After a hard day's sightseeing (and skipping lunch) we thought we had earned a gelato each. There are lots of places to choose from. We happened to choose this one, and definitely had no cause for complaint.
Our extravagant ice-creams cost €7 apiece, but we thought they were worth it.
This isn't just an ice-cream place. Whilst we were enjoying our gelati, a family at the next table were tucking into pizza.
Il Bar Molo is a nice casual place to sit along side beautiful Lake Como and take in the views. A pretty walk along the lake takes you to several small cafes and shops, separated by narrow steps running steeply up the hill. Some wine, beer, fries, a capresse salad and we were happy campers. The service was friendly.
During our second visit to Varenna, we took the opportunity to partake of a light luncheon and use this restaurant's free WiFi service to catch up with friends across the world.
We walked along the lakeside walkway (see tip here) and, after encountering a small shopping area, we walked slightly up the hill and found this restaurant with a beautiful outdoor seating area which offered great views of Lake Como and the Alps in the distance.
During our time in Bergamo, I had spotted some people at a restaurant eating a lunch of a flatbread 'sandwich' which looked very pleasant. Both Sue and I chose this (piadine) as our option for a light snack in Varenna.
The kitchen is open daily from 11:00 to 01:00 and offers live music entertainment on Wednesday evenings (20:00 to 24:00) from 1 June to 30 September.
Favorite Dish: I selected the ham and cheese piadine. This is one northern Italy dining option that I won't be repeating in a rush. Unfortunately, because the bread is so thin, it is also VERY dry and doesn't make for a pleasant sandwich.
Having arrived at Varenna train station from Lecco (where we changed trains from our train from Bergamo), we took the fairly easy walk down the hill to the ferry terminal and purchased our tickets. With spare time on our hands, we decided to have a light lunch. (Hotel) Ristorante Olivedo was conveniently situated opposite the ferry ticket office, and the waiter suggesting we enjoy lunch there, we decided that it was an easy option with a nice outdoor seating area that also offered great people-watching opportunities; indoor seating is also offered.
We ordered a couple of beers (pic. 3), whilst we continued to peruse the lunchtime 'snack' menu which offered a good selection of options including fish dishes, soup, salads and local dishes. Suvanki ordered the gnocchi, whilst I went for the homemade ravioli with butter and sage.
Service was good and attentive, without feeling rushed. Unfortunately, at the end of our meal (after we had sat a while), Sue went to use the facilities (which are located within the hotel part of the building) and found herself confronted by our waiter who was clear that she wouldn't be making use of their facilities. I had used them earlier without any issues - maybe it's prudent to ensure that any 'facilities' use is whilst you are still enjoying your meal!
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed my homemade ravioli with butter and sage - three large, plump parcels formed my portion and were absolutely delicious!
We'd visited Varenna for the 2nd day running, and had spotted some restaurants around the bay. A pleasant lakeside path, brought us to the restaurants, and we chose this one, for its lakeside terrace, and notices offering free WIFI - it also looked very nice, with a pleasant atmosphere - the terrace was filling, and we got a table overlooking the pathway - so as far from the lake as we could be, but we still had views of the water and hillsides.
Earlier, in Bergamo, we'd spotted people eating a snack at lunchtime of flatbread and filling, which we'd deduced was piadina. As we hadn't had chance to try this, we were pleased to see it on the menu - We'd had a big breakfast in our hotel, so a light snack was all we wanted. There was a wide selection of snacks for under 10 Euros - so I'm now disappointed that I chose Piadine.
A pleasant location, friendly staff, good atmosphere and a popular venue. Reasonably priced and FREE WIFI!
No service charge, and our bill came with a handful of small coffee bean sweets!
This would be a great place for a romantic evening meal/drink overlooking the lake.
They have live music evenings - see their website for details.
The webpage also has numbers for taxi boats, to arrange your 'private' transport to/from this Bar/restaurant/wine bar/Gelateria.
Open daily 09.00 - 01.30 hrs
Oh, and unlike the previous days experience (See previous tip) the staff here are more than happy to let you use their (spotless) toilets!
Favorite Dish: I chose a rocket and meat filling, and a small draught beer - Well, I can now say that I've tried a piadina ........ but it's not something that I'll be in a rush to try again - tasty enough ingredients, but I found the 'bread' to be a bit dry and bland - I like the bread to compliment the flavours/texture of the filling.
