Italy: Bardolino food & drink

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Food & Drink, International Travel


Dinner at La Piccola Osteria. I tried the macaroni picante (spicy) with Gorgonzola cheese, delicious! Leandra got the beef cappacio with a pile of cheese on top! We split a 500 ml carafe of the house frizzante that was perfectly serviceable. Feeling like a dessert, we split the tiramisu, and Leandra ordered a glass of the house red while I finished off the sparkling. Our outside table was on a quiet alley and we very much enjoyed our visit here.



Cantina F.lli Zeni is up the hill from town, just a few minutes drive or a moderate walk. You enter into a small wine museum that describes the landscape of the Veneto region plus some of the machines used in historical winemaking, which is then followed by a free tasting of six wines – via a QR code to scan for samples from their auto-dispensers. They also have more premium wines available by the glass for a reasonable fee.


  • Vignealte Soave classico:  med acidity, some banana and green leaves, a little mineral too.  Medium bodied and quite pleasant.
  • Vignealte custoza – mineral and acidity, greener and lighter than the Soave.
  • Garganeta Veneto – fairly light on acidity with cooked apple and light honey, a little sweet.
  • Lugano – gewurztraminer like, lots of floral notes but fairly light. Turbiana grape?
  • Bianco trevenzie – very aromatic, moderate acidity, light but lasting finish. Floral notes, a little pear.
  • Chiaretto bardolino spumante – med sweet with a light finish.
  • White label custoza – as expected, lighter than other label. Very light, quick finish.
  • Valpolicella Superiore – fruity with medium body, some cluster/stem notes.
  • Bardolino Classico – lighter than the Valpolicella but still had some herbal notes.
  • Rosso Veronese – more intense cherry with brown sugar notes, less bitter than the first two.

For dinner we had a reservation at Ristorante Il Portichetto. Again we were able to split a 500ml, this time of a Custoza (white). Leandra was tempted by the mussels marinara, while I got the 24 month aged parma ham and mozzarella, which was nice, but overpriced for the quantity and overall flavor. Unfortunately, service was disinterested, and there was a lot of smoke at the outdoor tables too.

We didn’t feel like staying longer for dessert, so we decided to go for gelato. Two gelato places had already closed by 10pm (!) so we ended up at Pizzeria Gelateria Cristallo. Mint for me and pistachio for Leandra. The gelato was a good value at 2e each, but rather pedestrian by Italian standards.


We didn’t feel like a full meal this evening, so instead of a restaurant we decided to get some items from the local grocery store and stay in. Of course it was good! We tried a Pinova apple (aka pinata), speck, Gorgonzola blue cheese, olives, and some fresh rolls. Our apartment also had small single-serving balsamic vinegars that paired quite nicely with the cheese!

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)