There are a few things to reasonably expect from Lake Garda restaurants. Views, Italian classics and perhaps a stellar gelato should all feature, but pike? Prepare your tastebuds for an earthy voyage into the world of lake fish. Grilled, steamed, creamed and made into meatballs, Lake Garda’s local resources will be memorable meals during your time here. And, as much as we should champion the 0km menus and heritage recipes, we won’t blame you if you swing by the region’s stellar gelataria for a more familiar selection of flavours.
Feliz Cafe - Peschiera del Garda
While everyone is jostling elsewhere for a lake-view table, take a seat at Feliz Cafe. This independent veggie cafe serves a balanced mix of the wholesome breakfasts you plan to eat while travelling, but never quite find the will power to order. There’s an all too tempting collection of pastries, cakes and pancakes on the menu, if you’re keen to indulge. And there are vegan and gluten-free options liberally sprinkled in among the organic juices, porridge bowls, hot chocolate and chia-seed strewn dishes. Though here, the highlight for many is being able to get a decent cup of Italian coffee with a dash of plant milk. A light and lovely eco-beacon in the rather meat-heavy mix of Lake Garda restaurants.
Orbzii tip: Missed breakfast? Swing by for lunch when Feliz Cafe serves up vegan pizza, focaccia and more Italian favourites with a plant-based twist.
Gelateria Cristallo - Bardolino
We know what you’re thinking. Ice cream? For breakfast? Well, yes … and no. Yes, Gelateria Cristallo, is primarily an ice cream parlour. But it comes with lake and piazza views, puts you mere steps away from the Bardolino Ferry Terminal and, crucially, serves great coffee. All of which makes it an ideal place to order breakfast before a Lake Garda boat trip. Normally, we’d class the breakfast offerings here as light bites. Pastries, pancakes and coffee – continental morsels to see you through ’til lunch. At this gelateria, the brioches are so sizeable they hang off the side of your plate. Though, you’ll be too busy people watching and pondering which ice creams to try on your next visit to worry too much about portion sizes.
Orbzii tip: Cristallo’s rep for high quality gelato sees customers queuing for a chance to taste their creations. Making ice cream since 1892, the parlour uses only milk, eggs and whole foods – such as fruit and nuts, to whip up tasty treats.
La Terrazza - Torbole
We’ve kept things bright and breezy at breakfast on purpose. Mostly, so you’d have the appetite to enjoy the dishes La Terrazza. Here, the speciality is fine dining – with a nuanced helping of Lake Garda delicacies. Everything from the plump ravioli to the expertly stirred risotto comes with pike, perch or chub caught straight from the lake. Torbole traditional recipes are the mainstay, and the lake views are simply stunning. There are, of course, more familiar menu items, but they tend to be found in the dessert section. A helping of the Bourbon chocolate mousse might be tempting but it battles for your attention with homemade tiramasu, linzer cake and the ever popular panna cotta. Those, you can be assured, are pike-free.
Alpe Del Garda - Tremosine sul Garda
There are plenty of reasons to wind your hire car through the mountain roads to scale the heights around Lake Garda: Not least, the pleasingly rustic barn at Alpe Del Garda. A hilltop, agritourism pitstop that can be all things to all foodies, the farm shop lets you taste your way through locally-made rarities. Exclusive cheeses, spicy salamis and sage sprinkled gnocchi are simple enough, but packed full of mountain flavours. Dropping into the co-operative’s farm shop is a must for foraging foodies. Bring a bag big enough to carry home all the oils, jams, cheeses, pasta and wines you can carry. Better still, a seat in the Alpe farmhouse affords you the chance to sample dishes made from the cured meats and cheeses prepared in-house. The mountain views almost get forgotten in the delirious food high. Don’t miss them.
133 Sushi Club - Desenzano Del Garda
With so many Lake Garda restaurants focusing on local produce, recipes handed down through generations and lake-caught ingredients, the fresh, Japanese feasts at 133 Sushi Club are a welcome reprieve. Though, as eye-catching as the sashimi and kobachi are, in this restaurant, all eyes tend to be on the walls… or the ceiling. Art, sculptures and glitter balls are the order of the day in this fab, fun and colourful art space. DJs set the tone with chill out tracks and dance vibes and you’re quite likely to walk away with a new addition to your art collection. Perfect for those nights where ‘we’ll just order a few light bites’ turns into a full romp through the nigiri menu.
Locanda Perbellini al Lago - Garda
Perbellini brings their contemporary fine dining formula to the shores of Lake Garda. So far, so seemingly corporate and – dare we say it, a little homogenous? Don’t be so quick to judge. Thankfully, Locanda Perbellini al Lago is as different as all the other Perbellini spaces. There’s no one size fits all approach to food here. Dishes are inspired by Lake Garda’s produce – but in a way that would welcome a Michelin star, rather than a roll of the eyes and a move to the next fine dining nook. Take the creamed pike starter. A dish that looks about as far from the feisty, sharp-toothed fish as they could make it. Delicate drops of flavour-filled wonder speckle a cannellini bean broth, while the creamed pike forms pirouettes of perfection on a pillowy bed of focaccia. Topped with ballerina pink petals, it’s almost too perfect to plunge a fork into. And so the menu powers on. Five courses of pure, plated pleasure.