A simple concept of “less is more” reverberates in strength in the conceptual kitchen of Chef Michele Esposito. He expresses the desire to propose a kitchen that circumvents superstructures and focus on balanced and intense flavors. Straightforward and clean in the palate but a studied complex technique behind every dish. It is a modernized cuisine that doesn’t forget the familiarity of flavors that we are accustomed to but in turn, is not reluctant to introduce contemporary ideas. So if you are a dedicated gourmand with a curious palate, Emanuel is the place to go to.
Emanuel is located on the shores of Enfola Beach in Isola d’Elba that is a part of a narrow isthmus that joins the promontory to the rest of the island so it has beaches on both sides. In ancient times until 1958, it had been an important tuna fishing port. There’s a camping site nearby, as well as a convenient parking lot next to the restaurant, a jetty where guests can arrive by small boats and it is just around 5 kilometers from the main port town Portoferraio.
Emanuel was born in the hands of young restaurateurs Luca Del Gratta and Francesco Gentili in 2018 when they took over the historical Ristorante Emanuele that had been there since the 1960s. Although they retained the old name of the restaurant with just a very slight change of taking away the final E, the concept of the restaurant has been completely modified. The renovation of the internal space was made to look minimal and modern without obstructing the beautiful seascape in front that takes part in the total atmosphere of the restaurant. It has three zones, the indoor part where 16 can be accommodated, the outdoor terrace where another 20 can be seated and on the exclusive upper terrace where a private table can be booked.
On the other side of the structure, the outdoor bistrot beach bar completely shaded by a centuries-old fig tree is dedicated to the casual and easy dining area of Emanuel where simple lunches like pinsa romana can be enjoyed while spending a day at the beach. It’s also one of the best places to revel on late afternoon cocktails as the sky is slowly tinged with orange tones.
Luca dove into the world of restaurants when he took over the nearby Osteria di Mare in 2016. It’s a laid-back restaurant offering traditional cuisine resting on the Enfola Beach with a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea. Francesco instead has worked for years in a renowned restaurant in Porto Azzurro, another part of Isola d’Elba. Knowing the island inside and out and being in the food sector, both wanted to take out something different that the island can offer to its guests. An adventure outside the box is a welcome change to the ones who are seeking more than the traditional kitchen. Emanuel is the ultimate expression of their idea of a diverse culinary experience realized with arrival of Chef Michele Esposito in March 2021.
Michele Esposito is originally from Sorento, a town in the Sorrentine Peninsula. After his culinary studies, he worked for four years on cruise ships then moved to London to work in a luxury hotel and then in a 2 Michelin starred restaurant. He returned to Italy briefly to work in a starred restaurant then he embarked again to a professional culinary journey around the globe taking him to New Zealand, Greece, Kuwait, Russia and Turkey. The meeting with Luca and Francesco convinced him to move to the island to bring his conceptual cuisine to Emanuel Bistrot: exaltation of raw materials, few ingredients on the plate, and search for balance and intensity. At Portoferraio he has found the right products to give life to a new gastronomic course, the suitable contacts with fishermen and suppliers to bring all the flavors of the island to the table.
With the consultation of award-winning Pastry Chef Matteo Dolcemascolo for the bread, pastries and desserts, dinner becomes an excellent experience for the palate. Friends and colleagues, both chefs create a harmonious flow of creative ideas in the kitchen like their unforgettable original dessert, the Maritozzo di Michele e Matteo which stems from the typical dessert in the Lazio region (where Rome is) made of sweetish small bread stuffed with whipped cream. In their case, the bread is mixed with the ink of cuttlefish and the stuffing is a light gelato-like cream made with cuttlefish. It may sound extreme but it is an incredible depiction of how extraordinary the dishes can come out from their hands.
The best way to get to know the restaurant is trying the tasting menus where the chef can propose his best dishes. There are two kinds of tasting menus, the Incontro (€100) composed of 10 tasting dishes and the Lasciarsi Andare (€135) composed of 14 tasting dishes. Wine pairing is also available for the Incontro at €35 for 4 glasses of classic wines or €50 for 4 glasses of cru wines whereas for the Lasciarsi Andare, 5 glasses of classic wines is at €50 or €70 for 5 glasses of cru wines. For smaller appetites, there are also proposals at the a la cartè menu: Appetizers (€30 to €40), Pasta and Risotto Dishes (€30 to €32), Main Courses (€36 to €40), and Desserts (€12 to €14). While all the proposals at the Incontro Tasting Menu are excellent, the ones that are noteworthy are the Alici in Tortiera (anchovies, parsley, sweet garlic, foie gras and cuttlefish ink biscuit) and the Maritozzo di Michele e Matteo.
Emanuel Bistrot di Mare
Strada Provinciale per l’Enfola, 7
57037 Portoferraio (LI), Italy
Tel: +39 0565 939003