San Vigilio Ristorante Pizzeria: Stunning Views, Lovely food, nice atmosphere
This was somewhere that I'd wanted to eat for a while, since reading the positive reviews of its food and atmosphere. When we (very briefly) visited San Vigilio in May, I'd mistakenly thought that the restaurant next to the funicular station was San Vigilio Restaurante. So I was pleased to find there was a table available, when we turned up without booking at Sunday lunch time. I'm sure that this would be different in the summer months - It is popular with locals as well as weekenders from Milan and visitors from all corners of the world.
A bonus was that there was a table on the enclosed terrace -Again, in summer, these windows would all be open, affording wonderful views over the valley below. The restaurant is sited on the highest hill of the city. I'm afraid that our view wasn't the best, as it was quite a hazy day, but it was still quite atmospheric. The German writer Hermann Hesse was so overwhelmed by the 'awe inspiring and far reaching view' that he had glimpsed through the glass window as he passed by, that he was compelled to enter!
A favourite time to dine here is as the sunsets over the valley.
The restaurant was opened in 1913 under the name Isola Bella (The Beautiful Island). It is run today by the Zani Brothers.
It is noted for its typical Bergamasque and Mediterranean cuisine, and it's pizzas are renowned too - being made to order and baked in the central traditional wood burning oven.
All the pasta and desserts are made daily.
There was a mix of clientele of varying ages -as it was Sunday lunchtime, there were a few extended family groups, couples and groups of friends too.
The young staff were friendly, polite and efficient.
I enjoyed eating here, and look forward to doing so again in the not too distant future.
Last orders in the kitchen
14.30 and 22.45
Pizzeria Restaurante open
Mon - Sunday 12:00-14.30 and 19:00 - 00:00
Favorite Dish: I thouroughly enjoyed all of my meal
Antipasti - Starter
Gilly and I shared a plate of Salumi tipici bergamaschi con polenta (pic 4) - A selection of cold meats with polenta 9.50 Euros
Primi Piatti - First Course
I had Tortelli di zucca e patate con burro vansetto e amoretti
Ravioli with pumpkin and potato with butter and almonds -12 Euros
Gilly had Gnocchetti de patate con code di gamberi, peperoni e zucchini -
Potato dumplings with prawn tails, peppers and courgette -13 Euros
We drank a bottle of water (75cl) -3.10 Euros and a coffee each 3.60 for 2
Coperto (cover charge 6.80 Euros
Total bill 48 Euros ($62 40GBP)
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Il Fornaio: What a display!
This casual pizzeria and bakery has to have one of the most impressive window displays of any eatery! It is just a shame that for me the experience of eating here didn’t quite live up to the promise of the window. The arrangement here is that you order by the slice from those on display, your selection is weighed to determine the price, and then warmed for you while you pay at the opposite counter. You can then take your choice away to eat outside on the piazza or as you stroll the streets, or go upstairs to the large seating area.
I came for lunch with a couple of VT friends, but while they were served quickly, I found it hard to get the attention of their server, who moved on to someone else rather than take my order. In the end she returned to me and I asked to please serve me quickly as I wanted to join my friends and eat together. She did so, but cut corners on the heating up part of the operation, so my pizza was not as hot as I’d have liked. Still, I was soon on my way upstairs to join the others.
My choice of pizza had an appetising topping – prosciutto, different cheeses and walnuts. The flavour was good, despite the lack of heat. But I was disappointed with the base, which was think and bread-like – more like a US-style deep-pan pizza than the thin base more usual in Italy, and much less to my taste. However, if you like a thick dough base you may enjoy a slice here more than I did - certainly it gets great reviews from others.
The cost depends on the size of your slice, as well as the topping you choose. I paid about €7 for my slice and a bottle of water.
After lunch it was time to carry on exploring Bergamo, with a visit to the Palazzo Moroni.
Ristorante Marechiaro: Good seafood, no rush!
