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Citta di Castello: Ristorante Preludio

Closing day: Wednesday

Reviewed by: mezzeta from Italy, review #1475

When: 2005

Excellent, a great addition to town.

After many, many meals at Preludio since its opening we have only been disappointed once.

Reviewed by: Debra from CA, review #1473

When: 2005

An elegant setting, a quiet respite, well prepared and beautifully presented food and pleasant staff. A special occasion restaurant.

This is a restaurant where presentation and food preparation is of obviously of utmost importance. The interior setting is serene and elegant. The service is prompt and helpful.

We save this for an evening after a day of sightseeing. It is lovely to "come home", freshen up and relax in this calm environment.

Reservations are mandatory here.

Reviewed by: Decobabe from Italy, review #1318

When: 2005

Down, down, down and shockingly rude

For some reason, everything that was originally a strength for this restaurant has been discarded. The proprietor will not hide his prefence for his friends' presence over yours. He will not allow you to sit in the outside cafe if he doesn't feel like it. The formerly longish list of vegetables has been chopped to 2-3 ordinary ones in the extreme. The roasted meats are often seriously oversalted. What started out as a stylish addition to our restaurant scene has become a no-go.

Reviewed by: Decobabe from Italy, review #959

When: 2004

Good food, fair prices, sidewalk caffe in summer. Interior nice, handicap accessible. An immediate hit in a tough town for restaurants.

Location should be a small problem for il Preludio, since it is way down toward the end of the Corso and distant from the piazze, but locals are flocking there. The alterations to the space are so thorough I cannot even remember what used to be there. It's an attractive place, no smoking is allowed inside, but smoking is permitted in the cafe outside. The menu is not boilerplate Umbrian, but includes attractive choices from other regions and features some good vegetarian choices. There are daily specials and the day I went one could choose from six vegetable contorni, versus the one cooked and a salad that is common here. Service is a tiny 80 centesimi. The house wine is a good Umbrian bottle, and although the menu lists that as either a whole bottle or a glass, if you ask, they will park the bottle on your table and if you drink half or less, you pay half. Prices overall seemed very fair. The cheapest secondo was 6.50 and the most expensive was 11. The pastas, risotti and contorni are similarly well-priced. I ordered roast duck from the specials, and two contorni, wine and a liter of mineral water. The duck was nicely herbed and although done, it wasn't the dry and stringy duck one often finds in central Italy. It was on the salty side to me, but that is normal here where people eat the unsalted bread with the meat course. I liked it very much. The contorni were similarly well-cooked. For this meal, including water, service and half bottle of the house wine, I paid 16.90 and felt well-served. There are fish choices on the menu-- a little unusual in this part of Umbria in a restaurant that doesn't specialize in seafood. One first course was calamari and shrimps on a bed of panzanella, for example. The menu also makes imaginative use of some of the 410 cheeses of Italy, which I find really a good move. Cheeses are often neglected on restaurant menus here, and they do offer 410 rich and lovely flavors. A nice example is risotto with celery, pears, gorgonzola and rosso Montefalco wine. There is, unusually, a four choice children's menu! Prices were about 6 for the kids, and there are also three small pizzas available for kids, probably only at night, when the good pizza menu is on. This a a new good choice here in the Alta Valle delle Tevere. There's plenty of parking just outside the wall, and this end of the Corso is reached by entering Porta Romana. The cooking is good, and I am fussy about that, but it isn't quite as creative as il Postale, which is our Michelin starred restaurant. Il Preludio is good value and as yet not so busy as to create noise and kitchen confusion that can be a problem in the well-known local places. I will certainly go again.

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

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