Family lore says that my conception in Venice was responsible for my otherworldly love for pasta. I like the story enough to stick with it and to this day I am happiest, food-wise, when in Italy. When I lived in South Africa I was super excited to take my new boyfriend, let’s call him Larry, not only home to meet my family, but also to Rome. What could be more romantic than sharing la dolce vita and a bowl of pasta in the eternal city during the steamy summer months? Or so I thought…
Unfortunately, it turned out that Larry was more into Bernini than Bellini, not that he actually knew the difference when we first arrived. My father had given me provisions in terms of extra pocket money so I was going to be in charge of the food. Or so I thought, again… There is nothing harder than sharing a romantic connection over food with someone who is actually not into food and will be stingy to spend money – which wasn’t actually his – on nice meals. Eventually, the trip turned sour for other reasons and no amount of deep fried zucchini flowers, gnocchi, and carbonara could turn it around, regardless of who paid for them. The cherry of an un-dolce holiday was when South African customs confiscated my parmesan cheese upon returning home. Larry and I broke up a few weeks later, over yes, you guessed correctly, said cheese.
That trip still went through my head when my father invited me to the opera in Verona. I knew with there would be at least 7 Italian meals included, not counting breakfasts, gelatos, and aperitif snacks and this time I was going to do right by the Italian food. Luckily my dad is the best partner in crime for such an endeavor. I was happy to forgo the romantic spaghetti slurping action á la Lady and The Tramp and endure conversations about female Viagra over prosecco (my dad is a urologist, so this topic is not as weird as it may seem) to now give you the ultimate guide of what to eat where to eat in Verona.
My favorite restaurants in Verona
For Truffle pasta – Greppia
Starting with the most important dish, the holy grail of pasta dishes you may say – the pasta al Tartufo. While the truffle shavings were the biggest at Tre Marchetti, the whole dish was a lot more balanced at Greppia (Vicolo Samaritana, 3). Truffle pasta doesn’t need cream nor porcini mushrooms, simplicity is key. As it usually goes with primis in Italy, the portion was quite small and didn’t really do it for me as a main. Luckily the waiter didn’t even blink an eye when I ordered a second portion and finished that off as well in no time. I did want to prank him and order a third but gave myself away too early, I don’t have a poker face whatsoever. Mind you, not only the waiter made this to one of the best restaurants in Verona we ate at.
Charming Italian waiters – Ristorante Tre Marchetti
Mind you we did have the best waiter at Ristorante Tre Marchetti (Vicolo 3 Marchetti, 19/B). I have a crush on all Italian waiters, so a special category needs to be included for them. All of them were knowledgeable, charming, and not as cheesy as they are made out to me. They flirted with me without making me feel uncomfortable that I was sitting next to my dad. But the loveliest was definitely our waiter from here. Especially after inventing a special rule that tiramisu must always be consumed with Limoncello (it really shouldn’t and Italians are probably rolling their eyes at me for even trying) he had my heart and the best tip of the week. And let me tell you, that tiramisu was something, title for best tiramisu right here. Creamy with crunchy, doughy bits and light coffee flavor plus it came with the best view: the Verona arena!
That view was also responsible for the best glass of prosecco we had. It was overpriced, not the greatest quality, and only came with uncomfortable seating, but nothing can beat this:
Hotel Snacks – Palazzo Victoria
After the opera and, in fact, to end all evenings we would head to our hotel bar. We stayed at the Palazzo Victoria, which while it had some issues, also came with an awesome bar and backyard with live music. The waiters, again, were the best and their cocktails, even the non-Italian classics like Pisco Sour, awesome. They also have a really nice selection of Franciacorta (the Italian version of Champagne) by the glass, which needed to be tasted/tested multiple times.
As a belated birthday dinner, I took my dad to 12 Apostoli (Corticella San Marco, 3), without a doubt the best restaurant in Verona. The setting is quite grand and old-school and does come with a price, but is very worth it for a special night out. Ask them to show you the wine cellar afterward, which not only houses drinkable treasures, but also 2000-year-old Roman ruins.
Traditional Italian – Osterial del Bugiardo
For our lunches, we stuck to little Osterias and Trattorias for a ‘snack’. No, we didn’t try Giulietta e Romeo Osteria, because quite frankly anything and everything is named after those two in Verona and that doesn’t make it outstanding. I picked our lunch spots according to pretty tiles and waiters name Paolo who strongly resemble Bill Murray in younger years. If you like him too, check out Osteria del Bugiardo (Corso Porta Borsari, 17/A), my favorite Osteria. Like a little well-oiled machinery, he serves his mainly local customers wine by the glass and a small selection of daily specials: salmon tartare, pasta, chicken – pronto! An awesome place to sit at the bar and people watch while downing a few glasses.
After all that pasta I was in search for the best pizza in Verona. Admittedly, I only ate one during our stay, but that one at San Matteo Church Ristorante Pizzeria (Vicolo S. Matteo, 1) came with all of my favorite toppings: burrata, salccicia, and pine nuts. And as my friend who I sent a picture to said: best-looking pizza ever. While the restaurant is in a retired church the inside is not as picturesque as one may envision and resembles more of a canteen, rather eat outside.
While I was on a mission for the best truffle pasta my dad hunted for the best spaghetti vongole. He got lucky with his second plate at Monte Baldo (Via Rosa, 12) for lunch. Perfectly light with more juicy mussels than pasta, I was a bit sad he didn’t leave much for me to finish off.
Hip & Happening – Locanda 4 Cuochi
For our last supper lunch, we went to Locanda 4 Cuochi (Via Alberto Mario, 12) and while it was not the typical homely Trattoria that I had in mind, it was one of our best meals. It is light and modern and offered a new take on classic Italian dishes like a saffron risotto tart with chanterelles or ricotta gnocchi with sweetbreads. Refreshingly different without trying too hard and the waiters were charmingly Italian hipsters, a great and somewhat different restaurant in Verona.
The one place where I, unfortunately, didn’t eat was lunch at Retrot Bistrot & Cafe (Piazza Duomo, 6/A) where we just had a drink. If you go to Verona, check it out – it seems like the perfect mix of vegan and prosciutto, raw juices, and prosecco, and I love the idea of a place where opposites can meet and eat.
As far as everything else goes – yes, I ate every single thing on this list and no, there were no leftovers. Why a hotel in Verona would torture its guests by putting a scale in the bathroom is beyond me. Mind you, when it comes to Romeos and pasta – no regrets!
Have you been and what where your favorite restaurants to eat at in Verona?