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Some may remember when this spacious venue was Giorgio Locatelli’s Refettorio, but the “smart-casual” place now trades as Diciannove (literally ‘nineteen’), with a refurbished interior and a new ‘vineria’ occupying what was the unused bar area out front. Head chef Alessandro Bay is still at the helm and the menu offers a now familiar ingredients-led mix dominated by various ‘convivia’ – sharing plates of artisan charcuterie, cheeses and rustic breads with homemade sottaceti (pickles) and deep-fried vegetables. Otherwise, business suits, hotel guests and tourists can choose from a conventional line-up featuring, say, conchiglie pasta with monkfish, saffron ad Taggiasca olives or beef fillet with potatoes tortino, sautéed leeks and veal sauce, followed by zabaglione or amarena (sour cherries served warm with ricotta and pistachio). The food is matched by a well-chosen all-Italian wine list.
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05 July 2013
This restaurant recently changed its name from the previous Refettorio so one can assume that it has new management. The staff who receive you are the same and they are outstanding and friendly. The menu is still very good and the food delicious if perhaps lacking the former sparkle and tending more to the mundane. Happily, the new owners have retained the former practice of having starters serve also as more substantial main courses. I strongly recommend the tagliatelle with beef and pork ragout and the superb ravioli di agnello, served on a delicious pea puree. Both are delicious although the portions are not as generous as they could be for a main course. A colleague went to buy a mushroom soup at a nearby Pret a Manger after having the ravioli. Also, you may well be resented if you choose a starter as a more expensive main course. Our waiter seemed seriously discomfited (almost downright offended) by the fact that we were NOT having a selection from the more expensive main courses and that we were not having wine. As a result, and this has happened through several of my frequent visits to the new Diciannove, he proceeded to punish us by cold and half-hearted service punctuated by some unnerving disappearances.
Restaurants that are based in hotels without a soul must make an extra effort to attract the punters. There is much about Diciannove that is promising. However, the loyalty of City workers is fickle and some of these elements are likely to discourage the faithful. Several of us who work nearby have already commented on the sad demise of our much-loved and frequented Refettorio. Restaurants, like religions, need the steady contributions of the truly faithful.
01 January 0001
26 June 2011
Well – I was recommended this restaurant by few of my colleagues so, decided to give it a try. It was brilliant, professional, knowledgeable friendly service which was complimented with great, fresh and tasty food, a dynamic wine list and an Italian maitre d' with a russian name who knows his stuff. Well done! see you again very soon.
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