After settling in and recuperating from the overnight flight and drive to our hotel, we eventually made it out to scout Santa Margherita for dinner options. We came to the town with only one restaurant recommendation, Trattoria da Pino, which my sister had suggested to us from a past trip. We struggled to find it that first night and eventually gave up. Worn out, meandering around, we resorted to doing what so many travelers must do when they reach that pinnacle of restaurant-choosing frustration and desperation: find the nearest place.
The nearest place looked OK at first, but we should have known it was a bad option when the menu came printed with English and German translations. Would any Italians eat here? But, we were tired and hungry, so we gave in.
At least the children in the restaurant were happy. Very happy, in fact, because the restaurant had a real live clown on staff entertaining them in an outdoor romper room. They were better off, too. While we ate pasta with bland, leaden sauce, the clown wowed the kids by blowing up big, bright balloons. To add to the absurdity, the power went out twice during our dinner. And, at one point in the evening, when the staff tried to set up for the arrival of a party of eight, everything slowed to a standstill as four waiters completely ignored their tables and spent at least 15 minutes getting together plates, silverware, and a tablecloth.
With the clown, the balloons, the bad food, the blackouts, and the confused staff, the evening reached a level of farce that actually made the meal somewhat entertaining. Needless to say, however, we didn’t return. Luckily, we found restaurant redemption the next day when we struck gold (or, in this case, insalata di mare) at our original culinary target, Trattoria da Pino. More on this to come . . .