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Dining recs in Trentino/Alto Adige?

  • r

My partner and I will be staying in Trento for 3 days in late September. I have done quite a bit of research but would like some knowledgeable advice.

We will be having dinner in Trento each night and doing driving tours during the day. So far planning Scrigno del Duomo, Le Due Spade and Il Libertino for dinners. Any thoughts on these or alternative recs?

One day we will be driving to Bolzano and would like to have lunch there or someplace nearby. Restaurants I've come across are Elephant in Bressanone, Patscheider Hof in Renon, Pre de Costa in Armentarola, Zur Rose in Appiano and Siriola in San Cassiano. We don't have a fixed budget, preferably under 100 euros for 2 with a decent bottle of wine, but would go higher as long as the food is really worth it. Contemporary adaptations of regional dishes are preferable to overly modern, experimental cooking.

One day we will be touring outside of Trento and would like something nice within about an hour drive of Trento. I have not had much luck finding places in this area mentioned on CH.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I can highly recommend Il Libertino. We had lunch there and loved it.

    -----
    Il Libertino
    Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

    1. Pre de Costa is absolutely wonderful, (food, ambiance and the people who own it) but it is only a basic trattoria, nothing more. Siriola is in Armentarola, not San Cassiano. A new chef. We weren't impressed. Both probably not open in late September. The season usually ends September 15th. up here. In any event, a long drive from Bolzano, an hour and a half plus.

      1 Reply
      1. re: allende

        Allende, it was your post about Pre de Costa that got me interested. Thanks for letting me know about the seasonal closings as I was not aware of that.

      2. We're planning a trip in this area in mid September too, and near Trento I've been looking into Rovereto. Looks like there are a couple interesting restaurants there, as well as the MART, and its only maybe 15 min away on the train (not an issue for you, but isn't it nice to give the car a break sometimes and not worry about drinking too much wine at lunch?). Mind you I haven't actually taken this trip yet, but these are places we're looking at in Rovereto:

        Locanda Delle Tre Chiavi (right across the river in Isera)
        Pettirosso (also a winebar)

        Both seem in your price range, but I haven't heard what any 'hounders think of them.

        Folks on the boards also have very nice things to say about Jasmine in Chiusa, north of Bolzano (might be more than an hours drive though, and probably pricey).

        Good luck!

        7 Replies
        1. re: _emilie_

          I had also found the places in Rovereto but was hoping for some info from hounds who may have been there. There are some other towns to the west and south of Trento that have restaurants listed in Michelin, but again I am hoping for some knowledgeable feedback. Jasmine looks nice but I think is above our price range for lunch. I have also eliminated Zur Rose for the same reason.

          1. re: rrems

            Another dinner at Pre de Costa, in Armentarola, tonight, for the first of what we hope are many dinners there in the next nine weeks.

            As it's been for the ten years we've been going, very good mountain trattoria food, robust flavors, carefully prepared, well plated, well served and with a lovely casual ambiance in the dining room. Would every trattoria be like this!!

            Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci; and tortelli di zucca to start. Then Costine di agnello con tortino di patate e insalta; and an insalata con petto d'oca. A torta di Gran saraceno and a Linzer torta for dessert. A 2007 Lagrein, Abtei Muri Riserva to drink. Exactly the dinner one really enjoys.

            Among the other choices this evening: polenta con formaggio e porcini; carpaccio di cervo; polenta con salsicce e funghi; felettino di maiale con riso e finferli; zuppa d'orzo; pasta e fagioli; testina di vitello; medagiione di cervo; tagliatelle al ragu di capriolo; spatzle con porri e speck.

            About 45 minutes from Cortina (and food that is totally different from the Veneto) and no more than 25 minutes from any part of the Alta Badia (Corvara, La Villa, San Cassiano etc) in The Dolomiti.

            By far, our favorite trattoria (not ristorante) in this area.

            1. re: allende

              Sounds great. It is too bad it will be closed when we are there. I also think I would like to emphasize the Austrian for the lunch near Bolzano, as it would be a nice break from pure Italian. I hope to see a lot more of your reports in the next 9 weeks (lucky you!).

              1. re: rrems

                Allende, we will be in the area of Pre de Costa Tuesday, July 12 - lunch time. I believe I read in another post that it's closed on Tuesdays. Please tell me not so!

                Also, if you or anyone has any recs for dinner around Castelrotto would very much appreciate.

                1. re: pastahound

                  I checked with La Signora this morning. She said that beginning next weekend, the restaurant will be open every day, so you're in luck for lunch.

                  That being said, lunch is very different from dinner. Lunch is mainly hikers who come and have one dish, a glass of wine or a beer, and move on. On nice days you can sit outside at the many tables (dinner is never served outside because it is too chilly there, even in mid summer). So you have a lot of people (with the same small staff), who mostly want to eat quickly and get on with their hiking. In contrast, the dining room seats 30 at most and dinner is a leisurely affair.

                  What I would do is eat inside at lunch and not be tempted by the outside tables. You might or might not be the only people in the dining room, but you will definitely have more of La Signora's attention. The full menu is available at lunch.

                  Knowing what I know now, if this were my first lunch there and there were two of us, this is what we'd order. To start, a stuffed pasta and a fresh pasta e.g. tagliatelle al ragu di capriolo... or the pasta e fagioli which is different from those in other parts of Italy. Then for two main courses, definitely polenta con salsicce e funghi and the costine di agnello. And a Lagrein from the reasonable priced list. If there is Gran saraceno that day for dessert, definitely have it. But really, no matter what dishes you have from the very extensive menu, it is all very good mountain trattoria food.

                  1. re: allende

                    Thank you again, Allende, for the great tips! We're looking forward to hearing all about your nine weeks of eating in the region (and so jealous!).

                    1. re: _emilie_

                      We have an apartment up here in San Cassiano, so we will be mostly cooking, buying locally from the farmers markets which start this week. The times we eat out, I'll be writing things up if there is anything of note to say. There is usually not much more than what I said about last night's meal at Pre de Costa. We only go to a few places up here, mostly trattorie. Very different from our travels in Piemonte, Emilia- Romagna, Liguria, Lombardia and northern Tuscany, where, as this board has seen, there is a lot to write about.

        2. We are considering going to this area in early May next year. Are hotels and restaurants open at time of the year?

          2 Replies
          1. re: scbeachnuts

            Which area? The Alto-Adige and Trentino in general or the Alta Badia specifically.

            1. re: allende

              Our plans are far from finalized, but I suspect that we would stay in the Bressanone area. We will be traveling by car from Munich with the primary objective of touring the Dolomites and west to Como for about 10 days. We prefer to sample the local foods and try to stay away from the Michelin stars places in favor of small family restaurants that cater to locals. We just want to insure that if we travel in the general area at that time of year roads will be open and restaurants running. We like to stay at tourist farms or B&Bs.

          2. Allende, grazie mille! Thank you for taking the time to check for me on the Tuesday thing (yay! open!) then writing such a wonderfully helpful post (which made me hungry). Can't wait to be there! Any dining recs for Cortina (not TOO pricey)? Enjoy the rest of your time in this gorgeous area!

            9 Replies
            1. re: pastahound

              We were just talking about Cortina at dinner tonight.

              Our favorite place by far is Tivoli, just on the western outskirts up the hill (on the road to Falzarego, Corvara, San Cassiano) of the city.

              We've been going there for 15 years, more than half a dozen times (by ourselves and with friends), under both the current owners and the prior ones (didn't miss a beat in the change). Always a really good meal, both lunch and dinner, although might not be open for lunch in early July, so check.

