The secrets of George Clooney’s final hours as the world’s most eligible man have been revealed by the restaurateur who gave him his last supper as a bachelor.
The Oscar-winning actor ate five courses, including two puddings. He then ate three ice creams and took away three more to enjoy before going to bed on his last night as a single man, according to the host of his stag night.
The restaurant did not ask him to pay the £3,000 bill he ran up with his guests. The following day he married Amal Alamuddin in a lavish ceremony.
Clooney arrived at Ristorante Da Ivo in Venice last September with six friends (and only 10 minutes’ notice) before ploughing through antipasto, pasta with truffles, two helpings of mushroom risotto, strawberries with vinegar, and zabaglione, a dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine.
Giovanni Fracassi, the manager of the restaurant near St Mark’s Square, said the tip was modest even though the food and drink were on the house. “No, he didn’t pay for his night, I didn’t want him to,” said Fracassi. The tip was “not much, like you would do for a friend”. The actor has, however, in the past given Fracassi an ad hoc drawing of a Clooneyesque figure, saying, “Grazie! A perfect night!” The restaurateur has been offered a six-figure sum for it but refuses to sell it.
Clooney also sketched a mooning caricature on a plate, with the words “La Luna!”. Fracassi said: “For a man getting married 10 hours later, he was really eating a lot. He sent back for seconds of a big plate of risotto, both times wiping his plate clean with chunks of bread. “Then I gave him some Dai Dai mint and chocolate ice creams. He really likes them. He ate three and took three with him to eat in his room.” The actor was so pleased with the food that he went into the kitchen and kissed the cook, Giorgina Mazzero. A chef for 38 years, she was the last woman known to enjoy a clinch with Clooney before his marriage.
Fracassi had been called by Clooney’s assistant asking for a table for seven people in 10 minutes for “someone important”. As the restaurant was full, he pleaded with four diners who had reached their pudding course — two British and two American — to give up their table, offering to pay for their drinks in return. “I was very surprised when I saw who it was,” said Fracassi. “Venice has many nicer restaurants than mine. After the preparations I went to welcome them, and once out from the boat he just said, ‘Ciao, Giovanni.’ You could see he was happy. He was wearing an Armani suit; he was so elegant.” Fracassi said the party included Rande Gerber, the husband of model Cindy Crawford, Clooney’s manager, his co-producer and two people Fracassi did not recognise. There were no Hollywood stars in the group. Matt Damon chose to eat at Harry’s Bar.
As word spread of the celebrity dinner, paparazzi were reported to be paying up to €1,000 (£750) each for a window view from a building on the other side of the canal to get a shot of the stag party. A crowd gathered outside. “At the beginning nobody knew he was here,” Fracassi said. “So we managed to get him in and cover the windows with tablecloths. “Usually George likes red wine like Sassicaia or amarone. And also he really likes tequila — the yellow one.”
Fracassi said Clooney “told me he plays basketball with [Barack] Obama and goes to the gym. He didn’t invite me to the wedding, but I’m not important”. Four months earlier, Fracassi had met Clooney’s future bride. “George came to the restaurant with other girls, before bringing Amal here on May 27,” he said. “Amal has a very strong personality, in my opinion. She is charming and very elegant. They looked very much in love . . . You can tell when a couple are truly interested in each other. If it was just staged you would be able to sense a cold atmosphere, but it wasn’t like that between them. Amal ate a lot and they drank prosecco. They were stealing from each other’s plates. “She chose the same as George: grilled mushrooms, and baby artichokes with crab. George is crazy for them, just like he is for the risotto.”
Fracassi said his other clients, including Elton John, Sting, Colin Firth and Ewan McGregor, always insist on paying, though he gives them a 25% discount as they are regulars. But do they eat as much? “The way George eats, you would think he would be fat,” Fracassi said. “Maybe he burns a lot making love.”