34 Best Restaurants in Lombardy and the Lakes, Italy

Al Donizetti

$$ Fodor's choice

Find a table in the back of this central, cheerful restaurant before choosing local cured meats and cheeses to accompany your wine. A few versions of polenta, daily pastas, and other heartier dishes are also available; just save room for the desserts, which go well with the sweet wines.

Via Gombito 17/a, Bergamo, 24129, Italy
Known For
  • beef tartare
  • 900-bottle wine selection with many by the glass
  • chocolate desserts
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues.

Eta Beta

$ Fodor's choice

Matteo Mutti's gelato flavors have personality. Like cheesecake with red pepper, rosemary, and pineapple, which might sound strange, but leaves a delightful impression on your taste buds. Other standouts are "Anni '90," inspired by Mutti's favorite tastes of the '90s—sour cherry and chocolate chip—and "Disaronno," swirled with a Lombardy liquor that is infused from apricot pits. The classics like pistachio and vanilla are also represented along with a selection of gelato popsicles, cakes, and sundaes in cups, cones, or brioche bread, to add even more flavor combinations. Mutti—who is also the inspiration for the gelateria's logo—is often behind the counter serving up his inventive creations. There are a few small tables, or better, enjoy your gelato while exploring Riva.

Feel Como

$$$ Fodor's choice

Your palate will travel from the lakes (eel with leek) to the countryside (hay risotto) to the mountains (tripe), all from the comfort of your table, at this cozy stone-arched eatery tucked into Como's commercial district. Expect creative takes on Italian cuisine, like deconstructed ravioli, using both local and more exotic ingredients, best sampled with a tasting menu.

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La Locanda dell'Isola

$$$$ Fodor's choice

For an unforgettable dining experience, head to Sala Comacina (a 10-minute drive south of Tremezzo) and take a five-minute speedboat ride to Lake Como's only island, Isola Comacina. Here you'll be treated to the same set menu that's been served at La Locanda since 1947: veggie antipasti; thinly sliced prosciutto and bresaola; grilled trout; fried chicken with salad; Parmesan cheese sliced from an enormous wheel; oranges or peaches with ice cream; and brandied coffee set afire with a dramatic flourish, while charismatic owner Benvenuto Puricelli regales you with tales of the island's history. The views are phenomenal, the stories are fun, and the food is better than it needs to be. Work off your meal afterward by hiking around the tranquil island.

Isola Comacina, 22010, Italy
Known For
  • <PRO>wonderful scenery, history, and lore</PRO>
  • <PRO>rustic, tasty set menus</PRO>
  • <PRO>cash-only operation</PRO>
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. (except in summer) and Nov.–Feb., No credit cards, Reservations essential


$$$ Fodor's choice

This aesthetically simple bistro-style restaurant, spruced up with modern art, draws a mainly local crowd for some of the most inventive food creations and presentation in the Como region. The imaginative Asian-inspired cuisine (think steamed partridge with smoked eel butter), makes good use of local ingredients like lake fish, and the frequently changing surprise five-, seven-, or twelve-course tasting menus are a particular delight, especially when paired with the mostly natural wines on offer.

Pasticceria Duomo

$ Fodor's choice

This portal to the past opened in 1883 and still serves up such handmade local delights as pan torrone (a loaf cake made with chunks of nougat) and torta cremona (a cake made with almond flour and filled with Amarena cherries). A relaxing stop between visiting museums, it's the perfect place to have a cappuccino.

Ristorante La Punta

$$ Fodor's choice

When tourist-heavy Bellagio starts to wear you down, seek respite at this charming restaurant located on the town’s very northernmost point, a scenic 10-minute walk from the center, with amazing lake views of Varenna to the north and Tremezzo to the west. As you might expect, the menu is heavy on lake fish; although the dishes aren't innovative, they're fresh and well prepared, and the view makes the experience even better. The antipasto di lago (mixed fish platter) and patè di pesce (fish pâté) make great starters; among mains, the baked lasagna and the gnocchi with cream and Gorgonzola sauce get rave reviews. End the meal right, with a freshly made cake or tiramisu.

