"The restaurant is in my family 80 years and it is a funny story, yet let me tell you of the summer opera season that essentially starts at midnight every night and last til 4:00am. All of the audience and stars from the Arena next door come to the restaurant at midnight. That is about 100 people every night in addition to the usual lunch and dinner, yet all the stars sing here. I am a pretty good opera singer and have joined in every night. We have pictures on the wall of the known ones around the world such as Placido Domingo and Lucian Pavorotti, yet one night a couple asked me to sing because it is a man's wife's birthday." starts the funny story.
"That night a Russian Gentleman and his two ladies came in and were rather rambuctious and drinking tons of vodka. When I started singing the Russian Guy immediately stands up and crosses his arms staring seriously at me. I kept singing to the couple yet thought O-O it is 1:00am and my other guest doesn't like my singing. Yet when I finished the song the Russian guy comes over to me, grabs me by the shoulders and kisses both my sides of face. Bravo! he says! And I thought, you know that should show me not to judge a book by its cover." he says laughing hysterically and I thought yes it is better that the story has a happy side to it!
"The funny story of my mother and my birth is that I am almost birthed in the restaurant here. The night of my birth, April 9, my mother is cooking in the kitchen and standing over a big fish. She rushes to the hospital and I am born on April 10, and one week later I am in a basinet and my mother is back in the kitchen!" he says and I ask if he loves fish now? He starts laughing, "No I don't care for fish." he says and I say that is because he blames the fish.
If Music be the food of love play on... Shakespeare
The famous Mexican Tenor posing with Matteo outside the lovely Tre Marchetti, Ramon Vargas. "Yes I have many of the famous ones here all the time and last week Botero and his wife came. I didn't recognize him and thought him to be very nice and friendly and at the end of the meal he asked if I enjoyed his sculptures and I asked who he is. When he said that he is Fernando Botero I am very impressed I said." I of course LOVE BOTERO and tell him the story of his son.
"The Tre Marchetti is my home, and I am here more than at my real home. I live here and I make it a life's experience. The Opera and Movie Stars and the Political Stars and the People of the world come here to experience my world for awhile and every person is of interest to me and has a cool side of a story of the life they live. Seriously, at night we sing with the great stars of the world and I never have to buy a ticket to the Arena!" he says laughing.
"The menu that we have at Tre Marchetti is high quality and the best of the best. We see International tourists every year and the Japanese are coming like crazy. They love to order all the specials on the menu and they share all of these. Which is special to us since each dish is exquisitely prepared. Yet it is fun. My house, Tre Marchetti, is a model of eccentricities and a strange place!" he says. " White truffle risoto,Pappardelle with Red Ricioto with hare ragout, Bigoli with duck sauce, Pastisada de caval(stuffed horse stew in Amarone wine), these items are on the menu and in additon a fish prepared menu starts at 70.00euros per person and the Meat menu starts at 60.00euros per person. Yet you can comfortable eat a dish with a lovely bottle of wine for a couple of people at a nice price. Something for everybody." says Matteo. And Roberto, the waiter says laughing, "My friends usually eat elsewhere, only special days do they eat here!"
045 803 0463
Most importantly for me is the Thurn und Taxis Beer, which I have only found in Germany, yet here it is in all of its lovely splendor...at the very hard to describe Locanda della Seconda Balena which the owner, Luca says, "It's a Osteria yet is essentially a Pub. It is like my home, when you walk in you see wooden tables and wooden barrels and people can sit and have a drink or me or my waiter will say, Hi would you love something to drink or would you love something to eat? As if you are a guest in the home." says Luca.
When I ask if it is a Osteria then? "Hmm not really. People come and as if they are my guests at my home and I say hi and would anybody like anything to drink. If they say yes I give my guests a drink. If they are hungry they can eat something." And I say that he is humble since the presentation is lovely and sophisticated with tastes to please any palette... and he asks if humble is modest and I say yes. "I love when the guests come and have a great time. If 40 people came and all wanted filet with cherry sauce we probably couldn't make so much since it is a tiny kitchen, some would have to order sea bass or cavallo or duck or rabbit...yet I guess we could sit 36 people if they really wanted to come and have fun!" he says and I say okay to count the barrel barstools and at least 50 people could come!
