Bardolino holidays might be, for the most part, spent right on the waterfront, but some of the area's best restaurants take you away from the waves and onto the path less-travelled. The atmosphere at these Bardolino restaurants might be a little quieter out this way, but the food is superb – even garnering a Michelin star if you know where to look.
This quaint little ristorante is reminiscent of old world Italy, complete with stone walls draped with vines and a twinkle-lit courtyard surrounded by olive trees. The food is suitably Italian and popular with locals. On the menu you'll find beef carpaccio and homemade pasta with pork loin, all of which come in the large, Italian-style portions you'll start to get used to on holidays to Lake Garda.
La Cantinetta is stacked up along one of Bardolino's bustling avenues, complete with its own outdoor terrace. You'll start with a complimentary lemon sorbet, but otherwise seafood steals the show at this little restaurant. Highlights include stuffed clams and prawns, tagliatelli with mussels and large, shareable platters.
As the name might suggest, you're getting a whole lot of Italian at Ristorante La Porta, especially in the seafood department. Inside the restaurant the walls feel a little like a museum, but the terrace is supremely casual. Both will be just fine for sampling sea bass with a salt crust or fresh lobster.
Pizzeria Bardolino offers some of the best pizza in the area and even a few gluten-free options. But pizza isn't the only thing on the menu – you'll also find steak, pasta and the kind of complimentary aperitifs like limoncello or a liquorice liqueur that make for cheap Lake Garda holidays.
Taverna da Memo is boxed in by buildings but the terrace is out by the busy street, making it top for people watching. Where the menu is concerned, traditional Italian is on the bill, including pizza, seafood pasta, fish fillets and even minestrone soup, each capped off by elaborate desserts.
Even after a long day of dining, there's always room for Gelateria Cristallo. This little sweet spot sits on the waterfront and offers up pastries, cocktails and gelato. Word to the wise, though – cocktails ordered here usually come with complimentary snacks.
La Veranda is privy to one coveted Michelin star, and once you set eyes on these artful dishes you'll understand why. The flavours are distinctly Italian but with hints of oriental spices chosen specially by the chef. There's an a la carte menu to choose from, but for the full experience go with the tasting menu, of which there are two – one centred on meat, and one for fish.
The dining room at La Loggia Rambaldi is large and elegant, extending out to the street with a casual drinking area. Like much of Bardolino's restaurants, the food here is largely Italian, featuring pizza – including a whole grain crust option – pasta, steak, seafood dishes and a very extensive wine list.
A little off the beaten path and sometimes on the quiet side, La Piccola Osteria gives you a chance to break away from the crowds and enjoy authentic local food in comfort. Pasta with rabbit, lake trout, sea bass and rosemary potatoes are enough to lure you out this way, while inexpensive litres of house wine will keep you nice and warm.
Hidden away in a quieter corner of Bardolino, Ristorante Don Pedo offers its guests warm service and a host of familiar Italian favourites. Pizza, trout, carbonara and seafood pasta all crown the menu, while a complimentary limoncello will magically appear on your table without you having to order at all.