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A Dinner to Remember at Verbano, on Lake Maggiore

IMG_0423We had visited the three Borromean Islands off of Stresa on a rainy day, dodging downpours and not seeing much of one island especially, that being Isola dei Pescatori, or the Fisherman’s Island.  This island is small and really just a collection of shops and restaurants.  As a way to experience more of it we decided, on Cheri’s recommendation, to hire a boat out to the

The View!

The View!

island for a romantic dinner.  Several of the restaurants remain open late into the evening, however all the shops are closed.  This means that we have to return one day and visit Isola dei Pescatori on a sunny day.  Somehow this does not seem like a problem.

Dinner is the subject at hand however, and we arrived at the island unsure of which restaurant we would choose.  Starting at one end of the island proved to be fateful, as we never left the first restaurant we laid eyes on.  When you consider the views it’s not hard to see why.  The terrace was breathtaking, on a night where the weather was perfect and the lake lay like a jewel in the fading sunlight.  We would spend the next two to three hours here.

Simple and elegant

Simple and elegant

Albergo Ristorante Verbano hangs onto the south end of Isola dei Pescatori, with an outdoor terrace offering extensive lake views and an unbeatable close up view of the palace on Isola Bella.  Tables are well spaced, with white tablecloths and elegant place settings.  We settled in to a nice table,  with the lake in front of us, and perused the menu.  There were many choices, and I could have tried all of them.  The wine list is extensive and, understandably, very Italian oriented.  We picked a nice bottle of Nebbiolo from Roero, a 2011 Bric Valdiana.  While the waiter suggested white with our fish he graciously did not seem offended when we ordered red.  Prior to dinner a glass of brute sparkling wine was served, along with an amuse bouche, both of which were excellent.

The hotel (yes you can also stay here) and restaurant was started in 1896, and it has stood the test of

There was wine of course

There was wine of course

time.  The food was outstanding.  Cheri started with a tomato tartare, which was lightly dressed, very fresh and came with fresh mozzarella, sweet potatoes and olives.  Cheri declared that it was perfect.  I started with a mixed plate, the Antipasti de Pescatori.  This had five different small servings, including salmon tartar with dill mayo, whitefish over a pickled slaw, pickled trout, a trout terrine and a tiny river crustacean that looked like a miniature lobster.  Everything was delicious, but especially the trout terrine which had perfect texture.  The salmon tartare was also delightful, very fresh and the play of the dill mayo brightened it up nicely.

The tomato tartare

The tomato tartare

Main courses were a whitefish fillet from Lake Maggiore with potatoes for Cheri, and the branzini (or sea bass) over polenta and shrimp for me.  Both dishes were perfectly cooked and well seasoned.  We have no faults to find with any part of this meal.

Coffe and chocolate gelato provided a simple and elegant finish to a

The Branzini

The Branzini

wonderful dining experience.  This was one of our favorite dinners anywhere, anytime.  It is a beautiful place, a great restaurant and an unbelievable setting.

Also beautiful inside

Also beautiful inside

Obviously the weather will not always be perfect, and for those days there is a beautiful indoor seating area.  We’re glad we had the opportunity to experience the terrace on a beautiful night though.

While we are sure there are other excellent restaurants on Isola dei Pescatori, you cannot go wrong if you choose to eat at Verbano.  It will remain as one of our favorite memories.

Here are the particulars:IMG_0425

Albergo Ristorante Verbano
Via Ugo Ara 2. –  Isola dei Pescatori. –  28838 Stresa

Telephone – +39 0323 30408 Website – www.hotelverbano.it

A votre sante!

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