The Insider’s Guide to Verona Restaurants

eating in verona

Verona Restaurants – Buon appetito!  

We recently made a return trip to one of our favorite cities, Verona. The day was spent with insider knowledge from Virginia and Sara of Romeo Juliet Guide. Our visits to Verona are usually short and busy during Italy’s International wine expo, Vinitaly. Given the pace of those trips, I’ve not really felt able to provide the insider information I like to give my readers.

After our day with Virginia and Sara, I’m ready to put it all together – our exploration mixed with insider Verona knowledge from them.

We’ll start with this Insider’s Guide to Verona Restaurants. Check back for my follow-up post with tips on how to navigate the city – when to visit Verona, where to park, what are must-do / see activities, where to stay, etc. And, don’t miss 7 Things to do in Verona and A 48-hour Guide to Verona Travel!

Restaurants in Verona

Let’s start with a look at traditional food in Verona 

Here are some of the traditional foods in Verona and after this we’ll break down the best places to eat, with Sara’s ‘best of’ picks for some of these dishes.

Foods of Verona: Primi 

Risotto is hugely popular in Northern Italy given that rice is so widely grown here. Verona itself produces a top rice variety, Vialone Nano, making risotto a must-try food in Verona. Traditional Veronese risotto dishes include:

  • Risotto all’Amarone: The base for this dish comes from the powerful regional wine of Amarone della Valpolicella. Amarone is a rich red wine made of grapes that are dried for three to four months prior to fermentation. The wine gives intense flavors and aromas of dried fruits, tobacco, and dried spices.
  • Risotto al Tastasal: A sausage-based risotto made of ground pork, seasoned with salt and tons of pepper.
  • Risotto al Radicchio: Yes, the bitter Italian vegetable of radicchio is the base for this risotto. It has a sweetness in the mouth with the addition of onion, pancetta, or red wine.  
Risotto all'Amarone
Risotto all’Amarone at Scapin.

Each region has its own traditional pasta dishes, with two notable ones found in Verona:

  • Bigoli: Bigoli is the Veneto’s signature pasta dish — think thick spaghetti. Traditional bigoli was made of buckwheat flour. Today it has a more dark finish thanks to wholewheat flour. Variations around the Veneto are found in the sauces. In Verona, bigoli comes with sauces of duck (anatra), donkey (asino), and horse (cavallo). Bigoli in salsa is one of the most traditional dishes, made of salted sardines and onions.
  • Gnocchi: Can you ever go wrong with potato dumplings? Um no! In Verona, you’ll traditionally see it served with horse meat stew. Yes, horse is a popular food in Verona.

A post shared by Virginia Conta (@romeoandjulietguide) on Foods of Verona: Secondo

Horse: Let’s get this out of the way. As noted, horse is a popular food in Verona. I know a lot of people wrinkle their nose at the very idea. But, it has historical significance.

First, the horse meat is often served as bistecca di cavallo (horse steak), sfilacci (shredded and cured), and pastisada (braised). The latter variation is from the 5th century AD when Italy’s King Odoacer and Ostrogoths’ King Theodoric battled. After King Theodoric won, thousands of fallen horses littered the land. The locals were so hungry they consumed the meat. Given the size of the meat, they marinated it in red wine with spices and vegetables and slow cooked it. The recipe was passed down through the generations.

You’ll also find other main courses of beef cheek, veal liver, and cod.

Polenta: You’ll see lots of meals served with a side dish of polenta. In Verona, the polenta is served soft and creamy, fresh off the stove or left to cool for half a day, then cut into squares and grilled slightly.

horse steak
Bistecca di Cavallo with polenta at Tre Marchetti.

Verona Restaurants: The Basics

Now that you have a quick intro on the main foods of Verona, let’s talk about the basics: coffee, gelato, aperitivo, and gastronomia.

L’arte del Gelato

Artisan gelato made with only organic ingredients.

Find it! Via Leoni, 3, Verona

Caffé Wallner

Sara tells us that this favorite has only been open for a short time, but they have the best brioche in town. She explains that the pastry chef is from Southern Italy, so you get a mix of traditions from the north and south. She also recommends the typical local pastry of Verona, Zaletto. Gluten-free travelers, rejoice! These soft biscuits are made of the Verona staple of polenta.

Find it! Via Dietro Listone, 1, Verona

A post shared by Virginia Conta (@romeoandjulietguide) on Pasticceria Flego

Sara likes the sophistication of the creations here. Find it right in the city center.

Find it! Via Stella, 13, Verona

La  Botteghetta (gastronomia)

We made a visit to La Botteghetta during our day out with Romeo and Juliet Guide. Sara and Virginia explained that locations like La Botteghetta are few and far between in Verona, despite their popularity across Italy. We were treated to an incredible selection of local salumi and cheeses, and a glass of Soave. If you are planning a picnic, or need some goodies for apertivo at your accommodations, this is your place.

Find it! Via Leoncino, 31, Verona

La Botteghetta verona
Local meats and cheese at La Botteghetta.