Strolling through the Citta Bassa and NOT finding our intended trattoria, we stumbled instead upon Ristorante Marechiaro - and very pleased I am that we did! This restaurant offered unhurried dining at a pace we could dictate ourselves as we sat, chatting about the day we had just enjoyed.
Above the restaurant, is also a B&B (Sant'Antonio de Foris) with breakfast being served in the restaurant. Check website below for more information on room rates, etc.
We had a very friendly waitress who assisted with wine recommendation and allowed us to dine at a very relaxed pace - indeed, we were the last to leave the restaurant!
The restaurant is open daily from 12:00 till 14:30 and 19:00 till 24:00 with the exception of Tuesdays when it is closed.
We enjoyed our antipasti (which we shared, as always) which was a fish platter (photo 4) and included breaded fish (possibly a local fresh-water fish), octopus, calamari, smoked salmon, prawns, (possibly) anchovies which were served with salad leaves and lemon wedges (€12).
For our main course we both ordered the local speciality of Casoncelli alla Bergamasca; each restaurant has their own recipe and Ristorante Marechiaro had a very enjoyable dish (€8) - see photo 2.
With our meal we enjoyed a carafe of house wine - (€8) - see photo 5.
Including coffees and cover, our meal cost €40.60 for 2.
Favorite Dish: The Casoncelli alla Bergamasca was special but I truly enjoyed the antipasti fish platter which has an excellent selection and was good value for money.
- Historical Travel
La Marianna: Coffee time
This large café on the Largo Colle Aperto seemed to us to be largely a local favourite, and no wonder. The ambiance is relaxed, the coffee excellent and the cakes looked very tempting indeed, though I restrained myself on this occasion! Oh, and the gelati looked great too!
The café dates from the 1950s and its walls are decorated with old photos from that era. There are also plenty of tables outside. Although we only came for morning coffee, full meals are available too. This is a convenient location if you’re on your way to or from Bassa or the airport, as the number 1 bus stops nearby, and also for the funicular to San Vigilio.
After our coffee we decided to explore some of the sights of the Città Bassa, around the Porta Nuova.
Ristorante Pizzeria La Bruschetta: Lovely dinner with friends, old and new
After early registration and “First Timers’ drinks”, a small group of seven of us set of in search of a restaurant for dinner – although luckily our group included two “Bergamo experts”, meeting organisers Sue (suvanki) and Gillian (Gillybob), and they were ready with a recommendation, the Ristorante Pizzeria La Bruschetta. This proved a great choice. We were able to sit outside on this warm evening and enjoy each other’s company over a lovely meal and a few beers (one very large, as photo two testifies!)
Favorite Dish: We decided to share a number of antipasti: a seafood platter, prosciutto and a beautiful platter of cheese served with jams, honey and nuts. My main course was a local pasta speciality, Scarpinocc di Parre finite a mano con burro versato, salvia e parmigiano (stuffed pasta with cheese and egg cooked with butter and sage leaves). This was very tasty, though a quick taste of the Casoncelli (another local pasta dish with ravioli-like pockets stuffed with sausage-meat served with bacon lardons, butter, grated cheese and sage) suggested that this was even more yummy! I drank a medium beer with this, and paid a reasonable €27 with service.
We chose not to have a dessert as we were all eager to try the nearby gelateria recommended by Sue, Grom.
Grom: Ice Cream Heaven!
When planning our trip to Bergamo, Suvanki was very clear of an absolute need to pay homage to the home of Italian ice cream (in her opinion), Grom. She was keen to try the shop in Bergamo (which she had previously visited) again as well as two shops in Padova.
Our first stop was on the way to our hotel - probably within 45 minutes of Suvanki arriving in Italy!
I have to say, her judgement is well-founded. My first selection was a coni medio (medium cone) with caffe (coffee) and panna montata (whipped cream) - it was divine.
A second visit led me to try a coni medio with dark chocolate fondant ice cream and strawberry sorbet - this taught me the lesson to think carefully about choosing flavours; whilst both the chocolate and strawberry were, independently delicious, together, the chocolate overpowered the strawberry.
In Bergamo, Grom is situated in the Citta Bassa on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII.
