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Favorite resturants- Lakes Maggiore, Como, and Garda

Favorite resturants- Lakes Maggiore, Como, and Garda

Jul 12th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Favorite resturants- Lakes Maggiore, Como, and Garda

Hello Fodorites,

After much debate about which lakes to stay in, we decided to stay 3 nights each at Lakes Maggiore, Como, and Garda. We'll have a car and plan on also visiting Lake Orta while at Maggiore, Lake Lugano on our way to Como, and Verona while at Lake Garda. Although we generally don't like moving aorund so much, we felt this would give us a chance to really savor at least 3 of the lakes before heading north to the Dolomites and then onto Venice and Milan. Everyone seemed to say that each lake has a special personality and we just couldn't decide which one we would "like" best.

On the forum, there is a great deal of discussion about where to stay, which was very helpful, but less about what to do and where to eat. I do have several threads about the villas and a few on favorite towns. In looking at my info, however, I realized I have few resturants and we'd love some recommendations at any of the places listed above. I am putting together a word file ( currently un-edited and numbering 20 pages or so) listing activites, tours, places to see or things to do, and, of course, resturants. When it is edited, I'd be glad to share it.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give us.


justretired is online now  
Jul 12th, 2005, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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For starters, take a look at a report, literally just today... of a "week by the lake" (Como) - - perhaps inspired by the Vanessa Redgrave movie "A Month by the Lake" (during which, Ms. Redgrave was permitted to actually spend the night at Villa Balbianiello - - reportecly no one else had been allowed to do that since Signor Monzino died) - - Judi reports on restaurants and how they spent the week far better than "your average Lake Como post". She did not comment on the restaurant locatde on Isola della Comacina, as far as I recall, nor evidently, did they splurge with an outing to Villa d'Este - - which is virtually guaranteed to impress you (and maybe depress your bank balance).

And for Garda, I will top this recent reminiscence of mine, about Graspo's, in the town of Garda itself...


Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Stealing the thread for one sec... I'm so proud of myself for (three years later) making my scrapbook, as I can just open it and tell you where we ate and how wonderful or mediocre it was!!!

Back on topic...

We spent three days on Garda, in the town of Garda and ate at the following places:
* If I don't list a place, the restaurant is in the town of Garda
Hotel Excelsior - our hotel, was good but not worth going out of the way for, if you're staying there its convenient, relaxing, and has fine food.
Ristorante Mingon (Malcesine)Nice outside patio, only had pizza wine but was a nice atmosphere in the little town.
Casa Fernandez*** THE BEST small restaurant we experienced in Italy - see below.
Hotel San Marco - we were treated like royalty by the owner who was our waiter. Great service and great conversation with him when we were through. He even gave us spumante to take home and enjoy since it was our honeymoon. You can eat on the porch with a view of the lake - not the best spot, but a very worthwhile meal. I remember my husband being served the WHOLE trout, it wasn't much to look at, but he enjoyed it!
Casa Lady - nothing memorable except loud Germans next to us.

I would recommend HSM and would strongly recommend Casa Fernandez. The woman who owns CF was cooking, saw us looking at the menu and we were going to leave, b/c we wanted Risotto and it wasn't on the menu - she made it especially for us, (Funghi Risotto)it was wonderful. They treated us great, and the whole bill was 35 euros - according the the handwritten bill we had bruschetta, risoto, tag.salmon, pinot, scalopine, and what looks like POMUS (No clue!!??) - I remember having wonderful limoncello, so perhaps that last is a code for it? It was only 2.50 euros.

I hope this is a start to your list, and I'd love to share it, as we'll be headed to Como (unsure which town yet)and perhaps Maggiore the night before we fly out - if I can squeeze it in
travelphile is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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Thanks Rex and Travelphile- I've read and clipped and pasted. Now, to the editing stage! And I'll be glad to send it to you, Trav, when it's completed. When are you going to Como? Rex, I remember you from last year when we traveled to Provence and to a language school in Roanne. You're always a wealth of info and so very generous. Thanks, again.

Any other suggestions?

justretired is online now  
Jul 12th, 2005, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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October 14-30 is the overall trip, Como (Menaggio or Varenna the most likely home base) will be at the beginning of the trip. I could be convinced otherwise still - where are you staying & which towns? (perhaps you have another post I've missed this on?)

Unfortunately, I'm still watching flights for our trip I'm ready to book, but one of my traveling partners has an RCI condo trade in the works- so we're holding out and not booking anything yet - not being able to truly plan this close to leaving is killing me! (and someone will say we're not likely to get the condo trade, we already got 'in' for one, but had to change the dates due to one of the traveller's work committments...)

Keep the great info/compiling work going justretired!
travelphile is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 06:49 PM
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At Stresa try a place named La Rustica--that is close. And, try to lunch at Hotel verbano on Isola Pescatori. Have fun--you will love the lakes.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Another vote for La Rustica. Off the main tourist track, a beautiful view, and great food.
chicgeek is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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You're welcome. I appreciate your kind remarks.
rex is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:11 PM
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My site lists a number of favorites in and around Lake Como (Where we live), see http://www.straughan.com/food/rest.html

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

www.straughan.com (personal)
www.tvblob.com (work)
DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 03:46 AM
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The dates of are Italian trip are 9/14 through 10/3- a total of 18 nights. There has been a lot of discussion about chosing hotels in Europe, and I thought I'd share some of our thinking during the formation of our itinerary in the hope that it will be helpful.

