Originally Osteria was a place for serving wine and simple food for a male majority audience. Then, as times changed, this place became popular for everyone to share ideas and have a relaxing time; in fact Osteria has always been affordable and cheap to be attended mostly by travellers or merchants. Even nowdays the menu’ served are usually short and made of local products. The real meaning of Osteria is the tasting of some local wines with very typical seasonal dishes; some places still serve small portions, while others prefer to bring you a very unique meal, but still very simple. However some Osterie became Trattorie or Restaurant, as their price started to be a bit more expensive.
One of the most ancient and traditional Osteria is Sottoriva (Via Sottoriva 9/a), which is located in the old area of the town, near river Adige and Ponte Pietra; you can pass under medieval arcades, smelling the typical flavours of a meat dish or a warm Risotto. Choosing our Walking Tour you will not miss this road called also Portici. Once inside the Osteria you can feel like suspended in another time, and in the little room you could admire a display of paintings and drawings by local artists. Michela and Franco, the business partners, who owned the place are very lively people. Expect the service to be quiet slow but this is what makes a real spirit of an Osteria: enjoying your time.
A second traditional Osteria is Carega (Via Cadrega 8). Originally the name ‘carega’ means ‘sedia’ which is chair in dialect. If you wish to experience a typical Italian place this is the right one; in fact in the summer there are at least eight tables set up outside that create a little square (piazza) next to the bar (locale). This is the place where you can stay with friends and have a chat while having a drink. A chalk board shows the list of wines available by the glass. Food is fresh and traditional.
A very local place in the area of San Zeno is Osteria alla Busa (Piazza Pozza, 19). Opened in 1902, this is very lively one with a convivial atmposhpere and many live music events. Inside the wooden benches and vintage children toys make this place very comfortable to have a meal. The menu is limited and chosen but the owner every day. Vittorio, the host, can tell you about the 15 Italian wines served for dinner.
If you pass over Bridge of San Fermo you can find Osteria called Ai Osei (Via XX Settembre 124/b). The food served is typical from the region Veneto, with fresh pasta and sweet dishes, such as Tagliatelle in brodo (Past in sauce), Lasagnette al sugo di coniglio (Lasagna pasta with rabbit sauce), brodo di carne, midollo di bue. Lastly you can taste pearà (pepata) wich is made by stale bread with a lot of pepper. Each plate is served with a very typical wine. Good price/quality.
Osteria al Duca, instead, is found in a very narrow road within view of the ornate Scaligere Arches, that you will visit in our Walking Tour, just after you passed Piazza dei Signori (Via Arche Scaligere, 2). Located in a XIII century house it has been declared to be the birthplace of Romeo Montecchi. As the most ancient one a special mention goes to the sublime bigoli al torchio con ragu’ d’asino (thick spaghetti with donkey ragu’), pappardelle al ragu’ d’ anatra (pasta with duck sauce), pastisada de caval (horsemeat stew). Inside the space is quiet small. Therefore, in keeping with the osteria tradition, the host may ask to share tables; so romantic couples be warned. Everything is served with wines from Verona territory. The host family also runs Osteria Romeo e Giulietta in nearby Corso Anastasia 27, which has a similiar menu, but a more modern decor.
If you take our Walking Tour or Food& Wine Tour you cannot miss Piazza Erbe, which was the ancient Trade Square; you can stop to the little shops, sit at the fountain or you can go and find a hidden square for Osteria Sgarzarie (corte Sgarzarie 14/a). The Chef suggests a seasonal cousin with bit of creativity. Products are typical, such as Wine Amarone that you will certainly taste during our Food&Wine Tour for a refreshing moment. However if you wish to try something very special you should ask for risotto all’Amarone, sfilacci di Cavallo, speck di manzo and la pluma di maialino iberico marinata allo sciroppo d’acero. Once your stomach is almost full you should have little space for a warm apple cake with vanilla cream, ready to go home and take a nice nap.
But if you prefer to enter into the very local area of Veronetta, then you might want to try this modern one: Osteria ai Preti (Via Interrato dell’ Acqua Morta); it is mainly attended by local young professionals for music and events. Its laid back atmosphere with simple service will make you feel a real Veronese (a local from Verona). Once a year there is also a poetry event called Osterime, which will make you entertained while tasting some local wines or a some fresh fingerfood.
If you are back in the centre, you cannot miss this little Osteria called La Mandorla (Via Alberto Mario 23), which is located in a little road parallel to the famous shopping road of Via Mazzini. As wine bar, mainly attended by young people, it serves typical biological wines with a variety of cheese and hams, three or four types of pasta and the typical Mandorlino, which is a dark brown wine tasting like almond. Then if you wish to try the typical Veneto Aperitivo you will be served Spritz in a glass cup with olive and orange slice.