Birchircara, Malta Majjistral, Malta
November 10, 2004
Restaurants with the best street atmosphere in Dresden are definitely found along the tiny streets northwest of Frauenkirche. Packed with restaurants, pubs and the huge classic building of the Hilton Hotel, this area besieged by crowds of tourists looking for favorable open-air tables is a frequent venue for musicians and street performers who add to the lively atmosphere. Neither as crowded or bustling as here, nor as vivid or exciting, the area under the arched passageway west of the Altmarkt is nonetheless an ideal place to dine while enjoying a street atmosphere characterized by a flowing stream of tourists.
Balducci's Gastrofonie, conveniently located along the widest section of this walkway is a huge restaurant which occupies a palace-like premises characterized by a wide central red-carpeted staircase reminiscent of a kingly mansion. Set in orderly rows on either side of the staircase are dark-wood restaurant tables covered with frilled white tablecloths and matching napkins. More tables are obviously placed outside to fill up the vast spacious covered walkway. The ambience inside and out is one of elegance, order and refinement enhanced by vases of fresh flowers, atmospheric lanterns and candlelight. Daily after 8pm, the atmosphere is stirred up by recorded Italian music, mostly popular tunes or light opera compositions. Better is the atmosphere on a Saturday night when a couple of violinists perform live providing entertainment both for diners and passers-by.
Balducci's menu, exquisitely presented in a decorative jacket is an endless list of typical Italian food. For starters, the list includes crispy cheese or mozzarella salads, chopped strips of fresh tomatoes and green pepper blended with cream and topped with olive oil, risotto served with an assortment of seafood and a dozen or so varieties of Italian soups. My wife opted for a bowl of minestrone with noodles that she found tasty and savory. My dish of pasta e fagioli, flavored with fresh basil was equally delicious.
When the main dishes arrived, the presentation was enough to show that we were in for another mouth-watering experience. My wife's dish of roasted duck served with rucola and radishes on a bed of lettuce was colorful and delicious. Even more impressive was my dish of beef fillet served with mustard sauce and accompanied by creamed potatoes and asparagus salad. While sipping a bottle of red Chianti, we soaked in the magical atmosphere and the serene setting of this cozy and charming place. Unfortunately, we were full up and we couldn't cope with another mouthful when we caught a glimpse of the colorful sweets on the trolley. We finished off by having an espresso flavored with drops of Tia Maria.
Ideal for those who appreciate good food and a pleasurable dining experience, Balducci's Gastrofonie offers a great selection of exquisite Italian food at reasonable prices. Come here once and you'll definitely come again.
Opens daily from 11am to midnight.
From journal A gem of architecture, art and music