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La Pineta: Nobody does it Better to Fish.

Restaurant La Pineta, Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord, Marina di Bibbona, Province of Livorno, Italy / 22 августа 2017

Fish is fisherman’s bread.

Fisherman always has the best fish.

Fish, fish, fi-fi-fish!

A wooden shack, 30 meters away from the shoreline, facing the sea breeze, is marked with just one star, thank god. White tablecloths, low ceiling, with smells of the sea, obviously. All year round it smells like a warm summer night. No fishy smell.

For some reason, without further ado, all you want is to sit down and stay still till the break of dawn. Till the rooster crows along with the first seagulls and the first albatrosses. All the firsts. Because even when you’re a 160 y.o., there’s still a chance for a first. Then the second, and third, and back to the first, in place of dessert.

When…the black Tuscan night covers La Pineta, it is the time to throw off those fuchsia heels, ones that Dolce and Gabbana slaved over, and from within these walls (partially wicker separators, not even walls), step with those bare feet on the Tuscan sand, still warm from the generosity of the day’s sun. The sand that looks gray and drab in the light of day, transforms at night into a dramatic titanium hue. If lucky with the moon, there can be an Aivazovsky and a Michaelagelo, and the chest fills with the silky breeze and iodine, and there is no need to go to India, to wash floors at an ashram…shine your inner light right here! I’m loosing the plot.

And, so, you want to step out and lay your white shorts and your bare shoulders on that titanium warm sand, looking at the milky way, the moon path, breathing loudly and with joy…and to just die here. So goood. Because of all of this and the fish. Fish fish fi-sh-sh. Lost that thread, again…

Chef Luciano Zazerri is a third generation of fishermen, if I am not mistaken. He fished for over 30 years and cooked what he caught for his close ones.

He did so well that his friends kept telling him:

“Come on, Lucciano!” they would say. “It is not right to keep this gift from humanity. You must share it!”

And Luciano did share.

Surely, no one along the Tuscan coast does fish better. No better crudos, no sea creature will be cooked better and devoured with appreciation, such as here.

The chef himself is wonderful, warm, gallant and soft-spoken, with beautiful hands and a well-groomed beard, my god! If only he could be my grandfather…I would hug him and his beard would tickle my nose and cheek. He’d go off fishing early in the morning and we’d meet for lunch, eating fried fish on that terrace, straight out of the pan. I would wear a shift dress and he’d be topless, tanned, covered in wrinkles of kindness. The wind would mess up his hair and I’d be catching the paper napkins off the table. Again, I lost it, again…

Along with the chef, there is a Japanese, knife-swinging man, quietly breaking down a 30kg tuna in about 30 seconds. Maybe 32 seconds, when distracted by song and dance, which is common in Italian kitchens.

The baking corner is taken by the wife of that Japanese, making Italian babies, desserts as delicate as a geisha, but with some of the local character. The results are apple compotes in jello and a mad millefeuille.

However, for dessert, we went back to the crudo. Twice.

No specific advice on the menu. Try it all.

Restaurant La Pineta, Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord, Marina di Bibbona, Province of Livorno, Italy