Trattoria Pizzeria in Borgo Vicio Como
An Italian tragedy in two acts:-
Our hotel in Como recommended this place, Trattoria Pizzeria in Borgo Vicio Como. Authentic Italian, family oriented, will give international tourists a 10% discount. Relative to the tourist traps along the Como foreshore, this sounds heaven. We are advised that we should not get there too early 7.30 is fine. The place is empty. But every table in the joint is reserved. We relate our recommendation from the hotel and everything is fine, a table is waiting. But foreigners, are expected to be shunted into the worst spot in the house. 7.45 the place is still empty. We order 2 and a bit courses, bruschetta, a local mussels/bisque specialty, a round of “Mediterranean” spaghetti, and a couple of veal dishes. The “crowd” begins to arrive and the manager starts looking at us threateningly. He is a big ugly bloke. We are getting through our spaghetti, he gestures to his colleague that he would like to move us along. Nice!
The mussels are the best dish of the night, very tasty with a “Mediterranean” sauce, but the bisque is a bit like seawater seasoned with salt plus a dash of something green. The bruschetta of tasteless tomato on soggy bread is a disaster, but it was unsalted. The spaghetti, in the Neapolitan style, is flooded in greasy oil with a tomato tint. Yes the salt is conspicuous. And the manager is conspicuously grumpy, all his mates are coming in and he can’t shuffle all the reserved table tags quick enough, he would like us foreigners to leave.
We persevere with our veal mains, but we wonder why. One dish is moderately tender but the other slice of veal might have been ancient water buffalo. And yes they are bathed in salt. One dish had a bit of some green herb amongst the brine, whilst the other had a few dried peas and a few slices of chopped cucumber buried in the brine.
The predominance of salt throughout all of the menu is the first Italian tragedy here. Maybe it is an Italian tragedy as a result of most of the adult population smoking so much. This restaurant somehow rates quite highly as a function of good taste. But in fact there is no taste but salt. Of course the resort to over salting food is an old cooks response to an inability to get much flavour into food, but it could also be a tactic to deal with a clientele who have had their taste buds burnt by so much cigarette smoking, and the past infusion of salt.
On the basis of authentic, interesting and “tasty” Italian cuisine this place is a zero. We think the local support for this place just says a lot about the mediocrity of the clientele and their destroyed taste buds. (the poor chap next to us was completely distracted drinking water and playing with ice cubes all night).
The second act to the tragedy was the xenophobia demonstrated by the manager. Clearly he felt some deep personal commitment to his local clientele, but his arrogant and pushy behaviour to get rid of the foreign trash so that he might accommodate his mates was disgraceful. The worst part of it all was when we rose to seek to pay out bill, when this arrogant man pushed us rather violently towards the cash machine to get the transaction over with. Actually, we were rather relieved to be out of the place. And we certainly would not recommend anyone going into this salt mine and putting up with the arrogant antics of the management.