However, I must warn you that it is Total fun and comfort. With its woodsy feeling and real worn tables it has that "shabby chic, I know," says Luca, "everybody buys new furniture and then makes it old, mine is real! I would love to honestly add some umbrellas outside...that is my future!" he says...
And with such exotic things that are definitely made to order, as Horse's Tartar, Smoked Salmon Tartar, Speck and Buffalo Basil,Bigoli Gnocchi with Shrimp and Basil Cherry Tomatoes, Foal and Rabbit, Puledro and Duck Tortelli with Basil and Pinoli, plus the Bartenders that love to give you shots and beer, everybody should be able to find something that they love!
The Famous Chef of Du Schei...making my wonderful Gnocchis...from running back and forth to try to say hi to the Chef to eating the food...which one is better! The food is incredible and delicious and the chef is Gorgeous. Try Du Schei... at http://www.ristoranteduschei.it/
Acqua Morta 76, Verona +39 045 59 036 7
"Let's say that you ask to eat fettucine porcini and it is out of season or you ask to eat seafood from the Adriatic sea. I say does it look like we are on the sea? If you want to eat seafood go to the sea, here it is Verona. One thing that you should ask when you come to my restaurant is "WHAT IS THE SPECIAL?" and the next thing that you should ask is "WHERE IS THE KITCHEN?" and ask to see both. You don't have to ask about the drinks, I suggest something with every meal. If you still want the coca cola with the lovely T-Bone steak I can't make you drink a fine regional wine from Verona yet I recommend it." says Davide and being totally serious you listen.
When I ask does when does he have wild hare on his menu and when does he have rabbit which is the season for which. "Both the same," he says.
"My team is cool, and I do love to cook yet I have 3 cooks. One is old and one is young and one is here 5 years. It is a lovely blend. We have Gnocchi and Bigoli that follows the season and we have truffles when it is truffle season. Today we have Fettucine with green peas, and we have fettucine with asparagus and we have fettucine with yellow mushrooms. The aspargus is in season and that is the special today. I try to educate the tourists and let each tourist know the season vegatables. They're used to have a lot of products and then here they have vegatables. Why does a tourist ask me if I have pineapple in winter. Go to Hawaii. Here it is all from Verona." When I ask when he does cook?
"I went to Hotel school to learn to cook. Everybody in Italy goes to professional school to cook or they apprentice. I went to Hotel School." he says. And where? "Verona."
Of course I should of known. And how long is the school? "3 to 5 years, " he says. And in Verona how long did you go to school in Verona? "5 years in the Verona school. That is why the Italian food is known around the world. Since we are trained on how to use the spices and the products and the seasons for each. We take a long time to learn it all and we apply it." Says the Capo of Osteria Sottoriva.
"It is about common sense. When a photograph or a cooking show does something they come here and say I want that on that cooking show and in 5 minutes! I say it is common sense. At the south of America is Tex-Mex since it is near Mexico, at the San Francisco ocean it is seafood since it is near the sea, and here in Verona it is Verona since we're in Verona." he says. "At the day it is a pleasure to prepare local dishes for the tourists. At night I am tired from being here 13 to 15 hours a day, yet I resist to insist, I resist to insist yet the tourist that comes in here at 22.00pm when the cook is ready to go home, it makes it hard to resist to insist. We must cook for the tourist." he says.
He says totally serious..."Pizza!" DAVIDE! I say you just got done saying only Verona homemade no pizza..."yes but the tourists always ask for meatballs and pizza...they love it!"
