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Old 01.06.2010, 12:17
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Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

Hi,

This weekend I'll be sampling Ticino for the first time.

Does anyone have any recommendations for restaurants or food shops?

We'll be based in Locarno and be on foot or using public transport.

I'm particularly interested if anyone has any grotto recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:22
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

this is in the hills up above town... but I think they have public transport

the grotto is run by family of a friend.. great risotto.. antipasti... grilled meats
and if you chat with Enzo ( how's your italian ) he'll break out the homemade walnut hooch..

http://www.grottoflora-bnb.ch/english/grotto.htm

http://www.grottoflora-bnb.ch/english/karte.htm
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:50
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

Imagine the confusion of thinking Locarno was Lugano
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Old 01.06.2010, 12:51
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Old 01.06.2010, 12:52
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

40 km more or less.. not so far to walk.
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Old 07.06.2010, 16:55
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

Ticino is lovely and I heartily recommend it for a visit. On the southern side of the Alps, it was a wonderful climate and the scenery of foliage covered mountains meeting cool lakes is beautiful. We decided to stay in Locarno rather than moving around agriturismo farms etc.

I was unable to garner any specific dining recommendations, so we mostly followed our noses. It's difficult to get past the simple tourist offerings . . . the obvious goal would be to find a little known grotto. On the first night we hopped on the boat to Ascona and after a couple of Aperol sprizza on the lakeside went to Grotto Baldorio. It was full, even on a Thursday night . . . the dining area is a courtyard and you share tables with strangers. Most diners are on the same timetable, but it is possible to start late and catch up. You start with two salumi, I wish I had details/names, but you typically start with a normal single barrel and a double barrel one. At this grotto you are left to cut your own. Next a simple lettuce and tomato salad, dressed simply . . . fantastically succulent tomatoes. Next was some kind of beef tongue, seemingly dressed with a garnish of chopped tongue and tarragon, very very tasty. Next a pasta course, this time simple penne with a garlic and tomato sauce and then a beef stew with polenta. Finally a polenta cake with coffee and grappa. All this, with two bottles of house red and San Pellegrino CHF 40 a head! There seemed to be a mixed crowd of tourists and locals.

Next day we went hiking in the Val Verzasca north of Locarno. We had a simple pasta lunch before setting off . . . as simple as could be, but totally satisfying. The actual hiking was hard work but magical . . . the Ticinese have created stairs in the mountains using enormous slabs. You walk past waterfalls and luminous ponds. It's like stepping into a page from Tolkien. Back as Lavertezzo, there's a great little scene with people sunbathing on hot rocks and dipping into icy alpine water to cool off.
I bought a copy of ¨'Tessin Geht Aus', hoping to find some interesting dining, and based on our success at Baldorio, thought we'd try a place in Locarno. Grotto Al Capon turned out to be fairly terrible (the name should have been a clue). Main courses were ridiculously heavy and clunkily basic, risotto and polenta were rendered unappetising sludge. It turned out the chef was from Bern, rather than Ticino . . . this restaurant almost exclusively caters for German-speaking tourists.

Next day we headed to the market in Bellinzona. Very very good cheese and charcuterie stalls . . . some vendors seem to just be individuals who've wandered down from the mountain with a couple of cheeses and would just as much like to have a drink with you as sell you their cheese. We sipped merlot bianco in the piazza and listened to a some guys with guitars singing . . . not for cash, just with their friends and family. A completely different atmostphere here than German Switzerland. We had a fantastic pizza for lunch (I'm trying to find the name of this).

