Alessandro Borghese 4 Restaurants led us recently to discover the best restaurants in Udine and its surroundings. To take up the challenge were: "Casa della Contadinanza" by Marco, "Ristorante Al Zuc" by Valentino, "Trattoria Al Paradiso" by Federica and "Ristorante San Michele" by Giuseppe. Congratulations to Ristorante San Michele di Giuseppe which won the title of best restaurant in a historic residence in Udine and its surroundings.
Udine is a commune in the Northeast of Italy, in close proximity to the Slovenian border. It lies in-between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps and has a current population of approximately 99,000. This city has an ancient history and has influences from Attila the Hun, the Republic of Venice and the Kings of Lombard. Udine rose to prominence during the 1700’s and was eventually integrated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. The economy of Udine centres on commerce, and mechanical and iron manufacturing industries. The cuisine of Udine is characterized by its close proximity to Austria and Slovenia. One of the most famous and loved typical products of Udine all over the world is certainly the San Daniele ham.
In this episode, the special category for judging chosen are the cjarsons, a very typical ricotta ravioli of this region originating from the 1700s which filling must be spiced, balanced between salty and sweet and using rich ingredients such as dark chocolate to spinach, from cinnamon to chives, from ricotta to rum, from grappa to parsley etc.
Casa Della Contadinanza
Casa della Contadinanza is located on the hill of Udine’s Castle and offers an incredible view. The building of Casa della Contadinanza is the copy of the original from 1931 dell’edificio originale which, in XVI century, was built as residency of the representatives of the peasants from Friuli, third political party of the Patria del Friuli. In the years, the building has been converted into the armoury of the Castle and now hosts the well-known restaurant, famous for its typical Friulian cuisine. Dishes such as tagliolino with San Daniele ham and a good frico, as well as some more typical dishes of the lagoon area of the region such as boreto alla graisana.
Ristorante Al Zuc di Valentino
The term “Al Zuc” is a play on words: the derivation of the name comes from Via del Ciuch (the street where the restaurant is located) which refers to “ciuch de colina”, which in Friulian means “the Top of the hill”. Al Zuc Restaurant by Valentino, owner and manager of this restaurant since 2005. The business was born in 1974, the year in which his grandfather took over the restaurant for the first time, and in this regard, Valentino is proud of the fact that his restaurant has a true "family spirit".
Trattoria al Paradiso
The restaurant is a former farmhouse from the End of the 1500s, which was subsequently restructured and renovated. The idea of the cuisine of the “Trattoria Al Paradiso” is based on local and traditional influences, with a modern touch. The fresh ingredients are very special here. The rich fields around this area with its fresh springs of the Risorgive offer, in fact, an abundance of fragrant wild herbs, fleshy mushrooms, colourful berries and exotic roots, turgid asparagus and precious truffles. In addition, their free-range animals offer game and freshwater fish.
Ristorante San Michele
The restaurant San Michele, which has belonged to the same noble family of Fagagna since the 1700s, is surrounded by the remains of the ancient city walls. The restaurant’s cuisine speaks of the territory, there are cjarsons stuffed with herbs, apricots, ricotta and lemon zest, pork shank cooked in hay, and agnolotti del plin served in different ways according to the season. The “Ristorante San Michele” offers different options of dining: on the first floor the rooms dedicated to catering, on the basement floor a wine bar adjacent to the kitchen, finally there is also the possibility of the Cicchetteria.