              A real restaurant, not a trattoria. Lovely setting, a great menu (from the Veneto, not the Alto- Adige) with lots of selection, in antipasti, primi, secondi and desserts. Excellent wine list at very reasonable prices. Again, the things that attract us to a place like this (or for instance places in Piemonte, Lombardia, Emilia- Romagna etc): well thought out menu of regional dishes; a chef that has skills to bring out the flavors of the ingredients and present dishes that "make sense"; robust ingredients and tastes; tasteful plating of the dishes; professional, but casual and friendly service; a good casual ambiance in the restaurant... customers and staff are happy to be there... no temple of cuisine where it's all about a "me, me, me chef"; a very good wine list; no gimmicks i.e lots of foam, molecular cuisine, fusion cuisine; a chef who stays within his/her sphere of competence.

              Tivoli has had it and hopefully still does. We were not able to get there last year (did go twice the year before), but are planning on going two or three times in the next nine weeks. Closed Monday.

              Whatever you do, do not go to Beppe Sello. Ossified. If you want a trattoria, our favorite, again by far, is Baita Fraina. Again. closed Monday.

              Hope this helps.

              1. re: allende

                Thank you! Will avoid those places. Tivoli sounds wonderful but is probably more than we want to spend on this trip. Will definitely check out Baita Fraina, though. Have also heard good things about Al Camin (for trattoria fare). Have you been?

                1. re: pastahound

                  We've been to Al Camin twice. Lovely location, very nice ambiance and very good staff. We went back a second time because friends insisted. The chef tries dishes that are beyond his sphere of competence. A fair amount of fusion, which is not something we enjoy, but if that's what you want, you'll like this place. A wine list that doesn't have enough of the Veneto (and nearby Alto Adige), but has all "the names" from other regions.

                  It is definitely not "for trattoria fare" (not sure why anyone would say that). This is a real ristorante, that has a chef who has big ambitions.

                  1. re: allende

                    Thank you, good to know! I hate that. Any experience with the restaurant at Hotel Cornelio?

                    1. re: pastahound

                      Have no experience with the restaurant at Hotel Cornelio.

                    2. re: allende

                      @scbeachnuts

                      If your primary objective is touring the Dolomites, you really want to go east of Bressanone. The area around Bressanone is very beautiful, but the mountain ranges are low and you don't get the full drama.

                      Ideally you want to be in the area of Selva (the very beginning of the Val Gardena and east and a bit south of Bressanone) and east to the Val Badia and then further east to the most dramatic scenery in the area around Cortina. There is nothing in The Dolomiti like Cortina. All around you are these majestic peaks.

                      Unfortunately, this area presents problems for what you said was an early May trip. The long ski season has ended; it typically ends at Easter, although, obviously, depending on when the holiday falls, it can be in early or late April. The short summer season hasn't started. It will usually start very slowly in mid June, but doesn't really get going until the end of July. May and June are cold. It was just above freezing the night before last up here. May and June also are two months where it generally rains a lot.

                      Some of the bigger towns have hotels and restaurants that are open in early May. Certainly Cortina, a real all year round town does, as does Selva and to a certain extent Corvara. Smaller towns e.g. San Cassiano have nothing open, not hotels, nor restaurants. Almost all rifugi will be closed. It really is off season. What is open, of course, is Trento and Bolzano, but that is a bit away from The Dolomiti.

                      All the roads will be open, so day trips east from Bressanone, if that is where you decide to stay, will be no problem.

                      You said that you like to stay at "tourist farms" (known as agriturismi in Italian) and B&Bs. I would suggest you get two books: B&B, Locande e molto altro, published by Touring Editore; Bed and Breakfast Guide Accoglienza (Touring Club Italiano). Both have extensive listings of wonderful B&Bs. Also, search in Google for agroturismo, and you'll fond lots of sites.

                      Hope this is a bit helpful.

                      1. re: allende

                        My husband and I are heading to Selva di Val Gardena for 5 nights before heading to Verona and then Tuscany. We picked Selva because of the proximity of so much spectacular hiking...we love to eat though! And probably after hiking anything will taste good. Should I lower expectations a bit though in the valley?

                        1. re: wasuws

                          There is very good hiking in the Val Gardena and just beyond e.g. Pordoi. Simply spectacular.

                          In terms of eating less so. Aside from Anna Stuben, you're going to find run of the mill restaurants and stube, perfectly good, but absolutely nothing special. Because of where Selva is and what tourists it attracts, there will be a heavy Austrian/German slant to the food. Further east, in the Val Badia and then into the Veneto in Cortina is where the more interesting restaurants are.

                          1. re: allende

                            Thanks for this. The focus of this part of our trip will be sightseeing I think...though we'll take a trip into Bolzano and are heading south to Verona (for Aida) so we'll aim higher in those locales.

              2. I just returned from Trento, fifth year in a row I've been and I'm going back again in September (not that any of that matters!)

                -- Scrigno del Duomo: been twice. GREAT food, poor service in my humble (!) estimation. I just didn't like it. Snobby, pretentious, not as good as it thinks. But the food sure was good. Expensive for certain.

                -- I liked Due Spade way better than Scrigno the one time I went. Food was just as good and the atmosphere was all-around better.

                -- Il Libertino is a must. Lower key by a huge leap than the previous two, but the food is very good too. Plus, it's cool to walk across the river.

                OK, other ideas. I don't knwow what you're looking for so, as always, these ideas are to be taken with a grain of salt.

                -- Piedicastello. Cheap. Right next door to Il Libertino in the same square. Food is as good -- or in league with -- Il Libertino and it is cheaper by a bit. If you want a really low-key place with mostly locals, give this place a go. Try all their fresh pastas. They had pumpkin gnocchi last week that I want take-outs right now. It isn't fancy, but it's damned good, and the English-speaking waiter is a party waiting to happen (Hug him -- just a little -- from the 16 cyclists from Hotel America.) (Cash only. I had to pay for 16 people last week, and I forgot the cash-only thing. I was scraping!)

                -- You want to go up into the hills? OK, my very best recommendation: Fior di Roccia. GO HERE! It's in the town of Lon, west of Trento, turn off at the town of Vezzena. If i had one meal to try in this region it would be at this place. The hell with Michelin stars. This is a place for elegant-ish food that is simply great. Cristina and Michele (sister and brother, he the chef) are unbelievable hosts and Michele just an outright excellent cook. Order everthing. Great local wine list, and she knows it. (Tell her Tim the cyclist from Utah sent you -- although she might double your bill.) When you drive there, as you get off at Vezzena and begin driving uphill, keeeeep going. You'll think "uh-uh, can't be this way." yes, it IS up that hill on that skinny-assed little road! email: info@osteriafiordiroccia.191.it ... Cristina. Speaks excellent English.

                BTW: In Trento, I would never stay anywhere but at the Hotel America. It's cheap, right off the main pedestrian zone, and it's a small, family-owned hotel. Nothing fancy, but very comfortable and a really great deal.

                Other places? Actually, a new place that -- I forgot -- is also excellent too. Uva e Mente' (Mente is the owner's name. Might be misspelling "Uva"). It is just off the Piazza Fierra, around the corner from the famous (and fmaously cheap, and also OK) Pedavena brewery at which many folks eat. Back to Uva: Make reservations so you can eat outside, or you might get stuck in the basement (fod is the same). This place makes specialty pizzas -- great ones. (Pear and gorg!) We ate other stuff too, but pizza is their specialty. The owner is young and dynamic -- in fact, the whole place seems to buzz. It's worth trying for certain.

