Zohara, Chiara, Alex and I arrived in Mantua, hungry....
We were attracted to Taverna del Duca on the main square which advertizes on a very large sign outside the restaurant "complete meal 14 Euro".
Drawn in and after Chiara questioned the owner, we were convinced that we had found the ideal place to sample and enjoy some local food for a decent price.
Afterwards we discovered that not only did we pay more, we paid more than TRIPLE.
We were charged for a glass of water, the silverware, the tablecloth, the breadsticks, and this after we ordered a "COMPLETE" meal for 14 Euro.
BEWARE there are thieves in Mantua.
Oh and by the way when I went to complain, all of a sudden nobody knew English, even those who had been SO helpful in English before we ordered.
Favorite Dish: The food was mediocre so even more a pity we paid triple.
Every guide, every review collection I checked before going to Mantova pointed me to this restaurant describing it as one of the best in town.
We went on a Saturday lunch, arrived early and got one of the last table. The atmosphere was warm, the waiters are friendly, efficient and professional and, if you will, they will guide you through their traditional menu.
The selection of food is good and the wine list also. They change it according with the seasons and the fresh ingredients they can find.
The dining area is composed by two rooms, one right at the entrance and another one on the side. They have maybe 15/20 tables so reservation is suggested.
Favorite Dish: We wanted to try the dishes of the tradition so we ordered
salame mantovano con pane caldo: the local salami with grilled bread, very tasty!
tortino di zucca su fonduta di formaggi: pumpkin souffle on cheese fondue, excellent! I love pumpkin so that was easy, but even my boyfriend who does not liked it more than his salame.
Risotto alla pilota: okay, i always heard about this, i love risotto and I wanted to taste it... I admit it was a bit of a disappointment, I am used to creamy risotto, rich and smooth where all the ingredients melt together... this is something completely different! They call it risotto, but do not be fooled by the name, it is rice cooked and than saute in a pan whit sausage. It was actally tasty and I am glad I tried it but I would not order it again.
horse meat stew with polenta: great dish, tasty, juicy. perfect
Desert: omg... did we need desert after all that? yes we did... after we read the list we could not pass... we had a semifreddo al cioccolato bianco e nocciole caramellate con zabaione al nocino..... that was awesome! definitely NOT to pass, no matter how full you feel :-)
A friend recommended me this place for pizza. We went there for lunch and took a look around to see what was in other's plates... yes, good pizza BUT also great looking fish!
We went through the menu and quickly realized this was a good find. It was that kind of restaurant you find often around Italy, the owner and all the people working are from Napoli area, kind of like they make a point of hiring only "their people". I know from experience this is the place to eat either pizza or fish and you will not be disappointed!
The dining room is big, nicely decorated and with a few "alcove" along the longest wall. We sat in one of those, the table was great for two people but it can fit up to four and we liked the fact the alcove keep us safe from the noise of all those customers.
The waiters were professionally trained, very polite and kind and they speak a basic english.
The menu has a big selections of pizza, appetizers, pasta, meat and fish main courses.
We had house white wine and it was honest and cheap, as usual in every Italian restaurant.
Favorite Dish: As we sat down they brought us drinks and a complimentary little bruschetta, that was nice.
We ordered a cherry tomatoes bruschetta and a "insalata di mare" that is a variety of seafood served warm as appetizers. Than my boyfriend had a pizza and I ordered a delicious mussels soup.. the mussels were huge, not just the shell, the animals too! the biggest I have seen in awhile and the tomatoes sauce they were soaked in was delicious! I finished a whole basket of bread soaking it up!
This is one of those places you would never find unless somebody point you at it... It is in a small street in a area of Mantova where there is no tourist attraction, yet it SHOULD BE a tourist attraction itself!!
Our residence gave us a coupon for a free appetizer in this place so we decided to try it out for dinner as it was very close to our place.
The restaurant is tiny, maybe six, seven tables. It is run by two aged sisters, one is in the kitchen and the other will greet you when you walk in the door. It is better to book ahead as, being so tiny, it is easy to fill up with locals who know it well.
Do not expect a glamorous dining area, it is very simple, there is a (loud) tv hang on the wall and the service can be a bit slow as the two old lady do all their self with the only help of a young and inexperienced waitress and a cleaning help.
But I promise your patient will be well rewarded!!
Favorite Dish: All is in the menu come out of the hands of those two sisters, their specialties are
- gnocco fritto, some thin dough cut in a square and fried so it pouf up served with prosciutto or local salami.
- home made tortelli and ravioli, filled with different inside and served with a sauce to match, those are real mouth watering treats! the pasta is thick but yet perfectly cooked, the filling tasty and the whole dish was a masterpiece
- home made pasta like tagliatelle, tagliolini and so on, served with seasonal ingredients or with the traditional meat sauce
They also serve a few second course but their pasta and gnocco fritto is why you should pay them a visit.
We were lounging for a warm cappuccino before starting our visit to Palazzo Ducale and we stopped in this nice cafe. We were tired so we sat down and ordered our cappuccino and a slice of cake expecting, as it often happens in Italy, to be charged for the table service.
We were pleasantly surprised because not only the cappuccino and bakery stuff were good, but the bill was as cheap as we would have stand by the counter.
This can sound normal but in Italy, especially near tourist locations, it is very common to charge the service. For example, what would cost 5 Euro at the counter can jump to 10Euro very very easy.
