The Fiuto restaurant caters to the increasing number of dog owners in Italy by serving poké-style bowls.
Chef Luca Grammatico carefully combines pureed potato with chicken and courgette nuggets in the kitchen of a north Rome restaurant.
Then he grabs a fancy bowl, puts the mixture inside, and shapes it into a food tower using a shaper. Finally, he pours some courgette sauce on top. Grammatico’s next assignment is to make a bear-shaped biscuit for a visitor who is having a birthday celebration.
He declared, “Presentation is very important.”
This is a restaurant called Fiuto, the first in Italy and supposedly the world to serve dogs, not a Michelin-starred establishment, at least not yet. Elsa, a one-year-old Labrador, is the birthday diner. She is about to take a seat on a plush cushion near a table that has balloons and party hats on it.
Just over a week ago, Marco Turano and his two business partners opened Fiuto, an Italian word primarily used to describe an animal’s sense of smell, in Rome’s Ponte Milvio neighborhood. He claims that he has been flooded with reservations for clients with four legs, one of whom brought nine of them in for Halloween.
The 33-year-old, who formerly oversaw a restaurant in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, got the idea mostly from his girlfriend Noemi’s love of dogs. He also had a passion for catering. Nela, the couple’s Jack Russell, was also dining out the evening the Guardian visited.
Since Naomi adores dogs so much, we reasoned that it would be fun to combine our two loves. stated Turano. We didn’t leave anything up to chance; we consulted experts, such as dog nutritionists, restaurant owners, and veterinarians.
Fiuto’s carefully crafted dog menu consists of poké-style bowls with a selection of main meals and desserts after an initial choice of chicken, meat, fish, or veggie. The restaurant serves food to humans as well, and it is made in a completely different kitchen.
“We only use the best produce. Turano said, “We want to make sure that dogs eat here on par with people.”
Due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, dog ownership has grown dramatically in Italy in recent years. In 2022, Italians will spend €2.7 billion on dog and cat food products. However, a survey conducted this year revealed that dogs are their favorite pet.
Turano stated, “Italian people adore dogs, and they treat them almost as well as children, and in some cases even better than their own children.” “They are regarded as more than just a house pet; they are a member of the family.”
In Fiuto, the tables reserved for dog owners are situated apart from those used by non-owners.
The restaurant has a dog selfie mirror where patrons on Tuesday took selfies with their dogs before participating in a “best costume” photo contest. The winning dog received a collar and a discount on its subsequent meal. Additionally, Turano has planned a contest for the dog that most closely resembles its owner. He added, “It’s amazing how many dogs resemble their owners.”
The birthday Labrador, Elsa, arrives in style. Ettore’s owner keeps him a safe distance away from larger dogs because he is another Jack Russell who likes to bark at them.
When Elsa was just ten days old, Alice Mazzetti saved her from a bin, and she stated she wanted to make her first birthday unforgettable. Elsa is similar to a daughter, Mazzetti remarked. “This restaurant is a brilliant concept. Since dogs play such a significant role in our lives these days, it’s great to have locations like this where we can gather and enjoy special times together.
Curious, a German couple named Silvia and Frank, along with their two daughters, peer over from the area reserved for humans. They weren’t prepared to find a restaurant that served dogs after touring the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Trevi Fountain in Rome. “It’s exciting and enjoyable,” Silvia remarked. Frank would be hesitant to take the family dog, who lives in Berlin, out to dinner. He said, “Perhaps a little too much for me.
Being a dog trainer himself, Grammatico is on hand to make sure the dogs don’t fight or bother the human patrons. According to Turano, there isn’t currently any hostility. He added, “In fact, some of the dogs have fallen in love.”
Concerning the service, no grievances have been raised either. However, how do the dogs feel about the food? “So far, no one has raised their noses,” stated Grammatico.