Butterscotch & Chocolate

PIZZA PASTA ANTIPASTO: VERONA FEEDING FRENZY

Bella Napoli

m1I’d read that Bella Napoli is the place to go for pizza in Verona. So I was excited to discover that it was just up the road from our hotel, and it conveninently became our first stop after arriving in Verona just in time for a late dinner. We were suprised to find a queue after 9:00pm, but were entertained by pizza chefs preparing and boxing up pizzas at the take away counter while we waited for a table. The wood fired oven was spitting out pizzas at a frantic pace, and I could already tell from the colour of the pizza dough that we were in for a treat.

We skipped the specialty half-metre-long pizza in favour of sampling the traditional pizza offerings. The ‘Bella Napoli’ special, with artichokes, ham, pepperoni, italian sausage, mushroom and egg was incredible. The ‘Anacapri’ with buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, parmesan flakes and rocket was simple yet tasty, with the rocket and parmesan adding great textural contrast and bite. The toppings were fresh and delicious, and the crust was just right, with bubbly burnt bits all around – always a sign of a good pizza.

This pizza is right up there with some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s no wonder the place is popular with the locals, so popular that they have now opened a second restaurant across the road, where it’s usually easier to find a table. But there’s a certain charm and family-run feel to the original that simply can’t be replicated. The wait is well worth it.


Perimetro Good Food District

m1Just off the Piazza Delle Erbe this eatery instantly stood out with its contemporary signange and minimalist interior. Behind a large glass sheet, men in white uniforms cut thin slices of prosciutto from giant legs of ham that hung from the walls using a mechanical cutting machine. Welcome to Perimetro.

The simple menu included a small selection of pasta dishes and cured meat plates, all freshly made and hand cut to order. We ordered a selection of three of their finest meats – salame felino, an italian pork salami, prosciutto crudo di parma, a 20-month aged parma ham, and la coppa di primo, “the Primo Cup” emiliano prosciutto. This prosciutto was something special, chewing was optional as every bite melted in the mouth and didnt seem fatty at all.

The pasta was equally impressive. I unwittingly ordered a beef ravioli dish that turned out to be cheese-filled ravioli in beef broth. I was glad I’d misinterpreted the menu because the dish was excellent – served al dente, the pasta was the perfect compliment to the subtle beef broth, with the cheese filling adding bite to muted flavours. The pumpkin tortellini with herb butter was amazing, such a simple dish but done incredibly well with a light butter sauce balancing the sweet pumpkin filling perfectly. The accompanying sparkling lambrusco and excellent coffee made for an exquisite lunch, made all the more enjoyable by our position by the window which provided a great vantage point for people watching in the Piazza.


Osteria Le Vecete

l2With our pasta cravings becoming too much to bear, we went in search of a substitute for Trattoria al Pompiere, our planned dinner venue which came highly recommended but turned out to be closed for renovations. A stroll down restaurant-lined Via Pellicciai led us to Osteria Le Vecete whose lively atmosphere and packed terrace and dining room drew us in. We were seated in the smaller upstairs dining room, which had a rustic country-home-feel with and was also spilling over with diners.

Our friendly waiter patiently translated each and every item on the extensive Italian-only menu, only to have us point at the dishes being enjoyed by fellow diners while asking “which one is that?”. We finally decided on the Tagliolini agli Scampi (tagliatelle with langoustine) and the Linguine con acciughe del Cantabrico (linguine with Cantabrian anchovies). Shaking his head at our accompanying wine order, our waiter suggested a cheaper bottle of valpolicella (a regional red) that would better complement our dishes – having the waiter insist on a downgrade was a first for us, and his obvious appreciation for the food over all else made it an easy sell.

The pasta dishes arrived looking amazing. Large scampi sat majestically on their mound of tagliatelle, with visible traces of crushed cherry tomato in the sauce, which was rich in tomato flavour and well seasoned. The anchovy linguine was perfectly al dente with the salty ground anchovy providing a richness of flavour to an otherwise simple dish that exceeded expectations and was the highlight of the meal. A beautiful setting, friendly service, and outstanding food – of all the places to dine in Verona, I’m glad we stumbled on this one.


La Tradisión

l2When we dropped in at La Tradisión to take advantage of the 90 euro-cent coffee, we had no idea this quick coffee stop would turn into a 3-hour long stint of spritz-drinking and prusciutto-nibbling. The deceptively non-descript entrance way to La Tradisión, void of signage save for a sheet of A3 brown paper with a hand written list of available drinks, led to a surprisingly urban and happening cafe complete with outdoor garden terrace that provided an enjoyable spot to spend our last remaining hours in Verona.

It wasn’t long before we were sipping aperol and campari spritzes like locals and succumbing to one of the generous meat and cheese platters that were being freshly sliced up right in front of us. Marveling at how well the Italians have mastered the art of good food, we realized how lucky we were to be here, living la dolce vita, if only for a weekend. What a wonderful way to end our Verona feeding frenzy.


Bella Napoli Pizzeria & Ristorante
Via Guglielmo Marconi 11, 37122 Verona
http://www.bellanapoliverona.it/

Perimetro
Via Pellicciai 2, 37121 Verona
http://www.perimetrofood.it/

Osteria Le Vecete
Via Pellicciai 32/a, 37121 Verona
http://www.grupporialto.it/osteria-le-vecete.html

La Tradisión
Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 6, 37121 Verona

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