If it's March, this must be Umbria. That's the current stop on the itinerary at Pranzo, a restaurant at the Italian food emporium Eataly that rewrites its menu each month to spotlight specialties from a different region of the country.
It's a trip worth taking, says ttoommyy, a Chowhound who lunched there in February, when the flavors of the month were Calabrian. Everything hit the spot: a salad of braised octopus and calamari with fingerlings, chiles, and pickled onion; white bean and escarole zuppa, drizzled with Calabrian olive oil; house-made scialatielli pasta with mussels, white wine, jalapeño, and marjoram; and fried Dover sole (pictured) with Meyer lemon, shaved fennel, olives, capers, and limoncello. "There was not one false note in the whole meal," ttoommyy marvels. "All was simply prepared and absolutely delicious." Among this month's Umbrian dishes are pan-seared fish with roasted potatoes and pickled vegetables, and strangozzi pasta with mushrooms, pancetta, tomato, and pecorino.
Pranzo, which is open only for lunch on weekdays, is part of Eataly's culinary school, La Scuola Grande, so its setup is unique, featuring an open kitchen and video monitors showing the chefs at work. "Fascinating for anyone who loves to cook," ttoommyy says.
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