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2 Michelin Stars Restaurant San Domenico in Imola

San Domenico of Imola Restaurant, Place Dedicated to Happiness

It was March 7, 1970, when a gentleman, Gianluigi Morini, founded San Domenico Restaurant in Imola (a little town close to Bologna).

In the kitchen he wants the food master Nino Bergese and, together, they call in the kitchen brigade a young guy, Valentino, who will soon have the opportunity to show “what he is made of”.

San Domenico of Imola Restaurant, Place Dedicated to Happiness

The time that goes by and what’s left.

A lot has changed since that March 7, 1970.

Bell-bottoms and wedges have sunset and then rise again (unfortunately).

In a decade characterized by protests and experimentation that shaken, sometimes dividing, politics and society, the restaurant San Domenico in Imola is also part of the scene. Are you curious to find out how?

San Domenico Restaurant Revolution.

A reactionary revolution that is affirmed thanks to the intuition of starred chef Valentino Marcattilii (double t and even the final i). Going back to move forward. Valentino recovers the great dishes of Italian cuisine. But not those of the poor and peasant tradition. It is the “eating of kings” what he looks for. The great dishes of Italian haute cuisine, those that were eaten in the residences of princes and nobles

In Italy the seventies were very difficult between oil crisis, protests and red brigades. While political power was contested and attacked, Italian upper middle-class families sent their children to Switzerland to prevent kidnappings and ambushes.

And in Imola, a small town in the Romagna province, what does Valentino do? The revolution, yes but reactionary. His menu becomes a flag of social class that retreats everywhere except in the kitchen of San Domenico. It is a sequence of dancing dishes that tell stories of ease and wealth. This is the new modern Italian cuisine. And it’s born here.

Over time, there has also been the return of ingredients and recipes from the territory, but in the process of transformation of the first and revisiting the second, the food acquires a rich and seductive substance.

 2 Michelin Stars Restaurant San Domenico in Imola

San Domenico restaurant. Where atmosphere is made of solid substance.

After so many years what continues to amaze me pleasantly is the continuity of atmosphere that combines kitchen, dining room, table. It is rare to taste a food made of flavors and atmosphere.

I believe that this is the magic of San Domenico in Imola and the secret of the longevity of its Michelin stars.

The restaurant is an elegant space, designed for happiness.
Here the customer is a guest, like at home. This is the philosophy of the restaurant.
And Natale Marcattilii is a master of reception. Brilliant conversation and discretion, as I like it.

Everything contributes to making this place special. The restaurant, which is part of the monumental complex of San Domenico where the picture gallery of the city of Imola is also located, overlooks a beautiful garden – the same one where I used to play as a child – that in summer makes dining outside very pleasant. Not to mention the historical cellars, where you can eat (very recommended), rooms, fireplace, furniture.

The atmosphere for a place is like for a human being the charm.
Both increase with time.

San Domenico of Imola

2 Michelin Stars Restaurant San Domenico in Imolaa, tradizione stellata

A story on the go.

It seems to hear the tinkling of glasses, the soft chatter and the palpable emotion of exceptional evenings. Among its tables are welcomed, consoled and spoiled intellectuals and politicians, movie stars, drivers and Formula 1 teams (“Enzo e Dino Ferrari” racetrack in Imola, hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006).

Besides us common mortals, enthusiastic good food lovers.
On that, I have just one thing to say. San Domenico Restaurant is not inaccessible. If your boundless love for good food has an enemy in the economic possibilities, follow my tip: choose à la carte and ask for the wine.

A few years ago, Massimiliano Mascia, Valentino’s nephew, joined the kitchen brigade. Just as Giacomo Marcattilii joins Natale in the guests’ reception.

Well, I think this presence of the family makes this place even more special, with its history and two Michelin stars, welcomes you and makes you feel immediately at home.

Buona vita, Monica

A new, young chef has grown up in the San Domenico kitchen. Read my interview with Max Mascia.

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Ristorante San Domenico di Imola
Via G. Sacchi 1 Imola (BO)
Tel. 0542.29000

San Domenico of Imola

Meglio tardi che mai

La mia ammissione giunge forse tardiva. Ma eccola.
Più che una recensione la mia è una dichiarazione d’amore sincera e appassionata per un luogo che amo profondamente. Per una cucina che non mi ha mai delusa. Per delle persone che ho il piacere e l’onore di chiamare amici: Valentino Marcattilli, Massimiliano Mascia, Natale Marcattilli.

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