Where to eat in Varenna: the 7 best restaurants chosen by Gambero Rosso

May 19 2024, 18:23
Varenna is a charming village with only 700 inhabitants, one of the most beautiful and characteristic on Lake Como. It can be easily reached from Milan in 1 hour and 45 minutes by car, making it ideal for a day trip or, even better, for a weekend getaway

Apart from the picturesque views of the lake, you should visit the Church of San Giorgio and the Church of San Giovanni Battista, but especially Villa Monastero, a 16th-century complex that was once a Cistercian nunnery and is now a house museum with splendid gardens. Not far away is Villa Cipressi, from the late Renaissance, with terraces descending towards the lake. For incurable romantics, the Passeggiata degli Innamorati (Lovers' Walk) is a must: an arched metal walkway fixed into the rock and overhanging the lake, covered in climbing plants and flowers in the beautiful season. Finally, overlooking the town is the Castle of Vezio, on a promontory at the end of the Val d’Esino. Here are the seven best places to eat:

Where to eat in Varenna

Il Cavatappi

Restaurant. Intimate and welcoming, with a collection of corkscrews on display and outdoor tables in the characteristic alleys of the historic centre, it is one of the most renowned addresses in the town, so booking is essential. The menu offers not only typical lake dishes but also land and sea dishes. The dishes are tasty and highlight carefully chosen seasonal ingredients. Additionally, the fresh pasta and desserts (special mention for the tiramisu) are homemade. Completing the experience is a well-selected range of wines.

Il Cavatappi – via XX Settembre, 10 – 0341 815349 – www.cavatappivarenna.it

Dell’Albergo Du Lac

Restaurant. A few minutes from the centre, this hotel restaurant boasts an enviable panoramic position and an outdoor area overlooking the lake, which alone is worth the stop. The territory and the season are the main sources of inspiration for an always interesting menu, diversified between lunch and dinner, for which only a tasting menu is offered. Some suggestions: sous-vide veal carpaccio with buttered carrot and horseradish cream, stuffed paccheri with spiced chicken ragout, rabbit loin with roasted spring onion, rhubarb, and liquorice. The wine cellar and service match the setting. Booking is necessary.

Dell’Albergo Du Lac – contrada del Prestino, 11 – 0341 830238 – www.albergodulac.com

Hosteria del Platano

Restaurant. In the small village named after the river (the shortest in Italy) that crosses it, this is one of the best local references, thanks to the tasteful settings – including the outdoor area with lake view – and the level of the cuisine. The menu features appealing lake-inspired dishes alongside original creations with balanced flavours. Try the Fiumelatte missoltini, rabbit liver pâté with pistachios, purple potato ravioli with green broccoli, risotto with perch, grilled whitefish fillet with lemon mashed potatoes.

Hosteria del Platano – fraz. Fiumelatte via Statale, 29 – 0341 815215 – www.hosteriadelplatano.it

Vecchia Varenna

Restaurant. A solidly managed family-run establishment with an outdoor area overlooking the lake, housed in an old building once used for processing the local black marble. Chef and owner Luca Castiglioni satisfies the varied clientele with classic dishes ranging from freshwater fish to local specialities. Cooking courses of various levels are also offered. Note: reservations are not accepted here, so tables are assigned as they become available without the option to choose.

Vecchia Varenna – contrada Scoscesa, 2 – 0341 830793 – www.vecchiavarenna.it

La Veranda dei Pescatori

Restaurant. Worth a stop in this restaurant in Perledo, a village less than 3 kilometres from Varenna, both for the chance to sit in a beautiful flower garden with a view and to enjoy high-quality cuisine that ranges from the lake to the Valtellina region. From the menu: grilled missoltino and polenta matuffi, Carnaroli risotto with perch fillets and 18-month Grana Padano, Lario fry-up with tomato and basil mayonnaise. Options for children are also available. Homemade desserts, a good wine selection. A convenient transfer service with an ape car is available.

La Veranda dei Pescatori – Perledo (LC) – via La Perledina, 4 – 0341 815219 – www.laverandadeipescatori.it

La Vista dell’Albergo Milano

Restaurant. An ideal place for a relaxing break, to unwind and enjoy life at a human pace, the hotel offers rooms and apartments of different types, as well as the opportunity for a gourmet experience. The cuisine ranges in all directions, with attention to vegan and vegetarian guests, and balanced, flavourful dishes. The wine cellar is very interesting, well-structured and comprehensive, with a good focus on the region, wines by the glass, large formats, organic and vegan wineries, and craft beers. It is delightful to eat on the terrace, especially at sunset.

La Vista dell’Albergo Milano – via XX Settembre, 35 – 0341 830298 – www.albergomilanovarenna.com

Visteria dell’Hotel Royal Victoria

Restaurant. Attached to one of the most prestigious hotels in the town, right in the heart of the medieval village, it is led by the young Neapolitan chef Francesco Sarno, who has significant experience. His intriguing and personality-filled offering, with a strong Mediterranean imprint, can be enjoyed through tasting menus or à la carte. Some highlights: salt cod pizzaiola, buffalo lemon and scampi risotto, Fassona sirloin with cardoncelli mushrooms and carrots. Special mention for the naturally leavened bread, hand-stretched crackers, and breadsticks. The wine cellar is in line with the setting.

Visteria dell’Hotel Royal Victoria – piazza San Giorgio, 2 – 0341 815111 – www.royalvictoria.com

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