In Italy you can go to almost any restaurant and the food will be good and you will find local typical dishes on the menu. Only in more touristy areas you have to pay attention, such as where we are now at Lago di Como. But thanks to guides like Osterie d’Italia you can still find places with good local dishes, although they may be slightly off the beaten path.
Enoteca Aquila d’Oro is in a tiny village of Civano on the slopes of Lago di Como. The wine list is impressive for such a small restaurant and the sommelier is ambitious to build it out even more. On the menu are dishes with local ingredients such as local herbs and artisan cheeses. The menu changes often, based on what is available. There are 4 antipasti, 4 primi, and 4 secondi to choose from.
Although Lago di Como is not particularly known for its wine, we wanted to try something local and had this nice chardonnay.
As antipasto I opted for the oven-baked chard from the garden of the restaurant with alpine cheese and lemon foam. I don’t believe a restaurant like this should do foams (it is so airy you can only taste the lemon if you taste the foam by itself), but the chard and cheese was very nice.
Next was maltagliati (fresh pasta that was actually cut into quite regular rectangles) with spinach, Semuda dal Doss (a local cheese) and porcini powder. There was also some herb on it and the spinach pasta was very nicely done with a light pleasant spinach flavor. It was a good portion size, which is nice because sometimes the portions in Italy are too big to have antipasto, primo, and secondo. There was only a little porcini powder so it provided more of a background flavor.
We had finished the white and asked for a glass of Valtellina. This is the red wine that is made nearby from Nebbiolo, the same grape as the famous Barolo but in a lighter style. This one was very nice and reminded me of a red Burgundy, including the earthy aromas. But you could still tell it’s Nebbiolo.
As secondo I opted for the braised rabbit. Rabbit dries out easily and some parts were a bit dry, but the rabbit was very flavorful. It was served with polenta, which I did not finish as I had already had a primo.
The desserts were not local, although this was the chef’s own version of tiramisù that was quite different as it didn’t have coffee or liquor.
After dinner we got a digestivo made with a local herb called genepì that was very nice. We chatted with the sommelier and the chef and agreed that it is best to eat at either a three-star restaurant or a good osteria like this, and nothing in between. Which is exactly what we’ll be doing for the next three weeks.
I’d like to try more dishes and more wines at Aquila d’Oro, but we are going on to Valtellina to try a local restaurant there. So you can expect another post from me tomorrow.