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Bergamo: La Symposium

Via Beltrami 12/b (Largo Colle Aperto) , Phone: 035-4284223
www.ristorantesimposium.it
Closing day: Wednesday

Reviewed by: I. A. Rose from Israel, review #3248

When: 2009

La Symposium in Bergamo is, as its name implies, an exquisite and tasteful interplay – indeed a contrapuntal feast - of culinary and aesthetic sensations.

I rarely write reviews, but in this case felt compelled to write a few words in praise of one of the best restaurants we have had the pleasure of eating in, whether in Italy (and we have been visiting Italy once or twice a year for several years now) or elsewhere. Symposium in Bergamo is, as its name implies, an exquisite and tasteful assembly and interplay – indeed a contrapuntal feast - of culinary and aesthetic sensations.

It begins with the setting. You could eat in the patio with its stunning view of the valley below, but it would be a shame to give the interior a miss as it is beautifully and professionally designed but with a clear personal and idiosyncratic touch: elegant yet neither overwhelming nor stifling, it is on the contrary both mellow and relaxed. The same can be said of the service which is friendly, helpful (but never obtrusive), and always carried out with a genuine smile by genuine people. This mixture of the elegant and the casual (but in a good sense) is reflected in the clientèle, who are dressed in everything from suits and evening dresses to jeans and teeshirts as the mood catches them and all blend in beautifully (blend: but not one top of the other, as the tables are set far enough and the acoustics do a good job of absorbing the sound, so that while aware of other dinners no-one imposes on anyone)

And now for the food, which in a nutshell compliments and equals, indeed more than compliments and equals but surpasses the setting and ambiance of the restaurant. Always a mark of culinary excellence, the dishes on offer manage to be both sophisticated and down to earth, complex yet simple: a difficult balance to achieve, yet achieve it they do merging a few complementary ingredients to bring out their most characteristic flavours. The result is a range of dishes both subtle and flavoursome - another difficult balance successfully achieved. The menu, weighted in favour of the freshest of fresh fish and seafood (though there is plenty on offer for the carnivore and vegetarian) is small but ample, and offers sufficient choice of several dishes from each course . Choosing between them is a veritable challenge – forcing a return visit - as is singling out one dish to recommend above others. However, I will give it a shot. Among the antipasti, be sure not to miss the polpetti veraci affogati su polenta, a dish unique to the restaurant. The Scailatelli con perfumo de menlanzane con vongole is outstanding among the pasta dishes, while the fish cooked in Aqua Pazza is madly delicious. Nor should you give the desserts a miss: delectably light confections - such as their delicately flavoured cheesecake - that are a wonderful and fitting end to a splendid meal. Oh and the prices remarkably reasonable. In sum, a superlative culinary experience to set among Bergamo's other gastronomic delights. We shall certainly return as well as send all our friends (Italian and non Italian) to this wonderful restaurant.

And if not yet convinced, visit the website at http://www.ristorantesimposium.it and see: true most websites are merely sophisticate PR exercises but in this case the informative text and mouthwatering pictures are an understatement of the gastronomic and other, convivial and aesthetic, pleasures that await you at La Symposium. To mix my metaphors Symposium is an Epicurean's delight.

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

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