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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Italian Lakes

Food and drink in the Italian Lakes

In Italy food is Numero Uno, aside from family, and the Italian Lakes are no exception. To make the most of the eating experience, meal times tend to last a while, with at least four courses to get through. Italian Lakes holidays offer up a plethora of traditional trattorias and fine dining restaurants, but wherever you choose you can expect a gourmet experience.

Exploring the Italian Lakes' delicacies

Fish from the lakes dominates local cuisine, for example lavaret is a fantastic white fish that's thinly sliced in a fresh Italian salad. Risotto with perch fillets is another typical dish of the area. Gargnano and Limone in Garda are part of the area known as Riviera dei Limoni and this is where Limoncello is made. Lemons are also used in the delicious desserts and other products.

The region is known for its tasty Valeggio tortellini, which are handmade little pasta parcels filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. There are also amazing wines to try made from local grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet and Sauvignon. You may also like the delicately perfumed dessert wines such as Moscato Giallo, a perfect accompaniment to classic Italian Tirimasu.

Traditional Italian food at Tre Oche, Gargnano – Lake Garda

Enjoy your meal in a unique restaurant where the outside space is under an ancient arched alleyway. Some tables even overlook the lake. The service here is impeccable and the food is served on charming crockery and olive tree placemats.

Translated, 'Tre Oche' means 'three ducks', so you shouldn't leave without trying the ragu with three types of goose meat, accompanied by a local red wine such as Benaco Bresciano Rosso.

The trendy environment of Tortelli & Friends, Salo – Lake Garda

This venue describes itself as a gastronomic restaurant and bar, and it has a trendy, homely feel. You can sit downstairs by the deli counter or find a table in the upstairs balcony, a great spot for a bit of people watching.

It's located on a gorgeous cobbled street filled with elegant boutiques and ice cream parlours just behind Salo's lakeside promenade, the longest in Lake Garda. The restaurant is known for its delicious pumpkin tortelli. Also sourced in Lombardy, pumpkin is another popular ingredient utilised throughout this region.

In the heart of the cobbled streets at Trattoria San Giacomo, Bellagio – Lake Como

San Giacomo is located on a gradient on one of the many cobbled streets that give this area its unique atmosphere. The rustic homemade cooking includes minestrone soup, ravioli, and ossobuco, which is a Milanese speciality consisting of veal shanks braised with vegetables. You'll also find one of the most extensive wine cellars in Bellagio here. There are many vineyards around the lakes so the local choice is abundant.

Fine dining at Ristorante la Vista, Varenna – Lake Como

Offering some of the most fantastic views across Lake Como, this is a top choice for a romantic dinner. La Vista offers a vast interior space with large windows bringing the outside in. Otherwise you can always sit on the terrace perched over the lake.

Aside from the surroundings, food is very much the focus here, try the simple mozzarella and tomato salad starter, followed by ravioli with truffle and braciola, and finish off with gorgonzola ice cream. It's produced with gorgonzola cheese made locally in the Italian Lakes.

Michelin-starred Il Clandestino, Stresa – Lake Maggiore

This is an elegant and charming Michelin-starred restaurant, situated just a few metres from the lakeside right in the heart of the historic centre of Stresa. Its decor is warm, giving it a friendly and homely feel despite its status.

Here the speciality is fish, and as you'd expect, the food is presented immaculately. Owner and chef Franco Marasco uses the finest ingredients and he'll provide you with an experience, not just a meal out. Whatever you decide to try, wash it all down with a grappa before enjoying a lakeside walk.