                OK, I'm boring myself. As I said, I'll be there in late September. maybe we'll cross paths. Love Bolzano too.

                -----
                Scrigno del Duomo
                piazza Duomo 29, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                Il Libertino
                Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                11 Replies
                1. re: pedalaforte

                  This is wonderful information. Thanks so much. If you can think of any interesting places for lunch in or near Bolzano please do let me know.

                  1. re: rrems

                    For anyone going to the Alta Badia this summer to hike or climb near San Cassiano, Corvara or La Villa, there is another rifugio that I'd recommend for lunch. The standard for us in terms of very good " refugio food" is, as mentioned a number of times, Rifugio Scotoni which is high above the Capanna Alpina in Armentarola. Simply great grilling (and other good things).

                    Last summer we went to Rifugio Bioch for the first time. It is between Pralongia and Las Vegas. It was excellent rifugio food, far superior than anything on that the south side of the road( the road between Cortina and Corvara). I went back again today and it was just as good. Very good extensive mountain menu (the usual dishes), but the preparation, taste and plating of the dishes was far above the usual rifugio. Excellent friendly service. Also, somewhat surprisingly, a very good wine list (of wines from the Alto-Adige). Great view from about 2050 meters as an added bonus: the Marmolada to the southwest; down the valley toward Brunico with the Austrian Alps towering in the distance; west to the Val Gardena; and because it is a 360 view, all of the peaks around Cortina to the east.

                    1. re: allende

                      Great Information!
                      My wife and I will be staying near Lavis at the end of October for 4 days, and plan on touring the vineyards in the area. One question I have is if we will be too late to enjoy some good hiking in the area? If not, and I know this is a difficult question, but we want to go on a nice hike for one of our days there -do you have any recommendations for a good 4-5 hour hike. We will have a car. Also, I saw your earlier note on restaurants closing around September - is this true in a lot of the more rural towns? Thanks!

                      1. re: travelMerrill

                        I had to look to see where Lavis was. Near Trento. We really don't spend much time there; it is 2 1/2 hours plus from where we are in the Alta Badia.

                        That said, however, go to Google map directions and put in Lavis as a start and then Predazzo as your destination. Predazzo is 50 km. plus away, toward the northeast, or about an hour plus drive over those roads (or you can take the autostrada and get off at Egna and then head to Predazzo; we've done both, but usually chose the slightly longer autostrada route).

                        We used to spend a lot of time hiking around Predazzo and there is great hiking all around the area. You won't have the majestic peaks of the Alta Badia, Cortina or the Val Gardena, but it really is great hiking on open slope and high pastures (with lots of cows and camosci). There is also a wonderful restaurant (Malga Panna) in Moena, just up the valley from Predazzo. We haven't been in several years, but we've gone many times and it was a special place (hopefully it still is) with a wonderful owner passionate about wines, one son as chef and one in the dining room.

                        As far as late October... it can be gorgeous, it can be pouring rain. Normally, late October is before the rain starts, but any four days, who knows.

                        Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

                        1. re: allende

                          This helps alot! Thank you for taking the time to answer.
                          I looked up the restaurant on the 'net and it looks great.
                          Can't wait to get there.

                    2. re: rrems

                      Bolzano for lunch? Sorry. Whenever I've been there, it's as a base for cycling trips. Ergo: out on the bike at lunch! On the other hand, I will recommend two places, one a restaurant and one a gelato place. (best in Italy? Strong words ... backed up!)

                      For dinner (so, maybe lunch?): Again I will say that I don't know what you're after. I, too, have heard only great things about Zur Rose, but I haven't been there yet. I HAVE been to Forsterbrau four times -- it's in Bolzano itself -- and the food is excellent. It is not Michelin-starred, but it it a great place with a great patio and great regional wine list. It sounds like a beer place -- and itis -- but it also is a great place for food (and wine).

                      Gelato: OK, I don't even know this place's name. Ask someone. Walk from center-town across the uniquely enginneered "pedestrian" bridge, keep going a circle or two and there is a brilliant gelato maker. Been there two times. The guy uses only seasonal, fresh, local-as-possible ingredients to add to his gelati. And it shows. I know there are other gelato places in Italy that do the same; or I imagine that to be the case. But I can say with certainty that is place does it as well as it can be done.

                      My hotel: Cheap, way-low-budget, so be ready for clean-but-sparse: Hotel Feichter. Ridiculously cheap. No air conditioning, and Bolzano can gethot and muggy in summer. But the family-owned place is great, Hannes (son, flawless English) in a great host. Do note that the "bar" downstairs has a gret selection of regional wines -- to drink AND buy. Another brother (Wolfang, flawless English) runs the thing and, although there is not a wide selection, he picks stellar, top-of-the-heap representives of all the regional varieties. I've never been disappointed by his recommendations (and I've brought home a lot of them!)

                      -----
                      Forsterbrau
                      Via Goethe,6, Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39100, IT

                      Zur Rose
                      39100 Bolzano Province of Bolzano-Bozen, Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39100, IT

                      1. re: pedalaforte

                        Forsterbrau looks very nice. I am also thinking about Vogele and Cavallino Bianco. I think we may just end up walking around and checking out their menus, as we often do for lunch in Europe, and pick the one of these that looks most appealing. If we decide to eat outside of Bolzano, I think it will be Patscheiderhof, as it has a bib gourmand from Michelin so should be reliable. We would probably love Zur Rose, but with a couple of high-priced dinners in Trento planned, I would like to keep lunch simpler. I will also try to seek out the gelato place.

                        1. re: rrems

                          Vogele: never ate there but it was on my list. I visited it and, as you said, I too looked at the menu. Looked great. My memory is that it was much more expensive than Forsterbrau, although not ridiculously expensive. Go for it. It has a nice, small streetside seating area. One thing: Forsterbrau's outside seating might be slightly more private as the restaurant is at an intersection of two minor pedestrian streets so it is set back some from the street. (Vogele also is on a pedestrian street, so not a big deal. Check out them all -- verrrrrry walkable city. That's why I love it so much.)

                          Don't remember -- you ARE, I hope, going to the Otzi museum? Great museum.

                          One restaurant that I truly would reject (and I don't say definitive bad things publicly about many places) is Restaurant Corona. The food was good -- fish specials -- so I guess I'm not totally negative. But I absolutely got ripped off by the server who overwhelmed me with guilt about paying his tip. "Oh, we rely so much of course on the extra we get for oour careful service ... blah, blah, blah." Then he literally raised a eyebrow to question the tip I gave him/them -- an amount that, looking back, I can only say was exceptionally generous. So I ponyed up even more. My fault, of course .... too much wine, tired, overwhelmed by a day in which we "lost" a fellow cyclist on the Sella loop, etc. Don't know the reason but I do know I tipped that dude way too much and have regretted it ever since (obviously I've regretted it! Get over it, Tim!) Oh, just an anecdote -- but I'll never go there again.

                          -----
                          Forsterbrau
                          Via Goethe,6, Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39100, IT

                          1. re: pedalaforte

                            Allende, lunch the other day at Pre de Costa was our best meal of the trip so far. Absolutely amazing. Can't thank you enough!

                            1. re: pastahound

                              Glad you enjoyed Pre de Costa. Thanks for writing; that was very kind of you.

                              As we both now know, Pre de Costa is just a very simple mountain trattoria, surrounded by a meadow of wildflowers and gorgeous mountains (and as an added plus, on Tuesday you had beautiful weather) , but with very good food coming out of that kitchen, exactly the food it should be.

