Sunday, December 18, 2011
6:26 PM | Dana Kaplan, Stresa Sights | Edit Post
The first time I ate at Taverna del Pappagallo was on a night I returned to Stresa after a looooong drive all the way from Barcelona. The second time that I ate at Pappagallo was the evening I returned to Stresa from a whirlwind weekend trip to Vienna. And the third time was after a long day and drive back from a sightseeing trip in the Swiss Alps. Pappagallo always seemed the perfect place to go on these evenings, when you don't want to cook, and what you want, and need, is yummy-comforting-easy-familiar food.
Located in the center of the narrow, pedestrian-only Via Principessa Margharita, Pappagallo is one of the restaurants in Stresa that I think manages to appeal well to both tourists and locals. The restaurant is large, separated into several rooms, and also has an interior garden terrace covered with vines. That quiet terrace is one of those nice little 'hidden' spots that I love to find. On the night returning from Vienna however, it was chillier, and we dined inside, in a smaller front room of about 10 tables.
The rooms are simple and unpretentious, which I like. It all adds to the feeling of friendliness. This isn't a place to be impressed with the latest decor... it's a place to unwind, and relax ....(continued)
For decorations there are old photographs; I always find these black and white images of long-ago Stresa fascinating. Niche bookshelves hold old bottles of wine, also interesting for their historic value. In the center of the restaurant, near the maitre d's station, a wall holds a large bulletin board that is covered with currency from dozens of different countries, proof of Pappagallo's popularity with travelers from everywhere.
The restaurant promotes that they use mainly local and all fresh ingredients, and that the pasta is homemade. The dishes are not fancy, but they are good, in that home-cooking sort of way. Pizzas are baked in their wood-burning oven. Main courses are heavy on fish and seafood selections. Wines are generally Piemontese. Prices are all reasonable. Service and presentation are traditional. On the evening that I took these photographs, grissini, the slender crispy breadsticks, were served when we arrived. Our chianti was brought to the table in a decanter, along with two small glasses with which to serve ourselves. Our pizzas had the traditional 'Northern' thin crusts, mine covered with delicious prosciutto (order the pizza al prosciutto crudo if you like the look of mine; the other in the back is Giuseppe's pizza margherita).
And at the end we had a little bit of chilled limoncello. Always simple and perfect meals.
Here, from their website, is a map of Pappagallo's location in Stresa. From the lakefront, Via Margharita is the street to the right of the church. Walk down the street 100 meters, passing Buscion on your right (or stop in Buscion for a quick aperitivo first!); Pappagallo is on your right in the center of the long part of the street.
On these nights that I have mentioned we did not have a reservation. However, there were other nights, weekends or summer nights, when we tried to dine there and the restaurant was fully booked. Therefore, I'd say that if you know you want to eat there, if you know you would like to eat on the terrace (which does have a covering), or if you are eating with a large party, it would be better to make a prenotazione, a reservation. Now, in winter, I have noticed that Pappagallo is closed, so I will also say check first if you are hoping to come in the winter.
Taverna del Pappagallo
Restaurant - Pizzeria - Bar
Via Principessa Margharita, 46
Telephone: +39 0323 30411
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