On saturday 7 may we had lunch in a typical restaurant in Sommacampagna.
Le Mistral is a very nice place. Inside it looks like an old house. There are also some rooms to let there.
We had lasagna, pasta, meat, vegetables and some delicious sweets. Everything was well prepared.
Favorite Dish: Pasta, ham, homemade sweets.
There are four similar bars, run probably by the same company, in the Sigurta Gardens. We tried that one in northeastern part of the gardens. It was nothing fancy, never: just an ugly kiosk with plastic tables and chairs put on a grass with no umbrella to protect consumer against sun. And we had to wait in a line a few minutes.
They offered limited choice of fast food (I remember sausages) and drinks. Prices were the same as in much better bars in downtown Valeggio.
Favorite Dish: Nothing is favourite. Is it worldwide custom that the worst places to eat are those put for massive crowds of visitors in busy, tourist attractions. They are run by companies who signed long-therm deals and feel safe as there are no competitors around a corner, right?
Dutch Heineken bottled beer was cold enough and good as usual (although it's not my favourite beer), coffee was simply bad (the only once in Italy), simple ice-cream tasted average.
Italy is surely a wine country, not a beer country. But beer is more and more popular and Italy itself is a producer of beer. Let me introduce the best beer I tried and remember. Well, I have to try next ones including:
- Birra Moretti (4.6 % alc. pale lager), Birra Moretti La Rossa (7,2% alc. bock) by Birra Moretti (Heineken) in Udine
- Super du Baladin (Belgian strong ale; 8% alc. :-) and Baladin Nora (traditional ale, 6.8% alc.) by Le Baladin brewery in tiny village Piozzo, Cuneo province, Piedmont (capital Torino).
Forst Sixtus - my recommendation!
This beer is brewed by Forst brewery in tiny Lagundo, very close to Merano in northern Italy (Trentino-Alto Adige province, close to Switzerland). Parents of Giampiero (giampiero6) - Virtual Tourist Director of Content, live not far :-). Forst Sixtus was available in most bars (rarely on tap though), groceries and supermarkets, I visited in northern Italy. It was the best beer I had in Italy: simple but strong and effective beer, with enough richness to keep me interested.
Forst Sixtus is a 6.5% alc. doppelbock. Doppel means double. Forst Sixtus is stronger brew than the traditional German bocks, but it's not twice the strength. Its color is reddish to brown. It offers very full body with a high alcoholic flavor. Add low hop flavor and aroma.
Favorite Dish: Surely I had to try Italian various beers and I have different, mostly not the best, impressions. So, usually, I order well-known European beer brands in Italy.
I had, popular in Italy, Dutch Heineken in a bar in the Sigurta Gardens which was good, refreshing and cold enough although Heineken was not my favourite pan-European pale lager.
Well, recently I like Debowe Mocne, an European strong lager (7% alc.) brewed by Tyskie Browary Ksiazece (KP- SABMiller) in my hometown, Tychy, Poland.
Excuse, this tip will be transferred to my Italy page.
Opposite to Urszula (matcrazy0), I am not a big fan of breakfasts. Well, good morning American-size coffee with a lot of European fat (2%) milk (in Italy always capuccino) is a must for me. Add something small, say, youghurt + banana (just in case you ever host me, don't take it too seriously, please). And it has to be enough for me on business days due to common lack of time in the morning. Although I work in what is called Eastern Europe, I am not allowed to be late at work :-(. And quick shower, shaving (lucky ladies!) and obligatory 3 min.! (right, dr.Firas ?) cleaning teeth takes at least 15 min. Additionally I live in not - American distance from my work (only 5 min. by car), thus, in contrast to my American friends, I can't enrich my diet with some fast food while driving. And unfortunately I have neither Dutch legs (recently) nor size (hopefully temporarily) to ride a bicycle to work. So, simply, I can't pay much attention to breakfasts at home. My stomach starts to cry for food, say, after 8.00 pm Central European Time :-(((.
Well, I used to eat much larger breakfasts on holiday unless it's extra paid (I do NOT like it, do you?). Luckily buffet breakfast in Cacciatore hotel was included in a room price :-) and quite good, better than at home :-))), psst... don't tell it to matcrazy0, never. It was served from 7.00 am till 10.00 am but due to some other events (wedding ceremony of not VT-ers, yet) we were asked to come between 8.00 and 9.00 am. Thanks to stomach of Urszula, crying for some food, we were usually among the first "breakfasters".
