During our stay in the small town of Marcellise, which is in the Veneto / Verona region of Northern Italy, we visited a few of the local restaurants for our evening meals. Two in particular stood out and really impressed us – here are our reviews of our favourite restaurants in Marcellise…
Ristorante San Briccio Review
We saw the signpost for this restaurant in Marcellise every day as we drove to and from our holiday villa so decided to check it out.
We followed the sign up a fairly long, winding road up the hillside towards the village of San Briccio but couldn’t at first spot the restaurant. Eventually, on our second time along the road we found it tucked away in a corner.
We got a bit nervous on our way in because it’s really hidden away and had a real feel of being a ‘local restaurant for local people’ kind of place and felt very much like it wasn’t there for tourists.
Given that none of us speak a word of Italian and we blatantly look like a family of tourists from the UK, we weren’t sure how welcome we’d be!
Well as it happens it is a local restaurant not geared up for tourists in any way but that’s exactly what we like and were ideally looking for – and it certainly didn’t mean we weren’t made to feel welcome.
The restaurant is in a small building with an under-cover patio area which, at the height of summer when we visited, is where we and all the other guests sat.
The head waitress who greeted us appeared to be the owner and didn’t speak one single word of English; much like us who couldn’t speak a single word of Italian! Despite this she welcomed us in and we were made to feel immediately comfortable.
We ran in to some major difficulty when ordering our meals as we wanted to order two things from the starter menu for the youngest children to have as their main course (alongside the rest of our normal main courses).
It turns out trying to communicate this between people who don’t share a single word of language in common is not easy! The confusion led to a marathon session of her desperately trying to explain something to us in Italian (we never did find out what) and us doing the same in English.
Eventually the message got through and she did get the order right. We were impressed, because she could very easily have got extremely frustrated with the situation but she appeared to see the funny side and even lent us her phone to look at English translations of her menu.
When the food arrived, it was absolutely first rate. Really high quality, freshly-cooked authentic Italian food.
If you’re looking for a genuinely authentic, real Italian restaurant, this is it. The location, the staff, the other guests, the food, everything is just what you’d expect from the ‘real’ Italy; as far removed as it’s possible to be from the more tourist-heavy restaurants at the hot-spots around nearby Lake Garda or Verona.
We were so impressed that, despite the trouble we had with communicating, we came back a few days later. The same waitress was there and you could see how surprised she was to see us, but she’d gone to the effort of printing out English translations of the menu, which certainly made life easier!
When you’re visiting another country, we love taking whatever opportunities we can to experience the ‘real’ region, away from the generic, commercial tourist areas. If you’re the same, then you’ll love Ristorante San Briccio as much as we did!
Agli Olivi Ristorante
Address: Via Sottoriva, 23, 37036 San Martino Buon Albergo, Italy
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/XjknzriNYnv
Telephone: +39 045 874 0376
We visited this restaurant in Marcellise on our first day staying in the region and just wanted somewhere near to our villa that would be an easy option for a family dinner with kids after a long day travelling.
We hoped for somewhere welcoming to English visitors who don’t speak Italian, serving good sized meals for good value prices.
I’m pleased to say this place ticked all those boxes! Our first visit was on a Saturday evening and it was really busy so I’d recommend booking if you’re going on a Friday or Saturday.
Despite this they made an effort to fit us in – albeit sat on a table they had to squeeze in to a corner of their terrace area.
They have staff who understand English, along with English versions of the menu – and they didn’t make us feel bad for not knowing any Italian.
Although it was very busy and we had to wait ages for our food to be served, just sitting out with our drinks in the warm summer evening, overlooking the stunning local Italian countryside, we found it a real pleasure to be here and the atmosphere was really relaxed and pleasant.
The food was great quality, decent sized portions and sensibly priced. We were really happy to find it and returned on several occasions (weekdays were much less busy).
Definitely recommended for a delicious meal in a fantastic location and good for families with children.