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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Food: Five Ways To Eat Breakfast In Stresa



The classic Italian breakfast. A perfect cappuccino. And a fresh brioche.

I've received a few mails recently asking about where to eat breakfast in Stresa:

"Do you know if there are places in Stresa where I can have breakfast? I am considering to book a hotel without breakfast. I couldn't find any address of a cafeteria there."

"We're staying in a place w/o breakfast - can you suggest some great places for breakfast?"

There is no cafeteria-style restaurant in Stresa. There is no Starbucks, and no McDonalds. The restaurants around the piazza and along the lake, although open early in the morning, for the most part do not serve a 'breakfast', if your idea of breakfast is ham and eggs, pancakes, or cereals. They do, however, all offer the traditional Italian breakfast, colazione, of a cappuccino and a brioche. And of course you should have that. But, what can you do if you are used to, or want, or need, a bit more in the morning? Here are five ways to get your morning meal in Stresa:   (   continued ....  )

1. Hotels: Many of the hotels in Stresa offer breakfast included in their room rates. In others, breakfast may be an extra charge. When choosing your accommodation consider the type of breakfast you want and if it is offered in your hotel. Many of the larger hotels along the lake not only have a breakfast menu, they have a full breakfast buffet, every day. These tend to offer a very nice selection of all sorts of breakfast foods. If you are not staying in one of these hotels, the good news is that the breakfasts are open to anyone for a price. La Palma, for example, has a beautiful buffet priced at 12.50 euro for all you can eat. Most of the other hotels buffets are around the same price.

La Palma's buffet is in the center of the dining room... eat indoors or outside, as you wish.

The big hotels all have their breakfasts in their large dining rooms, which tend to be spaces that flow from the interior of the hotel to large terraces on the front lawns. If you are not staying at one of these hotels, this is also a nice way to experience them a bit. So, why not try a buffet in more than one of them?

Even if you're not staying here, you can have breakfast as if you are ... on the terrace at the Grand Hotel des iles Borromees.
2. Cafe and Bar Verbanella: We recently discovered that Cafe Verbanella, on the lake, which is quickly becoming another of my favorite spots, has an English breakfast on their menu, priced at 13 euro as of this writing. It includes bacon and eggs, or an omelette instead, juice, coffee or tea or other hot drink, and toast with butter or jam. And they have a wonderful terrace overlooking the lake.

In between the bourbons and the beer, Cafe Verbanella lists English Breakfast on their menu. Served from 8 to 12.

Breakfast view from Cafe Verbanella. The grilled cheese is called simply 'toast' on many menus, and could make for another good breakfast option.

3. BandBs: If you are staying in a BandB, then obviously it will be providing guests with some breakfast This can vary greatly, depending on the BandB, its size, and its owners. So ask, when planning to stay in one, what you can expect.

4. Self-Catering Apartments: If you prefer to have the space and conveniences of your own apartment, be certain when booking if it has the facilities and equipment you will need to prepare the breakfasts and other foods you want. Does it have a coffee maker? A microwave? Consider your needs when looking and booking. Then, visit the Carrefour supermarket in the center of Stresa and stock up. In this way you can have the breakfasts you want. Several of the major cereal brands are available at Carrefour, as well as a great variety of yogurts, juices, and fruits. Another fun idea would be to do some food shopping at the Friday market, and enjoy your goods for the next few days.


Breakfast almost as usual, when you pick up cereal, milk, and fruit from the supermarket.

5. The Italian Breakfast: Even if you eat another breakfast at a hotel, even if you have prepared one in your apartment, you still must enjoy the traditional Italian breakfast experience, and hopefully more than once. There are so many lovely bars in Stresa at which to stop and have a caffe and a brioche. Choose from old-world luxurious ones along the lake, such as the Gigi Bar, to modern, local ones such as Caffe des Artiste, on via P. Tomaso, to the more touristic ones such as Cafe Torino and Cafe Nazionale, in Piazza Cadorna, or any one that catches your eye during your day. Take a quick espresso while standing at the bar, or enjoy a more leisurely shakerato at a table, such as at L'idrovolante. Add a brioche to it, whether filled with marmalade or empty, and there you have it: the traditional Italian breakfast.


Breakfast, Jolly Bar style. Jolly Bar goes a step further than just brioche for breakfast. Are those actually pink-glazed donuts over on the bottom left? They are indeed...

So how will you start your day? However you do, buongiorno! Make it a good one!

By the way, the hotels will offer you coffee (American style) or Italian cappuccinos, lattes, and etc. So, if you are one of those that, although loving all the cappuccinos, still needs a 'regular' cup of coffee to get started in the mornings, this could be good to know. 


Signs may say colazione, breakfast, but it may mean just that they are open in the morning, not that they have a breakfast menu.

prices quoted are as of this writing.
photographs are all property of stresa sights.



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