                              Enjoy the rest of your trip.

                        2. re: pedalaforte

                          The gelato place in bolzano is Avalon, on Corso della liberta/ Freiheit str. It's up there with teatro del gelato and fatamorgana in Rome.

                          If you have a car, the air is cooler up the hill above Bolzano. Both signaterhof and patscheiderhof have rooms, so it makes a lot of sense to stay there if you're planning to eat at one of those places.

                    3. In addition to Patscheiderhof, you might want to consider (I havent been there) Signaterhof, up on the Ritten/Renon plateau. It has the Slowfood Snail rating.From what I can see, a day visit to that plateau could be very pleasant with a little train to take you from village to village.

                      Also, there is the Alto Adige wine zone/wine trail "strada del vino" south/west of Bolzano where many of the great regional wines come from which, in late September might or might not be good for a visit (dont know when they harvest).

                      http://wine.about.com/od/historyandcu...

                      We enjoy the Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco from this region a great deal (btw there is an excellent enoteca in Trento with a big selection of the regional wines - I can dig up an address if it would be useful

                      a couple of restaurants in the wine trail area (there are others on the Restaurant database) ate Santlhof, Orso Grigio, and I think Zum Lowen

                      -----
                      Patscheider Hof
                      via Signato 178, Signato Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39054, IT

                      Zum Lowen
                      via Principale 72, Tisens, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39010, IT

                      Orso Grigio
                      via Regole 10/12, Ronzone (Trento), Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38011, IT

                      Santlhof
                      fraz. Hofstatt,7, Kurtatsch an der Weinstraße, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39040, IT

                      Signaterhof
                      Localita Signato,166, Ritten, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                      1. We had a very good simple regional dinner at al Tino in Trento thanks to a Chowhound suggestion. Unlike the glossier destinations in Trent, al Tino is a simple parish trattoria, catering mainly to local customers. In addition to daily dishes, they offer a 28E set regional menu which was what we ordered - canederli, bread dumplings with bits of cured pork inside, and sauced with a tasty regional cheese, then a plate of the local dry cured beef, carne salata, very well seasoned, similar to a somewhat dryer corned beef, with a contorni of nice fried potatoes or a salad. Dessert is housemade applestrudel, In this region the strudel has a more cake-like pastry rather than the filo leaves of vienna. Wine water coffee and grappa are included in the price. the included Teroldego red was acceptable, but a bit plonky.

                        A good place to sample well cooked local cuisine. Our alternative that night was Scrigno del Duomo since Il Libertino and Trattoria Piedcastello were a long walk away and the heat and our tired legs made a closer place a necessity. Our meal was so good we were glad we made the humbler choice.

                        -----
                        Scrigno del Duomo
                        piazza Duomo 29, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                        Il Libertino
                        Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                        al Tino
                        38122 Trento, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                        Trattoria Piedicastello
                        Piazza di Piedicastello, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: jen kalb

                          al Tino in Trento was the mario Batali recommendation, so it comes with other(!) sound accolades too! Haven't been there yet. We've had a fairly large group, and al Tino is pretty small. I'llget there -- maybe in September.

                          FYI, I don't know where you were staying JenK, but I'd estimate the walk from Scrigno del Duomo over the bridge to Piedicastello/Libertino would be 10, maybe 15, minutes. Then again, it does get hot in that valley town!

                          And, I'm definitely intersted in the address of thegood enoteca in Trento. I haven't had time to explore for one much, and the retail shops I've been in are OK but not comprehensive by any means. So, please!

                          -----
                          Scrigno del Duomo
                          piazza Duomo 29, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                          al Tino
                          38122 Trento, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                          1. re: pedalaforte

                            I second the interest in the address for the enoteca - also, any recomendations for good wineries to taste/tour? Have been reading a lot about the strada del vinos and am looking forward to doing some wine touring in late October
                            Thanks!

                            1. re: pedalaforte

                              We were staying at Aquila d'Oro on the Piazza, and had been walking for 4-5 hours already that day in over 90 degree heat. I would say it would be closer to 20 min. for an average walker, the bridge is fairly long.

                              Al Tino is a very simple place and does not seem to have picked up much custom from Mr. Batali's review. We and a couple of oldsters were the only patrons up til 9:30 on the tues of our visit. the owner/waiter is a character. I will do some research and get back to you on the enoteca which is right in the central pedestrian area between the duomo and the castle.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                I would put much more stock in your report on Al Tino than in M. Batali's. His favorite restaurant in Bologna is Diana, which we found mediocre. I'm guessing that a celebrity chef gets special treatment, not necessarily what the rest of us will experience, so I take his recommendations with a grain of salt.

                                1. re: rrems

                                  its a very simple place and it seems like batali ate the same items we did. I didnt like the wine and strudel as well as batali did, but both were acceptable. agree with taking his recommendations with a grain of salt.

                                  1. re: rrems

                                    If I'm not mistaken, Diana is the favorite restaurant of Mario Batali's father. But I agree with the general assessment that following Batali's recs is not always the wisest course.

                                    (Edited to add: Just did a google search, and see that Batali himself does recommend Diana -- and likes the same thing there that I do -- the lasagna -- although we part company on the bollito misto.)

                                    I'm enjoying reading this thread because the Alta Badia is so beautiful -- the best of the Dolomiti, I think -- that I long to return and eat something more than the excellent apples and cheese I had there.

                                    1. re: barberinibee

                                      Over the Passo di Falzarego and out of the Val Badia in the Alto-Adige to Cortina in The Veneto. Separated by just 20 kilometers, but a different world, particularly when it comes to food, but also the fact that Cortina is enormous and bustling compared to the quiet and sedateness of the Val Badia.

                                      Lunch at our favorite place in Cortina (actually our favorite restaurant in the Veneto), Ristorante Tivoli. We’ve been there many times over the last 15 years and it didn’t disappoint today… just as good as ever.

                                      Exactly what we look for in a restaurant. A talented chef who stays within his sphere of competence. A chef who tries to please his customers with his menu, food, presentation, wine list and ambiance of the restaurant. Graziano Prest does all that in spades.

                                      He uses great ingredients, brings out the flavors with his cooking skill, plates exceptionally well (without having all the string beans align “just so”), has both a degustazione menu (actually two) as well as a great a la carte menu. He does not use foam or engage in molecular techniques. You recognize every ingredient on the plate.

                                      The restaurant sits on a hill overlooking Cortina and in mild weather one can have lunch on the expansive outdoor terrace with an incredible view of Cortina and The Cristallo. The interior of the restaurant seats about 50 and is broken up into two large rooms, with well done décor. Graziano’s wife is in charge of the dining room and she has trained her staff well. Service is well co-ordinated, well paced and professional. It is friendly, but not obsequious. There is no attitude; the staff is there to make sure you have a very enjoyable meal.

                                      The menu is nicely balanced between fish from the coast at Chioggia and Venice, meat, and lots of funghi when in season (as now). Unusual for the mountains, vegetables are well prepared. Very good bread. A really excellent, extensive and reasonably priced wine list with a fair number of splits.

                                      What did we eat. The amuse was a vellutata di porcini with finferli. Doesn’t get much better than that, particularly when the mushrooms are as flavorful as can be.

                                      For first courses, we had uovo croccante con porcini e fonduta al Teleggio, a bright bright orange yolk within polenta; I had the maccheroncini al torchio con ragout di agnello, porcini e finferli. The pasta was sublime as was the sauce.