Ristorante Lastresa

$$ Fodor's choice

The nondescript exterior of this buzzy eatery off one of Stresa's main streets belies its chic, stylish interior. Dishes made with seasonal ingredients dominate the menu, but, no matter the season, you'll find local lake fish, both marinated and panfried, as well as a solid list of wines from throughout the region and across Italy.

Ristorante Lido 84

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Dining in this bright, airy space feels like enjoying a meal in a fabulous friend’s modern lake cottage—if the friend had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Garda and a top-notch chef on hand. For an adventure in flavors from across the country, choose from two tasting menus (either "the classics" or one with “surprise” dishes chosen by the chef) and complement your meal with Italian or international wines in four- or five-glass pairings. 



Heralded as one of Italy's classic gourmet restaurants, Ambasciata (Italian for "embassy") emphasizes elegance in tiny Quistello, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Mantua. Those who are willing to make the trek (and pay the bill) can order à la carte or opt for the tasting menu (from 80) with an ever-changing array of traditionally inspired creations, such as the famed tortelli di zucca (pumpkin tortelli with pumpkin cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano), or mains like guinea fowl with mostarda (a sweet-and-sour mustard from Mantua), and roast pigeon with 25-year reserve balsamic vinegar.



Communal garden tables and atrium seating in a space that's also Cernobbio's tourist info point make for a pleasant stop for a coffee and pastry, light lunch, or aperitif. Baked goods, such as apple and frangipane (almond cream) cake and sourdough bread for sandwiches and tagliere plates (with local cheese, salumi, and lake fish), are made daily in-house. There's a friendly local atmosphere and the restaurant's staff are supported by the nonprofit organization Comet, which provides jobs for young adults and teens with disabilities. Proceeds from the cookies and pies for sale to take away also benefit the organization.

Largo Alfredo Campanini 1, Cernobbio, 22012, Italy
Known For
  • relaxed garden setting
  • house-made breakfast pastries and bread
  • convenient stop on the way to other lake towns
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

Cantina Follie


This cantina's leafy patio is reached by hiking up the stairs into the neighborhood above Tremezzo. There's a collection of more than 300 wines to sample along with tagliere (cutting boards) of local cheeses, preserved meats, and vegetarian and vegan options. For something sweet, try the semifreddo of the day, or a chocolate tasting.

Via Alessandro Volta 14, Tremezzo, 22019, Italy
Known For
  • shady setting away from the main street
  • cheese and wine pairings
  • local products
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Dec.–Feb.

Cicinin Panini al Metro


Pick a sandwich size (from a few inches to 40—or a meter—as the name al metro implies) to match your appetite, at this paninoteca (sandwich shop) off of Piazza Luigi Cadorna. There are just four inventive sandwich types on offer each day, with ingredients changing seasonally like lentil cream, fennel, ricotta salata, and orange; or mortadella, pistachio cream, and Toma cheese. While meats like salami are front and center, there's always at least one vegetarian option, all on crusty fresh bread from the village of Gignese. You can take your sandwich to go for a picnic while exploring the islands, or upstairs to the cozy and bright red and white dining room and its small terrace overlooking the piazza. 

Da Ornella


The vaulted ceilings of this popular trattoria on the upper town's main street are marked with ancient graffiti, created by (patiently) holding candles to the stone overhead. The house specialties are simple but tasty: polenta taragna (with buckwheat flour) cooked with butter and cheese and served with rabbit, chicken, or sliced mushrooms with oil, garlic, and parsley. Ask and you'll receive the perfect wine pairing for your meal.

Via Gombito 15, Bergamo, 24100, Italy
Known For
  • local salame
  • historical setting
  • casoncelli (meat-filled pasta from Lombardy) dell'Ornella
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues.



