Not sure if you guys may have doubted this, but my favorite past-time involves food — eating it, cooking it, photographing it, staring at it longingly. And that makes moving to Italy a little daunting: first of all, because you want to eat literally all of the food, and secondly because you're not really sure where to start.
The nice thing about living in a city that isn't dominated by tourists is that it's easier to happen across real, authentic food. And by this I mostly mean pasta that is cooked correctly — aka al dente. I have been burned by some sad, soggy pasta in my travels and think that there may be nothing worse. And the only thing better than seriously amazing food is eating it in a seriously gorgeous place.
Of course, I love good food, but I almost love a good setting better. And by good setting, I mean one Instagrammable location. Call me shallow, call me a millennial, but I love to be surrounded by breathtaking views and Vicenza, up in those Colli Berici hills, sure is full of them.
I've been in Vicenza almost a year now and have been to my share of restaurants. And though half my time is spent trying to find some good Asian food (seriously, where are they hiding the pad thai) and crying about the lack of bagels, I'm (almost) just as happy drowning myself in olive oil and liters of wine.
So whether you're lunching with your ladies, grabbing drinks or going on a date night with your boo, I compiled a helpful list of my favorite places to dine and look like a boss doing it, 'cause all those places are impressively beautiful. I would love to hear your favorites, too! If folks weren't jealous of your social media feed before, they're about to be.
- Trattoria Lovise: This place is my go-to ladies who lunch spot. It is a classic Italian trattoria, and it is my favorite lunch place in all of Vicenza. I still gush about it every time I'm there, and it's even better in the spring when the wisteria is in bloom. They have quite a delicious menu, but my go-to is the lobster fettuccine (fettuccine con l'astice), though I also like the salad bar, lamb ribs (agnello) and pumpkin ravioli (ravioli di zucca) when it's in season. Via Guglielmo Marconi, 22, Costabissara
- Il Castello Sovizzo: This gorgeous, huge restaurant sits at the top of a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside — and of course, you can dine right next to it, or inside next to the cozy fire. It's a great place for large groups of people or even an intimate date night. Via Castello, 2, Montemezzo
- Pasticceria Venezia: This bakery downtown just underwent some renevations, and praise to the gods of baked goods that it is open again, because I need my macaron fix. Take a shopping trip downtown with your lady friends and begin or end with macarons at Pasticceria Venezia, then take them next door to Pigafetta coffee house to combine the best coffee and pastries in the city. You'll be on a caffeine and sugar high and you'll thank me later. Contra Pescaria, 4, Vicenza
- Bar Borsa: Bar Borsa is definitely the most hipster — if not the only hipster — restaurant in Vicenza, and I love them for it. Their decor is retro industrial, and it's totally a breath of fresh air. Their bar is on point, with amazing liquors like bacon-infused bourbon, they have fantastic burgers (which are a little hard to come by), a decent brunch, and it's our favorite last stop when getting drinks downtown. Piazza dei Signori, 26, Vicenza
- Piovene Porto Godi winery: Obviously, there are a lot of wineries in the area and they're basically all fantastic. It's Italy and it's wine — it's not hard to win. But oh my goodness, after our first tasting at Piovene Porto Godi — somewhere we don't hear about often — my friends and I were all hooked. We had a free tasting of 7-8 wines if we promised to buy a few bottles (not a hard promise to keep) and I loved basically every wine that was poured into my glass — even the white ones! I walked away with a few bottles of the local grape, the tai rosso reserve, and have been saving it for a special occasion ever since. No snacks though, so come prepared. Via Villa, 14, Villaga
- Aeolia's: If we're in the mood for Italian, this is definitely my favorite place to get dinner. I took my sisters here when they visited and it was definitely their favorite place we ate — plus, it's super affordable. The coolest thing about Aeolia's is that the restaurant lies in the Berici Hills wind tunnels, which created natural refrigeration before it was invented, and you can visit the wine cellar that sits in the tunnels. It's like dinner and a tour all in one! My other favorite thing about the restaurant is that it has a unique menu and things you can't find in the rest of the city. My favorite dish to go ham on (literally) is the pear and ham fagotini, but there are more exotic things like kangaroo steak and prickly pear salad. Make sure you get dessert, and they also have cooking classes! Piazza da Schio, 1, Longare
- L'Ultima Spiaggia: Affectionally known as "beach bar," this interesting spot opens up along the river bank downtown only during the summer. Their decor is adorable, with beach chairs, string lights, sand toys and cute huts that the bartenders serve drinks out of. Surprisingly, it's kid-friendly, and they typically have live music and DJs. They serve drinks only, so come prepared, but make sure you get one of their bomb-diggity mojitos. Piazzetta San Biagio, Vicenza
- Aguriturismo Le Vescovane: Aguriturismos are my new favorite type of restaurant — they translate into "farmhouse" in English. Most aguriturismos have working farms that they serve food from in their restaurants, and many of them also have a few apartments or rooms that you can stay in. Le Vescovane is definitely a great place to start for your new aguriturismo love affair. It houses a pool, gorgeous rooms, beautiful views from the restaurant and it's in the Michelin guide. It's a bit of a splurge, and the menu items can be a bit more on the upscale side than down-home cooking, but it's a great place for a date night. If you get dessert (and you always should), get the three-beer concoction. It's interesting and amazing. Via San Rocco 19, Longare
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2015. All rights reserved.