Stone House Restaurant – Lezzano, Lake Como, Italy

Lezzano is a quiet, rural, colourful little town right next to Bellagio – this is where we stayed during our visit to Lake Como.

We rented a little apartment with a terrace that faced the lake and right under our apartment was Stone House Restaurant, so on our last evening at Lake Como, after the last couple evenings of just ordering drinks to take over to the beach with us where we would sit and watch the sunset, we finally ended up eating here.

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Stone House Restaurant

The restaurant had a very rustic feel to it but also has a lot of subtle decor that relates to boats, ferries and sailing. At the far end of the restaurant there is a wine cellar which is full of wines from all over Italy.

I had a steak tartare starter as a main, Jack had a steak, and we shared fries and a side salad. It felt like a feast but because it was so delicious, we managed to eat it all and even went for an ice cream sundae for dessert!

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Steak Tartare
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Steak with peppercorn sauce
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Side salad
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Ice cream sundae for dessert

After dinner we took a stroll down to the quiet beach and it was breath taking to see all the towns lit up in clusters around the lake.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g664188-d10695484-Reviews-Stone_House-Lezzeno_Lake_Como_Lombardy.html

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Ristorante Gatto Nero – Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy

The day we drove to Como Town, we decided it was too commercialised, touristy and not as beautiful a town as the others that we had been to, so we continued driving around the lake and ended up in Cernobbio.

Cernobbio is stunning town and is built on a fairly steep mountain so the views are amazing. We drove up, higher and higher into the mountain on a very zig zaggy, winding road and ended up at Gatto Nero.

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The view from the restaurant
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The best bread and bread sticks we had during our whole trip around Lake Garda, Lake Como and Milan – we ate the whole basket!!!

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It was Easter Sunday so there was an Easter Sunday set menu of six courses paired with four different wines.

The starters were a “potato foam” with truffle and crispy octopus in cauliflower cream and lemon foam, which came with Brut. The potato foam was much like a creamy potato soup with an earthy flavour from the truffles and the octopus was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth and it went well with the sweetness of the cauliflower cream.

Seconds were shellfish ravioli with cream fish roe sauce and a shitake mushroom risotto with milk chocolate shavings, which came with white Liguria wine. The shellfish ravioli was probably my favourite dish of all six courses. It had a fresh taste of the sea and I could have definitely just had a big dish of that and been very content. The mushroom risotte was nice – the earthy flavours of the mushroom and the subtle sweetness of the milk chocolate made the dish very rich and interesting.

 

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Our table
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Shitake and milk chocolate risotto
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Shitake and milk chocolate risotto

The main dish was roasted rabbit with roasted baby potatoes and a gravy sauce, which was served with a deep red wine. The rabbit fell off the bone, it was so tender, and the potatoes had a fresh sweetness to them.

For dessert there was an ice-cream-like dish with white chocolate, which was served with a dessert wine and some panettone of course – as it is a celebrations bread and it was Easter Sunday.

Unfortunately I am a picky dessert eater and I don’t often want dessert or crave anything sweet – and I really don’t like white chocolate – so they got a tiramisu for me instead, which was so lovely of them!

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Dessert
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Semifreddo – ice cream-like dessert with white chocolate shavings and caramel sauce
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Tiramisu for me

After almost three hours at the table, we took our coffees to the terrace to enjoy the view for a while before we headed back.

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Post lunch coffee on the terrace
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The view
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The view

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http://www.ristorantegattonero.it/en-gb/

Ristorante Bilacus – Bellagio, Como, Italy

To end our day of exploring Bellagio – we ended up at Ristorante Bilacus for dinner. Definitely make a reservation for the terrace if you are going here. We didn’t make a reservation but we were very lucky and someone didn’t turn up for their table (which had the most stunning view!) so we were able to sit outside on the terrace.

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view from our table – look at that mountain!
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Had to take this cheesy shot with that view in the background!
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I was not exaggerating about their love of bread sticks in the Italian Lakes

We started with a trio of seafood platter which had a fish pate, octopus salad and prawn cocktail and a meat platter which had a mixture of ham, salami and thinly sliced roast pork. Both were delicious!

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Seafood trio and meat platter to start
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The meat platter

For our mains we shared a Grilled King Prawns, a Prawn Linguine (needed a pasta dish as well but wanted seafood) and a side salad. It was all perfection and I am currently drooling as I write this and think back about the flavours.

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Grilled King Prawns
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Prawn Linguine
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Our feast for mains
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Tasmorcan Barbera D’Asti 2015 was gorgeous – recommended by the waiter

The service were great! There were the perfect amount of attentive but still left us to enjoy ourselves without pushing us to order or pay the bill quickly.

We shared the Panna Cotta for dessert – which was refreshing and light after all that food.

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Panna Cotta dessert
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The Terrace

It was honestly one of the most enjoyable dinners – everything from the service, the atmosphere, the food. I definitely recommend making a booking if you are in Lake Como.

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The Terrace

http://www.bilacusbellagio.it/index.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187834-d1228496-Reviews-Ristorante_Bilacus-Bellagio_Lake_Como_Lombardy.html

Villa Pioppi Restaurante – Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

As the sun went down in Sirmione, we walked from the old town over to Villa Pioppi. It is a gorgeous boutique hotel and restaurant which has a swimming pool and beautiful terrace on the lake that faces the sunset.

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Walking into Villa Pioppi with the sun setting behind
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The pool and the restaurant behind
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More of the pool and lake
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The restaurant

We sat down at a table outside, facing the lake. Sitting on a terrace on Lake Garda, wine in hand, facing the sunset – what an absolute dream! It was so peaceful and tranquil and an incredibly stunning way to end our day.

