Food and drink
La Mantia champions a light gourmet school of Sicilian cuisine – perfectly represented in his version of caponata, the classic Sicilian ‘ratatouille’, where he leaves out the onions and garlic (two ingredients that have no place in La Mantia’s kitchen) and adds citrus fruits. Main courses might include falso magro – veal slices rolled up around a stuffing that includes sultanas, salami and hard-boiled egg, and then baked. Desserts, made by a talented French pastry chef, avoid butter and cream. On my last visit, the wine list felt like a work in progress: there’s nothing wrong in a place like this with giving centre stage to Sicilian wines – but some of the island’s best small producers are missing. Still, there are some good bottles, and mark-ups are reasonable by five-star hotel standards.
The main dining room glitters with candelabras, chandeliers and mirrors – but this is luxury with a fresh, contemporary twist. There’s also a romantic terrace seating area – though it’s close enough to street level for traffic noise to be an issue, especially at lunchtime.
This is perhaps the only weak point. Sure, it’s professional, but it does have a frosty edge at times. And while La Mantia is a genial host, he devotes more attention to his celebrity guests than mere mortals like you and me.
The restaurant is on the first floor of the Hotel Majestic, a historic dolce vita palace on Via Veneto. It doesn’t feel like a ‘hotel restaurant’, however, and most of the clientele is from outside.
At lunch, a well-stocked buffet is served for 38 euros a head, including water, coffee, dessert and a glass of wine. Dinner is more formal and more expensive: count on spending around 70 euros a head for three courses with a decent bottle of wine.
- Business travellers
- Seasoned travellers
- Celebrity spotting
- People watching
- Special occasions