Favorite Dish: My highlights:
- definetely youghurts! packed in small glass jars (pink, fruit and white, milk one); excuse, hotel staff, it's something worth a take out; don't forget to take a spoon (from home!);
- capuccino served on request (not extra paid; € 2.00 saved x 2 = 4 € :-),
- always fresh dark (wholewheat?), small rolls,
- thin, well, very thin (almost transparent) slices of meat (what was that, prosciuto?) - served probably specially for fellow VT-ers = added exclusively in days of the meeting
- sweet bun for coffee (not a croissant though).
Others included honey, jam, boiled eggs, apples, orange juice, cornflakes or something similar (anyway, I don't like them since I was born!). There was nothing hot/warm served (I loved waffles in the USA). But it was enough for hungry morning folks not to be forced to eat full, large, Italian = 5 meal lunch.
Ristorante San Marco is one of a few restaurants in Borghetto, a very picturesque hamlet of Valeggio sul Mincio.
At first sight the restaurant inside didn't look great. It was simple large room with many, mostly large tables. Well, there is another, very charming and romantic, part of this large restaurant with smaller (up to 4 people) tables on the outdoor terrace overlooking the Mincio river. But first of all we - 9 people - wanted to be seated together.
Our waiters and the only one waitress (specialist on desserts) were just like they should be: kind, fast and helpful. Despite Borghetto is only a small dot on very detailed maps, and the staff was already at my, medium age, someone of them knew a little bit English. But thanks to Barbara (BarbaraForza) it was not necessary. And the menu was in Italian, English, Freanch and German although with no detailed explanations on meals.
We ordered beer and mineral water, then capuccino. Co ordered tea which was served with unusual and funny paper tea bag. German Beck's beer served in small bottles (€ 2.50 each) was good although it's not my favourite premium lager beer.
The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
9 pane e coperto (bread and cover) - € 13.50; bad news: this is NOT a tip (customary 10%, uff... this is not 15-20% America), this is Italian thing, as I said "pane e coperto"
1 aqua (water) - 1.00
13 bibita (drinks = beer) - 32.50
1 antipasto (appetizer) - 6.50
2 luccio mosc. salm (pike in rich with polenta + grilled salmon) - 17.00
2 branzino.coda (grilled bass) - 24.00
2 mila/cost/brac - 17.00
3 brac.m/bistec - 22.50
9 contorni (side dishes) - 31.50
4 dessert - 12.00
3 capuccino - 6.00
1 the - camomilla (tea) - 1.30
Total 184.90 = aprrox. 20.5 € per person.
Favorite Dish: I. Antipasti = appetizers (€ 8.50 each): charcuterie assortie = assorted, cold cuts ---> a very good appetizer.
II. Primi piatti (first course; € 7.50 each)
We didn't order any, just in case there are... tortellini (soup, in cream souce, with butter), cannelloni (stuffed rolls of noodle dough), fettuccine (noodles with tomato or mushrooms), tortelli di zucca (pumpkin-fillet ravioli), tagliolini (noodles with salmon). I'd try cannelloni, I never tasted them :-).
III. Secondi piatti (second course)
1. I had Luccio con polenta (pike in rich with polenta) - € 8.50. The fish was a little bit too soft and... cold as for me. I guess, I was crazy taking pictures when the fish was hot.
2. Urszula had Salmone ai feri (grilled salmon) - € 8.50 tasted very, very good - my recommendation!
1. Ristecca di vitello ai ferri (grilled steak) - € 7.50
2. Costata di manzo ai ferri (grilled sirloin steak) - € 8.50
3. Cotoletta alla milanese (Wiener schnitzel - breaded veal cutlet) - € 8.50
4. Branzino ai ferri (grilled bass) - € 12.00
5. Coda di rospo ai ferri (broiled angler-fish) - € 12.00.
IV. Dessert (€ 3.00 each... if I remember well)
1. Urszula had a piece of apple pie with chocolade & pear - wow! it was yummy... :-)))
2. I had just capuccino - good as almost always in Italy.
Excuse, it's more local custom tip on Italian restaurants... ---> will be transferred to my Italy page soon.
TO SKIP IT OR NOT?
Menu in Italian restaurant always starts from antipasti = appetizers. I often didn't order any antipasti in Italy for a few reasons: low budget, I was not that hungry to eat it (the one or two courses are enough), I was or should be :-) on a diet (recently) and finally hmm... I didn't understand Italian or even... English menu.
Could one order exclusively antipasti + say, something to drink, in Italian restaurant? Well, except in a fancy restaurant (more for business than casual visitors) it's accepted, I think. And... you are a visitor.
RIGHT OF VISITORS
Traveling around many countries I saw so different and sometimes strange for me customs related to food like for example eating pizza + drinking vodka (!) for breakfast, beer served for each breakfast, bread + cheese + jam (together!) or grilled fish mixed with marmelade haha... So, I think, listen to me dear waiters, that visitors have always right to order what they want/like! Anyway, even do not try to order pizza in the morning in Italy :-).
