Saturday, 13 February 2010

A Fantastic Italian Foodie Experience

Let me tell you about one of my best birthday presents ever.

First, answer this question.
What do you give a foodie, who already has a pasta machine, for her birthday?
Answer: take her to a really good restaurant and tell her that price is no objection!
And that is exactly what the Italian folk did.

But firstly, you need to remember that I am a seafood freak.
Living in Emilia_Romagna, that makes me one hard cookie to please.
I mean this is the land of meat, smoked sausages and great Parmiggiano.
But the Italian folk managed to find a restaurant ran by Southern Italians (from Salerno) that specialise in Fish recipes, here in Modena.

So I was told that we were going somewhere really good, but little did I know what I was about to experience. Something truly fantastic!

This was not a 5 star Michelin restaurant.
In fact it hasn't got a single star, just an impeccable reputation.

Named 'Al Poeta', it truly has the homely atmosphere of a traditional trattoria, albeit reflecting the arty/cultural/literarian veneration so commonly present in the Italian culture, with an added touch of professionalism and style.

Fitting to its name, 'Al Poeta' has poems engraved in mirrors, pictures of famous poets and their work, whilst at the same time, showing respect and admiration for the greatest pizza makers.

The Italian folk had pre warned the staff, upon booking our table, that they wanted this to be an amazing experience.
They did not let us down.
They were, not only friendly but incredibly attentive and professional.
I will remember that night for as long as I live.

 But on with the food.
 All the staff is orginally from Salerno, a seaside town in the south of Italy and they know their seafood better than anything else.
As we sat down, we were greeted with these lovely garlicky morsels of pizza/bread to munch on while we browsed the menu.
We ordered all meals and had exactly the same, so the chefs were able to be quite creative, free and loving with it.

For the Antipasto we had:
Without a doubt, the best Prawns I have ever had. Slightly spicy and yet, wonderfully moist!

The second Antipasto:
 An incredible hot seafood salad, so full of amazing flavours. Every seafood  type you could wish for was there! Scallops, Mussels, clams, squid. I was in heaven!!!

For Primo we had:
They came on the same plate, which was incredibly difficult, and yet so creative of them.
The spaghetti allo scoglio was cooked to perfection but the risotto was a bit too salty.
I asked for some lemon and that seemed to compensate for the saltiness.
After all, as you can see from this picture, it looks too good not to enjoy!
On with the main...
Although by this time I was feeling more than suitably satisfied, I was looking forward to the main as this would be the restaurant's crown of glory.

We had:
This fish was amazing and by far, the second favourite of the evening. Moist and baked to perfection, I could have it every day.

Next, came the 'piece de resistence':
A truly magnificent dish and the favourite of the evening. 
Lobster, Langoustine, Squid and Prawn skewers, moist fresh Sea Bream, everything topped with a buttery, lemon and parsley drizzle. It was indeed to die for.... even the spinach that accompanied it was far too hard to resist.
And once more, just in case you can't tell how delicious it was.
By the time we'd finished this incredible meal, I could not face a dessert. 
So instead, we were given this cute tiny glasses of Melon liquer for free!
A mixture of Cream, alcohol and melons that tasted like heaven!!
Although I was shown what I could have had, had I not have been so greedy with the meal:
Really does look amazing, don't you think?

So, if you are ever visiting Modena, the land of Balsamic Vinegar and Smoked ham, and you crave some good old fashioned Italian seafood flavours, make sure you go to the 'Al Poeta'.
Without wanting to sound too corny or 'Commercial like', I can assure you they are are top quality!
Genuine flavours, and the owner, Maurizio, will make you feel right at home.

As you can see, I loved every minute of it!
I am grateful to the Italian Folk for such an amazing Birthday experience.
Lastly, I couldn't go without saying a well overdue big Thank You to Claudia at What's Cooking Italian Stylefor her lovely award. It really did touch. Make sure you check out her delicious recipes!!
Italian Seafood Salad Dressing on Foodista


  1. What a magic post! Firstly, I am so glad you are getting over your illness, I hope you are soon back to full health and have all the energy you need!
    And also: HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES! What a magnificent treat! And everything so thoughtful and delicious! What a way to mark the start of a new year in your life!

  2. Beautiful photos and delicious food...yumm
    Happy Valentine's Day! XOXOXO

  3. What a spread, wish they would let you do a guest post I want to make those prawns! the pictures, the sauce, everything looks wonderful...thanks for your mention at the end..hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day :)

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your tum, but I'm glad you're feeling better! I, too, am a seafood freak, and this meal is definitely my idea of perfection. Looks SO good ... glad you got to enjoy it! Happy Birthday!!

  5. oh I love this sweet folks I am sure they adore you, love that pic he he

    Happy Valentines, maybe you will meet someone there!!!!

  6. Happy Valentine's day, Ruth!! That food look wonderful!

  7. Thank you everyone. Im hoping to start cooking, eating and posting some recipes soon!

  8. Happy, happy birthday - so glad you were feeling well enough to partake and savor and feast! Yes, this meal does look incredibly sumptuous and worthy of celebration. I am wondering what I will eat first and do I need to save room for dessert?

  9. Drool, Drool, Drool!!! Sounds like you have some amazing friends!! I just want to pull those prawns out of the picture and take a bite, LOVELY!

  10. Happy Birthday - what an incredible gift fellowship and incredible food! They go hand in hand and only enhance the other. The photos of your food make me want to empty my piggy bank and jump on a plane to check out this restaurant. Just the look on your face tells me its divine! Thanks for sharing this incredible meal with us

  11. What an incredible feast! Sounds like a perfect birthday celebration!

  12. This must be a real experience.