Verona, the city where Shakespeare set his famous tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, is a beautiful city to visit for a day or a weekend.
I first visited this city back in 2012 for a day trip with a student tour group which was nice because I was able to learn about the historic background about the city and its monuments. I was also able to see the opera Aida in the Verona arena which was very cool.
This time I decided to spend a night in Verona on my way back to Florence from Lido di Jesolo.
After a day of walking around the city I had dinner at Il Desco, previously a two Michelin star restaurant but now just one, in the center of Verona. I decided to order the tasting menu which consisted of dishes off the à la carte menu in order to try more dishes.
I happened to be the only person that ordered the tasting menu; everyone else ordered off the à la carte menu. I have to say my overall impression of the meal as a whole was underwhelming. Perhaps my expectations are too high but I felt that a lot of the dishes lacked creativity and flavor. However, all the cooking techniques were executed properly.
My favorite dishes of the night were the duo of tartare, salmon, pre-dessert, and the pineapple millefoglie. The duo of tartare consisted of tender beef and tuna tartare; all the accompaniments of sauces, herbs, and spices were delicious and it was interesting to see which pairings of flavors I liked the most. The salmon cooked sous-vide was utterly luscious and melted in my mouth. It was served with a creamy tonnato sauce, a classic Italian sauce made from canned tuna, and briny capers. The pre-dessert was an interesting combination of flavors that took me by surprise; bitter refreshing grapefruit granita with airy sweet yet aromatic cardamon foam. Lastly, the pineapple millefoglie was very tasty with perfectly diced sweet pineapple in between thin crispy wafer layers with a plethora of aromatic herbs, licorice sauce, and a velvety lemon gelato. Delicious. Some of the dishes I didn’t care for as much were the potato cream, the squid ink pasta, and the baccalà. The potato cream itself was rich and creamy but I’m not a huge fan of saffron and I think it slightly overpowered the other delicate flavors of the dish. The squid ink chitarra pasta lacked seasoning and the combination of ingredients were unoriginal. Now the baccalà was cooked nicely but I personally find it to be such a boring fish. Baccalà, dried and salted cod that is then rehydrated to become soft again, is used a lot in Italian cooking. However, I don’t understand why chefs continue to use this product when a fresh fish is so much better in terms of flavor and texture! Perhaps it’s tradition but baccalà is one of my least favorite fish.
Overall, Il Desco lacked excitement for me; I felt that the dishes were outdated. Other people seemed to love their dishes but they were all Italian and most Italians aren’t open to trying other cuisines and more innovative food with unique combinations of ingredients. Therefore my rating would be a 6/10.
I would highly recommend coming to Verona to enjoy the quaint city and even watch a performance inside their arena. It’s a great place to visit if you’ve seen all the other popular touristy cities such as Venice, Florence, and Rome.