Favorite Dish: EXAMPLE ANTIPASTI
Let me share what antipasti was served in San Marco ristorante in a hamlet of Valeggio sul Mincio (each costed € 8.50 in May 2005):
- assorted, cold cuts (charcuterie assortie) ----> my recommendation especially if you are in a group of 4 or so
- raw ham and melon (prosciutto crudo e melone)
- local sausage with polenta (polenta e salame)
- pike in rich with polenta, cold (luccio con polenta)
- salmon carpaccio with toasts (carpaccio di salmone con crostini)
- octopus ragout with polenta (moscardini in umido con polenta).
Name: Luccio con polenta (pike in rich with polenta).
Price: € 8.50
Rank: 3 stars.
Silly me, I forgot that English word "a pike" and secret Italian "luccio" meant "szczupak" in Polish language. Luckily talented Beach_dog showed me a pike with his face and hands :-).
Well, a pike is a freshwater, carnivorous, quite large fish I was even lucky to catch once in a lake in Poland. Worse: then I had to murder the pike, with no anaesthesia but some help of my co-fishing friend, and gut it (easy!). I brought the dead pike body to matcrazy0 who panfried it in butter for us and my co-fishing friend, yummy haha. Much more here.
Price: € 3.50
Rank: 5 stars.
If you want to order this delicious side dish, excuse, there is no way, you have to print out my enlarged picture and show it to the waitress. Don't forget to say hello to her from matcrazies from Poland, please.
Name: Salmone ai feri (grilled salmon)
Price: € 8.50
Rank: 5 stars :-).
Quite large piece of salmon was served with some butter put on a leaf of red cabbage.
Panfried fresh salmon, halibut and pikeperch (zander) in butter are matcrazies' favourite fish both at home and in restaurants in Poland :-).
Name: Costata di manzo ai ferri (grilled sirloin steak)
Price: € 8.50
Rank: it looked impressive but better ask Carmela71 or Beach_dog :-) or just order it, especially if you like XXXL meals.
Just in case you order any steak, specify how done the steak you want:
- al dante (half - half)
- al sangue (bloody, soft)
- ben cotto (well done - my favourite :-).
Name: funghi (mushrooms)
Price: € 3.50
Rank: 3 stars.
Unfortunately usually cut, canned mushrooms are served in Italian restaurants. There are rarely fresh forest mushrooms (funghi freschi). Don't they grow in Italy? Or maybe Italians are too lazy, opss.. relaxed to run around a forest and pick them? Or maybe they want too many euros for that job?
Just in case... we have still 19% unemployed in Poland (2005) :-(((. Thanks to "large" (approx. a little bit over € 100 during first 6 - 12 months of unemployment) social support some of them have to pick forest mushrooms to enrich their diet of unemployed unless they are unlucky not to live on walking distance to a forest.
OK... nothing compare to panfried fresh, forest mushrooms in butter, in Poland. Welcome :-).
Name: Ristecca di vitello ai ferri (grilled steak)
Price: € 7.50
Rank: ask BarbaraForza, please :-)
It's my recommended second course (and the only one meat meal) for lovers of light food and those poors whom a doctor ordered a diet. Warning: your steak should be additionally soft, bloody = al sangue. Brrr... have you ever seen any blood on your steak?
Name: Coda di rospo ai ferri (broiled angler-fish)
Price: € 12.00
Rank: Francoise knows, ask JLBG, please.
ONLY FEMALES TO EAT :-( or :-)
Hmm... excuse, silly me, I didn't know what "angler-fish" meant in English, maybe that's why I didn't order it. This noun does not exist in Polish language, can you imagine?
Now, I got to know that angler-fish (or anglerfish) is common name for over 200 fish species, mostly living close to the bottom of the ocean and the name derives from the method of "fishing" for their food. No wonder, they are very expensive and almost (?) unknown in Poland.
I found it interesting that we eat only females of anglerfish because males are very small, attached to the body of females, totally dependent on the female for nourishment and simply a source of sperm. Quite different world than human, right or not? :-)
Much more: here
When we already finished to eat numerous meals the sweet cart run by sweet waitress came to our table. She explained us in her fluent Italian language what sweet delicacies were on the cart. I can't remember those sweet Roman's names but 4 of us who ate 3 different desserts looked very happy.
Name: Apple pie with chocolade & pear (?)
Price: € 3.50
Rank: 5 stars :-)
The apple pie was pretty cold and not that sweet like it looked :-). Simply yummy... we say, heaven in the mouth in Poland. It's especially recommended for folks who used to wear too large T-shirts, never mind the reason, fans of skiboard for example. Just in case... I am not.