The first and only butcher in Europe to be awarded one Michelin star, the Damini world is composed of a gourmet boutique and the famous starred restaurant. Opened in December 2007, the business started from the idea of brothers Gian Pietro and Giorgio Damini to combine their talents, as butcher and chef, in order to reopen the family butcher shop with the addition of some tables for tasting purposes.
The fourth generation of a family of artisans butchers, their story began in the 1920s when their great-grandfather opened the first Damini shop in San Giovanni Ilarione, in the hills around Verona. Today as then, their secret is to focus on high quality which is guaranteed by the detailed control of the entire production line, from breeding to slaughter, up to maturation, refining, and cutting; stages that are carried out in Damini’s internal laboratory.
If Gian Pietro is an expert butcher as well as the restaurant host, Giorgio is the chef who, trained in the great schools of Santini and Perbellini, obtained the Michelin star in 2015. The convivial feeling is a central element of the hospitality philosophy of the two brothers: the atmosphere is warm and pleasantly laid back with service always very attentive yet relaxed. The mise en place is minimal with cloth placemats on Baxter tables, surrounded by Fornasetti wallpaper decorated with the San Marco’s square Procuracies in one room, whilst the other boasts thousands of wine labels on the shelves.
Here you can enjoy both an aperitif or a main course; like Damini’s classics, such as the Damburger, the hand-cut beef tartar, or the maccheroncini pasta with deconstructed ragout, as well as various cuts of Limousine, Highland Grass-fed, Rubia Gallega, and Wagyu. However, our advice is to discover the surprise tasting menu, based on 5, 8, or 11 dishes, which allows the chef to express all his ability. The gastronomic journey starts with Damini’s delicious bresaola, roast-beef, and marinated meat, or the veal raised on hay and milk that just melts in the mouth. In addition to appetizers, small amuse-bouches are offered in between the menu, such as delicious finger foods, the mini Damburger with Pimms’, or passatelli in broth flavored with thyme and spices.
Excellent the first courses, such as the famous spaghetti Ma’kaira in saor, the Milanesi ravioli with ossobuco, or the barley risotto with tobinambur, red prawns, bbq beef, coffee, bergamot. Unforgettable the second courses such as beef with white wine, leek, barley shortcrust pastry and foie gras, the veal escalope with lemon, or the liver with onion chips and polenta. The desserts include homemade tiramisù or the ice-cream with coconut, cucumber, mint, black sesame, and peanuts. And just to end with, the special Gianni Frasi’s coffee with a delicious mini treats selection.
Raw materials are the protagonists of all courses, the meat of course selected every day by Gian Pietro, as well as all the other ingredients, also available in the store, that tell the excellence of the best Italian small producers and “artisans of food”. Do not miss the bread by Eugenio Pol or from Matera, the products of Niko Romito, the pastries of Cracco, the tuna from Carloforte, as well as the best Italian pasta, preserves, jams, sweets, liqueurs, as well as fine cured meats and cheeses. Combining the pleasure of shopping with that of the table, the wines can be ordered directly from the “shelves”, choosing among thousands of labels, spacing from the crus of international Maisons and the finest champagnes to the most renowned wines Italians.
True meat lovers can book a lesson dedicated to meat, held directly by Gian Pietro, which includes a visit to the maturation room located under the restaurant and ends with a tasting session of the classic butcher’s products interpreted by Chef Giorgio. A real discovery tour throughout the family art!