Italy - Niko Romito
Maître Rôtisseur
Holder of 3 Michelin stars
" materials, research, simplicity and taste interact to bring the Italian cuisine of tomorrow to life "

Niko Romito’s three Michelin-starred Reale restaurant in the Southern Abruzzo region of Italy, is more than just a restaurant; it is a laboratory where materials, research, simplicity and taste interact to bring the Italian cuisine of tomorrow to life.

Self-taught chef, Niko Romito and his sister Cristiana began running their father’s newly opened Reale restaurant in 2000 following his unexpected death. Originally located in their home town of Rivisondoli, in 2011 it was re-located to Casadonna, a 16th-century former monastery in Castel di Sangro. Here, Niko has created an important culinary hub that comprises the restaurant, his professional cooking school - Accademia Niko Romito - a boutique hotel, orchards and vegetable gardens, an experimental vineyard located 860m above sea level and a bread/pastry laboratory.

In a short space of time, Niko has achieved a long list of accolades. He was awarded his first Michelin star in 2007, followed by the second two years later and the third in 2013. In the same year he conceived Spazio, a bistro run by the students of his school under the supervision of the Reale kitchen brigade. The first Spazio opened in Rivisondoli, followed by Rome and Milan, and soon after in other seven locations around the world.

In 2016 he unveiled ‘IN-Intelligenza Nutrizionale’, a ground-breaking scientific food protocol for hospital catering that applies research to nutritional transformation and re-thinks the entire food production chain. New initiatives for 2018 include the debut of a street food format called Bomba, and PANE, which brings research and development on leavened products to the production of bread on a larger scale and a new culinary line focused on bread.

In 2017, Niko embarked on a new partnership to curate the cuisine at the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts of Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai. The latter has already been awarded its first Michelin star. Niko’s concept preserves his fundamental philosophy of simplicity combined with precise techniques to create a core range of dishes and gastronomic concepts and establish a new style of contemporary Italian cuisine. In August 2018, Il Ristorante Niko Romito also opened its doors at the Bulgari Hotel Milano.

In 2018 Reale restaurant climbed to No. 36 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Reale has also achieved the best score for an Italian restaurant in the 2018 Michelin, Espresso and Gambero Rosso Guides.

Niko Romito’s cuisine may appear to be simple, but it hides a significant complexity that is the result of an endless research process into raw materials. He has created an incisive and personal culinary language, along with a complex system that perfectly combines haute cuisine, various catering formats, top-level training, street food and products for home consumption.

Dining at Reale restaurant is a unique experience. Guests can choose between two tasting menus or à la carte, featuring Reale’s great classics, a few seasonal dishes and Niko’s most recent creations. Wines from the restaurant’s cellar complete the experience. A stone-encased cave which was once a stable, the cellar has over 8,000 bottles across 500 labels.

Amanda Roberts
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne

Photography courtesy of Alberto Zanetti, Brambilla Serrani Photographers, Francesco Fioramonti, Roberto Sammartini