The Freddi family's history in Piazza Cavallotti began 100 years ago. On the edge of the historical center of town, it's still where locals queue to buy Mantua's traditional pastas and pastries—don't miss sbrisolona (meaning "crumbs" in Italian), a hybrid cookie and pie that you'll see sold everywhere with varying levels of quality. Here, the mix of flour, almonds, butter, and lemon peel is truly delightful as it crumbles in your mouth. They also have a wide selection of fresh pastas, including tortelli di zucca to take away.

Il Gatto Nero


Reservations are a good idea for this longtime favorite in the hills above Cernobbio. The lake view is splendid, and specialties include homemade pastas and fish dishes with a dash of international flair.

Via Monte Santo 69, Cernobbio, 22012, Italy
Known For
  • classic (veal) and nonclassic (tuna) cotoletta alla Milanese
  • high-end wine selection
  • lovely terrace
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Jan.–mid-Mar. No lunch weekdays mid- to late Mar.

Il Giardino


“The Garden" has an expansive patio that's a shady respite from the summer sun. Though mainly known for its pizza, the restaurant also has an extensive menu of fish and meat dishes. You can also stay the night in one of 12 basic rooms.

La Marianna


Stracciatella gelato—a creamy combination of milk, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, and dark chocolate shavings—is Italy's answer to chocolate-chip ice cream. While you'll see the flavor in gelaterie across Italy, one pastry shop, and city, Bergamo, claims it as its own. In 1961, Enrico Panatttoni, the pasticceria's founder is said to have invented the concoction and called it La Stracciatella alla Romana after a Roman soup with eggs in broth. Take your gelato to go or in a glass dish to enjoy in the shady courtyard just outside Porta Sant' Alessandro.

La Rucola 2.0


Next to the castle and tucked into three charming rooms, this elegant, intimate restaurant is considered by many to be Sirmione's finest. Its creative tasting menus feature an appealing mix of fish (from the lake or the sea), meat, and vegetarian dishes, all accompanied by a good choice of wines.

La Sosta


This osteria looks to the 16th century for culinary inspiration, with excellent homemade salami and two popular primi—gnocchi vecchia Cremona (stuffed with sausage and baked with poppy seeds, sesame, and Parmigiano-Reggiano) and marubini Cremonesi ai tre brodi (stuffed meat ravioli in broth)—made according to time-tested recipes. Order the tiramisu and an accompanying dessert wine for a perfect finish.

Via Sicardo 9, Cremona, 26100, Italy
Known For
  • cheese tasting menu
  • Cremonese sausage and veal osso buco
  • extensive wine cellar with dessert wines
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and 3 wks in Aug. No dinner Sun.

La Tortuga


This rustic trattoria is more sophisticated than it first appears: not only does it serve local dishes with novel twists, but it also has an extensive wine cellar. Capesante scottate con salse ai diversi sapori (seared scallops with different sauces) and palette di piccoli campioni di lago e di mare (mixed lake and sea fish) are worthy introductions to regional delights.

Via XXIV Maggio 5, Gargnano, 25084, Italy
Known For
  • fish and meat tasting menu
  • extensive cheese selection
  • delightful service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and Dec.–Mar. No lunch, Reservations essential

Lido di Cernobbio


Right next to the Cernobbio ferry stop, this pretty restaurant offers a nice selection of local wines and, whenever possible, uses local ingredients in its pizza, pasta, fish, and meat dishes. Though the modern gray interior is pleasant, try for a table on the terrace, and note that, in season, you can rent a sun bed and use the pools (one for adults and one for kids) before or after your meal.

Locanda Vecchia Pavia al Mulino


Amid sophisticated Art Nouveau surroundings, you can order creative versions of traditional Lombard cuisine. All fish dishes are done with verve, as are the lasagnette di pasta fresca alla robiola spinaci (lasagna with soft cheese and spinach), nocette d'agnello (noisette of lamb), and veal-shank stew, which earned the restaurant a Michelin star in 2019.

