Da Vittorio: 50 years of Italian tradition at the top of gastronomy

A unique family-run business at the top of gastronomy: Da Vittorio is one of Italy's best known and most expensive restaurants, which has built on tradition to become world-renowned, but there is much more to the story. Join me to find out!

A unique family-run business at the top of gastronomy: Da Vittorio is one of Italy’s best known and most expensive restaurants, which has built on tradition to become world-renowned, but there is much more to the story. Join me to find out!

The story of Da Vittorio began over 50 years ago. Vittorio Cerea had a bold dream, and the family is still following his passion for gastronomy and hospitality: all five of the late Vittorio’s children stayed in the family business, and his wife still stops by the tables for a chat with the same old world charm.

The Vittorio Family

It’s human, intimate and luxurious in every way

Da Vittorio is not just one of 12 Italian restaurants to boast 3 Michelin stars. The restaurant has since become a gastronomic empire comprising a hotel, a catering company and restaurants from Shanghai to St. Moritz.

The restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in 1978, followed by a second in 1996, testifying to its success.

Over 30 years after opening and receiving its second Michelin star, the restaurant moved from the centre of Bergamo to its current location, a 10-hectare Hollywood-style estate in Brusaporto. Here, they build the new Da Vittorio restaurant, as well as a hotel, sporting facilities, two lakes, and in case you want to bring your helicopter, they even have a heliport.

The new, improved Da Vittorio receives its third Michelin star in 2010 and joins a very exclusive club, becoming one of only 12 restaurants to be awarded Three Michelin stars in all of Italy.

The imposing gate already suggests that you’re in for a real treat, and the feeling is probably the same for those arriving by helicopter from above

The restaurant is pure luxury. It has 80 seats, with snow-white, floor-length tablecloths, and silver base plates. Here, the modern world and traditional values are in perfect  balance. It’s no wonder this place always fills up even on a Monday caters to the needs of locals rather than tourists, which is rare for a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. It’s practically sustained by the locals and opens at noon on Mondays. Interestingly, few such places last for 50 years.

It says a lot about the service that the owners are still in the restaurant on Monday evenings, even the late Vittorio’s wife walks round the tables from time to time and has a kind word for everyone. The service is dynamic, tight, without frills or arrogance, focused on one thing: having a good night out and eating a really good meal.

We have our first drink next to the fire pit and feel at home. The server is happy to help me record the opening of a Dom Perignon and the staff are cheerful and friendly.

We are presented with the menu and the selection is unique

Vittorio passed away in 2021 but his legacy lives on through the family business. The prices here range from €220 to €420 which does not include what you want to drink.

We were lucky that my business partner Ádám, who is the chef of 42 Restaurant, had cooked with one of the owners before, so when he came to say hello, we chose the seasonal white truffle menu on his recommendation. Piedmont white truffles are a world-famous ingredient, and were in season.

Side note: White truffles, also known as “white gold,” is one of the most expensive ingredients on earth: on average over €3000/kg. While all truffles are deeply valued, the white truffle from Piemont is the most desired for its unforgettable flavor. Most cooking competitions don’t allow truffles for good reason: it would give an unfair advantage. Lucky for us, we are not at a cooking competition and everything on our menu today is made with ‘white gold’.

The “White Gold” aka White Truffle

It’s hard to build a menu around a single ingredient. But without spoilers: they managed to do that, from the cappuccinos to croissants filled with white truffle cream, and even to the veal burgers and petit fours on a Ferris wheel. At one point, Enrico and Francesco come out to personally serve a traditional dish. What service!

You can tell they’re trying to innovate, they have modern design plates on the table alongside the silver ones, they are juggling with nitrogen, and the burger which is served as the main course is a cheeky touch – the bun is incredibly soft, I might add, while still crunchy, it is like braided cake, but not sweet.

The dessert was a bit of a miss for me, it tried to be too modern and it didn’t really fit in with the menu or the truffles.

The panettone is a family recipe, so it’s worth trying even if you’re feeling full. It has the texture of cotton candy: it melts in your mouth.

For desserts, they also went with a mix of the old and new world. Personally, I liked the old one better – tradition suits them. They follow the Italian tradition in everything, there is no molecular gastronomy, no fooling around, just tradition that has been perfected for 50 years. And the result? Every dish is beyond delicious!

For drinks, there are lots to choose from

I’m impressed they have 26 rosé champagnes on the list. That’s a lot. Most restaurants don’t carry half as many. Remember, we’re still in Italy, not France.

The wine pairings included two excellent wines, Italian reds from the Barolo region just 200 km away. I love to see quality reflected in the wine pairings at prices that are not out-of-this-world.

The restaurant’s wine cellar is invaluable and houses thousands of bottles. The family also makes their own wine with grapes from the vineyard surrounding the property. It’s a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes under the name Russo Faber.

Family affair

The service here at Da Vittorio is extra special. It’s a family affair. The family is here, and they are working. The oldest son, Francesco, greets us at our table. We also see his mother Bruna making warm connections with customers. They are both as friendly and polite as the rest of the servers. We also see brothers Enrico and Roberto in the kitchen.

And now, my final thoughts on Da Vittorio

  • Design – huge dining area, formal and luxury, beautiful surroundings, absolutely charming
  • Staff – outstanding. Super friendly, family vibe – Even the owners were working
  • Food – Really good Italian food, with the best ingredients, made with love

Da Vittorio is a place you’ll want to bring someone to. They are all about tradition and they do it better than anyone. Everything is sourced locally the herbs and vegetables, the truffles, the wine, even the customers! That’s what I call sustainable!

Da Vittorio is a luxury bistro for locals, where they treat you like family. They even have a room if you want to stay. In the morning, just be sure to smile and say ‘buongiorno’.

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