Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 14 – Eating in Varenna, Italy

Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 14 – Eating in Varenna, Italy

Million Mile SecretsOur Anniversary to Italy: Part 14 – Eating in Varenna, ItalyMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks.  It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited!  In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich.  We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily Enjoying a Gelato in Varenna

Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:

This post will cover restaurants in Verrana, including:

We learned about many of these restaurants from The Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook.  Note that the prices below include tax and gratuity (though you could round up the check with a few euro if the service was great).

1.   Albergo Del Sole

In the morning, we had lunch at Albergo Del Sole which is located on the main plaza in Varenna.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Albergo Del Sole Restaurant was Located in the Main Plaza

The food was cheaper than in France, and most courses cost between 10 (~$14) to 15 euro (~$20).

Eating In Varenna Italy
Albergo Del Sole had Averaged Priced Entrees

We ordered meats and cheeses for our appetizer.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Our Appetizer of Cheese, Sopressata, Copa Ham, and Prosciutto

I ordered the pasta arribiata for my main course…

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily had Pasta Arribiata and a Cappuccino

and Daraius had the seafood salad.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Daraius Ordered the Seafood Salad

I had a cappuccino and Daraius had a Coke.  We both loved our meals!  It was one of the best we had in Varrena.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily and Daraius Enjoying Their Best Meal in Varenna

2.  Nilus Bar

One evening, we walked through town and ate at the Nilus Bar, a lakeside restaurant.

Eating In Varenna Italy
The Outside of Nilus Bar

They had a full Italian menu, and seemed to specialize in pizza.  Most pizzas were about 7 euro (~$10).

Eating In Varenna Italy
There Were a Lot of Pizzas to Choose From

We sat at a romantic table by the lake.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Nilus Bar had Romantic Lakeview Dining

We ordered bruschetta as our appetizer….

Eating In Varenna Italy
We Choose Bruschetta For Our Appetizer

I ordered a ham and cheese crepe…

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily Ordered a Ham and Cheese Crepe

and Daraius had a pizza with shrimp.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Daraius Ordered a Shrimp Pizza

The highlight of the meal was my mint-flavored granita.  It was so refreshing and sweet!  The bruschetta was also very fresh and had the perfect blend of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily With the Hghlight of her Meal – a Mint Flavored Granita!

Daraius never had a shrimp pizza before so he wanted to try it.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Daraius Eagerly Looking Forward to Trying a Shrimp Pizza

We wouldn’t return for the pizza and the crep.  But we would go back for the  view, bruschetta, & mint granita anytime!

3.   Restaurante Il Cavatappi

One evening, we went to Resaurante Il Cavatappi for dinner.  The restaurant is run by the Villa Cipressi and has a very romantic atmosphere.  That’s why there are a lot of weddings taking place there! 

Eating In Varenna Italy
There was a Wedding Reception at the Restaurant

The food was expensive at about 25 (~$34) to 36 euro (~$49) per main course.

Eating In Varenna Italy
The Food was Very Expensive

We ordered vegetable foie gras (yes, really!) for our appetizer that was very flavorful and refreshing…

Eating In Varenna Italy
The Foie Gras was Flavorful and Refreshing

Daraius had shrimp…

Eating In Varenna Italy
Daraius Ordered the Shrimp

and I had boiled chicken with vegetables in a cheese cream sauce.

Eating In Varenna Italy
Emily Ordered Boiled Chicken With Vegetables

We both had a glass of white wine from the region.

The food was overpriced and the portions were very small.  However, the ingredients were very fresh and the carrots in my chicken dish tasted like they had just been plucked from the garden.

4.   Hotel Eremo Gaudio Restaurant

Another evening, we went to the restaurant at our hotel for a quick bite, so we could continue to enjoy the views from the hotel.

Eating In Varenna Italy
The Hotel Restaurants has Great Views

They had a decent selection of moderately priced foods.  Most main courses were 8 euro (~$11) to 10 euro (~$14).

Eating In Varenna Italy
The Menu was Reasonably Priced

The menu warned us that some entrees were actually frozen meals!

Eating In Varenna Italy
Some of the Entrees Were Frozen Meals

We ordered lasagna…

Eating In Varenna Italy
We Ordered Lasagna

and gnocci.

Eating In Varenna Italy
We Choose Gnocchi for Another Entree

The food was not too memorable, but the view was fantastic.

Eating In Varenna Italy
The View Made up for the Meal

5.   Gelateria II Molo

For dessert, we went to a nearby gelateria, Gelateria II Molo.  They have a sit-down restaurant, but also serve gelato to go!  A small cup or cone was only 1.3 euro (~$1.8).

Eating In Varenna Italy
Lorem Ipsum. Lorem Ipsum. Lorem Ipsum

I had “fior di latte” which had a delicious milky flavor.

Eating In Varenna Italy
There Were a lot of Gelato Flavors

The gelato was very good – sweet, rich, and creamy!

Bottom Line:

Daraius and I really enjoyed ourselves in Varenna, which is less than an hour away from Milan.  The food was mostly cheap and tasty, and you don’t need to splurge to have a great meal in Varenna.

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Just thought you might want to know that your #3, the Il Cavatappi restaurant is incorrect. The restaurant in the Hotel Vill Cipresse is Ristorante la Contrada. Il Cavatappi is a very small, family owned restaurant that only accomodates about 15 to 18 people and is not associated with a hotel. I came across you blog as I was researching Varenna for an upcoming trip this September when I found this discrepancy. Easy to do when there are so many words that look alike. Sounds like you had a great time. We are taking 12 people and hope they all have a good time too.

If you want to eat close to the water, there's a quite decent pizza place near the ferry pier.

On Italian menus the phrase "produtto surgelato" means "frozen item".

Million Mile Secrets

@LarryInNYC - That sounds like it. Sometimes I can't even read my own handwriting! So that's why the food tasted so fresh at the Villa Cipressi.

Was that fior di latte gelato you had?

The restaurant at Villa Cipressi does, indeed, grow some of their own stuff -- I came across the chef (in his whites and toque!) cutting herbs in the garden one afternoon.