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