On the recommendation of my cute new cheese guy of Dimora Romeo, I test drove what he claims is the best Italian restaurant in Lausanne, Ristorante St. Paul. So one, *shocker* rainy evening, I was having a drink in the Flon neighborhood after shopping a sneakerhead store to ease my weary soles. Honestly, I was feeling kind of lonely and bummed and dressed far too summery for the evening at hand which wasn’t helping. Was a date night for one really a good idea tonight? My doubt continued as I walked from Flon to the restaurant, which is in a very residential part of the city, not bad, but maybe not the nicest, also without much other commercial around, it was kind of strange. Lucky for me the sun was just setting and the restaurant let me arrive late to my reservation after I inquired.
I was seated at a wee table for two tucked back by the kitchen. Not totally in love with the space, but I was the only solo table in the place and I quickly realized that this provided me excellent people watching as the small restaurant was full. It also kept me close to the staff who were quite keen to talk to me for some reason. The owner, manager, I don’t know exactly promptly asked me if I was married and if I wasn’t could he give me his phone number. Sure, when in Rome? The kind banter around the merits of the restaurants and my (nonexistent) romantic life brought my spirits right up. The energy of this place was warm and fun.
I started with a glass of wine from Calabria, the region my mum’s family is from, which was just outstanding and nibbled on the crunchy doughy ‘amuse bouche’ if you can call it that that was something akin to a broccoli fritter.
I moved into red wine with the food, also excellent, and was treated to the cork! My new suitor popped a fresh bottle for me and left the cork after he smelled it deeply. While I have had this happen on special occasions with boyfriends or the ex, I had never received one dining solo. I’m not sure why this made me so happy, but it felt like my solo dining was legit and not like I was some burden or confusion to the restaurant, which has unfortunately happened on occasion- see my recent visit to La Vue in Gstaad.
For my starter, you know I had the octopus special with shaved zucchini, two of my favorites. It was out of this world.
For my main, I treated myself to one of their house specials, the fileja pasta with N’juda sausage, tomatoes and pasta. The perfect amount of spice and absolutely gorgeous pasta. Heaven.
Dessert wasn’t even an option. It was a 10 second conversation that my server/manager/suitor barked at me “tiramisu or cannoli”. Then, “limoncello or amaro.” I was treated to a “slice” of tiramisu that was the size of my head and I absolutely ate all of it as it would be rude not to, oh and also because it was some of the best I’d ever had in my life.
At the end of the meal, server/manager/suitor kept peppering me for my favorite foods so you know, he could make them for me. Someone else brought me my check and then he causally slipped me his number. The whole evening was fun, delicious, and honestly, quite funny. I would return here in a heartbeat and have already told colleagues who I used to travel with quite frequently that we would be dining here on their next trip to the region. Absolutely phenomenal place, Ristorante St. Paul.