Above: Il Verbano's terrace with a view of Lake Maggiore, Isola dei Pescatori - GIUSEPPE GEPPO DI MAURO

Italian Lakes Restaurants: Hits and Misses

Terrace with a view of Lake Maggiore, Il Verbano, Isola dei Pescatori - Giuseppe Geppo Di Mauro

Among the northern Italian Lakes, it is not quite as easy to stumble upon excellent casual trattorias as in many other regions of Italy. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of talented chefs making use of lake fish, heirloom Fassona beef and seasonal produce, as evidenced by the area’s many Michelin stars. Stuffed pastas such as tortellini and ravioli make regular appearances. And the mesmerizing water or vineyard views afforded by many restaurants never fail to add to the pleasure of the experience. (The following restaurants are organized west to east, grouped according to lake.)

Lake Orta

AM Bistrot

Veal cheek, AM Bistrot, Orta San Giulio - Andrew Harper editor
Ravioli del plin, AM Bistrot - Andrew Harper editor

Rather than dine in the Michelin-starred Locanda di Orta — we’d had an extravagant dinner at nearby Villa Crespi the day before — we opted to lunch on the roof terrace above it at AM Bistrot. Make a reservation for when the restaurant opens, in order to secure one of the two tables at the edge of the terrace, which have views of Lake Orta and Isola San Giulio beyond the slate roofs of the town. I started with a plate of meat-stuffed ravioli del plin, well matched with a glass of citrusy Falanghina by Marisa Cuomo, a favorite winery on the Amalfi Coast. Slow-cooked veal cheek followed, resembling high-end pot roast, served atop a light and creamy potato purée drizzled with veal jus. This unfussy but delicious food was just what I wanted.

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Above: Il Verbano's terrace with a view of Lake Maggiore, Isola dei Pescatori - GIUSEPPE GEPPO DI MAURO

Read More from Our Trip:

Islands of the Italian Lakes 5 Notable Gardens Amid the Italian Lakes Top Wineries of the Italian Lakes Classic Hideaways in the Italian Lakes Inside Italy’s Most Sumptuous Resorts Reassessing Classic Hotels in the Italian Lakes New Discoveries Amid the Italian Lakes