In Camposampiero, near Padua, a "gourmand osteria", where, just like in the good old days, the food is excellent and you feel welcomed at any time of the day even just for a glass of wine or a chat.
It’s not every day that a historic tavern is taken over and renovated in the name of continuity. Nor even if it is done by three haute cuisine lovers who have fulfilled a dream here by uniting their passions in one place.
The “new” Caffè Grande tavern opened in June 2023, but its foundations were born, in fact, a long time before, when Francesco Forlini from Teramo, chef, Matteo Guglielmo, from Badìa Polesine, maître and cook, and Giovanni Zonta, sommelier, They met “in the kitchen” from previous work experiences and became friends.
We wanted to create a convivial place, where you can eat well at any time of the day, whether for a romantic dinner or an aperitif with friends.
Thanks to the timing of a change of management and the true love found right in Camposampiero, Caffè Grande becomes the theater of their project to create “an intimate refuge imagined for lovers of good food and conviviality, where healthy eating meets tasty recipes”.
Despite their passion for fine dining, Matteo, Francesco and Giovanni decide not to abandon the soul of the Caffè Grande as a meeting point tavern which, for centuries, has been the fulcrum of the social life of the small town. In fact, as Umberto Zara, a historian from Camposampiero, wrote: “the Caffè Grande was the only prestigious joint existing between Padua and Castelfranco Veneto, elegantly furnished in Central European style…”.
Today the 3 partners carry on precisely that tradition, offering a cuisine that uses modern techniques to convey the familiar flavors of the past, with some international signature forays and the passion of wanting to enhance small local producers.
Francesco, thanks to his previous “starred” experiences, including Condividere in Turin and Asador Extebarri in Spain, creates dishes executed with great skill such as Risotto with giblet and offal ragout, fresh egg tagliolini, white lamb ragout, Jerusalem artichoke and smoked ricotta, the extraordinary Pluma from Mangalica az. agricultural Zavoli, fennel, apple and cabbage up to a fantastic selection of grilled Florentine steaks and ribs.
The menu changes often and, as per the tradition of taverns, everything is homemade, from pasta to focaccia, and pays homage to the area and its folklore, offering themed menus and the yummy recipes of Sunday family lunches, with a mise en place that mixes vintage porcelain found in flea markets with designer tableware.
A tavern where even drinking is “gourmand”: Giovanni has, in fact, selected over 300 labels, which favor small artisan producers, to accompany the menus or for a special aperitif to be combined with delicious appetizers which are also offered in tapas version, like the fantastic selection of cured meats and cheeses.
The interior was created by Pria Studio by Sara and Giulia Basso from Loreggia and has maintained the historical character of the tavern, paying homage to its tradition as in the large vintage sign “storico caffè grande”, softened by refined touches such as the velvet seats and the wallpaper, specifically designed for the venue, that characterizes the area dedicated to the restaurant.
While at the entrance, the protagonists are the large bar counter, the shelves full of delicacies, and a convivial table in reclaimed cedar wood, the scene of long dinners and aperitifs pampered by the magical atmosphere of a place where you always feel at home.
Sit right here and let Matteo and Giovanni take you through a tasting of truly special dishes and products, from the aperitif to the digestive.
On the menu and on the tables you can see photos of how Caffè Grande looked in the last century. They were given as gifts by a customer who collects memorabilia and Matteo, Francesco and Giovanni chose to reproduce them in postcards and in the osteria’s merchandise in order to remember the place’s long history.
Caffè Grande Osteria del Centro
Contrà Rialto 13
35012 Camposampiero, Padova
Tel. +39 049 2137514
Tasting menus: from 38 euro
Starters: 10 — 20 euro
First courses: 15 — 16 euro
Second courses: from 15 euro