                                      For main courses: maialino da latte con salsa al finocchietto; il vitello in tre… guancia, stinco e filetto allo speck . Both full of flavor and scrumptious.

                                      Pre dessert: raspberries and strawberries on a puddle on vanilla cream.
                                      Dessert : Lightly (sliced) sautéed figs with fig ice cream; a cold sformato of mint ice cream around a chocolate core. We drank a 2006 Lagrein Riserva from Castelfeder.

                                      A wonderful ristorante with owners who want to please their clientele.

                                      This will give you a sampling of some other dishes on today’s menu: vellutata di patate con guazzetto di rane; crema di erbe di montagna con finferli e speck croccante; polentina morbida con fonduta e finferli; insalata tiepida di baccala con salsa di acciughe e spinaci; lasagnetta con finferli; risotto con rape rosse; spaghetti con guanciale e cipolla; filetto di cervo in crosta di pane; lumache fritte con crema ai porcini.

                                      1. re: allende

                                        It is not often that good restaurants open in this part (The Alta Badia) of The Alto Adige. One did a few months ago. We'll see if it holds up over a period of time, or even if it survives (the winter and summer season combined are only about 5 1/2 months). Fortunately the owners have deep pockets; they own the fantastic malga on the steep hill leading to Santa Croce.

                                        The restaurant, La Sieia, is in San Cassiano near the Piz Sorega ski lift. We've been there twice in the last few weeks. It serves classic, well prepared "mountain dishes." Lovely venue, nice owners, very good, moderately priced wine list.

                                        These are some of the dishes on the menu... we had eight of them: la testina di vitello; a plate of speck, prosciutto d'agnello, and prosciutto di cervo; zuppa di canederli con cipolla fritta.

                                        Also "Cajinci", mezzelune agli spinaci e ricotta; tagliatelle with a sauce of bue, porcini and pomodori secchi; a fantastic dish of tortelli filled with an intense stinco di vitello and a sauce of a very very light fondue flavored with summer truffles.

                                        And more: stinco di maialino; costoletta di cervo. For dessert: canederli di ricotta; Krapfen di mele.

                                        As I mentioned, a very good, moderately priced wine list. Both times we had a 2006 Alois Lageder Lagrein "Lindenberg" for 36 Euros.

                                        Excellent place if you are in San Cassiano.

                                        1. re: allende

                                          This sounds absolutely wonderful. Thank you again for keeping us in the loop on the best of Alta Badia!

                                          1. re: _emilie_

                                            I spent 3 nights in Trento and Tre Garofani was our favorite place. Here's a little cut/paste from my blog :
                                            We went for dinner at Tre Garofani. Wow! It was a fabulous meal. We started with complementary local sparkling wine—dry, not at all like prosecco, refreshing. Then we got a little square of homemade bread with wild boar pate and a tiny salad. It tasted like chopped liver—we all loved it. I had a wild boar appetizer. Small chunks of the delicious, tender meat with a very faint curry flavor to the sauce beside a “tower” of a foamy red pepper cream with small discs—like soft crackers. We drank a local Traminer from Maso Bastie. Its flowery perfume changed with each course. Ken and Pat shared an app of asparagus flan, smoked duck breast and salad. Bob had a chicken dish stuffed with zucchini and onions. He said the vegetable were great because he didn’t know he was eating them. For my next dish I had to try the local specialty canederli. They are described as dumplings but to me they seemed like balls of very tasty poultry stuffing. I was really glad to try this dish but really was too heavy for a steady diet. Ken had fabulous lamb chops with fennel and peppers. Pat had a house made tagliatelle with favas and guinea fowl. For dessert we all shared a “strawberry salad” (sliced strawberries) bursting with flavor and a zabione sauce. As we were leaving Ken was saying how we should reserve o come back on Thurs. night. It was the restaurant experience Italy dreams are made of: Enthusiastic owner out front, wife doing the cooking, beautiful rooms, linens, heavy wood tables, art on the homey walls.

                                            And:
                                            we went to the Osteria Scrigno del Duomo from the Slow Food Book. We really enjoyed the lunch. I had a vegetable terrine with fresh ricotta inside and chopped walnuts on top, and a small side salad. Like so many dishes, here in Italy, the olive oil really took it to the next level. Ken had tagliolini with a red pepper sauce and speck. The homemade pasta was bright yellow, the rich orange sauce was in a pool under it and it was topped with small pieces of the speck, which had been cooked to a crispy bacon-like state. I had a glass of Trento DOC sparkling wine and Ken had a Forst beer. It was a great lunch on a small patio with beautiful views onto the piazza and the duomo tower:

                                            Next summer we will be spending 3 or 4 nights in the Dolomites so this thread is of great interest to me.

                                            -----
                                            Scrigno del Duomo
                                            piazza Duomo 29, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                                            1. re: jangita

                                              Thanks for reporting on Tre Garofani. I had read rave reviews about it on other websites such as Tripadvisor, but was hoping for some confirmation here. We will probably substitute it for Due Spade or Scrigno del Duomo, as I am trying to cut the restaurant budget a bit.

                            2. We loved St. Hubertus in San Cassiano. We thought it was worth the price, and the service was exceptional. Sorry I can't give you any more details -- we were in the Dolomites last September and it's all a blur now, but I do remember thinking that it was one of the greatest meals I've had.

                              -----
                              St. Hubertus
                              Str Micura de Rue 20, San Cassiano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39030, IT

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: cjk5

                                I forgot to add the link to this blog: (it's not mine)
                                http://eat-drink-man-woman-blog.blogs...

                                I found it looking for places for our last Trento visit. Great read and photos!

                                1. re: jangita

                                  The hotel Ciasa Solares, in Armentarola (opposite the Hotel Armentarola where you shouldn’t go unless you want to eat poorly and have surly service), has had its ups and downs during the last few years.

                                  There are several food venues, but we’ll concentrate on three, The Terrace for lunch, Ristorante Siriola (open only for dinner) and The Wine Bar, also open only for dinner.

                                  In the past, I’ve mentioned The Terrace for lunch. Excellent after a morning skiing or, in the summer, hiking. Do not go for dinner because the emphasis is on taking care of the hotel guests, not those coming from the outside.

                                  For many years, Ristorante Siriola had a Michelin star and a high rating in The Gambero Rosso. In the last decade, it had gradually shifted from well prepared “traditional” food, to cutting edge cuisine. Cutting edge cuisine was something this chef, as so many others in Italy, was not capable of doing well. Last year, he left for the Mideast. The restaurant lost its star and the Gambero Rosso did not rate it.

                                  The Wine Bar used to be a real gem. Fantastic wine list, as heavy in Barolos as in Lagreins and Blauburgunders, at very reasonable prices. The menu was short, but the food was excellently prepared. It was a place we enjoyed going back to, over and over. Then, perhaps five years ago, the menu changed and more than a number of fusion dishes appeared. We stopped going.

                                  Stefan Wieser, the son of the owner, has reasserted control. We went back twice this summer, a month and a half apart, and the old Wine Bar is back. The wine list is still excellent, without prices being raised (the same bottle of wine is 60% of what it costs at The Grill, or St. Hubertus, at The Rosa Alpina). Stefan has re-instituted the “old” menu… dishes that are well thought out and well prepared.

