Chapter Wanderlust: Giuda Ballerino ☆ One Star Michelin Restaurant

For those who are unsure with the Michelin Star Guide it was first out, yes, by the tire manufacturer as a guide for their customers. It has since revolves around to be as recognised as the olympics in the food industry and the guide offers a guidance on whether on how high the caliber of the restaurant is. For the chefs it is also a showcase of personal success. Besides the food, even the ambience, service and how mind blowing the experience is all comes into consideration. It have 4 main category starting from the recently included Bib Gourmand category to the main 1 star to 3 star. 1 Star which means it is “A very good restaurant in its category” 2 Michelin stars reflects “Excellent cooking, worth a detour” and the cream of the crop, 3 Michelin stars “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”. Giuda Ballerino serves up modern cuisine right in the heart of Rome. Helmed by Celebrity Chef Andrea Fusco, Giuda Ballerino is located on the top level of the historical Hotel Bernini. Besides the awesome food and service, it is also a place where you get a great view of the Eternal City!

For any michelin star restaurant, I will strongly recommend you to make a reservation even if it is on a weekday or anything, same goes for Giuda Ballerino. Once you enter the hotel, go to a far end and you can see the lobby for Giuda Ballerino, there is a dedicated lift that takes you straight up to level 8. The environment of Giuda Ballerino is casual and playful. It is a mixture of chic and style with the decor and theme focusing on comic books as well as black and white furniture. This proves to be striking and gives me a very comfy and clean feeling. With tons of natural light contrasting the striking colors, it stands out!

The restaurant have both an indoor area as well as a semi outdoor terrace! The restaurant is pretty spacious. The view is impeccable given my recommendation for the place, this is also the reason why I will strongly recommend to sit in the terrace area since there you get the greatest view to accompany your meal.

However those who are sited inside does have a different perk though. Giuda Ballerino have an open kitchen, so those who choose to sit inside are in for another treat!

While Michelin Restaurants are wonderful, they come with a similarly magnificent price as well. However many of them are still very much doable, even to the normal humans like us. Many fancy places have a set lunch menu which comes at a more approachable price for us. I had a 2 Star restaurant lunch in London for 50 Pounds, a 3 star restaurant lunch in NYC for $68. The set lunch at Giuda Ballerino also comes at a modest 35 Euros. It comes with a sample of 6 starter, a main and a dessert, all for 35 Euros. I would say that is around the same price that you will have spend in any restaurant in central Rome! Below is the menu for the set lunch.

Described as a fusion between modern cuisine and italian food as you can see on the menu. At first I thought that as per the norm, you choose a starter out of the 6 options, it turns out that you get to have everything on the list. As per the title, Cicchetti per tuitti, you get a sample of everything, although I do not take the Beef Tartare, so decided to skip it.

Service started out with two types of bread, a kind of Focaccia and a rye Baguette. After travelling through Italy, some of my favourite snack would be dunking fresh bread into olive oil and salt. It is so divine tasting the fruitiness of the olive oil! I had all of the Tuna tartare with guacamole, Salmon tartare with mango and passion fruit dressing, Greek Salad, Nicolse Salad with tuna and Buffalo Mozzarella with Sable Ham and Tomato. In fact, the portion was not even sample portion at all. All 5 of them came in generous portion of their own. The cookery were pretty as well.

While the Tuna tartare is okay and smooth, I really love the Greek Salad and Salmon tartare. The salad just had so much layer of texture and it is so awesome, while the Salmon tartare was so refreshing, salmon is so simple but the mango and passion fruit is bursting with flavour. However the usual favourite buffalo mozzarella with tomato was such a disappointment. Let me say that all the options were very fresh and great!

Sometimes the downside of a set lunch was the limited amount of choice, however this one, there are 8 options for you to choose from. 4 Pasta and 4 main course. As per the norm, I usually ask the waiter for recommendations and he recommends both the pasta or the Grilled Octopus. I decided to go with the later since pasta is usually great around Italy! The Grilled Octopus came in a healthy portion and they were perfectly cooked. It may look charred on the outside but it is so well cooked. You get the char taste and then the crisp on it. Octopus is not easy to cook since just a little over cook, it gets rubbery! The interior was so tender and flavourful. You can really get the sweetness of the octopus. I also really love the brined shallots in red wine. Perfect!

I had the tiramisu for dessert which was just ok, perhaps I am too full at this point. I shall not share more on this. After the meal, stay for a little while, a leisurely lunch is the most perfect one! Stroll over for some pictures taken at the terrace, you get a perfect view of the city and also Piazza Barberini!

One reason why I really love this restaurant as well is the view that comes with the meal. For a michelin starred restaurant the food is good reason enough for you to come here. But throw in a complimentary, exclusive observatory deck? That is game! Come for the lunch, as per the norm for eating at Michelin Restaurants, you get to try the cuisine, the cooking technique, at a fraction of the price you will pay during dinner. For Giuda Ballerino, you even get to have some awesome pictures! All for 39 Euros!

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