Gardone Riviera, Italy
When they opened Lido 84 in 2014, brothers Riccardo and Giancarlo Camanini had an idea to create a small local restaurant through which they could express themselves and earn a living. Over the last five years, the restaurant has grown into a regional institution, attracting an increasingly demanding clientele that pushed the brothers to refine their culinary offer – a process that has led to Lido 84 receiving the Miele One To Watch Award 2019, recognising a restaurant considered a rising star on an international level.
Born in a village in the province of Brescia in northern Italy, Riccardo Camanini went to culinary school for the lack of better options in his area. It was only when, at the age of 19, he joined the late Gualtiero Marchesi’s kitchen at L’Albereta that he realised that through the culinary craft he could express his sensitivity and achieve a form of excellence. This awakening led him to continue his training, first in the UK with chef Raymond Blanc and later in Paris, where he worked at La Grand Cascade with Jean-Loius Nomicos, who at the time was advised by Alain Ducasse.
Returning to Italy in 1998, the chef oversaw the kitchen at Hotel Villa Fiordaliso in Gardone Riviera for over 15 years before a fresh opportunity presented itself. Both passionate about good food, the Camanini brothers had often joked with each other that one day they would open their own restaurant. When they saw the nearby Lido 84 property, at this time a retro open-air swimming establishment on the western shores of Lake Garda, they decided to take a gamble.
A four-month renovation saw the restaurant change from the inside out. Inspired by the colours of Lake Garda and the art deco period, the Camaninis created an airy 35-cover space overlooking the water – and hired four cooks and two waiters to accompany them on their new journey.
Now heading up a team of 24, Riccardo and Giancarlo showcase the best of Lake Garda’s waters, as well as the artisanal products – such as Bagòss cheese and raw mountain milk – that represent the local area. With two tasting menus, one focusing on more classic combinations and another highlighting the chef’s creativity, plus an à la carte, Lido 84’s take on contemporary Italian cuisine thrives on pure flavours and innovative combinations.
In a short period of time, Riccardo’s signature dish – the cacio e pepe en vessie – has already reached classic status. The recipe represents an ode to artisanal craftsmanship, as the rigatoni pasta is cooked inside a pig’s bladder with the pecorino cheese and the bladder’s own juices. As the vessel cannot be opened to verify the level of cooking of the pasta, the dish relies on the cook’s own experience and ability to assess the cooking through touch only. The result is a creamy and aromatic version of the classic Roman dish with a dash of theatre, as the bladder is finally cut open in front of the diner.
Inspired by the desire to give diners a special gastronomic experience, the Camaninis have created a unique destination restaurant that combines a picturesque and tranquil location with innovative cuisine. Harmonious, accessible and pure in flavour, this is a vision of contemporary Italian gastronomy now set to break onto the world stage.
Take a look inside Lido 84:
Now read the interview with Riccardo Camanini on the 50 Best blog.