Da Vittorio has already become an Italian fine dining institution, with the luxurious experience it offers both through its creative exploration of culinary themes and the sophistication the restaurant exudes. After it first opened its doors in 1966 in Bergamo, Da Vittorio has extended to St. Moritz and Shanghai branches. These three branches have been awarded 7 Michelin stars in total between them. An 8th star belongs to Il Carpaccio (in Paris) which is under Da Vittorio's supervision.
Da Vittorio has dispatched Executive Chef Matteo Fontana to open their latest restaurant within The Reverie Saigon Hotel in District 1, and it is destined to set a new standard in Vietnam for lovers of creative and authentic Italian cuisine.
Restaurant concepts of “family style” and “fine dining” always felt mutually exclusive to this observer until I met Executive Chef Matteo Fontana at the new Da Vittorio Saigon. Matteo, working hand in glove with Restaurant Manager Luigi Antonio Valentini has alchemized the emotion associated with the Italian red & white-checkered family tablecloth with the precision of the white fine dining tabletop to deliver an experience that nourishes all five senses.
What is so unique about Da Vittorio Saigon?
I was offered a special tasting menu, which included three dishes, which stood out as being particularly exquisite, creative, and delicious.
Egg a la‘ Egg & Superior Oscietra Caviar
This was the dish that many believe helped Da Vittorio’s flagship restaurant in Bergamo secure its third Michelin star in 2010. It features four different kinds of eggs (scrambled, poached quail, salmon, and caviar) with sour cream, potato mouse, and a sprinkling of fresh chives.
The consistency of the dish was commendable with a delicious creamy mouth feel matched by a flavor profile oscillating equally between creaminess, saltiness and sweetness. The dish was served in an oversized margarita glass enabling the recipient to peer through the glass as if it were a miniature aquarium with 50 shades of blue replaced by 50 shades of yellow. The crowning glory arrived as Matteo administered a colossal dollop of Royal Oscietra caviar farmed only from only the finest sturgeon fish.
Dishes featuring caviar tend to be one-hit wonders with a single mouthful of pleasure whereas this dish felt substantial and would have served as an ample starter course for those dining a la Carte style.
Raw Tuna Spaghetti with Bagna Cauda Sauce with Pistachio Crumble and Lemon Zest
The mouth feel and the texture of this dish were extraordinary, as the tuna was served chilled with a warm sauce. This Bagna Cauda sauce represents an intoxicating medley of garlic, anchovies, and olive oil ingredients capped off with lemon zest and a sprinkling of pistachio.
Luigi selected a white wine from the Gavi region of Northwestern Italy to match this dish and the oily, tender proteins of the tuna paired perfectly with the citrus, zest, and slightly nutty profile of the Cortese grape from which this wine is produced.
Oggi Sono Goloso
This dish, Vittorio-style Paccheri Pasta, is one of the only dishes I have eaten to be served with an item of apparel, a beautifully embroidered white bib, printed with “today I’m greedy” in gold Italian lettering.
The dish was created by founder Mr. Vittorio Cerea himself in Bergamo and has been a signature dish for the family ever since. Paccheri pasta presents as large tube-shaped pasta and is described as Neapolitan because it originally hails from Naples, the capital of the province of Campania.
Matteo actually selected the company Mancini Pastifico Agriclo to supply this pasta to him directly from Italy because they produce the best durum wheat pasta. They make the sauce with three different kinds of Italian tomato and the dish is finished off tableside with Luigi assisting Matteo by sprinkling generous mounds of Parmesan cheese into the mix.
The pasta is of course served in the style of “al dente” which means “to the tooth” and is the correct way to serve pasta so its texture retains a little firmness to the bite. Finally, the dish is served at the table in a shiny bronze pan that looks like it was stolen from Aladdin’s cave. Some of the pasta is decanted onto smaller plates while one lucky guest (in this case myself) is invited to eat directly from the pan.
Freshly baked sourdough bread was positioned in the center of the table to pose a moral dilemma as to whether I should invite my tablemates to join me in mopping up the remains of the sauce with the delicious bread and I can only hope they will forgive me in the fullness of time.
A powerful, red “Amarone della Valpolichella” style of wine was paired with this dish with dark fruits, velvety tannins, and a sweet finish combining perfectly with the richness of the tomato and cheese.
A follow-up feature feels essential to share the variety and depth of the other dishes, the precision of the service, and the art gallery standard of Da Vittorio Saigon’s imported Italian furnishings. A signature-tasting menu is offered alongside a more conventional a la Carte menu and a range of 400 award-winning labels await Saigon’s wine lovers.
The main dining room seats 35, they have four private booths for romantic rendezvous and 6 private rooms for a more dedicated and intimate experience. At a price of 3,588,000++ VND plus taxes for their signature tasting menu, expect these seats to be in high demand and please book ahead to avoid disappointment.