Favorite Dish: The coffee ice cream is still one of my favourite flavours - but there's many a flavour still to be tried! More importantly, you have to visit at various times of the year, as flavours change with seasons.
Bicchiere Medio €3.00 December 2011
Bicchiere Grande €4.00 December 2011
Cono Medio (Medium cone) €3.00 December 2011
Opening Hours :
April thru September
Monday to Thursday 11:00am - 00:00am
Friday & Saturday 11:00am - 01:00am
Sunday 10:30am - 00:00am
October thru March
Monday to Thursday 12:00pm - 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday 12:00pm - 00:00am
Sunday 10:30am - 10:30pm
- Historical Travel
da Franco: Great Tourist Menu!
This restaurant, located in Citta Alta, offers a great tourist menu with a good selection of dishes.
For €18, you can choose from a starter of Lasagna al Forno, Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (a traditional 'raviolo' Bergamo style) or Pennette alla Verdure (penne pasta with vegetable sauce).
Follow this with a main course selected from Arosto al forno con funghi porcini e polenta (roast beef with porcini mushrooms and polenta), Braciola alla piastra con patatine (grilled cutlet with French fries), Bocconcini con piselli e polenta (veal bites with peas and polenta) or Seppie in umido con polenta (stewed cuttlefish with polenta).
Finally, finish your meal with coffee.
Your €18.00 includes service and cover charges.
Favorite Dish: I had Casoncelli alla Bergamasca, which was delicious, followed by Arosto al forno con funghi porcini e polenta. Both Suvanki and I had decided to choose dishes with polenta, a local speciality; many will know that polenta (a corn-meal porridge) is very filling, so be sure not to go eating all your porridge before the rest of your main meal or you may feel overly full!
- Budget Travel
I Sapori di Sicilia: Great Sicilian Snacks
Having arrived at Hotel Santa Caterina, the heavens opened and a torrential downpour ensued for the next five hours or more. Luckily I Sapori di Sicilia is located right next door to Hotel Santa Caterina and we were quickly able to run between the two front doors and enjoy an evening meal which included arrancini and cannoli.
This is very much a cafe - with disposable plates, cutlery and glass the order of the day - but the food is good quality and a great selection.
Favorite Dish: The arrancini was absolutely delicious. I had a meat and cheese filled version which was eaten like an ice cream cone, held simply by a serviette.
- Budget Travel
Vineria Cozzi di Miliona: Fantastic dinner in a pretty setting
I had some lovely meals in Bergamo, but the best by a long way was this, our final dinner at the Vineria Cozzi. The restaurant had caught my eye earlier in the day, with its narrow courtyard opening off Via Bartolomeo Colleoni, prettily decorated in a fresh, modern style. I was concerned it might look a bit too girly to appeal to Chris (lots of pink!) but luckily the menu was tempting enough for both of us.
You enter the restaurant not through that courtyard but through the bar and wine-shop next door. We were shown to a table in one corner of the equally pretty room beyond the courtyard and welcomed with a basket of crusty bread, good olive oil for dipping, and popcorn! We settled down to make some very difficult choices from the menu.
Our starters were absolutely excellent! Mine was Uovo in tazza con fonduta, tartufo nero e canolo di parmigiano – “Egg in cup with mini cheese fondue, black truffle and parmesan rolled biscuit”. I gave Chris one taste, and he spent the next ten minutes or so begging for more and bemoaning the fact that he had not ordered the same! But in truth his own choice was just as good – a Selezione di formaggi locali, “selection of local cheeses”. These were served with jams and chutneys as is typical here, and on a slate marked out with arrows and numbers to indicate the recommended order of eating, from mildest to strongest (see photo three).
Our mains were almost as good. We both went for primi – Chris had possibly the best Casoncelli con pancetta, burro e salvia of the several I tasted in Bergamo, while my Risotto con zafferano, zucchini e mandorle tostate (“saffron risotto, zucchini and toasted almonds”) was subtly flavoured and cooked to perfection.
