Massimo Il Ristorante - Restaurant review
When we get there, Massimo is crowded and we have to wait for about 15 minutes before a table is available. The restaurant is divided into several zones; the marvelous looking Gelato bar up front (two scopes for 20K), the wood fired oven Pizza kitchen on the other side, and the entrance in between. Entering the premise, just beside the open space to the left there's a bar, and to the right there are outdoor seatings so dark you have to use a flash light to read the menu. Then there's the main dining room; it's open aired with lots of ceiling fan blowing, it's rather cool at night but I'm wondering how hot is there during the day, especially with the merciless sun of Bali.
Seating can be arranged to accommodate large group of people, and there are also some four seater's available at the side. At the center of Massimo's dining room, there's this large long table which the servers uses as their base station for menus, condiments, very tall pepper grinder, etc. There's also a small air-coned room with several seatings available near the back of the building.
The interior of Massimo is warm and natural, with lots of wooden decoration here and there. Most of the visitors here are foreigners, mature, and come either as a couple, big crowd of friends, or family with children. This is perhaps related mostly due to the fact that Sanur area attracts more the type of family tourists seeking serenity holiday, as opposed to the crowd seekers, and party goers tourists of the Kuta area. Most of them are dressed in casual and fancy outfits, which helps elevate the relaxed but classy atmosphere of Massimo.
The menu at Massimo are consisted mostly of pasta, in where you can pick from the usual spaghetti and fettuccine choices, or you can also pick the more exotic pasta such as spinach and ricotta filled ravioli, or beef filled tortellini. There are also wide choices of proteins available; chicken, beef, mussels, shrimp, ham, bacon, tuna, and baby octopus, just to name a few.
As the wife is feeling a bit defenseless against all the new choices, we choose to start with the recommended "Quattro Stagioni" pizza which consisted of tomato, mozzarella, ¼ mushrooms, ¼ ham, ¼ artichokes and ¼ salami. We also asked the waiter to substitute all pork meats with either beef or chicken due to our diet. Beside of the pizza, we also ordered the "Crema di Funghi" which basically is a mushroom and cream soup with garlic croutons.
Well the pizza was good, wife like it which meant it will satisfy most of the picky eaters around the world. I myself think Italian thin dough and sparse mozzarella spread is nice and light while also fulfilling, and I'm also excited to encounter the rare artichokes, a highly uncommon vegetable here in Indonesia. But while the sour artichoke tasted great with tabasco sprikled, and the other parts of the pizza with different ingredients was fine, however I have to admit that my tongue was more excited upon encountering the Australian style pizza of Encore, at Carrefour Sunset Rd., or the "All go" big pizza at Cafe Bonsai, still in the Sanur area.
Perhaps with the substitution in place then this Quattro Stagioni has loses its true potential? If it is so, I was hoping that the waiter should have recommended other variant which is pork-free, or still tasted better without pork meats, considering that my wife is clearly wearing a head scarf. A good example we had in this case was during ordering at the PepeNero stall at Carrefour Sunset Rd.; perhaps sensing something different, the waiter warned my wife (not wearing head scarf back then) that the one she had chosen uses pork meats, and recommend other choices. The menu at Massimo itself on the other hand, has been proactively facilitating our concern very well; it gives marks to menus that originally created with pork meats, and suggests the visitors to inform their waiters if we have a certain kind of diet. Clever.
But despite what we deemed as proper level of attentiveness from the waiter, especially here in Indonesia, quality wise the pizza was good.
The Crema di Funghi was served in two bowls; each consisting of this green mush of creamy and earthy mushroom flavoured soup, topped with small cubes of excellently crumbly croûtons; wonderful. Though the arrival is a bit late, during us finishing the last two pieces of the pizza.
After a quick scan, we noticed that the wine and long drink choices are quite extensive, as well as the regular and soft drinks; they don't have Coca Cola Zero yet though, only Diet Coke. Beside of the main dishes, you can also choose from the different kind of antipasto, and adds the finishing touch of the nice desserts to your dinner. By the way, menus are divided into drinks, main, desserts, at least, so if you feel like you don't see any Crème Brulèe, Cassata, or Tartufo on the menu, just ask the nice waiters for the right piece of sheet.
Or if you're longing for something fresh and light after all those creamy and savory dinner, heads down to the front side and choose from the delicious looking extensive choice of home made Gelatos! At its smaller size, you get two scopes for 20K in either wafer cone or plastic cup. I chooses the strawberry flavored and the Mojito. Usually a cocktail, Mojito here is a lemon with mint flavored gelato, which also has the chopped preserved lemon skin on top. I didn't sense any rum in the mixture though; so I guess it's child-safe. Nonetheless they were strong, fruity, gelatinous, soft, and fresh, it's a delicious ending to our quite simple dinner that night.
Meals are around 60K, 100K+ for steaks, considerable portion, nice atmosphere with nice people, good food, attentive service, family friendly, just don't forget to book in advance should you plan to visit Masimo for dinner. They could be reached at +62-361-288942, or if you're feeling lucky, drive straight to Jl. Danau Tamblingan 206 in Sanur area. If you're coming from the By Pass Ngurah Rai from the south and enters Jl. Danau Poso, Massimo is right around the intersection of Jl. Danau Poso and Jl. Danau Tamblingan. For detailed reference please view the map below.
Visa and Master cards accepted, baby seats available. You might also visit their website at http://www.massimobali.com. (bay)
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About author: Bayu Amus
Bayu Amus is a gastronomic storyteller and Food Experience designer. He pens food articles for travel magazines, speaks on food events, and was part of the team who compiled Makansutra Indonesia 2013, the pocket book which showcases Bali’s best street food. Contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org