A destination for gourmets from all over the world and a pop place where you can buy croissants in costume, have lunch for € 12, have an aperitif or dinner with "divine susci". The democratic dream of chef Moreno Cedroni turns 20, and that's why it's really so special
Algida ice cream, coffee drunk in costume, bottles of fresh water. The Clandestino Susci Bar by Moreno Cedroni it is one of the most photographed restaurants in Italy, one of the most evocative, the place to eat the "Italian-style susci", a place that deserves a Michelin star with low hands for cooking, but which remains first and foremost a beach bar , the free one.
The free beach
There Portonovo bay, along the Conero, in the Marche, is the Ancona beach, who arrive by motorbike with a towel under their arm, tupperware with rice salad inside and compete for places in the shade under the Clandestino, which in addition to being a kiosk also becomes a public space, such as a saving umbrella and screen.
This wonderful social experiment, as well as gastronomic and entrepreneurial, now turns 20: many have passed since the song Clandestino of Manu Chao it was the catchphrase of the summer. It was the July 10, 2000 and the Clandestine opened the doors to his first guests, it was the dawn of the new millennium, and much has changed since then (so that everything would remain the same).
It takes 10 minutes to serve you a fried and undercooked amberjack on the table, but it took 20 years of experience to make it
Il Clandestino has become a symbol of the beauties of Italy, gourmet destination for international customers, invariably mentioned in the services on the most spectacular restaurants, it marked the "reform" of a dish now famous as sushi, which has become the hands of chef Moreno Cedroni, susci. Here i was born seafood sandwiches (yes, those you see everywhere) and to book you have to move well in advance. Not for this, however, the Clandestine has become, like many other similar places, a stranger to his land, elitist and gradually more and more inaccessible to its historical customers and people in the area. He did not become an illegal immigrant, but remained a proud citizen.
The secret of the Clandestine
The secret is in being able to live different lives, from the morning with the gourmet breakfasts (for € 12), for the lunch on the beach with the mythical Shrimp hot dog, Sandwich with white tuna or the one with cod (12 € with side dish). The aperitif is equally popular: drinks + tapas for € 10, with games like mortadella and champagne. The crowded day beach is depopulated as the sunset approaches, the costumed girls who buy croissants give way to gentlemen in shirts and we find ourselves at dinner time alone, in silence, suspended on the sea and with the horizon that turns blue from pink, then orange, in a play of light that goes beyond the normal concept of romance.
The magical dinner
At dinner you can, but also not, make a complete tasting menu, of different courses, but which I would not dare define the bistrot of the Madonnina del Pescatore, two Michelin stars in nearby Senigallia, where it all began. At lunch the formula is that of the bistro, but at dinner the kitchen follows its own line dedicated to sea fish and which has seen history and literature intertwine, the imaginary myths of fairy tales with those that really existed in the fifties.
By 2020 the susci is divine, alias inspired by the gods of ancient Greece. Cedroni like Zeus, on Monte Conero as on Monte Olimpo, play with the myths of Dionysus or Aphrodite for a surprising dinner that starts from a Icicle of mead, myrtle, chews, evaporated vermouth and chinotto and goes through a Scallop, elder puree, quinoa, burnt parsley. Pure fine dining, with a lot of raw for an "Italian style" that was born to talk to us, indeed to speak even to Moreno's mother (as she writes in one of her many books), for gastronomically intelligible to everyone; in years when raw fish was still viewed with suspicion. Without lemon, oil or soy in which to drown the flavor, but a continuous study of each type of pulp, consistency, fatness and combination in a Mediterranean key. You can enjoy dinner without puzzling too much, but fascinated by the dishes more than by the view, and at dessert time you are immersed in the darkness and you only hear the surf of the waves. The kitchen? Very small, that of a kiosk on the beach with two micro environments where magic is performed. To direct it all, Massimo Franzin, together with a team of guys dressed in white, smiling like few others, who manage to interpret a professional service, but super relaxed and spontaneous.
It all seems easy now, but to get this far took two decades, a storm, maintenance work and a lot of perseverance. It is not a new opening, after all there are no big news and then you just end up talking about how beautiful the place is or being heard "already heard": the dishes would be equally good even if eaten in front of a white wall and of places like that there are actually few, maybe none. It takes 10 minutes to serve you a fried and undercooked amberjack on the table, but it took 20 years of experience to make it.
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