Via al Monumento 5, Certosa di Pavia, 27012, Italy
Known For
  • tasting menu with Lombard dishes and homemade pasta
  • Pavese wines
  • veranda (summer only) with a view of Certosa di Pavia
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Aug., and Jan. No dinner Sun., Reservations essential

Panificio Tresoldi


The Tresoldi family began baking bread in Bergamo in 1946 and the tradition continues with pizza, focaccia, pastries, and the local dessert Polenta e Osei—a sweet polenta-and-marzipan concoction decorated with chocolate that comes in sizes from small to large. The walls are lined with portraits of Bergamo's elite and with just a few bar stools the spot is ideal if you need a quick snack or lunch on the go.

Pasticceria Dondeo


Prepare to visit the sights of Cremona or wait for the next train at the Pasticceria Dondeo, just to the right of the station. Dating back to 1912, this is one of Cremona's oldest and most beautiful Art Nouveau cafés and pastry shops. The fresh zabaglione and beignets are heaven.

Pasticceria Marcolini


Margheritine cookies were first baked in Stresa for Margherita of Savoy in 1857 while she was still a princess. Named for the first queen of Italy as well as for their shape like a daisy (margherita in Italian) the biscuits' recipe includes cooked egg yolk and an abundant supply of powdered sugar making them crumble effortlessly in your mouth. Marcolini began crafting Margheritine cookies in 1959 along with a small selection of other sweets and savory baked goods. 

Pasticceria Nessi


Save room for dessert while dining in Bergamo, because Pasticceria Nessi serves the most delightful local treat. Polenta e osei is a hand-decorated, fluffy golden mound made with an ever-so-soft sponge cake and filled with maraschino cherries, hazelnut cream, almond paste, and chocolate.

Peter Brunel


Walk through a Japanese garden off a country road east of Riva del Garda to enter multiple-Michelin-star-awarded chef Peter Brunel's light-filled, turquoise velvet-chaired restaurant. Each of the dozen sleek white tables are decorated with a unique sculpture, and jazz music sets the tone. Navy-suited waitstaff suggest selecting an aperitif from the more than 700-label cantina and vast local spirits list (including nonalcoholic gin and Campari), to ease into your meal. In the black-and-white-tiled open kitchen (inspired by poet Gabriele d'Annunzio's Gardone Riviera home) sample the chef's signature dish, Memory of Lofoten, inspired by outdoor stockfish curing in Norway; marinated anchovies perch on a grissini (breadsticks) line, across a sea of piquillo peppers, foamy salt water, and herring eggs. Multiple tasting menus, including vegetarian, easily accommodate dietary restrictions and are the best way to try both seasonal and iconic dishes. For dessert, in-season fruit brulées with chocolate and ricotta cream pair well with coffee brewed however you'd like—from espresso to French press to Chemex.

Vina Linfano 47, Arco, 38062, Italy
Known For
  • dishes inspired by the chef's travels and Northern Italian roots
  • chic lounge areas to enjoy before and after meal drinks
  • impeccable service and presentation
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun., Mon., Feb., and 2 wks in Nov., Reservations recommended

Ristorante Al Pescatore


Freshwater fish is the specialty at this simple, popular restaurant in Sirmione's historic center. Try the grilled trout with a bottle of local white, and then settle your meal with a walk in the nearby park.

Via Giovanni Piana 20/22, Sirmione, 25019, Italy
Known For
  • grilled fresh fish from the lake
  • extensive variety of pasta and seafood
  • inexpensive meals
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Thurs.

Ristorante Castel Toblino


A lovely stop for a drink or a romantic dinner, this 16th-century castle is right on a lake in Sarche, about 20 km (12 miles) north of Riva toward Trento. Dishes highlight seasonal local ingredients, including mountain cheeses, salmon, trout, duck, and deer. The helpful servers can recommend the perfect Trentino wine to wash it all down.

Localita' Castel Toblino 1, Sarche, 38072, Italy
Known For
  • castle setting
  • fish tasting menu
  • wine list featuring Trentino varieties
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed mid-Oct.–late Mar.