Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dinner at Ristorante da Maurizio in Stuttgart

Yesterday, Bill and I visited Dr. Blair for the last time (I hope) concerning my new dental implant.  The next time we see him will be for cleanings in October, unless there's some kind of catastrophe between now and then.  I will miss the frequent shopping and eating opportunities visiting Dr. Blair gives us, but I'm glad the implant process is finally finished and I'm thrilled with the results.  It's great to have a full smile again.

After my appointment, we were a bit hungry.  We stopped at the Markthalle to pick up some eggs, fruit, and bread.  Then we made our way back to the car to drop off the goodies we purchased.  Since that put us close to Dr. Blair's office again, we decided to find a restaurant on Calwer Strasse.  It was hot and we were thirsty.  I was tempted to hit a biergarten, but then I spotted Ristorante da Maurizio with an empty outdoor area.  I had been pretty curious about the place over the months I've had to go to Stuttgart, but we never stopped there to eat.  Since it was just about dinner time, we read the menu posted on the outside of the restaurant and decided to have a seat outdoors.

One of the reasons I was curious about Ristorante da Maurizio is because besides being a restaurant, it's billed as a wine bar.  To me, it felt more like a regular restaurant with a full and impressive menu.  The words "wine bar" might just be a gimmick, for all I know.  Maybe next time we visit, it'll be cold outside and we can venture inside to try out the "wine bar".

We decided to go with a shared appetizer and a couple of the weekly specials.  Maurizio offers a little something for everyone, though.  There are pizzas, pasta dishes, fish, and meat dishes available.  The weekly specials are also offered in three or four courses, which gives a slight price break to people who are especially hungry.  The "sea menu" was priced slightly less than the "earth menu".  We weren't hungry enough to go for three courses.


Bill checks out the menu.  At this point, we were the only ones sitting outside.


Bill obliges me with a smile.  I think he was reacting to a trio of annoying girls who were sitting outside at the health food restaurant next to us.  They were smoking, being loud, and I suspected they were making fun of us.  They also left without cleaning up after themselves.   We ended up paying for their negligence. 


Glad I took the opportunity to take this picture of the outside.  The tables quickly filled up.  More than half of them were reserved.


Bill ordered a lovely bottle of white from the Piemonte.  It was tart and citrusy, which we knew would go well with the seafood dishes we ordered.  


A nice basket of bread.  The breadsticks arrived hot and fresh and were very tasty.


We shared this first course, delicious sun roasted tomatoes, with avocado slices, toasted pine nuts, and olives.  On top is a mound of mild and creamy burrata cheese.  I usually dislike cold cheeses, but I had tried burrata at Ostaria da Gino's in Nagold and loved it.  Burrata means butter in Italian and I do love my butter, though the cheese doesn't necessarily make me think of it.  Burrata cheese is like very soft, creamy mozzarella and spreads kind of like room temperature butter.  There was a time when I might have turned my nose up at this dish, but I really enjoyed it yesterday.  I especially loved the tomatoes, which were very sweet and tangy.


The dishes left by the annoying girls sitting next door ended up causing a ruckus when a very aggressive pigeon discovered them a few minutes later.


The pigeon helped itself to their leftovers... I noticed a couple of staffers at the Italian restaurant getting annoyed.


Look in the sky and you'll see another pigeon homing in...


Soon there were two of them... then three...


And finally, there were five pigeons feasting on the girls' leftovers and making a big mess!  I can see why my former German neighbors from last time we lived here called pigeons "rats from the sky"!


The folks running the healthy restaurant were oblivious.  I finally encouraged Bill to go move the dishes to the cabinet of trays behind the table.  Quoting Dr. Phil, I said "This situation needs a hero." Being a civic minded individual, Bill got up and moved a couple of bowls just as the guy running the frozen yogurt stand across the street went into the restaurant to tell the employees to come clean up the mess.  A young girl who looked very much "over it" came out and finished the job.  It was only mildly embarrassing for everyone involved.  


After some time spent chilling out with our white wine, our main courses arrived.  I had fried perch (zander filet) with sliced peaches.  There was a little bit of mint under the fish and peaches which gave the dish a refreshing zest.  The fish was served with cooked bok choy, spinach, a sliced carrot, and potato.  The whole thing was accompanied by a lovely white wine sauce.  I really enjoyed this dish because of the peaches and mint combination.  They were definitely the star attraction.  Without them, this would have been a somewhat ordinary dish. 


Bill had a simple course of tortellini stuffed with mild cheese and sea bass (Wolfbarsch).  It was also served with a sauce flavored with white wine and light cream.  I tried his pasta and I think I liked it as much as I did my dish.   Bill's pasta was priced significantly less than my fish was; I think it was about 15 euros while my main course was 23 euros.   

By the time we were finished eating, it was a little after 7:00pm.  The terrace was almost full of diners and we were a bit hot, full, and tired of sitting.  Of the tree Italian restaurants we've tried on Calwer Strasse, I think Maurizio is now my favorite.  The dishes were all presented beautifully and tasted good.  Table service was very attentive with one handsome waiter rushing over to pour me some wine when I grabbed the bottle from the wine bucket.  

The only negative I can think of is that smoking is allowed and the tables outside are close together.  Another couple sat next to us and it felt like we were all sitting at the same table even though we were both at "two tops".  That's not necessarily a bad thing if everyone's friendly, but it felt a little awkward last night.  We paid about 83 euros for this meal and we'd probably do it again, though next time I will find a seat further from the health food restaurant next door.  Wouldn't want to get dive bombed by a crew of aggressive pigeons.

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