Our first stop was Ponza where the food was pretty remarkable. Pasta's, fresh fish, seafood salads...you really can't go wrong. Probably had a caprese salad with roma tomatoes and seafood pasta (with hot olive oil of course) for lunch everyday along with 2 bottles of white wine. Usually had lunch around 1 or 2pm and then dinner around 10pm. Needed a lot of time in between as you can imagine! I do have to mention the coolest lunch spot we found was at Frontone beach. You have to take a boat to get to the beach and then a small hike up the rocks to the restaurant. The view is worth it alone but luckily the food was out of this world. They have one chef (very hippie like), the only one working in a tiny open kitchen, who is busting out all the food with one waiter running all the dishes. Very impressive!
The dinners in Ponza were amazing. The one I am going to highlight is called Acqua Pazza. We decided to go big and get the Chef's tasting menu which included Potato croquettes with a creamy dipping sauce, a shrimp skewer dipped in tomato soup and a side shrimp in crispy flakes, artichoke w/squid carpaccio,
tartar trio (tuna, shrimp, swordfish), tortellini with fresh fish and tomato (surprisingly wasn't very good so we ordered a delicious sea urchin bottarga pasta), and a red snapper w/potatoes and rosemary. We were then served an apricot dessert wine to accompany the desserts. We had an unbelievable chocolate crumble with ginseng ice cream (and I'm not a huge chocolate person) and the other was a super thin biscotti with caramel whip cream and chocolate (not as good as the crumble).
One last addition to Ponza...they had my favorite Italian cocktail - a sgroppino (vodka, prosecco and lemon sorbet) - LOVE!
We started off in Hvar which was beautiful. We stayed at the Adriana hotel which we feel is the best place to stay and they have a great breakfast buffet included which is always nice.
We then headed to Dubrovnik which is a medieval town right on the water - so beautiful! We really only had one solid good meal there at a place called Nautika. We got a great seat on the patio overlooking the ocean. We started with a seafood carpaccio sampler (lobster, octopus, shrimp and fish) and fish soup. For the entrees I had the squid ink risotto (pretty much ordered it at all restaurants if it was on the menu...love squid ink risotto!) and my husband had lamb with pancetta served with polenta cheese puffs which he enjoyed.
This was our last stop of the trip and by far the best! The best hotel, the best food, the best wine and the best service! We were told we had to go to this lunch restaurant called Locanda dell'ISOLA Comacina which is located on the only island in Lake Como. We had to take a taxi boat there which we used to tour the lake, so it worked out perfectly. There is no menu they just bring out everything to you. Also have to mention it is all you can drink white Gavi wine which is chilled and already waiting for you at the table. Immediately when you finish a bottle they bring you another - does life get better than that?!
The meal starts with 7 veggie antipasti including marinated peppers, marinated beets, marinated carrots, marinated celery, marinated fava beans, marinated cucumbers and these enormous baked onions (wood fired oven) with balsamic and olive oil - unbelievable! All of these were delicious though easy to fill up on. They also brought out a charcuterie plate with bresaola and home smoked ham. The second course (yes only second) was a river caught salmon. It was probably the best salmon we've ever had. They deboned it at the table and seasoned it with lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper. It was super light and fresh. By this point I was super full but knew I had to press on as their were a few dishes left. The third course was a chicken dish. It is cooked in a pot then followed by crisping it on a BBQ (technically fried), then served with lemon and salt. Accompanying the dish is a lemon butter lettuce salad...sounds plain but it was so refreshing and had great flavor. They then come out with a HUGE half of a parmesan wheel which the waiter scoops out a chunk with a knife and serves it directly to you. I loved this! The last course, the dessert course, were fresh peaches with ice cream and liquor (can you believe we were still eating at this point?!).
I wish I could talk about every meal in Lake Como as all are worth mentioning but will try to keep the rest brief.
The other lunches we had were at the Villa d'Este hotel - all were phenomenal. We usually went with the same pasta which was a spaghetti with chunks of crispy proscuitto.
Overall, Italy took the cake as expected for wining and dining.