Verona is a city known mainly as the setting of the tragic story of Romeo & Juliet, attracting thousands of tourists each year to stand on Juliet’s balcony, visit her final resting place or write a letter of lost love to her secretaries, while the charming medieval town centre and huge Arena di Verona (did you know it’s older than Rome’s Colosseum?) are other draws to the northern Italian city.
Verona’s culinary scene may not be quite as iconic as pizza in Naples or the fresh egg pasta of Emilia-Romagna, but the Veneto region of Italy is certainly not one to be overlooked when it comes to its food. The surrounding region is a huge agricultural area, meaning the city has access to plenty of fresh seasonal produce. Veneto is also well known for its wine, including the rich red Amarone which you’ll find used in the preparation or accompanying many local dishes.
Unfortunately, a problem with Verona’s culinary scene is that the influx of tourists has also brought an influx of tourist traps, luring in unsuspecting tourists with their prime locations, quaint chequered tables cloths and the promise of great pizza and pasta. What you’ll really get… average food for above-average prices.
So before I jump into my personal recommendations for the best restaurants in Verona for authentic local food, here are a few tips on how to avoid the tourist traps…
Tips for avoiding the tourist traps and finding the authentic local restaurants in Verona:
- Stay away from the major tourist attractions. Although it might be nice to sit outside a restaurant in buzzing Piazza Bra with a view across to the Arena, most of these restaurants close to the popular attractions are catering specifically for tourists.
- Stay away from the rest of the tourists. I hate to say it, but if a restaurant is rammed with other obvious tourists then it’s probably a tourist trap. Try and find where the locals are heading instead.
- Avoid menus with photos. Oversized laminated menus with hundreds of photos of pizza and overflowing bowls of carbonara. Come on, really!?
- Avoid menus in English. Not all menus, but if the first thing you see outside a restaurant is their English menu, they’re probably catering for tourists over locals. Try and find a restaurant where the menu is in Italian, with either English translations or friendly staff who will translate it for you.
And most importantly…
- READ THIS POST 🙂 After 4 trips to Verona over the last few years, I have tried my fair share of restaurants. So to help you find some of the best authentic Italian food in the city, here are some of my favourite places to eat in Verona…
Best restaurants in Verona for authentic local cuisine:
Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo
Usually when I travel to a new city I like to try as many new restaurants as possible (especially somewhere as well known for its food as Italy), so the fact that I came back to Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo three times during my recent trip says a lot about this place.
Hidden away on a back street close to Piazza delle Erbe (Market square), Osteria Caffè Monte Baldo is particularly popular with the locals, something you’ll notice of an evening with many people standing on the street outside enjoying an aperitivo from the bar.
The family-owned restaurant, which has been running since 1909, is small and cosy on the inside, with three rooms across two floors still supporting much of the traditional decor from when the Osteria was an old-fashioned Veronese tavern.
At this unsuspecting little Osteria, you’ll find some of the most delicious and authentic Veronese food in the entire city, made with the most modern cooking techniques.
The kitchen only uses the highest quality and freshest ingredients, with everything from the bread and pasta to the sauces and condiments being ‘made at home’.
My absolute favourite dish had to be the Risotto all’Amarone, Risotto with wine Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG creamed with Monte Veronese cheese, a local speciality of the region which Monte Baldo makes to perfection.
Some other dishes on the menu include gnocchi with rabbit ragout, fresh carbonara, veal cutlet, beef tartare and a number of locally caught fish. There are also a selection of homemade canapes, platters and appetizers if you’re looking for a lighter bite.
Don’t miss the dessert – the chocolate mousse is delicious – and ask the friendly staff to recommend a local wine to pair with your meal, they’ll be more than happy to oblige.
Address: Via Rosa 12 | 37121 Verona
Hours: 12.00 – 23.00 every day
Hosteria Il Punto Rosa
A short distance from Piazza Bra, Hosteria Il Punto Rosa is a great local alternative for unique and authentic Italian dishes (including plenty of pasta) away from the tourist hotspots you’ll find around the central Piazza.
Another Veronese tavern turned Osteria, Hosteria Il Punto Rosa’s small interior is rustic, charming and cosy, with walls lined with local Italian wines which you can choose from to accompany your meal.
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with warm staff who are more than happy to translate the menu for you.
Hosteria Il Punto Rosa serves a selection of typical Veronese and Italian cuisine.
