With land as rich as Lake Garda's, the locals sure know how to use it. Out this way you can expect a whole lot of fresh fish pulled in from the shores, steeped in locally-produced olive oil and served with a glass of wine brought in from a nearby vineyard.
The food plated in Lake Garda, like much of that around Italy, is known for being largely locally-sourced. One of the biggest amenities to the region's cuisine is also its biggest attraction – the lake. Easy access to Lake Garda means fresh fish is almost always on the menu, whether grilled, tossed into a pasta or something in between.
Lake Garda is also renowned for its extra virgin olive oil, produced in the area and loved for its silky smooth texture. You'll notice an abundance of vineyards surrounding the villages out here too, each of which are put to good use in the ways of local wine making.
Panem is all about posh sarnies done the Italian way – and by that, we mean served with a large glass of house red. This little restaurant might look like any other deli counter at first glance, but don't be fooled. The plates of cold locally-sourced cheese and meats are a step well above your average hors d'oeuvre, as are the sandwiches, of which there are 21 choices for the 21 regions in Italy. Meals are served on wooden slabs, but you can also opt for takeaway and dine along the lake.
Marco e Daniela Time is laden with high tables and stools for those willing to pause a little longer. Cold sandwiches served on homemade bread are often accompanied by complimentary bruschetta, so make sure to arrive hungry. On top of that, the tiramisu is rumoured to be among the best in Italy. Even if you're just passing through on your Italian Lakes holiday, it's advisable to grab a slice before you leave.
Everything about Ristorante La Berlera is a feast for the eyes – the restaurant itself, built into a hillside, the interior, all white with cave-like walls. Then there's the food. Italian to its core but with a modern twist, go set-menu or a la carte, and you can expect dishes like beef tagliata, herb risotto and octopus, capped off with peanut and cheese cookies and chocolate cake. Everything about it exudes fine dining.
Stashed right up alongside the lake and with an elegant terrace to match, Ristorante Esplanade touts a highly-coveted Michelin star and embodies all the class and style you'd expect from an upmarket Italian restaurant. Boasting an incredible wine list and a top notch sommelier, the restaurant specialises in experimental gourmet cuisine in the form of fresh seafood dishes. You can go a la carte or opt for the taster menu to get a little of each flavour – just don't forget dessert.
Michelin star-rated Ristorante Lido '84 is all about the atmosphere, tucked up along the lake and surrounded by beautiful gardens. The menu here offers a chef's taster option with seven courses, alongside an a la carte selection. Beef cheeks, sea bass, pasta, rose cake, truffles, fudge and everything in between is locally-sourced or homemade. And with knowledgeable staff on hand, you can learn about each and every facet of your dish.