Varenna, Lake Como: Dinner at Albergo Milano

by gigi on January 13, 2009

Jenkins and I decided to have a nice dinner at Albergo Milano one evening. According to our Rick Steves guide book, Albergo Milano was a great place for a nice evening out and had a nice view of the lake. The menu changes almost daily and always showcases whatever is in season. When we went that evening, our meal was 38 euros, which wasn’t bad for our three-course dinner.

First, we shared a half litre of the house white wine. Because we were both going for seafood items that evening, we figured it would be a good choice. :) It came in a clear receptacle that our server told us was used to keep the wine cool throughout our meal. I thought it was pretty neat. :)

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The menu allowed for 2 choices for each of the courses. After we made our selections, we were presented with an assortment of breads. I found the breads to be a bit too hard on the outside for my liking so I just stuck with the breadsticks, which were crispy and crunchy all over. :)

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I started with a cured meat platter with a tangy and mustard-y vinaigrette. It was salty but not overwelmingly so and I felt that the saltiness actually helped to open my appetite for the next course. Despite my trepidation with the bread initially, I found it actually went quite well with the cured meats.

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Jenkins decided to go for the Tuscan bean soup. It was very warm and hearty – perfect for a cold day. On top was a baked crouton and some Parmesan cheese sprinkled over top. The cheese gave the soup a nice richness and turned out to be quite filling.

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I decided to go vegetarian for my main course and chose to have a spinach, mushroom, and risotto ravioli. Sprinkled on top was some tasty and slightly tangy goat cheese. I turned out to like this dish much more than I expected. I’m not usually one for vegetarian main courses but the ravioli was cooked just right. The pasta shell had a nice al dente to it that you come to expect from Italian pasta and yielded a creamy filling inside. The grated goat cheese on top added an extra level of richness to the dish that left me quite satisfied.

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Jenkins chose to have tuna with a lemony cream sauce over some red rice. He is normally not a huge lemon fan but the sauce was very light and had only the slightest hint of lemon. The tangy lemon sauce actually went quite well with the tuna and Jenkins enjoyed this quite a bit.

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Finally, it was time for dessert. I went for the pear poached in port wine with a vanilla and cinnamon cream sauce. It was very light and was the perfect ending to my rich main course. The pear had a nice port-ish taste to it and matched very well with the cream sauce. I only wished that they had given me two pears instead of one. :)

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Jenkins decided to pick the cheese platter so that we could try the other “dessert” item on the menu. It also came with some pear slices and a relish-like dipping in the middle. Although dessert-wise, I preferred my sweet dish more, I thought the selection of cheese were quite tasty and went very well with the relish sauce. Now that I think about it, I should have remembered to ask our server what kind of cheese we tried so I could hunt for them now that I’m in Vancouver. :)

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There are only about 8 indoor tables at Albergo Milano and since it was rainy the day we went, the patio was not open during the meal. Since the tables are limited and when you book a table, you can have it for the entire evening, reservations are recommended. It is a lovely setting and we tried to time our meal with the evening sunset. Towards the end of our meal, we even got to see a spectacular thunderstorm across the lake. I’d recommend this place for a nice meal while on vacation and a good place to get a sampling of the local cuisine.

Details:
Via XX Settembre, 35, Varenna 23829, Italy

Summary:
Food: [rating:4]
Service: [rating:3.5]
Price: $$$

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