The restaurant is well known for its delicious pasta, boasting an extensive pasta menu with a section for each type of fresh pasta with a variety of traditional and more unique toppings.
While the gnocchi with gorgonzola was extremely tasty and very filling, the best part of the meal for me had to be the delicious sharing dish of focaccia with spek, mascarpone, walnuts and honey. I would definitely return to Punto Rosa again for this dish alone.
Address: Via Fratta, 12/A, 37121 Verona
Hours: 11:00 – 23:30 every day
Trattoria Pane e Vino
Located close to Ponte Garibaldi and Duomo Cathedral, Trattoria Pane e Vino is a lovely traditional restaurant which specialises in serving local specialities using fresh seasonal produce, and prepared with or accompanied by local Amarone wine.
Trattoria Pane e Vino is split into two large rooms which retain much of the building’s traditional authentic decor.
Being away from the main tourist track, the restaurant has a quiet and laid back atmosphere, usually filled with tables of locals enjoying a long dinner with friends.
Specialising in fresh and seasonal produce from the local area, Trattoria Pane e Vino’s menu is often changing based on ingredient availability and time of year. However, two things you can always count on is high-quality meats (there are plenty of vegetarian options too) and fantastic Amarone wines.
The restaurant is particularly well-known for its antipasti platters of cold cut meats, whilst other regular favourites include potato gnocchi with black truffle, traditional Risotto all’Amarone and warming meat dishes featuring Angus beef and horse meat cooked in (what else!?) Amarone wine.
And finally, make sure to get the waiter to recommend a bottle or cravat of local wine to accompany your meal. In a place so well known for its wines, it would be rude not to!
Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 16/A, 37121 Verona
Hours: 12:30 – 2:15, 7:30 – 10:15 every day (closed Tuesdays)
BONUS: Best Cafes in Verona:
Buoono! is a contemporary cafe and coffee shop located close to the Arena in the centre of Verona.
Despite the modern, more Westernised design of the cafe, Buoono! has certainly retained an authentic Italian-ness, serving high-quality Italian coffees, fresh fruit smoothies, filling salads and hand made piadinas. There is also an alcoholic drinks menu with local wines and refreshing spritz cocktails.
The cafe’s speciality, the piadina, is a thin Italian flatbread traditionally from the nearby Emilia-Romagna Region, prepared and grilled to order right in front of you then finally eaten folded in half. Buoono! serves both savoury filled piadinas, with fillings such as spek, cheeses and salads, as well as sweet piadinas with fruit and Nutella. A cheap and easy way to enjoy the authentic flavours of northern Italy.
Buoono! also serves all of its food to takeaway, making it one of my favourite restaurants in Verona for picking up a quick coffee and breakfast to go.
Address: Via Anfiteatro, 6c, 37121 Verona
Hours: 9:00 – 19:00 every day
Website // Tripadvisor
BONUS: Best Ice-Cream in Verona:
Gelateria La Romana
When in Italy it’s compulsory to eat gelato, right? And Gelateria La Romana is where you’ll find the best gelato in the whole of Verona!
The dessert shop dates all the way back to 1947 when an artisan from the Italian city of Rimini turned his passion into his profession. Now over 70 years later, Gelateria La Romana is a chain of popular gelaterias which can be found in several cities across Europe.
The ice-cream is made fresh in-store every day and comes in a whole variety of traditional and more unique flavours, including rum and amaretto, hazelnut and chocolate, custard cream with vanilla and lemon (Crema dal 1947) and many more.
The ice-cream is stored in metal containers with lids so you won’t be able to choose by simply pointing – don’t be afraid to ask the staff to translate the flavours on the board.
TIP – How to spot a high-quality gelateria in Italy: the ice-cream will be stored in metal tanks in the counter covered with a lid to keep the ice-cream colder and to preserve the fresh, natural flavours. Read more here.
If you have your ice-cream in a cone, you can also choose to get melted milk or white chocolate drizzles into the bottom (which somehow still seems to stay melted by the time you get to it!).
Gelateria La Romana is located away from the main tourist area, around a 10 minute walk from Piazza Bra and the Arena (towards the central train station), but is without a doubt more than worth the journey!
Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 9, 37122 Verona
Hours: 12:00 – 24:00 weekdays, 11:00 – 01:00 weekends
I hope you enjoyed this post on where to eat in Verona Italy. Let me know if you have any more recommendations in the comments below…
How to get to Verona from London:
You can fly from London Stansted to Verona for as little as £22 return. The flight takes just two hours.