Favorite Dish: Courtesy of stuff, great coffee but i know Illy is a warranty! and freshness of pastries.
One of the local Mantovan specialities is ravioli di zucca (pumpkin-filled pasta), commonly served with melted butter, sage and parmesan for sauce.
Some people find this too sweet, but personally I love it. I used to buy the supermarket packet versions but longed to try the real thing; so when I went to Mantova I finally got to try it home-made!
If you like pumkpin you'll probably like this... otherwise there's always donkey stew or frogs-legs pasta!
Favorite Dish: There was a restaurant we went to, overlooking a park which adjoins the city walls, but I didn't note the name and can't find it on a map. The food was really nice and I'll recommend it if I ever figure out what it's called - not that it needs it, judging by the full tables when we were there!
...can't travel to Mantova? Check out the link to a recipe and make it yourself!
This restaurant is centrally located in one of the most beautiful squares of Mantova, offers outside tables; the inner area is comfortable and warm, with friendly service.
Traditional kitchen (I liked my donkey's stewed meat), good prices.
Favorite Dish: Stewed donkey meat
Located downtown, this is a small but cozy restaurant, run by a man called "il baffo" because of his huge mustache. The ambience is very easy-going, no table cloth, a very strange (and rather unclear) menu but the service is ok. Do not be shy and ask how the courses are prepared. I live 50 km far from Mantova, but what I got was different from those I had expected. I wonder what can happen to foreigners.
I loved "antipasto della casa", a mix of salumi including cotechino with lardo and polenta, while main course (I had donkey stew) was a bit disappointing. Desserts were suberb.
Favorite Dish: Cotechino and polenta. See also www.cotechino.it
Questa pizzaeria/ristorante ha vinto diversi premi e la sua pizza ? davvero buona, oltre che famosa! Invece dei soliti grissini potete attendere il vostro piatto mangiando crostini di pizza...
This pizzeria/restaurant won several prizes for the Best Pizza in the world 1994.
Unfortunately, I spent there an evening lately and the service was poor and the price were increased... I admit to have been disappointed...
Favorite Dish: PIZZA! only tasting it you'll understand what I've said! ;)
We needed a break from our tour of the Palazzo Ducale, and spotted a sign for the restaurant, expecting to find a small cafeteria tucked away in the bowels of the palace. In fact we found a rather smart looking restaurant, completely empty, apart from waitress, sitting with her feet up reading a book. She didn’t speak a word of English, but we managed to get her to make us up a couple of panini and some coffee for a total of 8 euros. We sat outside in the sun, and gathered our strength before going back into the palace for the second half of the tour.
The restaurant entrance is actually outside in the street, but a passage leads into the palace and up the stairs. I’m not sure how they stop people sneaking into the palace by the back door, but as there are cameras everywhere, I’m sure they are watching carefully.
The host at our hotel suggested this local Osteria and drew a map for us to find it. It is in a location that a tourist would never find on his/her own.
Antica Osteria Broletto is a family owned and run Osteria and quite popular with the locals. We were the only tourist. They did not speak English.
Allan ordered Pork with potatoes, salad and wine.
They also served twisted bread and bread sticks.
I ordered a local favorite Pasta and beans. It was delicious. I also enjoyed a wonderful Insalata MIsta.
Allan and I shared Tiramisu and I had my usual Cappuccino and Allan had Expresso.
Favorite Dish: he Osteria was inexpensive, cozy, and off the tourist path. It was small and intimate.
The service was good as was the local wine.
We found a great Pizzeria right on Piazza Erbe in Mantua.. It was quite cool outside, so we ate inside, and it was a lovely dining room.
We had the cutest waiter who was efficient, friendly, but somewhat shy.
Allan and I shared an Insalata Mista which was really too big for one person. It was delicious with several kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots.
We each had our own individual pizza. Mine was a Margarita and Allan's was a Funghi.
We both agree that they were quite delicious and crisp, just the way we prefer them.
Allan had red wine, and I had white. Both had 1/2 liter. We shared a dessert that was quite nice and big. I also ordered cappuccino (I know, it is only supposed to be ordered for breakfast) and Allan had expresso.
I took the picture of the waiter, and as one can see, he is quite handsome!
Favorite Dish: Efficient, clean, delicious food, and great ambiance.
Looking at the square from our Hotel Albergo San Lorenzo the best restaurant is the second one over... Tables are set with linen. Of course it is the most expensive. The First restaurant is good and cheaper.
The city of Modena is well known for its fine cuisine, which belongs among the best in Italy. Osteria delle Erbe is a good example where you can have a typical dish from Southern Lombardy.
Favorite Dish: Unfortunatelly, I wasn't very hungry because of the hot day, so I ordered pizza Quattro staggioni, which was very good and a beer. The price I payed was something less then 10 euros.
Vari sono i ristoranti che offrono piatti tipici spesso fatti a mano (pasta fresca).
If you want to taste the tipical dishes of my city you'll find a lot of restaurants specialised in this "field".
The more traditional have home-made pasta (made by those lovely grannies that you think existing just in the tales) and wine.
Favorite Dish: RISOTTO ALLA PILOTA: rice and sausages (sorry: the translation is not adequate!!!)
Reading cannot give you the idea of what I'm sepaking about you'd better taste them. ;)