The Italian lake district in the north of Italy boasts a string of romantic lakes attracting visitors from around the world.
Whether you prefer the grandeur of Como, the peace of Orta, the light of Maggiore or the size of Garda, not only do the lakes offer a restorative holiday, but they are also increasingly getting more serious when it comes to food.
Holidaying at the lakes has become synonymous with luxury experience and "eating on the lake" synonymous with gourmet. Given the proliferation of Michelin starred restaurants, resorts collaborating with great chefs and multi-functional luxury and high-quality premises, it's no suprise.
We have made a selection of restaurants in the Italian Lake District that are worth a trip alone:
Lake Como Restaurants
Berton al Lago - Il Sereno Hotel
Image: Patricia Parinejad
The five-star hotel's signature restaurant on the shore of Lake Como, designed and curated by Patricia Urquiola, was inaugurated last year. At the helm of the Michelin star restaurant, signed by Andrea Berton, is young executive chef Raffaele Lenzi, with a menu inspired by lake ingredients and the surrounding locality, including dishes like marinated cod, crispy cabbage and umeboshi plum or whitefish, a small cassoeula and pak choi, not to mention the amazing saffron risotto with Genovese ragout and mushroom powder.
Berton al Lago - Il Sereno Hotel
Via Torrazza 10, Torno (CO)Site
The talented Massimiliano Mandozzi has arrived at the Castadiva Resort. Surrounded by the enchanting setting of Lake Como, the Resort's chef, along with his staff, accompanies guests on a journey into his high-profile gourmet cuisine. L'Orangerie restaurant is open exclusively for dinner with a wide range of refined Italian dishes. During the summer you can enjoy the beautiful outdoor terrace, directly overlooking the shores of the lake.
Via Enrico Caronti 69, Blevio (CO)Site
Restaurants on Lake Maggiore
Boasting the right balance of gourmet and informal dining this restaurant on the lake is characterized by an ancient panoramic tower. The Nautica restaurant is located towards the Arona end of the lake. Chef Michele with his wife Valentina welcome guests, with a menu that focuses on fish (especially salt water) is delicious and refined, without too many frills. For those who want something more substantial: don't worry, there's also pizza!
Villa Crespi is Antonino Cannavacciuolo's hotel-restaurant. Long before becoming a TV personality, star of Hell's kitchen in Italy and judge of Masterchef Italia, the chef from Campania was already the chef-patron of this fairytale place, a Moorish palace on the shores of Lake Orta, with two Michelin stars.
Via Fava 18, Orta San Giulio (NO)Site
Restaurants on Lake Garda
Grand Hotel Fasano
The Grand Hotel Fasano is a nineteenth-century jewel set on the shore of the lake that celebrates its 130th anniversary this year. Matteo Felter, a native of Gardone, has been pulling rank at the restaurant for ten years, leading a solid and talented team. In the restaurant, Il Fagiano proposes its most creative cuisine, but nevertheless well rounded and balanced. The menu includes dishes like: smoked trout fillet on potatoes with olive oil with red onion, black bread and caviar or wholewheat spaghetti from Damigella with Piennolo tomatoes, oregano, baccalà, capers, Cantabrian anchovies and fermented garlic.
A visit to the gin lounge is also a must, where the bartender Rama Redzepi delights and entertains with an abundance of charisma and gin - over 70 varieties, with 20 different tonics, and the bar at which opens onto a panoramic terrace.
Ristorante Il Fagiano - Grand Hotel Fasano
Via Zanardelli 190, Gardone Riviera (BS)Site
Villa Feltrinelli is one of those places that needs little introduction. One of the most evocative hotels that is in itself, is an emblem of luxury and elegance. The restaurant is in the hands of Stefano Baiocco, with a multi-lingual international curriculum that includes - Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Ferran Adrià and Andon Luis Aduriz, to name but a few - the chef won two Michelin stars in 2014.
Grand Hotel at Villa Feltrinelli
Parco dell'Alto Garda Bresciano - Via Rimembranza 38, Gargnano (BS)Site
Riccardo Camanini, past student of Marchesi,won the restaurant a Michelin star in 2015. His signature dishes like Spaghettoni with brewer's yeast or Cacio e pepe cooked in pork bladder, ending with the now legendary Rose Cake with zabaione and lemons from the Garda area are worth the trip alone.
Regio Patio is a corner of paradise at the lake. A magical place in which to enjoy Andrea Costantini's cooking, a cuisine that knows both tradition and research and that, in the context of the very pleasant environment, make this address one to watch. The chef's cooking is in fact characterized by several interesting aspects: a frequent change of menu (8 times a year) that follows the season and focuses on vegetables; love for the territory (honored in both the 100% Garda menu and the general use of lake fish in innovative recipes); the "almost sweets" on the menu, dishes that prepare the mouth for dessert. The Regio Patio Restaurant is located in Garda, not far from wonderfully decadent views, perfect for a post-lunch stroll.
Via S. Francesco d'Assisi, 23 - 37016 GardaSite