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MagazineCorso6 MIN

Tre somari in Vydrica: The cherry on top from the Da Cono Italian family restaurant

For more than two decades, Ristorante Italiano da Cono Bratislava, a network of family-run restaurants, has been offering authentic Italian cuisine made from the highest quality ingredients sourced directly from small local producers in Italy. One of the co-owners, chef Cono di Candia, has family roots in the historic Italian region of Lucania, a renowned Italian gastronomic region. The “da Cono family” currently comprises three restaurants in Bratislava, with the latest addition, Ristorante Italiano da Cono i tre somari, coming soon to Vydrica.

What is the story behind your gastronomy business?

I come from a culinary family. I started to work in gastronomy business when I was thirteen. Twenty-five years ago, I came to Slovakia. I had been working in Germany where I met and fell in love with a beautiful Slovak girl. Our relationship developed into a moment when I had to make a choice between Germany and my love. Slovakia won. Since I had a strong gastronomic background, the decision to open a restaurant came naturally. I wanted to introduce Bratislava to the real, authentic Italian cuisine – not just a few internationally famous Italian dishes that can be found all over the world, but the typical flavours and cooking techniques from the different regions of Italy. I opened my first restaurants in Bratislava’s Trnávka neighbourhood. We have since grown into a big family business and my two daughters also work at da Cono.


What inspires your cooking?

I was born in Teggiano, a small town in the south of Italy. My birthplace is where three regions meet – Campania, Calabria, and Basilicata. Its historical name is Lucania and it is a very important culinary region in Italy. Every region has its own typical and unique dishes that draw on rich culinary traditions and culture. I like to experiment with different flavours, spices and seasonings, and premium quality ingredients. Over the years, I have developed my own recipes, mainly for southern Italian dishes, combining existing flavours and ingredients, but with my own signature touch.

What makes Ristorante Italiano da Cono unique?

All our restaurants use only the highest quality ingredients, sourced directly from Italian producers and suppliers that I know personally. The original products come mainly from the region where I was born. I’m an exclusive importer for some of them and you will not find them anywhere else because they are produced by small artisanal farmers. Many of our ingredients are homemade according to traditional family recipes, which gives the food I cook a unique and exquisite taste. For example, I have a very good personal relationship with a cheese producer, who sells me his entire production. You can also buy some of these products in our restaurants.


You can find pizza in almost every Slovak village these days. What is the philosophy behind authentic Italian cuisine?

In Italy you cannot go to a restaurant and order a pizza, you have to go to a pizzeria. It is different in Slovakia, but also in other countries of the world. When you go to an Italian restaurant, you expect them to have pizza on the menu, and that’s why we do it. But pizza is not my speciality, even though I won fourth place in a national Slovakia best pizza baking competition (laughing). We are a restaurant where you can enjoy excellent pasta, meat, fish, steaks and typical Italian dishes such as spaghetti carbonara, Bolognese or lasagne. Everything I cook draws on my roots.

Why did you decide to open your next restaurant in Vydrica? How does Vydrica fit into your business concept?

Vydrica boasts an excellent location near the Danube River. This will be the cherry on top from all our establishments or, as they say back home, the rose in the lapel of the jacket. We want to bring a lively, relaxed, and colourful restaurant to Vydrica, and this will be reflected not only in its interior, but above all in the food and wine from all regions of Italy on offer. Our guests can look forward to some unexpected combinations, as well as typical local dishes that reflect the tastes, traditions, and Italian mentality. Our new restaurant will be called Ristorante Italiano da Cono i tre somari. It’s going to be the best place in town, close to the centre and very prestigious.

The name of the new Italiano da Cono in Vydrica translates as three donkeys?

The name was inspired by the song of the same name by the legendary Italian singer, Domenico Mudugno, which has become an integral part of our culture. There will be three of us running the restaurant as chef, winemaker, and manager. As the name suggests, we have a good sense of humour and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We will be the only restaurant in Bratislava managed by three Italians with different talents and experience. Our main goal is to make people feel good and come back again. Our Vydrica establishment will also feature a small store with Italian products and local homemade ingredients from various provinces of Italy.


What is the “signature dish” of the chef at Cono di Candia, which will surely also be available in at Vydrica?

I love good food and it shows. They say you’ll never see me in a clean T-shirt. I splash some tomato juice on it every morning (laughing). The truth is, I just love spaghetti al pomodoro. For me, a good dish has to be simple, so that all the flavours and ingredients can stand out. Because it’s the simplest of dishes, such as a tomato sauce with basil, that best show the true quality. You’ll never go wrong with high-quality and fresh ingredients. And you really don’t want to waste first-rate ingredients by combining and mixing them unnecessarily. I have to have my spaghetti al pomodoro every two or three days, and they are also going to be on the menu in our best restaurant. Tre somari are very much looking forward to coming to Vydrica (laughing).



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