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"Food Report" - A Few Restaurants in Northern Italy

"Food Report" - A Few Restaurants in Northern Italy

Oct 7th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 24
"Food Report" - A Few Restaurants in Northern Italy

I wanted to share some recommendations from a recent visit to Northern Italy and have included some places to eat below. I was perhaps most pleasantly surprised (undoubtedly due to my own lack of research!) by the excellent meals in Verona and one place in particular in the town of Sirmione on Lake Garda.


1. Al Vecio Fritolin - In the Canareggio neighborhood and a great place for a lightly fried fish platter. Pasta was also fantastic--I had the pasta with scorfano (scorpion fish) and tomatoes. With coffee, a large bottle of water, and half litre of wine, the cost was about 45 euro per person. The best "fritto misto" I had while in Venice and ingredients were extremely fresh.

2. Al Mascaron - I think this place is well known among Fodorites, but I wanted to add my two cents. It is a fabulous place that I believe began as a wine bar but has evolved into a casual trattoria but with the ultra-casual feel of a neighborhood wine bar. It has found its place among tourists but there seems to be a local population that stop in for drinks and "cicchetti" frequently. Certain menu items change daily, but I enjoyed an antipasto of "baccala' mantecato" followed by a delicious spaghetti con nero di seppia. Both were fantastic dishes. On my second visit, I equally enjoyed the sarde in saor (marinated "sweet and sour" type sardines) and the spaghetti nero di seppia again. With a half litre of wine, bottle of water, and coffee, the tab per person was between 25 and 35 euro per person. Al Mascaron is located not far from the Santa Maria Formosa church.

3. Al Covo – Again, this one is well known. Located just off the Riva degli Schiavoni, Al Covo served a mouth watering rigatoni with baccala’ and hints of cinnamon, followed by an excellent fried, mixed fish platter. With a bottle of wine and a large bottle of water, and coffee, the cost was about 50 euro per person.

4. Trattoria da Fiore – Just off the Campo Santo Stefano, this small trattoria just next to a wine bar of the same name was a perfect place for lunch. We enjoyed a platter of mixed “cicchetti” (including polenta, fried fish, grilled fish, etc.) followed by a mixed grill of seafood. I believe there are several places to eat called “da Fiore,” some more formal than others, and so this smaller place is not to be confused with the others.


I was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic cuisine of this city and look forward to a return visit. Two standouts were--

1. La Greppia - Located on a small side street across from Piazza Erbe, this was one of my favorite meals in Italy. A fairly large restaurant that was crowded with locals for lunch (both inside and at the outdoor tables), I enjoyed an excellent primo of pasta with black truffles, followed by "baccala' alla vincentina." Fantastic eating experience in a perfect location. With a bottle of wine, water, and coffee, lunch was about 40 euro per person, and worth every bit of it and more.

2. Il Cenacolo - This restaurant, while seemingly formal from the outside, is actually bustling and rather informal on the inside. Reservations are a must, and on a Saturday night the place was teeming with locals eager to get a table. The restaurant offers a tasting menu only, and so you are served whatever they are preparing that day, but the menu itself gives you an idea of what the possibilities are. There are several "rounds" of the antipasto course, mostly grilled dishes but some lightly fried appetizers as well. Then a small pasta/risotto course, and then the main event, which is a variety of grilled meats with potatoes. Il Cenacolo has an open grill area which dominates the room and is the center of activity. Plan on a long, pehnomenal meal. Note that there are no other choices on the menu other than meats, and so if you are in the mood for fish or a particular type of pasta then this is not the place for you. The tasting menu is 35 euro per person, but with wine, coffee, water, etc. the tab came to about 50 euro per person. Again, very well worth it.


Another culinary surprise was Sirmione! I had not expected to find food worth recommending, but that was perhaps due to my own ignorance. I ate twice at Osteria Torcol. Their platter of grilled fish from Lake Garda was unbelievably fresh; their grilled "laurello" fish also from Garda was mouth-watering, and their bigoli (pasta) with fresh sardines was unexpectedly fresh and delicious. Also recommended is their pasta with eggplant, tomatoes, and monkfish. Their seafood antipasto of grilled calamari, tuna tartare, and grilled prawns was fresher than some seafood meals I have had on the coast of Italy and I would order it again in a heartbeat. These dishes went well with a dry, local white (LUGANO, "Pilandro"), and total cost per person with coffee and water averaged 30-35 euro.


Hostaria Borromei - A short walk from the Duomo, on Via Borromei, is this gem of a place with a local clientele. Local dishes abound, and their basic cotoletta milanese was excellent as was the bigoli (pasta) with sardines. Average was about 50 euro per person.

Happy travels and I hope you have a chance to eat at some (or all!) of these places.
M1 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
Hostaria Borromei is a treat. I had my first truffles there, and I have never had better since, anywhere in Italy. One of its most pleasant features is the wisteria arbor in its garden terrace. it's a rare pleasure to be able to dine outdoors in quiet, fragrant surroundings in Milano.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,291
It's been several years since we were at Ristorante Greppia. Ordered tris della casa at lunch which was three different ravioli, one of which was pumpkin. Yum. At the table next to us was the guy from CSI (Grissom).
kybourbon is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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sounds like you were on the goahead trip with the guide Alessandra recently? If so, wish I had known of those restaurants.
jaimevoyager is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Hi M1

Great list, thanks for posting. Vecio Fritolin is one of my favorites. If I could make a slight correction, just in case someone is looking for it in Cannaregio, it's actually in Santa Croce.

You're right aboutTrattoria Da Fiore. It is a great place for lunch.
gracie04 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for the comments. Gracie04, thanks for the correction. And jaimevoyager, although I wasn't on the trip with the guide Alessandra it would be good to know your experience with this guide. Hopefully you can try some of these restaurants during a future visit...
M1 is offline  

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