SHORT BREAKS: TOP TABLE - ACQUAMATTA, CAPOLONA, TUSCANY

Location

13 Piazza della Vittoria, Capolona, Tuscany (00 39 0575 420999)

View and clientele

Pretty views from the main dining room over the River Arno, a 15th-century aquaduct and beautifully turned-out-Tuscan natives. 8/10

Design and service

A subdued interior with candle-lit tables set well apart. When we were there, one of the other diners, Enzo Ganazze, a moderately well known singer with the stage name of " Popo", held a brief jam session at the piano. The service by Paulo Pascrina, one of the owners, and sommelier Massimo Vivini, was studiously attentive, especially about the wine list. 9/10

Romance factor

High at a place like this. For greater privacy, wander on to the balcony and watch the moon catching on the lapping waters of the Arno. Or take Paulo with you and listen to the almost erotic fervour with which he describes plans to keep langoustines in a converted Roman tank. 9/10

Best table

Next to the windows. However, there are not that many tables and there will be no lack of attention.

Snoot factor

Stylish rather than haughty. The Casantino Valley is said to be the new "in" place in Tuscany. Madonna is reported to have bought a home there recently. 8/10

Menu

The three owners have won Michelin stars. Fresh fish is a speciality. 9/10

Wine list

Wide-ranging, prices varying from reasonable to those that will give one's bank manager a coronary. We followed Massimo's advice and had several bottles of a very pleasant Chardonnay Avignesi at 45,000 lira (around pounds 17) a bottle, plus a truly excellent Muscato Passipo de Pantelleria to accompany the dessert. 9/10

Price

A five-course meal with wine for six people came to 800,000 liras. A la carte, a meal for two would probably be not much more than 140,000 liras. 9/10

Oh yeah, and the food

Despite some overly elaborate dishes, a highly satisfying culinary experience. We started off with a carpaccio of salmon and swordfish, followed by marinated prawns and a tagliatelle of langoustine and asparagus, and then came the main course: Misto alla Catalana, a dish of sea bass, prawns and langoustines in olive oil and vinegar. By the time the delicious assortments of desserts came, we could only really toy with them. Next time we'll be less greedy at the start. 9/10

Kim Sengupta

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