear Italian friend of mine recommended it but it is so south we always skip it. After Cantinetta Antinori, I would love to try good italian food. Ah, what a disappointment...
I will soon write about El Asador, the spanish restaurant. I loved that one, but what you order is really important.
See you next post