                                  It’s still a relatively short menu (four each of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci, with the menu changing frequently), but there is more than enough to choose from. To give you examples of what the menu offers: carpaccio di manzo Fassone con funghi porcini e Parmigiano Reggiano; gnocchetti di patate con speck and asparagus croccanti; tagliolini fatti in casa cacio e pepe (pace all you Rome dwellers… there are no waiters here who ask you to prove yourself before they give you the time of day or deign to serve you cacio e pepe; and yes you read that right, tagliolini) really excellent; spaghetti grezzi con pomodorini; costolette di maialino da latte e patate arrosto; il lombo di capriolo scottato, cipolla e rape; la guancia di vitello; an excellent cheese course. For dessert among others: albicocche infornate con gelato alla vaniglia; tortino al cioccolato bianco con cuore morbido ai lamponi. Professional, but casual, service with a big smile; no attitude here.

                                  Go!

                                  1. re: allende

                                    Allende, thank you again. We're leaving next week for San Cassiano and I feel like you've single handedly curated a wonderful week of eating for us - don't know where we'd be without your recommendations. I may need to pack larger pants!

                                    How is the walk between Armentarola and San Cassiano? Too difficult to do at night? I was thinking we might walk to dinner (we don't mind eating at 7:30 or 8 to catch that last bit of sun) and taxi back. Any idea what a taxi that short distance would be? Can't be but 5 minutes.

                                    1. re: _emilie_

                                      emilie,

                                      A few things:
                                      1.The walk to Armentarola from San Cassiano is very easy, only 100 meters elevation and perhaps 3 kilometers from the center of San Cassiano. That being said, it is difficult to do at night as the paths are not that well lighted. It is only five minutes by car. Don't know what a taxi would cost. Most hotels will provide transportation. What hotel/residence are you staying at? Sometimes we drive (to Pre de Costa and The Wine Bar at Solares); sometimes our hotel takes us and picks us up when we call.

                                      2. We just left San Cassiano today after two months plus. Not that many people left in San Cassiano and there will be fewer next week and by the end of the following week it will essentially close for the season. Just a note for what to expect; it is not a negative. The weather has been spectacular and hopefully will continue. Most restaurants will be open next week... The Wine Bar at Solares; I presume Pre de Costa; La Sieia should be and I know The Grill at the Rosa Alpina will definitely be open. As far as rifugi, if you have a chance hike to Scotoni and have lunch there (I can still taste the grilled sausages and polenta with melted cheese... one dish, ten thousand calories but worth it) and definitely hike to Pralongia' for the spectacular 360 view of The Marmolada, Cortina and the Austrian Alps, but do not eat there; eat at Bioch, instead, for lunch; it is only about a fifteen minute hike from Rifugio Pralongia'. As I've said before, these two are our favorite rifugi for lunch.

                                      Hope this helps.

                                      Please feel free to ask any other questions.

                                      1. re: allende

                                        We're staying at Lagacio, which seems pretty service oriented, so I'll definitely ask them about transport (hadn't thought of that, thanks!).

                                        We absolutely have Scotoni on the itinerary - the question is just whether we want to hike up to it from Armentarola, or hike down to it from the top of the Lagazuoi lift. We're no mountaineers, and wouldn't be doing the tunnels with the helmets and flashlights and all, but the views from the top look very tempting. Which way have you gone when you've done it?

                                        1. re: _emilie_

                                          Still another place to try. In Corvara at Hotel La Perla. Not the Michelin starred La Stua. There is another restaurant L'Murin that few tourists know. Very casual. A fun place. In the winter, only apres ski, no dinner. In the summer, a wonderful trattoria. Menu changes all the time. Great, and nice, staff. Simple classics, very well prepared. We go twice a summer, and we've brought lots of friends who enjoy it as much as we do. Again, simple, well prepared mountain food, as are all the places I've mentioned in and around San Cassiano. If you want something more than simple trattorie or rifugi, restaurants that have high ratings and lots of ambition, go to St. Hubertus and/or La Perla. We find them rather depressing in terms of ability to cook, menu (you could be eating in New York or Tokyo if you didn't know you were in the Alta Badia) and totally depressing in terms of ambiance (stiff!) and do not go to them anymore.

                                          Re Rifugio Scotoni and the ten thousand calorie lunch (the deiicious strudel or Linzer torta add another two thousand or so). You definitely don't want to hike it from the top of the Lagazuoi lift. It is a terrible path down and barren because you're in a bowl that looks like the moon's surface and you really get to see nothing. The path from Armentarola, starting at the Capanna Alpina and going up is also not very interesting and we try to avoid it, except when coming down after lunch. The best way is from the cross country ski place in Armentarola (or from Pre de Costa...where you should definitely go for dinner), go on #18 to Munt de Valparola (not the rifugio Valparola), continue on 18 until you cross the big road from Armentarola to Falzarego (#24) and then take #18B to Scotoni. After lunch, if you can still walk, just take the path down to Capanna Alpina.

                                          Don't forget to go to Delizius, in San Cassiano, a "Boutique dei Sapori" which has wonderful food Prodotti Tipici Ladini. It is almost directly opposite Lagacio'.

                                          If it should rain one day and you don't want to hike, I would suggest going to Cortina and having lunch at Tivoli, just on the outskirts of the city as you come down from Falzarego.

                                          1. re: allende

                                            I'm glad you mentioned L'Murin - we had thought we'd go there for lunch, but this prompted me to look it up again and it looks like its only open for dinner! We're trying to combine that one with a hike to the base of the Pisciadu waterfall, sunlight permitting.

                                            And many thanks again on the Scotoni hike advice. I hadn't even noticed that trail. Looks like more of a rise, but definitely better terrain than the Lagazuoi "moonscape" trail - we'll give it a try.

                                            1. re: _emilie_

                                              L'Murin is open only for dinner.
                                              The trail I mentioned to Rifugio Scotoni is a bit of a rise, but very gradual and really very easy. You can move fast if you concentrate on the grilled sausage with polenta and melted cheese, that awaits you.

                                              If you would be so kind to report back on your trip, it would be useful to this board. I don't have all the answers as to what others might enjoy in the way of trattorie/osterie/rifugi in the Alta Badia. I only have my own taste and that might be very different from others.

                              2. If you find yourself in Bolzano, avoid anything in the main piazza!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                  @ emilie

                                  How was your eating in The Alta Badia?

                                  1. re: allende

                                    Absolutely wonderful - thanks again for all your suggestions! I'll try to get a full write up on here about everywhere we went before the week is out, but the standouts for us were, perhaps not surprisingly, La Sieia, Pre de Costa, Signaterhof just above Bolzano, Il Libertino in Trento and Al Duomo in Verona. I'll also have a few things for the Europe board about a few meals in Salzburg.

                                    -----
                                    Il Libertino
                                    Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                                    Signaterhof
                                    Localita Signato,166, Ritten, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                                    Al Duomo
                                    Vico degli Ebrei, 11, Taormina, Sicilia 98039, IT

                                    1. re: allende

                                      I posted my trip report on the region separately since it got to be incredibly long. Here it is for anyone interested and again, thank you all so much!
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810133

                                  2. Thanks to all who responded to this posting. Here is my report from our three days in and around Trento.

                                    Arriving Monday evening from Venice, our first dinner was at Il Libertino. We were expecting a simple trattoria, but found it almost elegant. Though there are more than a dozen tables, only three were occupied (well, it was a Monday night). The food was impressive. We started off with a rabbit roulade wrapped in porchetta, served on a salad base (delicious), and potato gnocchi in a cream sauce with smoked trout and summer truffles (wow!). For main courses, we had beef filet with trumpet mushrooms and roasted potatoes with leeks, and braised veal cheeks with potatoes and polenta. For dessert, we both had semifreddo with frutti di bosca. With a wonderful wine (2007 Masetto Nero from Endrizzi, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Lagrein and Teroldego, 23 euros), and water and cover charge the total was 97 euros. I would highly recommend.

