Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jun 29, 2011 02:43 PM

Dining recs in Trentino/Alto Adige?

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can highly recommend Il Libertino. We had lunch there and loved it.

    Il Libertino
    Piazza Piedicastello,4, Trent, Trentino-Alto Adige/S├╝dtirol , 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


                      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.