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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ristorante il Vicoletto

The small terrace at Ristorante il Vicolleto.
Recently I spoke about the octopus dishes that I ate in Stresa. One of them was from Ristorante il Vicoletto, and I promised that I'd talk again about the entire meal that I ate there, as it was one of my favorites. Vicoletto is found on Vicolo del Poncivo, 3, a little bit off of the new Piazza Possi, on a charming side alley that also houses the post office, the K2 gelato shop, Marcello's coffee bar Torrefazione, and a variety of slightly eccentric buildings. When Massimiliano Quarenga, he's the chef, and Monica Francese, she's the house manager, took over the space they renovated both inside and out. An outside alcove has been turned into a terrace with five tables. It's a small and quiet spot, with three sides enclosed with walls, and the fourth, open to the street, is shielded with glass, which provides a nice barrier against wind on the terrace but still allows a view out. Inside, the restaurant seats 60. The decor inside is cozier, with white cloth-covered tables and cabinets filled with wine bottles. The food is traditional for the Lago Maggiore region, and the presentation, as you can see, is beautiful.

We were shown immediately to our table on the terrace, as we had made a prenotazione, a reservation, the day before. Grisini, breadsticks were already on the table. Water and our Vermentino Ligure were brought quickly, along with a basket of small breads. For our primo we had the carpaccio di polpo con pomodorini pachino and the insalata caprese. Both portions were large, fresh, and delicious. They were served on the square white plates that, it turned out, all the courses were served on.

Insalata caprese and my carpaccio di polpo were the primi piatti.

For our secondi, we both chose the pesto con trofie. This was a generous serving of the traditional, twisted little trofie pasta well-tossed with pesto. This pesto was a little lighter than some others I've had, which I liked, as others can become too heavy, and this was a generous portion. There were a few green beans and chunks of potatoes mixed into the dish, and for show, a parmesan cheese crisp decorating the top.

Perfectly prepared piatti di pesto.

Lucky us, because our pestos weren't too heavy, we still had room enough for these desserts. Again on the square plate with flared edges, I had the tiramisu. I liked that it was an individual serving, as everything stayed together, and as you can see, it had a wonderfully thick topping of cocoa. And the artistic dessert that looks like a volcano is pistachio ice cream with chocolate syrup.

A delicious tiramisu of my very own.

Vicoletto has an ambiance that I really like. It manages to have the service and the quality of food of a fancier restaurant but with a casual and comfortable feel. It's getting great reviews on lots of travel web sites. Dress is casual. Expect to spend about 30 to 50 euro/person. 


Ristorante Vicoletto
Vicolo del Poncivo 3, Stresa
tel. 0323 932102

Open for lunch and dinner every day except Thursday.

www.ristoranteilvicoletto.com

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