With food this good, we had to find room for dessert! The menu was brought, but with it another aid to selection, in the form of a 3D Viewmaster with images of all the desserts – an amusing touch. But I didn’t need the pictures to help me decide on the Semifreddo al passion fruit con spuma al franciacorta brut (“Passion fruit semifreddo with Franciacorta brut foam”) as it sounded light and refreshing – and so it was. Chris also wanted something light and chose the summer berries with shortbread.
Our bill, with cover and two large glasses of very good red wine, was €81 – not cheap, but well worth it for the quality of the food and the overall experience. It came with a little bag of meringues and macaroons (see photo five) which served as part of our lunch the next day on our journey home.
If I go back to Bergamo, a meal here will be high on my list of “must do”s and I recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants a good dining experience in Alta. You can also buy a picnic hamper here if you want a special lunch somewhere. And another nice touch – we drank just a glass of wine each, but I noted that if you want a bottle of wine you can choose from the very wide selection in the shop and pay a small corkage charge on top.
So, something to go back for ...
But, it was time to leave Bergamo, so my final tip is sadly about our flight home to England.
- Food and Dining
VOX Restaurant and Lounge Bar: Fill Your Boots at this Happy Hour Buffet!
VOX was next door to our hotel (Mercure) and we called in for a early evening drink, which co-incided with Happy Hour.
Happy Hour in Bergamo means that your drinks arrive with a selection of nibbles of varying amounts. Usually from 17.30 -18.30/19.30.
In VOX this is a full buffet, spread along the bar and counter spaces, which is replenished when the levels of snacks on the plates fall. We weren't quite sure when 'Happy Hour' ended as the buffet was still being re-stocked at 21.30 hours.
We ordered our drinks - Me an Aperol Spritz, Gilly-a draught beer - for 5 Euros each - we soon found out that this entitled us to 'fill our boots' at the buffet!
Green olives, cold meats, pizzas, tortilla, crisps, nuts, bruschettas, garlic and salsa dips, potato cubes, fennel slices etc all passed our lips on the 2 occassions that we visited here - Tho' on the Sunday, the same drinks cost 6 Euros!
On the Monday morning when we passed by, we spotted bowls of olives again, plus covered plates of pastries, croissants etc. - not sure if these were 'free with a drink' or not
The buffet bar is on the lower level -There is also a restaurant on an upper level.
UPDATE - We re-visited VOX again during our March trip. Once again, we enjoyed the Happy Hour buffet. We also enjoyed a glass each of Valcolepia -my Bianco and Gillys Rosso.
We noticed that there was an interior smoking area (a glass cube with tables and chairs) on the upper level -I don't remember this from last time.
We still haven't eaten in the restaurant yet.
- Budget Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
La Bruschetta: Mmmm tasty!!
Firstly, I have checked the US$21-30 range for price per person. I must state that you can make the cost of your meal here as average or expensive as you want. There are many courses to choose from and you only order what you want.
La Bruschetta was recommended to me by Suvanki and I am now recommending it to you!
You can choose to sit inside or out. The staff are really friendly and have good English (although in my opinion we should try to speak a little of their language too - 'Grazie' means 'thank you', that's all it takes to show your appreciation).
The service is OK and the atmosphere is great both inside and out. It's a very busy resturant which goes to show what a great resturant is.
Everywhere is clean and inside is lovely. If you're sat outside and want to move inside for any reason, this can easily be sorted out for you.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed every mouthful of the Penne alla'arrabbiata, Casoncelli alla Bergamasca della Bruschetta, Lasagne alla bolognese and more on my many visits here.
I would honestly recommend this resturant to anybody. The menu is very extensive and I am sure that there is a meal somewhere within it that will suit everybodys tastes.
- Food and Dining
This shop has a very modern feel and style inside. You can't see what the ice cream - boasted to be made with the most top quality ingredients available, looks like. All of the ice cream is kept in big silver tubs in the counter with lids on; each with a flavour label.
You choose whether you would like your ice cream in a cone or cup, then which size - small, medium or large, then which flavours!
