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Sep 22, 2010 11:13 PM

Suggestions for Padova and Verona

Thanks in advance.
Considering Le Calandre in Padua. Is it still worth the splurge? Could also use a lunch recommendation near the Cappella degli Scrovegni.

In Verona, I think we will eat at La Fontanina one night. Any other reqs for local flavor chow?

Possibly a day trip to Valpolicella. Does anyone have suggestions for a wine/food itinerary?

Thanks again.

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  1. I guess you know that they have a very tight reservation policy on the Scrovegni Chapel these days. It is a short walk outside the historic center, as I recall, you can walk down from there into the main squares easily (also visit impressive St. Anthony's with the great equestrian statue out front.) Ive attached the current Restaurant page list for Padua. Id be inclined to eat at one of the places in the center with the local businessmen. We enjoyed doing this on our visit, just about exactly 30 years ago now.

    Or, you could head out for lunch at one of the Le Calandre restaurants.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Thanks, Jen

      I have been an avid follow of your posts and all have been informative. Yes we have reservations for Scrovegni. I am looking for a simple trattoria near there. Perhaps L'Anfora?
      Le Calandre seems far away. We are thinking of going there for dinner.

      1. re: Biroldo

        from the Slowfood writeup L'Anfora seems like a good solid regional choice, with interesting wines, etc. Probably, if you dont eat too much, a good leadin to the more creative tilt of Le Calandre.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Jen, is there a way to get the slow food writeups on line? I have the English version of the Slow Food Osterie guide from 2006, but would like some newer info.

          1. re: Biroldo

            not that I am aware of. I have put capsules of a lot of info from the 2010 guide online on the Restaurant page but not for every region and city yet. I think the info in the 2006 compilation is still good and reliable as far a s I can tell from comparing to the 2010 update (Ive been looking at both when the same rist. is covered)

            1. re: jen kalb

              The SlowFood listings are online at, but only in Italian and only if you become a member.

              1. re: zerlina

                I am a member of my local (us) chapter and I read Italian reasonably well, but I have not been able to find it. Could you offer some guidance?

                1. re: Biroldo

                  It's here:

                  But maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it. I don't think a US membership will get you access, and if you do become an Italian member, I'm not sure they will ship the one or two books included with the membership (Osterie and SlowWine, which appears for the first time this year) to the US.

                  There's an info address (, but they never replied to a non-membership-related e-mail I sent them

    2. Below is the link of a post from our last year's lunch at Le Calandre
      Is it worth it always depends on the individual's expectation. The family did a complete redecorating of the dining room earlier this year. Couple of general comments: from our experiences with the Michelin 3 star in Italy (Le Pergola, Al Sorriso and dal Pescatore), Le Calandre is the most understated and assuming. The dining room is small, urbane, comfortable but does not have a lot of trappings such as view, garden, etc. of others. Lunch can be very quiet as we were the only diners on a weekday. Over the past few years, we've eaten there 3 times and each time, the food have been excellent, on par with our single visit to dal Pescatore. These were the best high-end meals we've had in Italy. During our stay in Venice earlier this year, we eat Le Calandrino, their bustling simpler restaurant that shares the same kitchen. The ambience is that of a lively trattoria; the food is a mix of simpler versions of some of the dishes of Le Calandre and updated version of Veneto cooking. Unlike Venice, where seafood predominates, meat and poultry play a big part, a welcome change from Venice. One can order a quick business lunch, a short tasting menu or a la carte. The wine list is excellent and moderately priced. The lunch of two tasting menus and couple glasses of wine came to about 110E, about a third of our lunch at le Calandre. Both were well worth it.
      We do day trips to Padua and Verona frequently on our stay in Venice. I'll will try to find my notes and hope to post couple of other places we've enjoy shortly.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Have you written about your visit to Dal Pescatore? We are likely to be back in that area next July and would be interested in your thoughts (maybe on a new thread)

        1. re: jen kalb

          As much as I love Le Calandre (four visits but none in the last two or so years since the remodelling; prior I thought it was the best restaurant in Italy ((I include Pergola and Dal Pescatore in saying this)) Osteria La Fontanina will be the highlight of your trip. It is an incredible, intimate romantic experience that at least a half dozen or more friends have now been to and all absolutely loved it. It has not received the attention or here or elsewhere that it deserves although, to be honest, that is part of its appeal: it is almost unknown by Americans.