Hotel Milano & Spa – Terrace Bar (aperitivo)

Oh. My. God. The view. Hotel Milano sits just behind the Arena and it has the most incredible view of the entire structure. Definitely one of our favorite stops on our day with Romeo and Juliet Guide. Enjoy aperitivo from 15:00 to 21:00. Hotel guests can also indulge in the terrace jacuzzi. They were kind enough to show us some rooms and we are totally staying here on a future visit.

Find it! Vicolo Tre Marchetti 11, Verona

wine in verona
Aperitivo with a view. The terrace bar at Hotel Milano.

Seconda Balena (aperitivo)

We walked by Seconda Balena during our Verona city center tour with Sara and Virginia. It wasn’t open yet, but they said it is usually an afternoon stop during the day. We can’t wait to get back to try some wines here.

Find it! Vicolo Balena, 2, 37121 Verona

Piazza delle Erbe Verona
Insider Dining Tip: The locals don’t dine in the eateries surrounding the Arena (Piazza Bra). It’s just too darned expensive and crowded. They recommended heading to Piazza delle Erbe for Verona restaurants.

Verona Restaurants: Aperitivo and Dinners 

There are SO many amazing Verona restaurants, so of course, this is not an exhaustive list. But, a starter guide to Verona Restaurants based on our time in the city as well as favorites from Romeo and Juliet Tours. We cannot wait to get back to try some of the places they recommend.

Trattoria Tre Marchetti

Trattoria Tre Marchetti is our favorite Verona restaurant! A few years ago we did a last minute overnight trip and happened upon it near our hotel — just behind the Arena. The menu features traditional fare and a great wine list. All the food we’ve had there is amazing and the ambiance is fantastic. We return every time we can for dinner. And, clearly, we are not alone in our love for Tre Marchetti. Two years running during Vinitaly, our table was reserved for Mr. Antinori of Marchesi Antinori. That’s some high praise!

Find it! Tre Marchetti

  • Address: Vicolo 3 Marchetti, 19 / B – 37121, Verona
  • Phone: +39 045 8030463
  • Reservations: Recommended
Verona Restaurants
Tre Marchetti in Verona.

Scapin

Our amazing dinner here was hosted by a wine producer during Vinitaly 2015. The wine and food were fantastic. They brought salted butter for the bread — even the Italians were fighting for it. And, the cellar has an ancient Roman wall. Pick up goodies to take home from the front-of-house gastronomia.

Find it! Scapin

    • Address: Via Diaz 20-22, Verona
    • Phone: +39 045 800 3552
    • Reservations: Recommended

A post shared by Valerie, Girl’s Gotta Drink (@valeriekq) on

Antica Bottega del Vino

This is one of our favorite places for a glass of wine. In fact, this Verona restaurant is a favorite of just about everyone in the wine industry – it’s standing-room-only every day of Vinitaly. They offer different wines by the glass, unique flights, and you can eat here, too. Sara of Romeo and Juliet tells us they have the best risotto with Amarone in town.

Find it! Bottega del Vino

  • Address: Via Scudo di Francia, 3, Verona
  • Phone: +39 045 8004535
  • Reservations: Recommended
Bottega del Vino Verona
Bottega del Vino is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. During the annual Vinitaly International wine trade show, it’s hopping with industry pros well into the night!

Antica Trattoria Pero d’Oro

Traditional fare – Sara tells us that Pero d’Oro has the very best bigoli in town!

Find it! Pero d’Oro

  • Address: Via Ponte Pignolo, 25, Verona
  • Phone: +39 045 594645

Hosteria La Vecchia Fontanina

Traditional fare – Sara tells us that Hosteria La Vecchia Fontanina has the best Pastissada de Caval (Veronese dialect for horse meat with polenta).

Find it! Hosteria La Vecchia Fontanina

  • Address: Piazzetta Chiavica, 5 Verona
  • Phone: +39 045 457 6162
  • Open for lunch and dinner

Caffé Dante Bistrot 

Sara recommends Caffé Dante as an alternative for those sensitive to the idea of horse meat. She suggests trying local cold cuts of prosciutto, soppressa, and salame nostrano here.

Find it! Caffé Dante Bistrot

  • Address: Piazza dei Signori, 2, Verona
  • Phone:+ 39 045 800 0083
  • Open for lunch and dinner

Re Teodorico

Local food and gourmet piazza – Sara tells us they have the best panoramic view of Verona from their terrace. 

Find it! Re Teodorico

  • Address: Piazzale Castel San Pietro 1, Verona
  • Phone:+39 045 834 9903
  • Reservations recommended
  • Open for lunch and dinner
verona

And, there you have it – the Insider’s Guide to Verona Restaurants!

A huge thanks to Sara and Virginia of Romeo and Juliet Guide for showing us around and the extra little tidbits for this piece. Their full day walking tour gives you a chance to experience some of these locations as well as the noted traditional food in Verona.

Don’t forget, we’ll have one more post coming out in the next few weeks on the fundamentals of exploring Verona. And, also check out our 7 Things to do in Verona for some ideas on activities while there as well as A 48-hour Verona Travel Guide for the fundamentals of visiting the city (when to go, where to stay, where to park, and more).

If you have some Verona Restaurants you think we should add to this list, please drop a note to let us know!

Check out our other Restaurant Guides: 

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