                                    On Tuesday we took a scenic drive in the Dolomites, west and south of Trento, stopping for lunch at Casa del Vino in Isera, across the river from Rovereto. Not having found much info on this area we relied on Michelin, and it turned out to be an excellent choice. The place was very busy, with both the dining room and outdoor terrace full. There is a beautiful view of the mountains. No English was heard. The menu is so limited that there is no printed menu, just one antipasto, one pasta and two main courses. We each had an antipasto, which was grilled cheese with an an apple and lettuce salad and toasted bread, then one of each of the main courses, which were baccala on a slab of polenta topped with a sauce with grana trentino cheese, and braised pork shoulder with polenta and grilled yellow peppers. Portions are generous and we skipped dessert. We had a bottle of Marzemino 2009 (16 euros)¸water and coffee. The bill was 83.50 euros.

                                    The moment we’d been waiting for was Tuesday night, dinner at Le Due Spade, a Michelin one-star. Arriving for our 8:30 reservation, we were the last table seated. This is a small place, accommodating at most two dozen diners, a beautiful and cozy room covered in wood panels. Once again, the only language we heard was Italian, though the staff are reasonably proficient in English, and the menu has English translations. After a complimentary glass of spumante and a wonderful amuse bouche, of which I unfortunately did not catch the description, we had quail with potato polenta and a “sea platter” of orata with a scampi, caviar and mushroom sauce, a prawn in gazpacho, mullet in mushroom sauce and sardine in saor. Next we shared a pasta dish, lobster three ways, in cannelloni, ravioli and canederli. For main courses we had duck breast and venison chops. Desserts were a fig medley and a sort of strudel enclosing meringue, almonds and fruit, served with lemon and melon mousse. We had a great bottle of Lagrein 2006, Sanct Valentin (38 euros). The dishes were all imaginative and beautifully presented, and with a total cost of 152 euros, a relative bargain. I wonder, though, if the quality of food merits the Michelin star. Parts of each dish were delicious, others just above average. The duck and venison were somewhat overcooked, and both came with the exact same garnishes. I find Michelin to be inconsistent in Italy. One of the best meals of our lives was at La Rucola in Sirmione, a one-star, imaginative and also scrumptious, and we have been to other places that had no stars but that we felt were deserving of one.

                                    Wednesday was our day to drive to Bolzano, a beautiful town that is a delight to stroll around in. We checked out various restaurants as we walked, and ended up choosing Forsterbrau, which is listed in Michelin. It is part of a chain owned by the Forst beer company, but you would not know this from the excellent food and atmosphere. We noticed another on in Trento but the menu there was completely different, more Italian, with a lot of pizza. This one specialized in Sudtirol food, with some Italian, but since this was our opportunity to have something other than Italian food this week, we stuck with Austrian. Started with the Sudtirol Brettl (speck, sausage and cheese) and kalbskopf (boiled calf’s head with onion and salad). I love calf’s head in any form, and this one was particularly delicious. Next we had veal tafelspitz (I also love tafelspitz of all sorts) and smoked pork loin (sooo delicious). We shared an apple strudel with beer ice cream. To drink, doppelbock. With water and coffee, total was 64.50 euros. This was an amazing lunch at a bargain price, top quality ingredients perfectly cooked, and the outdoor terrace was delightful.

                                    Back in Trento, we had a late afternoon snack of gelato at Grom. This is probably the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Though we live only a few blocks from their Manhattan branch, we have never tried it as we generally avoid desserts. Now it will take some will power to avoid it.

                                    Dinner was at Ai Tre Garofani. This is the sort of place we love. Regional dishes with a contemporary twist, imaginative combinations. Again a complimentary glass of spumante, then started with marinated trout with grapes with grape sorbetto and corn flan, and carpaccio of venison with savoy cabbage flan, apple and rosemary cream. Shared porcini canederli with stewed venison. Main courses were rack of lamb with lemon mint crust, zucchini flan and lentil stew, and poppy seed crusted rabbit loin with white bean mash and a fried wonton stuffed with porcini. For dessert we shared a dome of fig semifreddo coated with chocolate, served with baba au rhum. With a bottle of Teroldego Rotigliano 2008 from Concilio (18 euros) , cover charge and water, we spent 108 euros total.

                                    So to summarize, we were very happy with our dining choices. Aside from the wonderful scenery and the charm of the Austrian-Italian combination, there is a lot of great food to be found here.

                                    -----
                                    Casa del Vino
                                    Piazza San Vincenzo, 3, Isera, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38060, IT

                                    Forsterbrau
                                    Via Goethe,6, Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 39100, IT

                                    Il Libertino
                                    Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                                    Grom
                                    Sestiere Cannaregio,3844, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: rrems

                                      I can echo your feelings on Libertino and Le Due Spade, as we had a good bit of overlap in our ordering. We hit Libertino for lunch (all businessmen) and it was delicious, as well as a great bargain. The wines were wonderful -- I would love to come back here and just work my way through their by-the-glass options (paired with food of course - I also loved the gnocchi, but oh my, the rabbit pappardelle was out of this world!). Le Due Spade had some high points, but overall it was a downer after Libertino. The mains (dull) and desserts (far too sweet and one note) were particularly disappointing, and as much as I loved some parts of the antipasti and paste (how good was that lobster ravioli?! and that thing in the martini glass that kicked off the seafood antipasto?), overall it just didn't wow. I'd save my money and eat twice at Libertino instead.

                                      1. re: rrems

                                        thanks for the great report. Regarding your secondi at Due Spade, and their identical garnishes, that seems par for the course in Italy. With the tradition of separate contorni, maybe they do not get the idea of vegetables on the plate with the meat as well and see it just as a garnish which they need to provide as a "serious" restaurant. I hate this everywhere it happens - some potato, a pieces of steamed and unseasoned vegetables, broccoli, etc. beating no relation to the main.

                                        -----
                                        Tre Garofani
                                        Via Giuseppe Mazzini,33, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 38122, IT

                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                          rrems - thanks for posting - great information. We will be staying in Trentino at the end of October. I was just planning on making reservations for Le Due Spade today, but based on your review, I am having second thoughts...
                                          Other than Le Due Spade, did you have to make any reservations for the other meals?
                                          Also, one of the reasons we are travelling to the area is to visit the wineries in the area - did you visit any during your trip that you could recommend?
                                          Also, question to anyone else out there - We are staying at the Maso Franch and have heard good and OK reviews on the restaurant there (I heard the original chef left). Does anyone have any experience dining there?
                                          Thanks!

                                          1. re: travelMerrill

                                            I reserved all three dinners, though as it turned out Due Spade was the only one where it was necessary. I always reserve if possible, if only to make sure they are open and to let them know they will have customers. We always get an enthusiastic welcome when we reserve. I hope my report on Due Spade did not come across as negative. I do think it was definitely worthwhile, just not as spectacular as I had been hoping for.

                                            We did not visit any wineries.

                                            1. re: travelMerrill

                                              I am IN Trento as I write this -- wiht 22 cyclists! Crazy. So we didn't eat at Due Spade. But I have, and I like it. More to come. Again we ate at Piedicastello and loved it for inexpensive regional specialties. I love il Libertino )next door to Piedicastello), and I'take either.

                                              Again, our best meal of the trip was at Fior di Roccia about Trento in the mountains a short drive. Way better food than anywhere else and great brother-sister duo who run it. Check out Uva e Menta for specialty pizze in Trento. Cool place, nice outside seating.

