It was December 1989 when Franco and Graziella took over the restaurant from the previous owner and began the work of fixing up the place, but they also needed to find a name, something to tie in with the cuisine and the place by the sea…
Here comes the idea: the previous summer, on the beach nearby, a shark was spotted. And so the idea takes shape thanks to Fabrizio – an imaginative and creative friend – and “Lo Squalo” was born, a good shark, with surfboard, sunglasses and chef’s hat.
Finally ready, at the end of January they set off on this new adventure, involving their daughter Alessia and her boyfriend Cristian, then students in their early twenties.
In 1995 Cristian and Alessia took over the restaurant, and Cristian’s brother Giuseppe joined the team.
The desire to do things in the right way grew, together with passion and experience, so Alessia specialised in desserts, Giuseppe in the kitchen and Cristian in the dining room.
Their love of cooking was matched by their love of wine, and in 2001 Cristian and Alessia became professional sommeliers.
Everything you will find at our place we have chosen with care, after research and selection and with great regard for quality and what is authentic, genuine and local. Not only the food and the wines, but also the ambience and the furnishings, the table and the accessories, everything is designed to accompany you in an experience of true Italian welcome, design and taste.
As far as raw materials are concerned, great attention is paid to the choice, starting with “type 2! stone-ground flour, which we use both for handmade pasta and for the dough for pizza and bread, which is freshly baked every day in our wood-fired oven.
Particular attention is paid to our fresh pasta, whether plain like tagliatelle and tagliolini, or filled like ravioli, or even bronze-drawn. Our fresh pasta is made with eggs from a small local farm – a farmer with just 60 Livorno hens and marans. Marans are also known as ‘golden egg hens’ and are best suited to making the cream we use in our desserts, while eggs from Leghorn hens are good for fresh pasta or for making an egg cooked at a low temperature – our ‘perfect egg’.
We use low-temperature cooking for many of our dishes, just as our grandparents used to do. It is a very long process, sometimes lasting more than 24 hours, but it allows us to maintain the flavours and organoleptic characteristics of the food we prepare. We use it to prepare some sauces, or for octopus, which needs at least 3 hours.
In addition to our fresh pasta, we have also included Martelli pasta on the menu, because it is a pasta factory in Pisa (exactly from the small village of Lari) that works with traditional methods and local wheat.
Regarding the fish, we choose fresh and local if available, otherwise we use our trusted fishmonger’s here in Tirrenia, or we use fresh frozen on board, for example for shellfish, shrimp and red prawns from Mazara del Vallo (Sicily).
Meat is another feather in Lo Squalo’s cap: a few high quality dishes, such as sashi and angus. We go to the Angolo della Carne in Montenero (Livorno), a small butcher’s shop that is well known in the area, working with particular cuts and types. We are always looking for the best, usually national but also international meat: sashi, pezzata rossa, sirloin, angus bavetta. For some months now we have also been working with a breeder from Lajatico whose animals are kept in the wild, the opposite of intensive farming.
We also offer excellent ham tastings, with Langhirano, San Daniele, Iberian Serrano, Italian or Spanish shoulder (paleta).
In recent years, the pizzeria has also become increasingly gourmet: in addition to the slow-rising dough we prepare everyday, the buffalo mozzarella and burrata are sourced from Antonio Valente, we use three different types of tomatoes, the olives are local ones with stones (not processed by the industry), the basil is grown in the restaurant, and the toppings are also full of delicacies.
Dulcis in fundo, the desserts. The most popular is the waffle with white chocolate or the tiramisu, also in a “disassembled” version. But there are also millefeuille, pastries with fruit, fresh fruit tarts or tarts with our own jam. Even the butter is of our own production, made by centrifugation from milk.
The wine cellar has more than 150 labels: sommelier for 20 years, two or three times a year we like to go on a tour of the wineries and cellars, discovering more or less well-known wines, both Tuscan and not. In recent years, we have been particularly attracted by bubbles, both Italian and French.
The table is set with design details for an all-round experience of excellence: our glasses are designed by Massimo Lunardon, a glassblower and artist with pieces exhibited all over the world, our tables and cutlery supports are made of Tuscan olive wood by Toscanamade, a Pisan (from the village of Vicopisano) design furniture company specialising in woodworking, Made in Italy cutlery, and the plates we use are by Pordamsa and Revol.