I will return to the region and try to get beyond the guidebooks . . .
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Old 12.06.2010, 00:46
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

Next time suggestions:
Grotto Ticinese in Curgilio on the way from Lugano to Origlio...10 minutes from downtown drive...excellent food beef, salad, desert, wine....under the shadow of trees...
also on that way after Steiner School right turn, Bella or something like that...pizza and pasta yummy...did not try meat 'cause it was hot...however, pond and possibility to have a nice walk after the meal around Origlio Lake...
In downtown, on Piazza Riforma kind of hiden, Latinera if I remember correctly is a name...one narrow path parallel behind Credit Suisse.
Bars...Picchio between Italian Embassy and Deutsche Bank little street with a parking lot.
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Old 12.06.2010, 00:48
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Next time suggestions:
Grotto Ticinese in Curgilio on the way from Lugano to Origlio...10 minutes from downtown drive...excellent food beef, salad, desert, wine....under the shadow of trees...
also on that way after Steiner School right turn, Bella or something like that...pizza and pasta yummy...did not try meat 'cause it was hot...however, pond and possibility to have a nice walk after the meal around Origlio Lake...
In downtown, on Piazza Riforma kind of hiden, Latinera if I remember correctly is a name...one narrow path parallel behind Credit Suisse.
Bars...Picchio between Italian Embassy and Deutsche Bank little street with a parking lot.
Thanks.

If we go to Lugano, rather than Locarno as we did this time, that will be useful.
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Old 12.06.2010, 16:09
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Thanks.

If we go to Lugano, rather than Locarno as we did this time, that will be useful.
Lugano is much nicer than Locarno, more small town wise and less upscaled village. The "Capone" is typically Locarnese.

You mentioned Bellinzona. Last time I was there was on a late Sunday afternoon on my return journey. And it was there, in a nice Bistro, when I heard over the radio they had on, that Switzerland had approved Schengen/Dublin .. surprise victory in fact. I ordered another glass and when the "chief" looked askingly told him "Viva Micheline Calmy-Rey" and he smilingly brought round the other glass. I don't know his opinion but had the impression that he shared mine but was not so sure about his fellow Ticinesi ! Since then, Bellinzona to me is the place of the "Schengen/Dublin miracle"

in reality a result of the very hard work of Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey
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Old 12.06.2010, 17:03
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

I can also recommend Grotto Ticinese. The meat is excellent.

Can't recommend anything in Locarno, though.

fduvall

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Next time suggestions:
Grotto Ticinese in Curgilio on the way from Lugano to Origlio...10 minutes from downtown drive...excellent food beef, salad, desert, wine....under the shadow of trees...
also on that way after Steiner School right turn, Bella or something like that...pizza and pasta yummy...did not try meat 'cause it was hot...however, pond and possibility to have a nice walk after the meal around Origlio Lake...
In downtown, on Piazza Riforma kind of hiden, Latinera if I remember correctly is a name...one narrow path parallel behind Credit Suisse.
Bars...Picchio between Italian Embassy and Deutsche Bank little street with a parking lot.
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Old 12.06.2010, 17:11
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Next time suggestions:
Grotto Ticinese in Curgilio on the way from Lugano to Origlio...10 minutes from downtown drive...excellent food beef, salad, desert, wine....under the shadow of trees...
I've eaten at Grotto Ticinese and have to say I was a bit disappointed.
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Old 12.06.2010, 17:20
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

A cool place to eat in the Locarnese is "Baldoria" http://www.grottobaldoria.ch/ in the old centre of Ascona. It isn't the MOST authentic grottino food and is often filled with upper class Swiss and Germans but is nevertheless nice and the food is good. Also it's a stone's throw from Locarno and can easily be reached with public transportation.

The owner just walks around with huge bowls of pasta, polenta and meat dishing each course out depending on how far along you are in the meal. You pass the cheese platter to the next table, they pass you the grappa.
Every 25 mins or so the lights go out and Mauro, the owner as far as I know, puts a few coins in a machine which then turns the power back on.

Prices are good and the setting is fantastic.

If you fancy a trip down to the "sottoceneri" you can try one of these.