Ristorante S Eufemia
"The traditional dishes of Verona we have...we are famous for the cavalla which is the horse meat. People from Verona know that is a delicacy. We have cavalla tartar and other famous dishes and the gnocchi and the Bigoli." Luca says and laughs when I am squeamish about the horses. "We at Verona serve Donkey meat too. The specialty of the restaurant, though, is the meat trolley. I love to say that I come to the table and prepare the meat myself. Depending on the day we can have up to 12 meats. That is the real famous dinner at Greppia."
003 9 045 800 4577...if you want to be brave and try the traditional dishes!
6/a Via Adiget to +39 045 597 249
Trattoria Arco dei Gavi
"Hmm how did I start a restaurant? I don't know I don't know..." starts funny Marco. When I say do you know anything about running a restaurant? He starts laughing hysterically, "No nothing I don't know.!" and that is how it starts. "I finished my university and I am into culture and when I come back my brother, Alessio, who is a wonderful cook, says, "let's open a restaurant." and I say alright and we buy Arco dei Gavi." And what does Marco love to do? "I love to cook." he says. And I say does he cook in the restaurant? "No not at all. Alessio cooks and won't let me in the kitchen." Okay funny again. "I talk to the people and tell them to drink the Verona wine and the Mantova wine since that is where I am from and that is what they should drink." OKAY!
"You must come during Carnival for the Gnocchi Festival where one day in Verona everyone must make Gnocchis and only Gnocchis can you eat!" he says as he shows me the funny pictures. "Here we have 10 versions of Gnocchis including with tomatoes, cavallo, cheeses, you name it we have it. Alessio makes all kinds for the people all day long!"
Alessio speaks Italian and we could communicate a little when I tell him, along with the very packed restaurant at lunch, that his food is bella! And he smiles and says grazie! The mom, Celestina and Nicola, father, help out. "Here is the boiled meats," says his mom as she pushes the trolley around the restaurant showing me. They are a REAL ITALIAN family and very funny with sibling friendly rivalry and good naturedness and from the 50% Verona people here everyday I know that they must be VERY GOOD!
I must admit that us Americans and "the Great Britain and Germany a little and maybe the Russians and Asians don't try the Cavallo too much, which is the horse, yet since 1848 of the War here in Verona the men fought all the time, it was winter and the horses were everywhere. I guess back then when you ate cows or pigs, it was natural to eat horses and the Verona people eat it traditionally. The tripe too the Americans won't try. They are very conservative!" says Marco.
Alright...ready to meet the owner? Lucas is 25, "Just turned 26." he says. And full of funny quotes..." You know success is hard work you can't take the elevator in life you have to take the stairs." he quips. When I say O hey that is a lovely great quote he says, "Alright I heard that somewhere. Seriously though it is creativity and finding the right colors and the right plates and word of mouth and reputation. I don't like Trip Advisor by the way. You know Trip Advisor is like a boom-a-rang. It always comes back around to hit you." I start laughing and he says, "O now that is my quote.You can quote that one...wait on second thought maybe you shouldn't then all the trip advisor peole will write bad things about me." he says.
Federica says, "Yes it is beautiful? Thankyou thankyou...let's stand near the wine which is Antonio's job and let me hold the menu." she laughs as we pose with pictures. Federica's mother and grandmother and grandfather owned restaurants in Verona and she has a lot of experience in running a restaurant. http://www.osteriailciottolo.it/ to make reservations: 39 045 8009236
I know you´re thinking that it is a beauty product...right to wash the hair? Yet these award winning design bottles house the lovely wine named Voga...the creative genuis behind the stylish wine bottles is Giovanni, from America! "I live here in Verona now, and my family had a wine business of importing Italian wines for a long time...I have my family to thank for starting me here. If it wasn´t for that I probably wouldn´t of gone into the wine business nor have had the chance or opportunity to be creative. That is what I really love, launching new products, brainstorming with my small team and creating new wines. Voga has won 17 awards for the design of the bottle in additon to being a really great wine. It is marketed in 82 countries around the world and I first launched the wine in 2007." he says.