Piadine 5.20 Euros Small draught beer 3.10 Euros(June 2012)
Arriving by train from Bergamo, we'd arrived at the ferry port, and found that we had a couple of hours to wait until our ferry to Cadenabbia was due. So, having purchased our tickets, food was our next priority.
The nearby Restaurant of the Hotel Olivedo enticed us - colourful tablecloths, beckoned us to sit for a while, enjoy a beer and a local traditional meal - OK- the 'Tourist menu' wielding waiter sallied forward, and 'suggested' that we ate there.
Well, we didn't want to drag our cases too far, nor have to rush to the ferry, so we took a seat, perused the menu (pic 3) over a refreshing beer (pic 4), and were pleased to find a selection of local dishes, including grilled fish from the Lake, home made ravioli (with tomato or butter and sage) plus soup, omelette, salads on the lunchtime snack menu. There was a more extensive menu with plenty of more substantial meat and fish dishes, but the 'lunchtime snack menu' was fine! There is a 2 Euro cover charge.
The outside restaurant wasn't too busy - it was a bit overcast, with a forecast of possible rain, but we enjoyed just sitting enjoying the scenery, people watching etc.
After our meal Gilly had been 'to use the facillities' . Following her directions to the location of the WC, I was surprised to find 'our waiter' blocking my way, and demanding to know my room number - I explained that I wasn't a resident (Which I'm sure that he realised as We were sat with our cases, and obviously waiting for the ferry) to which he, shouted 'garden!' and dismissively indicated the direction of the public toilet in the nearby 'garden' in the square.
Well, the Public toilet was less than 'comfortable' with grafitti covered walls (pic 5! Yes, had my phone with me!).
There was a choice of a western style or 'hole in the ground' I'm not sure if this is open 24 hours, or is subject to closing times - so be prepared if eating here as a non-resident.
Quite amusing at the time, but now thinking about this, I'm quite miffed - it wasn't as if we'd just nipped in to use the WC, or for a drink in order to use the WC.
Looking for the address of this resturant, I came upon some TA reviews - Very mixed ones - but noticed others reports of the attitude of staff to customers wanting to use the toilet.
This place would have had a higher rating - the food was quite acceptable, location was good, but........ Not providing a toilet for non-residents is Not on!
I would have thought that there was a legal obligation to do so.
There is another restaurant just around the corner, if waiting for the ferry with luggage etc.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed my gnocchi, which was washed down by a pleasant crisp beer
Gilly chose Homemade Ravioli with sage and butter (as part of her therapy for Casoncelli withdrawal!)
Restaurant Vecchia Varenna was suggested by our Lonely Planet guide, and it is one of the restaurants on the lake, I think the only one with a terrace. We ate on the terrace with a wonderful view (despite it was raining), and were very satisfied with all the food we ordered, from main dishes to desserts. The restaurant staff is very friendly.
They also have highchairs for babies.
Favorite Dish: I loved all the food, but what impressed me the most is "Risotto mantecato al Prosecco, "shimudin" e burro affumicato" (risotto with Prosecco wine, local cheese and butter). The risotto also contains some pieces of apples.... wonderful!
There are a couple of gelato places in Varenna, but this was my favorite. Delicious gelato served in a cone or in copetta (cup), with several flavors available. This is take-out gelato, as you order at the window and can eat it as you stroll the lakefront promenade (although I think there are some tables available, too). Open late!
Favorite Dish: I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the flavors here!
The Albergo Milano is a hotel and restaurant, but we only ate here. It has to be the best place in town for a lovely meal al fresco, overlooking Lago di Como. We arrived at dusk, watched the lights come on across the lake, and received relaxed, attentive service. The ambience here is the biggest attraction--incredibly quiet and romantic, with only room for about ten tables on the veranda.
Reservations are essential here--I would have your hotel make one the day before, if possible.
Favorite Dish: I was a little jet-lagged for this meal, so I can't remember all the details! :) But my orchiette pasta was excellent, served very al dente as it always is in Italy--now I can only eat it that way.
Nice little waterfront restaurant with great views. Mostly light meals, pizzas, panini, salads, crepes