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Bastia Crete: Calagrana

Phone: 075 9410865

Reviewed by: Russell Wayne from CT, review #2082

When: 2006

With minor improvements, this could be one of the finest restaurants in Umbria. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but it's easy enough to get to.

Directions: Coming west from Niccone, got west until the Bastia Creti sign. Turn left onto the dirt road and go about 1.3 kilometers until you see on your right a very primitive sign saying Agriturismo Calagrana. May the sharpest right turn there and follow the road to the parking (parcheggio) area. Then walk up the steps to the restaurant, which is on the right.

Ristorante Calagrana apparently has already made great strides and judging by the packed house the night we were there people have already heard about it.

The biggest challenge for us was finding the place. Like many restaurants we have visited in the Italian countryside, it's a bit hidden and if you're depending on signs or maps to get there, you could be in for a long evening. We had a GPS in our rented car, but even with that aid it took us 45 minutes for a trip that should have taken only 15. The trick is to watch closely on the road to Bastia Creti for the small wooden sign that says Agriturismo Calagrana. Then make the sharp right onto the driveway that leads you there. While you're at the sign, you don't know it's a driveway, which is where the confusion begins.

Once we arrived, however, we were warmly welcomed and immediately given a sangria-like drink plus what the French call an amuse-bouche. Both of the gentlemen who waited on us were extremely cordial. The menu typically has two or three choices for each course. Our two antipasti and one primi were outstanding, but the secondi, a steak with gorgonzola sauce and roasted chicken, came off as very bland. We mentioned this to friends who had eaten there previously and they noted the same thing.

Disappointment with the secondi notwithstanding. Ristorante Calagrana is well worth recommending. The owners run a cooking school and we think it's more likely than not that they'll get the whole meal up to snuff before long.

Total cost, including one bottle of water and one bottle of wine: 55 euros.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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