Nothing star-crossed about taste of Verona

An indulgent meal in the capital city of the Veneto region is the real pleasure.

Look beyond the Romeo and Juliet romance attracting so many flocking to Verona for its loving vibe, an indulgent meal in the capital city of the Veneto region is the real pleasure. 

Each region of Italy has its traditions and tastes characterized by the diversity of the local food and wine. One will find the city’s distinct charm in every drop of local wine and every bite of its many gourmet plates.

The local cuisine features the Vialone Nano variety of rice used to make delicious risotto along with the typical red radish of this region, the salamis, the cheeses and dairy products of Lessinia, Lake Garda’s fish and that of the surrounding rivers, the extra-virgin olive oil and the vegetables.

Horsemeat stew is a specialty of Verona and peara, a peppery sauce made with bone marrow and breadcrumbs is often seen on the dining table. Verona is also the city of potato gnocchi and polenta.

The wines of the Veneto region, produced in the hills around Verona, have gained recognition in the world with such wines as Amarone, Recioto, Soave and Prosecco. The highly prized Amarone di Valpolicella is best partnered with red meat or strong cheeses.

From wine bistro to traditional Veronese cuisine to more delicate Michelin-starred plates, the city offers a bit of everything for discerning travelers.

Yang Di / SHINE

Ravioli stuffed full of soft parmigiano filling, onion consomme and ginger

Il Desco

The one-Michelin starred Il Desco is a refined experience in the city, if you expect a memorable evening composed of superb food and wine pairing.

Their love for a gourmet experience starts right from the moment one gets in — an elegant restaurant divided into two dining spaces, without looking too lavish, yet every piece of art and furniture falls in the right place. It is welcoming without being demanding, refined without being prissy.

They gain a full culinary experience, one can go for the tasting menu that includes the house’s signatures at 150 euros per person. The selected courses are all elaborate and sophisticated without sacrificing the authentic tastes.

I started my dinner at Il Desco, with ravioli stuffed full of soft parmigiano filling, onion consomme and ginger. The pleasant ginger taste gives the rather traditional Italian ravioli a nice balance, making it a simply “boost appetite” starter.

Yang Di / SHINE

A bottle of Masi Mazzano Amarone Recioto della Valpolicella 1986

The fish main course scampi and goose liver, sweet-and-sour onion and red wine caramel was absolutely gorgeous. It is an unexpected combination of scampi and goose liver yet combines a perfect taste and texture.

Chef Elia Rizzo and his son Matteo believe in food and its irresistible charm. Every modern or traditional ingredient used composed the same message: Goodness and quality are the culmination of a constant care and attention to the guest, and, above all, of a continuous exploration, transformation and use of the raw materials. However, no dish is complete without wine. The owner chooses carefully by selecting the best Veronese, other Italian regions and French wines and spirits. They helped to pick a bottle of Masi Mazzano Amarone Recioto della Valpolicella 1986 from Veneto — amazing velvety in texture with aroma of raisin, plum, blackberry, chocolate and balsamic.

For dessert, I tried pineapple mille-feuille, lemon ice-cream and licorice aromatic herbs. It was stunning. The pastry was delicate, the fresh pineapple provided good acidity and licorice aromatic the right touch. The service was exceptionally attentive without being overbearing at Il Desco.

Address: Via Dietro San Sebastiano, 5/7

Ti Gong

More than 1,500 Italian wines are selected by Signorvino.

Signorvino

Wine is the authentic star of Italian culture and tradition, so Signorvino is born to provide a dynamic environment where guests can choose their favorite bottles, or even have an enjoyable meal with excellent wine pairings.

A stone’s throw from the Arena of Verona, the two-level 380-square-meter space is sleek and contemporary.

The first level is dedicated to a deli and wine shop while the second floor is a dining space for a decent meal. There are more than 1,500 Italian wines, selected by Signorvino, who provide a superb dining experience. 

In Verona, Signorvino takes its pride in offering some of the best local regional wines for travelers and even locals to taste.

At the restaurant, the kitchen offers simple traditional food, linked to the Veneto region, to best represent the area and its characteristic food and wines.

What attracted me most on the menu was its Amarone Wine Experience. At 50 euros (US$61.58), one can choose three Amarone wines with a cheese platter or you can also pick your preferred brand for one glass or a bottle.

The choices are excellent: from Masi, Zenato, Allegrini to more local representatives including Speri and Brigaldara.The price range is about 10 euro to 20 euro a glass.To pair my chosen Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2012, S.Urbano from Speri, I opted for the house specialties La Deavina Coppa refined with Amarone Valpolicella DOCG and Re Divino cheese refined with Amarone Valpolicella DOCG — outstanding quality of cold cut and local mountain cheese.

The selection of deli meats and cheese is impressive with a good variety of options. It’s recommended to pick the local specialties and local wines.If the meat and cheese platter is your thing, pick the Grand Selection of utmost satisfaction. It features 16 types of salami and 10 cheeses of their selection served with focaccia, veggies packed in oil, chutney and nuts.

Address: Corso Porta Nuova 2

Yang Di / SHINE

One must try the highlight of Torcolo, a typical recipe of Verona — boiled meats.

Il Torcolo

Il Torcolo is one of the best restaurants in Verona to embark on a genuine Veronese dining experience. It’s a historic place where locals enjoy their favorite food along with travelers alike.

The atmosphere is warm and very Italian in all manner of things. The owner and staff are super welcoming with a good sense of humor. It is highly recommended by locals.

Il Torcolo is well known for its Veronese dishes, especially the meat courses, from Culatello ham in Amarone wine and homemade mustard, deluxe assortment of boiled meats, braised beef cheek in Amarone wine, horse stew, to beef cutlet scented with brandy, with bacon and Lessinia Mountain black scorzone truffle.

One must try the highlight of Torcolo, a typical recipe of Verona — boiled meats. They roll around a cart to your table and slice different parts of the meat in front of you.

Every single piece of meat is perfectly cooked: so tender and tasty. They serve it with green sauce, horseradish and homemade mustard sauce.

The wine list is equally interesting with a large variety dedicated to the local regional wine, including some of the most famous wine producers in Veneto.

The restaurant provides a nice example of traditional cooking of the region, featuring quality ingredients and high techniques in the kitchen, as shown in all of the dishes.

Portions are large and it’s recommended to share for a taste of everything.

Address: Via C. Cattaneo, 11b


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