Restaurants around Lake Como have the most sensational views, whether they're right by the water or on a hill overlooking from afar. Four restaurants in the area have Michelin stars, so expect fine dining and local delights without the corresponding high prices.
Holidays in Lake Como are typically centred around the lake itself, and restaurants here naturally serve up lots of local freshwater fish such as trout or perch. Look for 'lake fish' on the menu, and in particular the delicious fritto misto di lago, or mixed fried lake fish. A common accompaniment is polenta, cooked in the uncia style with plenty of butter, garlic and cheese.
A traditional dessert is simply bread soaked in a liquor, or alternatively la miascia – a type of bread pudding cooked with eggs. You'll also find a great selection of Italian wines on the menu, usually at remarkably affordable prices.
A rustic stone building is the setting for cheap eats from this Agriturismo restaurant. There's no menu, but for €25 a head they'll bring out platefuls of antipasti, cured meats, pasta dishes, a main such as, slow braised lamb with polenta, then a selection of local cheese and cakes. All of this is topped off with coffee and limoncello, while water, red and white wine is also included in the price.
You might have to save your pennies to dine at Locanda La Tirlindana, but when you do you're in for a treat. Serving local seafood and classic Mediterranean dishes, the black risotto with squid is a particular highlight. People typically rave about the lemon ravioli too, but if you can't decide you can always go for the tasting menu. Located by the water opposite the Island of Comacina, it's best reached by water limousine and offers some of the most superb views of the mountains and lakes in Italy.
A bit of an all-rounder, BabaYaga is one of the best places for authentic, thin crust pizza on Lake Como. They offer a wide range of toppings here, alongside steaks and other Italian dishes. If you crave some fish, they also have trout and perch freshly caught from the lake. In modern surroundings with a covered outdoor area, prices are fair and the house wine is very good value for money.
Of the four Michelin starred restaurants around Lake Como, I Tigli in Theoria is the one that combines the best of food and surroundings. Located in a grand palace that was originally designed as the Archbishop's residence, fine art adorns the walls here. Your plates will be just as artistically presented, with dishes like Carnaroli Acquerello Risotto on their three-course weekday lunch menu.
This family-run trattoria is set in a quiet spot in the already peaceful village of Mezzegra, but its former Milan based chef is aiming high. Using fresh, local ingredients, they'll cook you up regional specialities including lake trout cooked on a stone or roast suckling pig roasted in a modern way, on long white or glass plates. A grand fireplace dominates one of the small dining rooms – the intimate service here will make you feel almost at home.