This gem of a place—opened in mid-2013 by chef Paolo Arrigoni, who made his name at high-profile restaurants in Milan—is one that we really hope will stick around. Tucked inside a castle-like stone palazzo in the village of Mezzegra, Antica Trattoria del Risorgimento is a bit hard to find, but worth your persistence. In a homey, intimate atmosphere dominated by a huge fireplace, you’re treated to some serious gourmet fare for a bargain prix-fixe rate.
Chef Paolo not only preps and cooks everything himself, he also serves it, with exceptional grace and efficiency. Expect traditional local recipes with unexpected twists, all artfully presented and with sensational flavor. There are usually about three choices in each of the four menu sections, and portions aren’t huge, so you can sample with abandon without feeling too guilty about it afterward. The trattoria satisfies two of the great Italian travel experiences—fabulous food and a memorable personal encounter—and, for now, it’s still something of a secret.
Arrigoni’s fans from Milan make the trip on weekends to dine here, and some tourists happen upon it, but word is getting out. With seating for only 18 or so, it’s a place you’ll want to experience before it gets too well-known—and given its growing profile, make reservations or risk being turned away.