Choose to sit down inside on the bench or stools, or take your ice cream with you. The staff are polite and are happy to help fulfil your ice cream needs!
There are flavours of the month, which obviously change monthly! I will have to go at Christmas time to hopefully try a panettone flavour!!
Favorite Dish: One of my favourite flavours is liquorice (liquirizia). If I want something refreshing, I choose the lemon (limone) flavour, and when I want a little chocolate, I go for stracciatella. The coffee flavour is really powerful and every lick is delightful! But to be honest, there is an interesting selection to choose from, and it always takes me a while to decide!!!
The website I have listed below is in Italian, but if you access it via google, google will translate it to English.
- Food and Dining
Bar Flora (by day): Great location, lovely lunch
We had already visited Bar Flora several times for evening drinks (see my nightlife tip) and enjoyed its lovely setting on the Piazza Vecchia, so we decided to try out its lunch-time menu. We secured a table outside in the sun, which was just starting to warm up after a cool start to the day. Not wanting a large meal, we were pleased to see a number of appealing salads and other lighter options on the menu. I chose a salad of Brie, apples, fennel and celery which was very fresh and tasty, and drank sparkling water. Chris had a panino with prosciutto and cheese, and a beer. Our bill was €21 with service – not bad for a good lunch in a great location. At lunch-time as in the evening, Bar Flora impressed me by not charging a large premium for the privilege of sitting here in the main square, as happens so often elsewhere.
After lunch it was time to meet up with some of the other VTers for a planned outing to San Vigilio on Alta’s other funicular.
Ristorante Pizzeria San Vigilio: Great food with wonderful views!
This restaurant is a popular place for Sunday lunch by family and friends alike; summer Sundays must result in a reservations only policy due to its popularity.
The staff were friendly and polite with an efficiency to their service. We were lucky to be offered a seat on the enclosed (as it was winter) terrace which gives great views (although hazy during our visit) over the countryside of Bergamo Province.
Opened in 1913, then called Isola Bella, these day's the restaurant is run by the Zani brothers and is noted for its typical Bergamasque and Mediterranean cuisine. Pizzas are made to order and baked in a traditional wood-burning oven whilst pasta and desserts are made on a daily basis.
Favorite Dish: As always, we shared an antipasti (starter) - we had Salumi tipici bergamaschi con polenta which consisted of cold meats and polenta (€9.50).
For primi piatti (first course) I enjoyed the delicious Gnochetti de patate con code di gamberi, peperoni e zucchini which was delicious small potato dumplings with prawn tails, peppers and courgette (€13.00) whilst Suvanki enjoyed Tortelli di zucca e patate con burro vansetto e amoretti (ravioli with pumpkin and potato served with butter and almonds (€12.00).
With water and coffees each and including coperto (cover) our total bill was €48.00.
- Historical Travel
La Bruschetta: Great pizza - good service
We ate here late on a Friday evening in March when we had not long since arrived in Bergamo.
The restaurant was clearly busy with mainly locals - always a good sign.
On being seated, we were offered an aperitif of local prosecco which was fresh and suitably awoke the palate.
We ordered a delicious cheese plate starter which included five local cheeses which were served with honey and jam - a curiosity for me - as well as some thinly sliced pear and walnut halves; a few leaves finished the plate. The selection was delicious as was the jam - not being a honey fan, this was pleasant but I chose not to eat all of my portion. As we often do, Suvanki and I shared the antipasti.
For our main course, we both ordered pizzas; mine was a caprese which was dotted with delicious cherry tomatoes and had a thin, crunchily crisp base classical of a good Italian pizza. Sue has a Capricciosa which had a topping of black olives, artichoke, anchovies, mushroom and mozzarella - it looked delicious and certainly present Sue with a challenge she couldn't meet!
Favorite Dish: Portion sizes at this restaurant are suitably robust - an antipasti shared between two is usually suffice (and well priced between €8 and €12) with pizzas definitely at least a meal - and more often more than, meaning you can take your 'left overs' home with you in a box to enjoy later or for breakfast the following morning.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel