Stone House Restaurant – Lezzano, Lake Como, Italy

Lezzano is a quiet, rural, colourful little town right next to Bellagio – this is where we stayed during our visit to Lake Como.

We rented a little apartment with a terrace that faced the lake and right under our apartment was Stone House Restaurant, so on our last evening at Lake Como, after the last couple evenings of just ordering drinks to take over to the beach with us where we would sit and watch the sunset, we finally ended up eating here.

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Stone House Restaurant

The restaurant had a very rustic feel to it but also has a lot of subtle decor that relates to boats, ferries and sailing. At the far end of the restaurant there is a wine cellar which is full of wines from all over Italy.

I had a steak tartare starter as a main, Jack had a steak, and we shared fries and a side salad. It felt like a feast but because it was so delicious, we managed to eat it all and even went for an ice cream sundae for dessert!

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Steak Tartare
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Steak with peppercorn sauce
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Side salad
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Ice cream sundae for dessert

After dinner we took a stroll down to the quiet beach and it was breath taking to see all the towns lit up in clusters around the lake.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g664188-d10695484-Reviews-Stone_House-Lezzeno_Lake_Como_Lombardy.html

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Ristorante Bilacus – Bellagio, Como, Italy

To end our day of exploring Bellagio – we ended up at Ristorante Bilacus for dinner. Definitely make a reservation for the terrace if you are going here. We didn’t make a reservation but we were very lucky and someone didn’t turn up for their table (which had the most stunning view!) so we were able to sit outside on the terrace.

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view from our table – look at that mountain!
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Had to take this cheesy shot with that view in the background!
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I was not exaggerating about their love of bread sticks in the Italian Lakes

We started with a trio of seafood platter which had a fish pate, octopus salad and prawn cocktail and a meat platter which had a mixture of ham, salami and thinly sliced roast pork. Both were delicious!

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Seafood trio and meat platter to start
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The meat platter

For our mains we shared a Grilled King Prawns, a Prawn Linguine (needed a pasta dish as well but wanted seafood) and a side salad. It was all perfection and I am currently drooling as I write this and think back about the flavours.

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Grilled King Prawns
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Prawn Linguine
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Our feast for mains
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Tasmorcan Barbera D’Asti 2015 was gorgeous – recommended by the waiter

The service were great! There were the perfect amount of attentive but still left us to enjoy ourselves without pushing us to order or pay the bill quickly.

We shared the Panna Cotta for dessert – which was refreshing and light after all that food.

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Panna Cotta dessert
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The Terrace

It was honestly one of the most enjoyable dinners – everything from the service, the atmosphere, the food. I definitely recommend making a booking if you are in Lake Como.

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The Terrace

http://www.bilacusbellagio.it/index.html

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187834-d1228496-Reviews-Ristorante_Bilacus-Bellagio_Lake_Como_Lombardy.html

Touring and Wine Tasting at the Onepio Winery – Desenzano Del Garda, Italy

They say “while in Rome, do as the Romans do”, so while in Lake Garda, we went wine tasting in a vineyard.

The owner, Ilaria Accordini, comes from a wine producing family and after a few years of staying in different wineries around the world, she has decided to start her own winery in the Lombardy region.

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The vineyard
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The Vineyard

Ilaria showed us around the vineyard, talking us through the farming and her background in the wine production industry, while we sipped on the chilled Onepio Lugano wine.

Ilaria has put together all her knowledge that she has gained from working in vineyards all around the world and wanted to created high quality, unique wine at her modern winery – and she has definitely achieved this.

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The Vineyard
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Their products

After the tour, the wine tasting began. We had some risotto which was made with the Amarone and Ilaria talked us through all the wine in front of us.

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Wine tasting with wine infused risotto
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Amarone infused risotto
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Wine and cheese pairing

Then the cheese came out and some more wine to taste.

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The beautiful Italian cheese selection
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The smells that you can pick up are in these little glass jars

Below are our 3 favourite wines:

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The Lugana
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The Amarone
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The Ripasso

I would definitely recommend a trip to Onepio if you are in the area. Around July or August or even September are probably the best times to go so that you are able to see a much more fruitful vineyard than we saw – they were just getting started for the new season when we went in April.

It costs 30 Euros to tour the vineyard and for wine tasting and Ilaria is a really great host!

 

http://www.onepio.it/en/

Trattoria Alessi – Desenzano del Garda, Italy

We stayed in Desenzano, which is a colourful, seaside-like, small Italian lake town on Lake Garda, and on our first night we walked around the streets looking for somewhere that wouldn’t be touristy and unauthentic. We wondered through all the small, winding, colourful streets and stumbled upon Trattoria Alessi.

It was exactly what we were looking for! We very happily sat down outside in the colourful, little, wonky, side street.

