simple good food with great wine in Verona?
- Willem Mar 21, 2009 05:26 PM
Dear All, we're going to Verona for a long weekend. I'm looking for spots with good tasty honest food, doesn't need to be complicated, but needs to have great wines.
Searching the boards Il Desco pops up (is it truly worth a visit?), Tre Marchetti, and Bottega del Vino (is the winelist truly good?). Are there any other suggestions?
You may find this previous post helpful, especially the comments from Joe H. At Tre Marchetti, I spotted a '97 Aldo Conterno Dolcetto on the list, which I had enjoyed once before and think it is the best Dolcetto I ever had. After a long, ceremonious search, the wine could not be located, so I asked for a recommendation of a nice Volpolicella Ripasso. I was given an excellent, boutique version at what I believed to be a reduced price. I left happy.
Yes, we ate twice at both Taverna di Stella and Al Pompiere and loved them. Also loved Ristorante Antico Tripoli. Here are my reviews of all three from a post that I can't get to open anymore:
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.
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.
Thank you, BN1 for the nice words.
Willem, Osteria La Fontanina is a Michelin starred literal temple to wine (yes, literal) just on the far side of the river from the center of Verona. http://www.ristorantelafontanina.com/ I believe it is the most romantic restaurant in Italy. When you look at the photos on their website please bear in mind that the only light is from candle light. These were lit and are brighter than what you will actually experience. My comments about "a temple to wine" are not an exaggeration. An absolutely outstanding wine list along with an incredible passion and respect "for the grape." I cannot rave about this enough. If you have the opportunity you really should go. If you do, please post your thoughts on here.
I am not a fan of Il Desco. Yes, two Michelin stars, but it is not one of my favorite restaurants in Italy.
Verona is a special city, one of the most beautiful and least discovered in Italy.
I'm an American living in Verona (for 3+ years). The upscale places mentioned by the other Chowhounds are all good restaurants (and it's fun to get dressed up). But I always end up feeling like I've eaten much better and more memorable food in the States for much much less.
My favorite osteria in Verona: 'Al Duomo' on Via Duomo ...bigoli al ragu' d'Asino... mmmm. You can't make reservations. It isn't fancy, but it's true Verona, earthy and rustic. Also, please, tell me, will you really not be able to find a Valpolicella on their chalkboard that you won't enjoy???? 'Al Duca' has similar food and a great atmosphere, but Al Duomo is a step above in quality (Al Duca does take reservations).
A fun place to drink wine: Osteria del Bugiardo on Corsa Porta Borsari (just off Piazza delle Erbe). They have their own cantina. If you can find a place to sit, get a plate of polenta and sliced cured meats. Plop a little bit of gorgonzola in the hot polenta, pour on olive oil ...mmmm.
Osteria Sottoriva on Via Sottoriva (it's one of the only street that has arcades and is very picturesque). The osteria is a fun stop for a quick glass of wine and you'll hear/meet lots of expats. There's a really nice Enoteca with fancy wines across the street, also under the arcade.
On Piazza delle Erbe (I think it's going to be a full moon this weekend, last night the moon over the piazza was just stunning), get a drink at Osteria Verona, on the corner under the Venetian lion.
Be warned, there are going to be lots of ragazzi in Piazza delle Erbe, but it's worth it!
More expensive, but affordable:
Taverna via Stella is fantastic, it should have a good wine list.
Al Calmiere on Piazza San Zeno (my favorite Romanesque church in Italy - you have to see the bronze doors).
Bottega del Vino has a huge wine list, the food is just ok, touristy.
Some of my Veronese friends say La Greppia is the best restaurant to take an out-of-town guest. Not in my experience! They also go nutso over '12 Apostoli,' but I have no idea ...
Verona, with all it's pink marble and Roman symmetry, seems like an elegant place. It is, but it's also very earthy. The best wines are the ones friends bring over for dinner, in plain green bottles (directly from the cantinas ... probably costing an euro a litre).
Sopratutto, have fun! It's been so pretty the past few days, I hope the weather holds up for you.
Hey there, Lawmanx - we're in Verona right now - wanted to thank you for the recommendation on Al Pompiere - we went there last night and it was truly splendid. We've also hit Al Duca, also wonderful and a nice, friendly, down to earth atmosphere. We have 2 more nights - anything new we should try since your last post?
Al Duomo is especially delicious if you like horse. Raw horse (tartare), chopped up in stew with polenta (the hard sliced kind, not the soft kind), and a couple of other varieties. Of course, if horse isn't your thing, then the assino ragu will be a big hit (esp if you're travelling with teenagers, is that where the name 'ass' for donkey comes from?). The night we were there a pork medallion snuck up on the specials menu somehow, with some excellent veg.
Too many people have read about it, though, it was filled with Americans congratulating each other on being off the beaten path. The locals came in later (past 10), and were greeted with much more hospitality by the overworked staff. Like everywhere else, you get what you pay for, including the Valpolicellas, where there's quite a difference between the 1 eur/liter variety and the 22 eur for a half bottle kind -- they had both. Can't tell you which one goes better with horse.
Awww, been going to 12 Apostoli since the late 1960's when it was about the only game in town and was back there a year or so ago - changed and not for the better but still had a wonderful meal. So count me as one of the Americans who will still make a fuss over this beloved place.
thanks for all the posts - will be back to try your suggestions! Been in Verona and enjoyed it a lot. Ended up in Al Pompiere, which is great. All food is good, but the hams... We took a second round for desert...
Bottega del Vino: didn't get a table, but got to drink the wines. Amazing selection by the glass. Great stuff! Enjoyed a few all time favourites, and made new discoveries. Recommended if you love wine - indeed.
I'd like to second a few thoughts. First, my husband and I had a wonderful meal at Ristorante Antico Tripoli in mid-July. The room was beautiful, and all of our food was delicious. Second, we had an amazing lunch at Osteria del Bugiardo. Fortunately, we just beat the lunch rush and got great seats. We enjoyed their grilled vegetables, mozzarella, prosciutto, and wine. Finally, we had a pre-opera dinner at La Greppia and agree, it is not that special.
Wish I'd known about chowhound when I went to Verona... We went to Il Desco and it was a big disappointment. Take a look at my full review! http://www.causticcandy.com/archives/765 We were only in Verona for 48 hours, but the other meal we had was at our hotel Villa Amista, and we had the most fantastic meal at their restaurant Atelier. No idea why it doesn't have any michelin stars. The food was excellent, the sommelier was a complete gem (he introduced us to Ripasso, which I now buy religiously when I can find it in HK), the decor completely bonkers (in a good way), and the general service and atmosphere were really good.
Just been back to Verona this year, Thanks again for the advice everybody. Restaurant Stella was great (nice ravioli filled with cod, and great rabit stew with yummy polenta). Botega del Vino was a feast again. A tip for everybody: Trattoria Muramare. See my post today.