Verona.. on a Sunday and Monday-
We're traveling to Verona for the first time and will attend the opera on Sunday night, in the beginning of August.
Any restaurant suggestions? I'm concerned that many places will be closed the nights we'll be there!
I am copying and pasting below my Verona report from this past fall which should give you some good possibilities. Worth checking to see if Antico Forno is open as it was really fun as well as delicious, but we liked all of them. Please report back after your trip!
Ristorante Antico Tripoli, Via Spagna 2, Verona, tel. 045/803.5756 (no note of closing day) (very near Basilica di San Zeno). This is a very attractive restaurant in a renovated stable – large space nicely broken up with gauzy white curtains here and there. It stars a huge open hearth where most of the cooking occurs over wood coals – ask to be seated near the fire unless you are there in very hot weather. I had an amazing fish carpaccio (three kinds of fish, each marinated in a different dressing to achieve a sort of ceviche effect) followed by revelatory baby lamb chops cooked to perfection over those coals and accompanied by roasted potatoes and an eggplant caponata that was both fresh-tasting and incredibly rich and luscious. Lovely service. Would go back in a heartbeat. Fairly expensive.
Ristorante Calanova, Via XX Settembre 13, tel 045/8008309, closed Tuesday all day and Wed lunch. Very modern, minimalist yet luxe décor. All seafood menu. Amuse of mussels which were alleged to be fabulous. Starters were smoked swordfish (very good) and julienne of squid (did not try but pronounced delicious). Main courses were a fabulous filet of bronzino with thinly-sliced potato “scales” that had crisped up in the oven, tiny tomatoes and baby rosemary, and giant prawns (said to be excellent). Desserts good too. Excellent, solicitous service (we were the first ones there and we noticed that almost immediately after we sat down the music changed to a selection of classic American show tunes and jazz; when the restaurant started to fill up with locals the music changed over to classical – how hospitable can you get, to greet guests with their “own” music?). Expensive.
Trattoria Al Pompiere, viccolo Regina d’Ungheria 5, tel 045/8030537, closed Monday lunch and all day Sunday. The big deal here is their incredible selection of salumi (cured meats). A corner of the small restaurant is devoted to shelves of the stuff, together with a gleaming slicer, all presided over by the boss of the restaurant (we dubbed him the slicing chef) who also seemed to be the father of the main waiter. We asked for a selection of the salumi for a starter – the waiter asked if we wanted ham only or everything – everything we said. (Turns out “ham” in this case meant what we Americans think of as prosciutto and what Italians call prosciutto crudo. You are going to get pork of some sort when you order salumi.) The first time we got lardo, sopressa, porchetta, and prosciutto – the slicing chef delivered them and told us where each was from. Each was the best of its kind we’d ever had – the sopressa was particularly amazing – melt-in-your mouth tender – we flagged him down and asked him to repeat where it was from. “Di nuoi” he said, jabbing his finger at his chest. Wow. Ravioli filled with caramelized onion and tagliatta (sliced beef) with potatoes and baby salad were also excellent. Second time there we asked for a selection but please include the sopressa di vuoi. The slicing chef showed up this time with his sopressa (another poke in his chest) plus a “flight” of Parma hams: crudo, cotto and pancetta – excellent again. They also have an amazing cheese selection which we did not explore, but similarly the cheese waiter will put together a selection for you and discuss it at great length when he delivers it. This is a small place and packed at lunchtime – reservations are essential. Moderate to moderate plus.
Trattoria di Via Stella, via Stella 5c, tel 045/8004824, closed Monday. A casual spot popular with locals for Sunday lunch. Some of the very best beef I had on a trip full of good beef – in this case sliced over rucola salad, the warm beef a lovely contrast with the crisp greens. Pastas also good. Moderate.
Trattoria all’Isolo, Piazza Isolo, tel 045/594291 (no note of closing day). A small, family-run place near our apartment and providentially open on Sunday evenings. A Slow Food selection and appropriately enough most or all of their offerings are stews and braises. I am blanking on starters but the osso bucco was delicious. Moderate.
re: Brian Lindauer
We found Sunday somewhat limited and what's open is crowded with local families, especially at lunch. Reserving ahead is a good policy. We enjoyed a Sunday lunch at Paoli in Florence, along with a lot of locals. Fillet with truffles and vitello tonnato both delicious. You should be fine with a little planning.
I just went to the opera (Aida) in Verona this past Sunday and it was wonderful. You are in for a treat. Make sure you pack a picnic and lots of water as there is a long wait for the opera to begin and the food they sell in the stands is awful and overpriced (5 euros for a pepsi, and no bottled water at all!)
For Monday, try to get a reservation at Trattoria alla Colonna on Largo Pescheria (045 596718) - this is where the locals eat and although the atmostphere is quite casual it's often booked 2 weeks in advance. You must try the cottoletta, a fried veal cutlet with fried potatoes - it's THE specialty of the house and delicious. Be warned, however - even the medium size cutlet is huge. We went for lunch and could barely find room for a caffe ristretto, let alone dessert.
Well, I can't decide on a few things!
Antico Tripoli, Al Pompiere or (another suggestion of a friend) Greppia for Monday dinner?!
And Sparrow, how early do I have to arrive for the opera? We'll be arriving in Verona around noon on Sunday so I assume we'll only have time for a lunch? Is anywhere decent open after the opera?
What to do??
re: Oakland Barb
FWIW, in the course of researching our stay in Verona last fall, a poster here (JeremyM, not sure he still posts) whose suggestions I have always found to be very reliable, said to avoid Greppia. As to choosing between the other two, both have excellent food. Al Pompiere is a fairly small, almost cosy family-run place. Antico Tripoli is larger, more formal and with more formal (but warm) service, if that helps at all. You can't really go wrong though.