In the heart of Alpago in the province of Belluno, Dolada is the oldest Michelin star in Italy, made even more unique by an unforgettable view of Lake Santa Croce and by the products of the family farm from which chef Riccardo De Prà draws inspiration and lifeblood for its tasty dishes.
It was back in 1921 when the De Prà family decided to build the Dolàda hotel and restaurant, at the foot of the mountain of the same name which overlooks the small village of Plois di Pieve d’Alpago, which in 1969, thanks to the innovative cuisine of Enzo De Prà, won the Michelin star that the place still holds today.
Three generations and multiple renovations later, including the creation of a farm with garden vineyards named Doladino, it was his son Riccardo De Prà who triggered a new revolution. Strengthened by a great passion for food and authentic flavours, after traveling for 15 years among the cuisines of various countries, from France to Japan, he returns home with the dream of finding his “Holy Grail”, that is, “absolute goodness”.
I take inspiration every day from a wonderful territory, suspended between the Treviso hills and the Dolomites, where biodiversity is still a value yet to be discovered.
(Riccardo De Prà, chef)
Thus, Riccardo, gradually stripping away every superstructure designed to amaze, gives life to a cuisine that has enchanted half the world, from Queen Elizabeth to George Clooney, where classic flavours, especially those typical of the Alpago area, are sublimated by a contemporary research inspired by the raw material.
Just take a tour around the wonderful family farm – admire the vineyards, the hives, the many wild animals, such as the renowned Alpago lamb, or take a walk through the uncontaminated woods that surround it, rich in game, mushrooms, aromas – to understand why Dolada dishes are so good.
An example of Riccardo’s philosophy is”his” carbonara pasta: based on homemade spaghetti with ancient grains grown on the farm, bacon prepared by hand by dad Enzo, artisanal pecorino cheese and the secret touch of an egg yolk cooked to perfection thanks to a secret learned in Japan. But also the “Dirty tartare” of deer and duck yolk, the lamb cutlet, up to the delicious warm spaghetti with lemon, char tartare and prawns.
A menu and an original wine list, which also includes the excellent natural labels produced by Dolada, from Sbreg orange to the magnificent Pinot Noir, made magical by the fairy-tale atmosphere that can be felt in the restaurant. Its rooms boast, in fact, an original décor made of stratified styles, memories, emotions “collected” in over 50 years of intensely lived life.
Thus, the typical materials of rural mountain houses are combined, with great taste, with contemporary details. The centenary wooden planks of the floor are mixed with modern resin, the Splügen Bräu lamps from ’61 by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos are paired with ultra-modern chairs, while on the wall works by local artists alternate with important paintings, such as the Chagall’s print that Riccardo bought to himself upon the birth of his first child.
Even the mise en place contains a secret: the plates are all different, as they are part of the evolving collection of precious porcelains that Riccardo loves to buy around Europe.
The backdrop is a splendid panorama of Lake Santa Croce, which you can enjoy in particular by booking the highly sought-after table overlooking the valley, splendid at sunset.
From this year Dolada has also launched another novelty, to fully experience this extraordinary gastronomic destination: 3 splendid and “sexy” suites to treat yourself to a romantic after-dinner or spend a holiday discovering Alpago and the nearby Cansiglio, thanks also to the comfortable e-bikes made available by the hotel.
An experience to absolutely have at least once in your life.
Not far from the hotel, surrounded by the woods of Alpago, there is the “hut in the woods” created by father Enzo, initially as his refuge, and recently enriched by Riccardo with various “comforts” and stylish details. A real secret, you can find it on Airbnb for a total immersion in the most uncontaminated nature.
Via Dolada 21
32010 Plois di Pieve d’Alpago, Belluno
Tel. +39 0437 479141
Menu: 2 courses 65 euro, 3 courses 78 euro, 4 courses 88 euro, wines excluded
Alpago tasting menu: 96 euro
Caviar menu: 150 euro