When it comes to eating out, Verona has so much to offer. But among all the restaurants, trattorie and enoteche, there is one institution that represents the best of us: the osteria.
Feel at home among friends
These taverns are the preferred meeting point for people in Veneto. For us, a osteria is halfway between a restaurant and a bar. It is difficult to clearly define the difference between osteria, trattoria and an enoteca, as all of these three types of hostelry are very similar. Whilst a trattoria is very close to a restaurant, what sets it apart is its traditional menu offering local specialities. People mainly go there to eat, whilst an enoteca is a type of wine bar, a place which offers a wide selection of fine wines, served with canapés, cured meats and cheeses. The osteria is a compromise between the two: an informal and traditional place which, in days gone by would also offer accommodation, and which today is popular with people drinking a glass of wine served with some traditional cuisine.
A osteria usually offers an interesting selection of wines from local vineyards and further afield, plenty of finger food, cold meats and cheeses and a traditional menu, dishes that are usually fairly simple but lovingly prepared. All of it enjoyed in rustic, informal yet welcoming surroundings. This is the beauty of the osteria, it can make making you feel as comfortable and relaxed as if you were at home.
An osteria is an asset to the whole of society. (Cardinal Ersilio Tonini)
The city of Verona, it goes without saying, is full of osterie. As you stroll through the old part of the city, you will come across many of these traditional places, perfect for a quick pit stop, taking a break between tours, enjoying some local cuisine and a warm welcome from the owner, or for soaking up the sun in the evening, at the end of a long day in Verona, and enjoying good food and fine wine before returning to the hotel. From Via Sottoriva to the Carega district, from the area around the cathedral and the Ponte Pietra to Veronetta, from Piazza Erbe to the hidden away alleys of the city centre and the suburbs, Verona is dotted with these traditional bars, part of our heritage for their culture, food and wine.
What is on the menu?
What should you order in a osteria? Obviously, my recommendations are all Veronese specialities, such as meatballs and other dishes made with horse meat, or chunky bigoli pasta topped with ragù di musso (donkey meat sauce) or anchovy sauce, or salami served with polenta. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best option is to ask your host to recommend the dishes of the day according to the season and based on your tastes.
Food is something which people take very seriously here in Verona! I hope that you will try out the experience of immersing yourself in the relaxing and convivial atmosphere of Verona’s osterie, enjoying the tastes, aromas and sounds which are such a feature of these hostelries. The sublime taste of polenta and mushrooms, the clinking of raised glasses, the soft background music which is never invasive, the tenderness of a meatball which melts in your mouth. The osteria is one of our best-loved places, where we celebrate friendships, love and life.