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4 weeks agoupdated Jun 20, 2024

Romeo Napoli Welcomes Alain Ducasse

Restaurant of the Week: Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in Italy.

By Kim Ayling

Located in a gritty dockside corner of a notoriously punchy city, Romeo Napoli has been defying expectations since it opened in 2014, with its ultra-modern glass-heavy design carving out its identity in one of Italy’s most historic cities. Now, ten years later, the hotel is continuing to prove itself as one of Naples’ best; this time with the announcement of an all-new signature restaurant by the tour de force that is Alain Ducasse – his first-ever in Italy.

Set to open on June 27, Il Ristorante Alain Ducasse will, as you might expect, be a gentle meeting of Italian and French culinary traditions. Ingredients will be sourced locally, but once in the kitchen will undergo the Ducasse treatment: elegant, traditional cooking.

One opening isn’t the end of the Romeo/Ducasse masterplan, either. A second collaborative restaurant will debut in Rome later this year, with a third poised for 2025, when Romeo is set to launch on the Amalfi Coast for the first time. That Ducasse empire is showing no signs of slowing.

[See also: Disfrutar Named Best Restaurant in the World]

Chef

alain ducasse and Alessandro Lucassino
Alain Ducasse and Alessandro Lucassino / ©Romeo Napoli

Alain Ducasse needs little intro, but in case you did want some background: the French chef is routinely named among the best in the world, with no less than 21 Michelin stars across his empire (although the figure has been almost double that at some points in his career). But, while Ducasse is the flagship name here, ensuring smooth sailing in the kitchen is executive chef Alessandro Lucassino. 

As with many of the burgeoning talents within the Ducasse empire, Lucassino has worked under the decorated chef for many years – beginning with a role at Plaza Athénée, where Ducasse famously had his three-Michelin-starred flagship until a conscious uncoupling in 2021. 

In 2011, stepped up to lead the Salon des Manufactures on Rue des Petits, before Ducasse invited him to join the team at Cucina – his laidback Italian venture in Paris.

[See also: Chez Roux Opens at The Langham London]

Menu

As French chefs go, Ducasse puts enormous weight on the power of vegetables across his restaurants, and Il Ristorante is set to be no exception. There are plenty of meat dishes to choose from – pigeon with cherries and Swiss chard, or Vitellone Bianco veal tenderloin, for example – but fish and vegetables gladly take center stage.

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dish at alain ducasse romeo napoli
Cooked red shrimp laden with caviar / ©Romeo Napoli

For appetizers there is blue crab with white beans and bitter chinotto fruit; gently cooked red shrimp laden with caviar; or grilled tomatoes with creamy stracciatella cheese. Mains are more fish heavy – choose from Mediterranean lobster with asparagus and fava beans, or John Dory in fish broth.  

Fair warning: the Ducasse name does come with a cost – there isn’t an appetizer under €45 ($48) and desserts are all at a cool €25 ($27). These prices do make the six-course degustation menu – at €190 ($204) – feel like a comparatively good deal, though. 

A serious wine cellar – 16,000 bottles from 1,500 producers – completes the offering.

[See also: Amazonico Brings the Jungle to Monte Carlo]

Interiors

il ristorante alain ducasse romeo napoli
The ninth-floor space is loud with its bold monochrome color scheme / ©Romeo Napoli

Romeo Napoli is firmly a design-led hotel, and its new flagship restaurant fits the brief. Elegant but shamelessly flashy, the ninth-floor space is loud with its bold monochrome color scheme and vibrant lighting.

On the walls, a carefully curated selection of artworks references Napoli’s long history. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto panoramic views of the harbor beyond; gaze out on industrial ships and cruises liners alike as you tuck into dinner.

Il Ristorante Alain Ducasse, Romeo Napoli, Via Cristoforo Colombo 45, 80133 Naples, Italy, theromeocollection.com

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