          1. re: jen kalb

            jen kalb
            Sorry that it took me so long to dig up my notes on Dal Pescatore.
            Our only meal at Dal Pescatore was a lunch in October 2006. It remained our best high end dining experience in Italy. One enters the Santini family house to a small comfortable sitting room that leads to three small dining rooms, all with view of the large garden. When we commented how beautiful it was outside, we were led to a small terrace table; a tray of proscuitto and two glasses of sparkling wine were brought to us. After the apertive, we were seated in one of the dining room that has six tables. A bowl of Parmesan crisps and potato chips was already on the table. The restaurant offered two tasting menus, “seasonal” and “traditional” plus a large a la carte section. My partner and I ordered the two different tasting menus. We also asked if it is possible to include a few of their signature dishes as part of the tasting menus, specifically the terrine of lobster in champagne jelly, tortelli stuffed with zucca, a risotto and the sea bass with braised leeks and olive oil emulsion. They were more than happy to accommodate. From memory and some scribbled notes (courses on the ‘seasonal” menu are first listed):
            Few small tastes: marinated artichokes, crispy frog legs, eggplant compote
            Antipasti: terrine of lobster with Champagne jelly; a mosaic of barely poached lobster held together by a slightly acidic jelly and enclosed in spinach; garnished with good caviar as well as pieces marinated eel and pickled ginger. The slightly undercooked lobster was a revelation, sweet and tender.
            Calves liver and porcini: a small piece of the youngest calves liver was seared on the outside and pink on the inside; topped with thick slices of sauté porcini and a drizzle of a red wine/porcini/ balsamic reduction. This was similar to seared foie gras preparations in many restaurants but not as rich. We each received a portion of both as separate courses, a wonderful gesture. We ordered a bottle of red to accompany our lunch and my partner ordered an extra glass of the white to go with the terrine. A second glass of white, compliment of the house, was bought for me.
            Primi: ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, prosciutto and herbs
            Tortilli stuffed with zucca, mostarda and amaretti. The color of the pasta was a deepest yellow and rolled a touch thicker than most; toothsome and tender at the same time; both were on simply melted butter and a shower of grated Parmigiano.
            Second primi: risotto with porcini; the rice was cooked in red wine, porcini liquid and rich meat stock, topped with slices of crispy porcini. The rice was very creamy yet firm.
            Soup of snails, wild mushrooms, vegetables and herbs; the snails were pleasantly chewy but not much taste and the clear light green broth was pleasant but not memorable
            Fish course: seared sea bass with braised leeks and fennel in an olive oil emulsion
            Turbot with salsa verde; both dishes were deceptively simple; the fish were beautifully cooked, just a shade underdone; the olive oil emulsion was a translucent golden color
            Meat course: squab, roasted rare, in aged balsamic reduction served with olive oil mashed potato
            Braised beef shoulder in Barbera served with cubes of polenta; the beef has been slow cooked for hours yet remain very juicy; both reduction sauces were intense with real depth of flavor that is rarely found in Italian cooking.
            Cheeses plates: gorgonzola dolce with a sweet fruit mostarda, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, caprini, a washed rind similar to a taleggio, pecorino; slices of fruit nut bread
            Desserts: hot orange soufflé with passion fruit sauce
            Torta de amaretti; layers of crunchy pastry, zabaione, coffee cream, panna.
            After, two small desserts were bought to share: a second torta consisted of layers of merinque, Marsala soaked sponge cake, and chocolate ganache; a small bowl of late season wild strawberries with mascarpone; then a platter of petit fours.
            Except for the understated snail soup, the food was beautifully prepared; refined yet rustic, and had real depth of flavor. Unlike many high-end restaurants, the food is not international; there is a definite sense of cooking from the Emilia-Romagna. Local ingredients such as snail, eel, frog legs are featured. The plating was simple and direct. The service is proper yet informal without any sense of pretension. The décor is simple and elegant with many rustic country touches, evolved and improved over the years to its present state. Despite its Michelin 3 star and international reputation, it remain essentially a family restaurant. The generosity of the Santini family comes through in every aspect from the warm welcome to the small gift of aged Parmigiano Reggiano at the end of the meal. I had earlier commented that it was such a shame that we were too full to eat any of the petit fours; we were presented with a beautiful box of them for us to take.
            For us, it is always an internal debate if spending 500E or more for a meal is worth it. In the case of Dal Pescatore, we were totally blown away. Every year, we've been thinking of making a return visit but the logistics of getting there from Venice has discouraged us. Maybe we'll rent a car next Aprill. If you are in that area next year, you should definitely consider it; I think you'll really enjoy it.

            1. re: PBSF

              Correct my error about the restaurant being in Emilia Romagna. It is in Lombardia. A knowledgeable poster straightened me out. Brain dead and old age.

        2. "In Verona, I think we will eat at La Fontanina one night. Any other reqs for local flavor chow?"

          For local flavor, try osteria Sottoriva. We went for a light lunch one day and it was wonderful. There is a limited menu handwritten on a board when you walk in. The waitress and the man behind the bar barely spoke English, but with some basic Italian under your belt, you should get by. The food was wonderful and the wine selection very good. We were the only "outsiders" the day we were there; the place was full of local gentlemen and a few women talking about the usual politics, etc.

          I had a delicious crepe filled with a local cheese (whose name escapes me) and treviso radicchio while my partner had Pastissada de Caval (horse meat stew served with polenta)...simply amazing! As we were there on a cool day in December, the stew was perfect.

          1. In Verona I did not have a good experience at La Fontanina and thought both the food and the service were much better at Tre Marchetti (though I know I'm the minority on this one). In particular there was some sort of ravioli with a celery sauce or something like that at Marchetti that was nothing like anything I had ever eaten and was beyond fantastic. Also Taverna di Stella is supposed to be a good, local place but was closed during my visit so unfortunately I cannot provide any details. Good luck. Verona is a great city.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mpierce64

              Dal Pescatore is in Lombardia, not Emilia-Romagna. Nadia and Antonio would be very upset if after that great meal you thought that " there is a definite sense of cooking from the Emilia-Romagna." :)

              1. re: allende

                You are absolutely correct! I must apologize to Nadia and Antonio. Brain dead, we we driving north from Parma to have lunch on the way back to Venice. Must been too much wine, all the prosciutto, Parmigiano cheese, balsamic vinegar, filled pasta. The risotto was great. Thank you for straightening me out.