                                              More tom come. )Not my computer, so sorry for typos.) I return in another week and I'll write.

                                          2. re: rrems

                                            We ate at Il Libertino last night and we were very impressed. Menus are only in Italian, but the waiter (Ricardo) spoke enough English to help when we got lost. My wife had excellent pumpkin-filled pasta and a steak with truffles that she said was better than her previous favorite (The Restaurant at Meadowood). I had a chestnut veloute that was pretty good and amazing braised veal. Unfortunately we didn't note exactly what the ingredients were in these things but it was fantastic. The waiter recommended wines for my wife and we ended up buying a bottle of the red for 9 Euro.

                                            For what it's worth, as less-impressive dining establishments go, I also had some great penne al arrabbiata at a little osteria/pizzera on Via del Suffragio but I don't remember the name. It's the only restaurant on that stretch of street though, and it's directly opposite the alley that goes to the castle.

                                            -----
                                            Il Libertino
                                            Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol , IT

                                            1. re: mjlewis

                                              did it look like this (you will have to paste into browser - the links to google maps dont work)

                                              http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=...

                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                aha! Pizzeria Ristorante Primavera. That's definitely it. Via del Suffragio, 92.

                                                1. re: mjlewis

                                                  Pre de Costa in Armentarola in the Alta Badia.

                                                  Lunch today, the first of what we hope will be many lunches and dinners at Pre de Costa in the next two months of our stay in San Cassiano.

                                                  Beautiful day, as have been the last ten days here, with the temperature just perfect (in contrast to much of the rest of Italy which is experiencing a severe heat wave). Sat outside, looking out at that expanse of wild flower covered meadow in front of us and then Falzarego looming high above in the distance, La Varella just behind, and the Scotoni area to the left. It was pure bliss.

                                                  Totally full at lunch because tomorrow is the Maratona dles Dolomiti (http://www.maratona.it/home.php) with thousands of riders from all over the world. All the roads and passes are closed for the race and it is quite something to see. Pre de Costa was mostly filled with riders who like my wife (who will be doing the 108 km. circuit with six passes) want to have that special meal before the early start tomorrow morning.

                                                  Full, empty, Pre de Costa is the same place it always is. A wonderful mountain trattoria (one of our favorites in all of Italy), nothing more, but a place serving dishes with absolutely first rate ingredients cooked to perfection ( and I mean cooked to perfection; the cooking has never been better, in all the years we've been going). Nothing fancy, just simple wonderful mountain dishes with wonderfully pleasant service. I had the filetto di vitello in a light brown sauce with mountains of funghi, roesti potatoes; a large fresh salad to start. My wife had the lamb chops with roesti potatoes and the salad to start. The meat for both dishes was first rate and as flavorful as could be. A glass of Lagrein for each of us. We could have had: polenta con formaggio e porcini; polenta con salsicce e funghi; zuppa d'orzo; pasta e fagioli; tagliatelle al ragu di capriolo; tortelli di zucca, among many other dishes.

                                                  Go... either in the summer or winter. It's a hidden gem.

                                                  1. re: allende

                                                    A brief rundown of two and a half months in San Cassiano in the Alta Badia (if you want an Italian experience in the northern Alto Adige, the Alta Badia is the place to go).

                                                    Minor changes this year, but pretty much the same as the posts above, so I won't repeat myself. Very little ever really changes up here. Why would the osterias, trattorias and restaurants change!? The local cuisine is in their blood. Particularly so in the Alta Badia, that very small group of towns where the first language at home is Ladina, in the northeast of the Alto Adige. Below the soaring majestic Dolomiti, which many feel (we believe rightly so) are some of the world's most beautiful mountains, just simple places serving wonderfully simple food.

                                                    Pre de Costa: Our favorite trattoria in Italy (pace La Buca in Zibello, La Torre in Cherasco and Alla Vecchia Bettola in Firenze). We ate there eight times this summer (the first time is in the post above), half at dinner, half at lunch. Two different specials every day (in addition to a super menu) The last time was ravioli stuffed with rape rosse... and talgiatelle with finferli. Just great.

                                                    Ciasa Solares in Armentarola, two restaurants: La Terrazza is better than ever. Only at lunch. Sit outside on the terrace. The Wine Bar (open only in the evening). Menu limited to four antipasti, primi, secondi and desserts. Everything very good. Fantastic cheese selection. Both restaurants have Solares's excellent extensive (from all of Italy and most of France) wine list.

                                                    La Sieia in San Cassiano. As good as when it first opened last year. Both lunch (when you can sit outside on the terrace if you wish) and dinner. High level of cooking, very good ingredients, somewhat limited wine list. Excellent cheese selection; why not... owned by the people from the malga Luch da Pcei.

                                                    L'Murin. At the Hotel La Perla in Corvara. Menu changes every day. Our thought: the best porchetta for us in Italy. Fun place to be (an old converted barn). Open for dinner only in the summer; in the winter, only apres ski.

                                                    The Grill at The Rosa Alpina. An old standby. Large menu, very good (somewhat overpriced) wine list. Excellent service.

                                                    Our two favorite rifugi remain Scotoni (grilled sausages second to none... a must) with steak that can rival Sostanza (albeit of a different cut) and Bioche, high above Piz Sorega.

                                                    Cortina:

                                                    In the Veneto (not the Alta Badia in the Alto Adige) a mere 20 miles from San Cassiano, but in a different world of cuisine. To paraphrase Tip O'Neill, all Italian cooking is local.

                                                    Restaurant Tivoli (http://www.ristorantetivolicortina.it/) just on the outskirts of Cortina. Our favorite restaurant in the Veneto. Impeccable ingredients, a master (Graziano Priest) at the helm in the kitchen. A wonderful dining room feeling and excellent, professional, but informal, service. Add to that a great wine list and you have what remains for us, the best restaurant in the Vento. Today, in addition to amuses (including a zuppa di porcini) and "pre- desserts" we had uovo croccante con porcini in fondutta leggera al Taleggio; lasangnetta con finferli, verdurine e fonduta a parmigiano; maiolino di latte croccante cotto a bassa temperatura, con salsa a finocchietto; il vitello si fa in tre, guancia, stinco, filetto allo speck; a gratin of frutti di bosco with fig ice cream. A 2007 Amarone Valpolicella Classico from Allegrini (expensive but what a wine!).

                                                    In Cortina, our favorite trattoria, Baita Fraina. (http://www.baitafraina.it/it/index.htm). People who care about food. Classical dishes from the Ampezzo area (you can see a sample menu on the site). Well prepared dishes, first class ingredients, wonderfully warm proprietors. We've been going for a long time and it has always been a very good meal.

                                                    1. re: allende

                                                      Ahh... Pre de Costa. You turned us on to this last summer, allende, and I still dream of it. I would kill for the recipe to their spatzle with speck and -- some kind of cheese? Can't remember. But came back and had it again it was so delicious. Allende, since you're there so much -- lucky you -- any chance of getting the "ricetta" out of them? I would be forever grateful! :)

                                                      1. re: pastahound

                                                        One of our favorite dishes there as well. The spatzle is so light, the speck full of flavor and the cheese, from the malga Luch da Pcei above San Cassiano just 3 km. away, could not be fresher or tastier.

                                                        So the first thing is to learn to make the spatzle and get the speck and cheese :)

                                                        All kidding aside, unfortunately we won't be back to Pre de Costa until next summer, so can't help on the recipe.