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Mario Batali on Where to Eat in Italy

The chef, TV star, and F&W guest editor, divulges his favorite restaurants in Italy, from Puglia to Piedmont.
One dish served fresh every day.
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El Coq, Marano Vicentino, Veneto

"Equidistant from 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio's splendid showcase Vicenza and grappa shrine town Bassano del Grappa, El Coq sits quietly in the little burg of Marano Vicentino, but it's not quiet at all. The spare, barely furnished dining room was created to leave all of the noise to the plate. The idiosyncratic modern style is the work of well-traveled chef and owner Lorenzo Cogo, who has done time at Melbourne's Vue de Monde and staged at Noma. My favorite antipasto was a steamed-crab salad with burnt-olive meringue and a kind of ajo blanco (almond gazpacho) that blew my mind with simplicity and flavor. The best way to get a feel for the place is to take a bit of the verdant risotto with fermented beans and anchovies, followed by a sip of Soave by Prà. The chef uses infinite modern Italian, Japanese and Spanish techniques, many clearly explained and none of which I can re-create. This is the work of a young genius." elcoq.com

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