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Our sunset view at dinner

Eventually we ordered dinner – we weren’t rushed to pestered to order food as soon as we got there – so we were able to really relax and have a drink while taking in the views.

We ordered two starters (a mozzarella and tomato salad and a tuna tartare) and shared a pepperoni pizza for our main.

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Mozzarella and tomato salad
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Tuna tartare
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Tuna tartare
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Pepperoni pizza

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The food was all absolutely delicious and full of flavour. It was a really great evening and I definitely recommend going for dinner while you are in Lake Garda.

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Before the restaurant started filling up with people
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Dinner vibes
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Leaving Villa Pioppi

 

http://www.villapioppihotel.com/en/

http://www.villapioppihotel.com/en/restaurant

 

Trattoria Alessi – Desenzano del Garda, Italy

We stayed in Desenzano, which is a colourful, seaside-like, small Italian lake town on Lake Garda, and on our first night we walked around the streets looking for somewhere that wouldn’t be touristy and unauthentic. We wondered through all the small, winding, colourful streets and stumbled upon Trattoria Alessi.

It was exactly what we were looking for! We very happily sat down outside in the colourful, little, wonky, side street.

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The colourful little street
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Sitting outside at the restaurant
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Dinner vibes

We were given the usual basket of bread and bread sticks. Now, I have a couple things to say about these baskets of bread. Firstly, they absolutely love their bread sticks before dinner. I don’t think we went anywhere in Lake Como or Lake Garda where these were not given to you. Secondly, they love to give you bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, but not any dish to put the oil and balsamic onto, so you will need to ask.

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The Lasagna

We ordered our favourite Italian dishes. Jack had the Lasagna and I had the Spaghetti Pescatore – both absolutely delicious – which we washed down with bottle of a simple Pinot Noir.

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The Spaghetti Pescatore

Once we had finished our meals we still had some wine to finish off but this area of the restaurant was closing up, so the waiter showed us into another area of the restaurant which lead into a (what we thought was a secret) garden area. It was a buzzing little atmosphere with everyone finishing off their last drinks from their dinners.

An absolutely hidden away gem – and so glad we stumbled across it!

 

http://hotelalessi.com/resort/trattoria-alessi/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g194965-d1812674-Reviews-Trattoria_Pizzeria_Alessi-Desenzano_Del_Garda_Province_of_Brescia_Lombardy.html

Osteria All’Antico Vinaio – Florence, Italy

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On our first night in Florence, when we were there in April this year, we wondered the streets looking for All’Antico Vinaio (a hole in the wall wine and sandwich bar) on Via De Neri when we stumbled across their sit in restaurant across the street. We walked into the busy, lively restaurant and were seated shortly after we stood at the bar and ordered a bottle of wine.

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The menu was in Italian and they didn’t have an English menu – so when the waiter brought a very large basket of freshly baked bread, we asked him what he would recommend. He pointed at the charcuterie boards on all the tables around us (literally everyone had one) so we gave him a nod and a thumbs up.

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The board was covered in all sorts – two different cheeses, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, roast pork, all sorts of hams and salamis, and some jam to go with it all. One of the cheeses was a hard, strong flavoured, manchego-type cheese and the other had a lot less flavour and tasted more like a young cow’s milk cheese (basically tasted like milk). All the meats were scrumptious and we ate pretty much everything on the board.

He also brought us a couple of spreads on toasted bread – one was a thin layer of fat (which we actually didn’t eat as it just isn’t to our taste) and the other was a thick layer of home made pate which was lovely and earthy.
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For our main we asked the waiter about a (very) large steak that a man on the table was eating on the table beside us and whether we could get one for 500g – He laughed and said the smallest steak is 1kg. We decided that – even though the man beside us could tackle this large piece of meat on his own – this was one for us to share.

It came out sizzling on a platter. It was thick but very tender and it had a smokey flavour from being on the grill.

Cost about 30 Euros in total for the bill. A great meal and authentic local atmosphere. Definitely recommend for some wine, a charcuterie board and a steak!

http://www.allanticovinaio.com/en/home-osteria-eng/

Gusta Pizza – Florence, Italy

The weather was glorious in Florence when Jack and I went in April this year (but I guess I have London to compare it to, so pretty much anywhere else has great weather). It is such a beautiful city – even more so when showing itself off in the sunshine and cool, springtime breeze – and it offers such delicious foods made so simply with the freshest ingredients.

We read on Trip Advisor about a Pizza place that we had to try, so we got in a cab and as soon as we mentioned Gusta Pizza, the driver told us how famous it is and how good the pizzas are – so we knew we had made the right choice!

Gusta-Pizza-Menu

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As soon as you walk in it feels so lively and such a friendly atmosphere with the staff and chefs laughing and joking with everyone and making you feel so welcome when you enter. It is a small place with just a few large barrels with glass tops to use at tables and stools to sit on. You get in and you order at the till. Then they give you a number and you wait for it to be called then you go up and collect your pizzas.

I ordered a Napoli 6 Euros and Jack had a Calabrese 7 Euros. If felt like no time before they were out the wood-fired stone oven and onto the table. They made mine into a heart shape (CUTE!). The pizzas tasted so good. Everything from the prefect chewiness of the dough to the freshness of the sauce and the mozzarella – it was 100% the best pizza I have ever tried.

They had their own wine which we ordered as well and was absolutely gorgeous. I definitely recommend to try it – Plus it was only 10 Euros for a whole bottle!

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A Florentine institution! No pizza will ever be the same now.

Also read:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1155597-Reviews-Gusta_Pizza-Florence_Tuscany.html

Gusta Pizza