lake garda recommendations please
About gelato I strongly recoomend you in Desenzano del Garda, in the small hamlet named Rivoltella, AGRIGELATERIA CORTE DEI SAPORI. It is more than a gelato shop it is an experience to live. Look at its website www.cortefenilazzo.it .
In Gardone Riviera, the great dinner is at LOCANDA AGLI ANGELI; it is a D&B, so that you could sleep there, also (www.agliangeli.com).
The night that your dinners wants to be focuse on great wine, go to Manerba del Garda and dine at wine bar IL GUSTO.
In Riva del Garda, the great dinner is at the restaurant AL VOLT.
We stayed at Locanda Agli Angeli , which is actually located in a little hamlet called Gardone Sopra a stiff walk or easy drive uphill from the lakeside last summer and had a string of excellent meals. Also in Gardone sopra is the amazing home built by Gabriele De Annunzio, a must visit. There is a picture perfect hotel restaurant at the bottom of the hill (directly at the bottom from the road up to the Angeli) which offers competent fish under yellow and white striped awnings looking out onto the lake. There are also a couple Slowfood recommended restaurants in Salo, just down the road but we were sort of marooned in Gardone Sopra and didnt make it there. This is a lovely area.
I like Bardolino wine so I would consider it worth the trek across the lake to sample the goods in situ. I also like the town of Bardolino, which is a little holiday fantasia, not to be confused with any sort of "secret gem of Italy" but it has a sweet feel of people relaxing and having fun plus quite a nice, modest but lovely church. I found it pleasant to visit enoteche, but I was astonished by the ice cream creations I saw being dished up lakeside, near the docks, under white umbrellas, to grandchildren. Big multicolored mountains of gelato with all sorts of fruits and decorations and cream atop them, served in giant goblets, some larger than the children's heads. I didn't have one, but I won't be able to resist if I go back.
We should have been going to Bardolino on Wednesday for 10 days - but Mrs H is unwell and we've had to cancel. I'd been looking forward to the ice cream copas at the lakeside cafes! And a repeat of, I believe, the best pizza I've ever eaten (at a place just behind the church you mention). Ah well, maybe next year.
Ah, the place I lived for almost 3 years many decades ago. My heart still remains there. Lucky you. Desenzano now has many excellent restaurants. We particularly liked Croce d'Oro in the upper part of the historic center, near the Castello.
There is the Michelin one star Esplande resturant lakeside on the road going from Desenzano to Rivotella/Sirmione which I always found so over the top in prices that I never dared to try it.
There was still one of the original family run gelaterias in the main part of town on the pedestrian street off the main piazza- Gelateria Gina's, still homemade with lots of photos of old Desenzano on the wall.
And since money is no object, by all means visit the exclusive Villa Cortina in Sirmione for lunch and lovely, luxurious views of their lush gardens and the lake from this hill top perspective.
Here is my report from a few years ago for Desenzano and surrounding area:
Now I can answer my own question - thanks to all for the SlowFood Osteria book suggestion - a hands down winner.
Lake Garda - Desenzano - Hotel Piroscafo and La Contrada Restaurant, both recommended by Slow Foods - both total winners. Don't miss either. I still dream about their Amarone risotto and wine recommedation.
Also in Desenzano well worth a lovely dinner is Croce d'Oro up near Via Gherla and Piazza Garibaldi - still in the historic district of town but nicely away from the tourist lake side - wonderful hosteria.
Desenzano - Gelateria Gina on Via A Papa in the main square for thick and sticky lush homemade gelato and old time local drop in feeling for cafe and "brioche".
Verona - for nostalgia sake returned to I Dodici Apostoli - still wonderful after all these years - just wonderful.
Venice - Slowfood/Chowhounders rec for Anice Stellata in the "ghetto" section of Venice a winner on both counts - wonderful seafood risotto and the most special part of Venice - quiet and serene and off the tourist beaten path - need to explore Hotel Due Mori in the same area.
Milan: Cafe A Less - wonderful serve yourself buffet - constantly replenishing savory fare - all you can eat and you can eat a lot of this wonderful array of crudites and hot dishes.
Peck's Gourmet winefood store in Milan off the Piazza Duomo for everything you ever want to take home from Italy - with the warning that you can buy some of their balsamic vinegars at the airport duty free so you can carry this precious stuff with you as carry one rather than risk it in your checked luggage if you purchase it ahead of time -- but the really old stuff, the $125 stuff is not available at the airport. Please don't forget and take this stuff with you and have it get confiscated at security if the Italian guards are not friendly (which luckily they were as I (ooops) forgot my lovely boxed package from Pecks contained liquid ..........gulp, dumb, dumb, dumb but an Italian security guard appreciates culinary devotion leading to brain glitches and allowed me to take it back to check in rather than take it away from me -- which I doubt would have happened passing through CGD -they would have taken it for themselves!
Menu for Esplanade in Desenzano - **very** pricey: http://www.ristorante-esplanade.com/m...
Understand the Naples underworld likes to get away to Lake Garda - could explain in influx of very high end places in this previously modest little town. Plus it is an easy get away location for the wealthy from Milan as well.