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The colourful little street
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Sitting outside at the restaurant
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Dinner vibes

We were given the usual basket of bread and bread sticks. Now, I have a couple things to say about these baskets of bread. Firstly, they absolutely love their bread sticks before dinner. I don’t think we went anywhere in Lake Como or Lake Garda where these were not given to you. Secondly, they love to give you bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, but not any dish to put the oil and balsamic onto, so you will need to ask.

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The Lasagna

We ordered our favourite Italian dishes. Jack had the Lasagna and I had the Spaghetti Pescatore – both absolutely delicious – which we washed down with bottle of a simple Pinot Noir.

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The Spaghetti Pescatore

Once we had finished our meals we still had some wine to finish off but this area of the restaurant was closing up, so the waiter showed us into another area of the restaurant which lead into a (what we thought was a secret) garden area. It was a buzzing little atmosphere with everyone finishing off their last drinks from their dinners.

An absolutely hidden away gem – and so glad we stumbled across it!

 

http://hotelalessi.com/resort/trattoria-alessi/

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g194965-d1812674-Reviews-Trattoria_Pizzeria_Alessi-Desenzano_Del_Garda_Province_of_Brescia_Lombardy.html

Aviary – Finsbury Square, London

For my birthday (earlier this year), Jack took me to Aviary in Finsbury Square (right by Moorgate Station. I had never heard about it before and it was a surprise – so I was very intrigued.

My first thoughts were that it was a very lively roof top bar! The music was blaring, everyone had cocktails in hand and there was a massive roof top terrace that overlooked Finbury Square and you could see some of the City of London in the distance.

The hostess took our coats and took us to our table which was a little quieter and left us with the menus.

The waiter then came to take our order and once we had let him know what we were having to eat, he helped us to pick a wine to go with our dinner.

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Gorgeous Oysters – two of each kind

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We started with a platter of half a dozen oysters – which came as two from native, two rock and two prestige. The waiter explained them and pointed them out for us so we knew which ones were which.

They were fresh and sweet and absolutely gorgeous! I am a massive oyster fan and they were the perfect start to the meal.

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With help from the waiter, we had both chosen the Dairy Cow Sirloin on the Bone as our main courses with fries and a salad to share. The steak was nice and tender and had a smokey flavour to it. I was very impressed as I was not expecting it to taste as nice as it did.

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Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and White Chocolate
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We ended the meal with a Coconut and Fruit Panna Cotta which was light and refreshing and the perfect end to the meal.

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Surprising excellent food, fabulous service. It is a little pricey but definitely worth it. I would recommend going out on the roof terrace for a drink before dinner – we didn’t get the chance to do this as we didn’t know that we would not be able to take our drinks outside by the time we had finished dinner.

 

http://www.aviarylondon.com/

La Llotja at El National – Barcelona, Spain

El National is a stunning restaurant with a gorgeous interior. They call themselves Barcelona’s Gastronomic Experience with four different culinary areas (a meat restaurant, a seafood restaurant, a tapas restaurant and a brasserie) and four different bars (specialising in beer, wine, cava and cocktails).

On our recent weekend away, Renata and I went to El National and we chose La Llotja – the seafood restaurant.

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A large menu of all the different seafood dishes

There is an area of the restaurant that had all the fresh seafood on ice that you are able to pick and choose from. It is all fresh from the fisherman every morning and when it runs out it runs out so you need to get there at a decent hour to get the good stuff.

We learned this the hard way, as we tried to do dinner the Spanish way and ended up arriving at 10:30pm and eating at 11pm so a couple of the seafood bits that we did want to try had disappeared into other people’s bellies.

We ended up choosing the Pan Con Tomat, a dish with Mediterranean and Atlantic oysters, tuna tartare and scallop ceviche and some fresh prawns along with a gorgeously clean cut white wine to go with it all.

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The Mediterranean and Atlantic oysters, tuna tartare and scallop ceviche. Perfect for sharing!
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The tuna tartare (which I think was my favourite)
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The scallop ceviche.
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Baked fresh prawns with sea salt
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For dessert we had the creme caramel to share which was LARGE and we could not finish it. I think you could share this between 5 or 6 people.

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A gorgeous place, amazing service, up beat vibe and such good food. Must try even if you just come for a drink!

http://www.elnacionalbcn.com/en/

http://www.elnacionalbcn.com/en/restaurantes/la-llotja/

 

Vinitus – Barcelona, Spain

Renata and I went for a weekend in Barcelona and after a day of walking around shops and markets, our feet needed a bit of a rest of we went for a well priced and very very tasty tapas and wine stop.

I absolutely love tapas and this is a good place to get large variety of tapas choices (literally anything you could think of including fresh seafood!).

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We sat at the bar and in front of us was a gorgeous array of amazing dishes. We wanted them all!

bancone

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Jamon Iberico
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Padron Peppers
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Crab Stick Salad with Pan Con Tomat
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Burrata

Massive selection of great tapas, well priced and a very chilled atmosphere!

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187497-d1228300-Reviews-Vinitus_Barcelona-Barcelona_Catalonia.html