Copied from a previous post of mine:

My favorite grottini (holy trinity):

-Grotto Figini in Gentilino: great lamb, no ribs, cheapest in the area with great character. The main waitress is always in a bad mood but she means well and is very reliable. Via ai Grotti, 6925 Collina d'Oro‎ - 091 994 64 97

-Grotto al Bosco: amazing ribs, amazing deer, amazing everything, pricey but worth it. Great location too, just up the road from Grotto Figini. Seriously, the venison I had there after my graduation was the best meat I've ever had. Via ai Grotti 4, 6925 Gentilino‎ - 091 994 67 76‎

-Grotto Flora: As previously mentioned by another EFerfantastic lamb, breathtaking location, decent prices. If you eat outside make sure you pay them a visit inside the old Ticinese B&B as the old guy cooks most meat over a beautiful fireplace. Collina d'Oro

Get Directions
091 994 15 67
grottoflora-bnb.ch


In addition to that there are plenty of good grottini around Locarno and Bellinzona. Always try the "costine" or "puntine". Ribs and baby ribs. The best I've ever eaten are in Ticino.
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Old 12.06.2010, 17:29
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Lugano is much nicer than Locarno, more small town wise and less upscaled village.
I prefer Locarno, but Lugano has much more to offer than Locarno.
In terms of architecture I find it nicer and there are lots of interesting artists there. It does have a "daying town" feel to it though and off-season can be suicidal there.

Also the Locarnesi are far more "Ticinesi" than the Luganesi
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Old 13.06.2010, 12:02
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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A cool place to eat in the Locarnese is "Baldoria" http://www.grottobaldoria.ch/ in the old centre of Ascona. It isn't the MOST authentic grottino food and is often filled with upper class Swiss and Germans but is nevertheless nice and the food is good. Also it's a stone's throw from Locarno and can easily be reached with public transportation.

The owner just walks around with huge bowls of pasta, polenta and meat dishing each course out depending on how far along you are in the meal. You pass the cheese platter to the next table, they pass you the grappa.
Every 25 mins or so the lights go out and Mauro, the owner as far as I know, puts a few coins in a machine which then turns the power back on.
Thanks. Yes . . .this is where we went . . . see above.
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Old 13.06.2010, 16:24
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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I was unable to garner any specific dining recommendations, so we mostly followed our noses. It's difficult to get past the simple tourist offerings . . . the obvious goal would be to find a little known grotto. On the first night we hopped on the boat to Ascona and after a couple of Aperol sprizza on the lakeside went to Grotto Baldorio. It was full, even on a Thursday night . . . the dining area is a courtyard and you share tables with strangers. Most diners are on the same timetable, but it is possible to start late and catch up. You start with two salumi, I wish I had details/names, but you typically start with a normal single barrel and a double barrel one. At this grotto you are left to cut your own. Next a simple lettuce and tomato salad, dressed simply . . . fantastically succulent tomatoes. Next was some kind of beef tongue, seemingly dressed with a garnish of chopped tongue and tarragon, very very tasty. Next a pasta course, this time simple penne with a garlic and tomato sauce and then a beef stew with polenta. Finally a polenta cake with coffee and grappa. All this, with two bottles of house red and San Pellegrino CHF 40 a head! There seemed to be a mixed crowd of tourists and locals.

Next day we went hiking in the Val Verzasca north of Locarno. We had a simple pasta lunch before setting off . . . as simple as could be, but totally satisfying. The actual hiking was hard work but magical . . . the Ticinese have created stairs in the mountains using enormous slabs. You walk past waterfalls and luminous ponds. It's like stepping into a page from Tolkien. Back as Lavertezzo, there's a great little scene with people sunbathing on hot rocks and dipping into icy alpine water to cool off.
I bought a copy of ¨'Tessin Geht Aus', hoping to find some interesting dining, and based on our success at Baldorio, thought we'd try a place in Locarno. Grotto Al Capon turned out to be fairly terrible (the name should have been a clue). Main courses were ridiculously heavy and clunkily basic, risotto and polenta were rendered unappetising sludge. It turned out the chef was from Bern, rather than Ticino . . . this restaurant almost exclusively caters for German-speaking tourists.
.
Ooops I didn't read through correctly.
Good review. How about we start a Ticino dining thread?
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Old 13.06.2010, 16:25
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

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Ooops I didn't read through correctly.
Good review. How about we start a Ticino dining thread?
A bit like this one?
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Old 21.07.2011, 13:21
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Re: Restaurants in Ticino - grotto fun

I guess if you avoid eating meat, grottos are the wrong place to be. Unfortunate.
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