When chosing where to stay, we mostly consulted the Forum, as well as Slowtrav.com, Tripadvisor,com, Karen Brown, and personal recommendations from friends. We didn't like the format of Venere.com as well. We are in our early 60s, reasonably healthy with some orthopedic stuff, and try to travel to Europe at least once a year. Since Larry, my hushand, speaks French, Italian, and Spaniah, as well as passable German, he likes to go to those countries where he can speak the language. I'm learning French, but am a slow, but enthusiastic student. So far, chosing places to go hasn't been a problem, but, now that he's retired ( I'm an artist and never exactly retire!), I hope to convince him to expand our travel to other places like Greece, Australia, Hawaii, etc.

Because we are lucky enough to know that, as long as we stay healthy and have no unexpected crisis (a big "if" these days), we will continue to travel often, we like to plan vacations that explore limited areas. In chosing hotel or B&B accomodations, I like to see recommendations in at least 2 places. Since I am a very light sleeper and have trouble with inserted ear plugs, we tend to choose hotels that are quiet in both the countryside and in cities. In the cities, we stay as close to the major sites that work for us. Outside of the cities, we generally stay in small villages or outside of towns, though, in France last year, we loved a B&B directly in Bonnieux- as the kids would say- go figure. I think it is Patrick (forgive me if I'm wrong on the source) who has shared an interesting point recently- that the tourist towns that are perceived to be noisy and busy tend to empty out at night and the larger towns give more choices for restaurants. All that being said, our schedule for September is as follows:

3 nights each:

Hotel Verbano on Isola Pescatori (Lake Maggiore)- we have friends who stayed here last year and loved it. Bob the Navigator thought that it might be too isolated, and we are concerned that we will need to take a boat to see "the sites," but we just liked the sound of the inn.

Eremo Guadio in Varenna (Lake Como)- the descriptions sound wonderful, particularly here and on Tripadvisor, though it is a walk into town and to the ferry. We;ll have a car if that proves difficult.

Hotel Gardesana in Torri del Benaco (just north of Garda on Lake Garda))- we wanted to be close enought to Verona to spend a long day there, so we chose a hotel south and east. We know that this is not the prettiesr part of the Lake, but plan on either taking a boat or drive north.

Hotel Uhrerof (outside of Ortisi in the Dolomites)- this was a difficult one since we wanted to stay in Casterotto, but were concerned about the church bells ringing all night. (see thread on this if you are intereted). The Uhrerof looks wonderful, but it is isolated and we will probably eat all our mrals there. Sometimes, we like that, though, becasue, after a long day of touring, it's nice to come back to yor hotel, crash and shower, and just walk downstairs for dinner.

4 nights in Venice at:
Ca'Amadi ( on a quiet canal in the Rialto area)- we have been to Venice before and stayed near St Marks, and thought that we'd like to be ourside the crowds. Now, after much reading, I realize that there will be different crowds at the Rialto, but the hotel is supposed to be quiet. Many of the favorite places were booked 3 months in advance.

2 nights in Milan at:
Antico Locanda Leonardo- s centrally located and resommended hotel

We all make choices that have compromises. When we return, I'll let you know how it all oworked out. In the meanwhile. any other restaurant or activity recommendations would be appreciated.



justretired is online now  
Jul 13th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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I suggest you check out this site which is dedicated to cuisine and fuine dining in Europe.

sssteve is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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While on Lake Como you should eat at Locanda dell'Isola Comacina. The restaurant is on an island off from Sala Comacina just south of Menaggio. Its a production as much as its a meal. The menu has been the same since 1947. They have multiple seatings but everyone finishes dinner at the same time with the "fire ceremony."

I wrote a review of the restaurant in an old post:

Here is there website:
candert is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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That's what is so wonderful about this forum- there are always new ideas and suggestions. The egullet site looks great and the Locanda dell'isola Comasina looks very inviting.

Thanks, all!
justretired is online now  
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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You sound almost apologetic about your decision to stay in Torre del Benaco on Lake Garda. don't be. We stopped there while getting the ferry to cross the lake and found the town lovely. I think you'll enjoy it. South of there is the Locanda San Vigilio. It has a lovely, if somewhat expensive, restaurant that you might enjoy. Cuisine is a sort of cross between Italian and German. If you don't go for dinner, just stop, look the place over and have a drink at their little bar under vines on the shore of their own little harbor. We were there while a wedding reception was in progress. Quite fun.
Oh and follow Candert's advice on dining at Isola Comacina. A truly unique dining experience.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:22 PM
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How interesting. About a half hour ago I just recommended Hotel Gardesano at Torri del Benaco. It was a great place. And let me assure you that you MUST eat there one night. My partner loves his special plate that their signature dish comes with (hand painted as a souvenier). Their award winning restaurant is really what the hotel is all about, but we loved our room facing the lake as well.

As Julie says, forget about it not being the prettiest part of the lake -- it's still pretty special. Although we drove around the lake, we stayed several days and preferred hopping on the boat that came in right outside the hotel to visit other towns and not worry about parking (in fact we never did stop to explore Garda itself because we spent a good half hour looking for a parking place -- all lots were full -- and just gave up). Don't think you'll have that problem though in October.
Patrick is offline  
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