Go to Padua, Italy and expect to gorge on pizza in scruffy student haunts, taste traditional Venetian dishes in ancient trattorias, and sip powerful coffee in street cafes. Here are the 10 best places to eat while you’re visiting.
Pizzeria Trattoria Piave
This family-run trattoria is perched on the far side of the River Bacchiglione and owes its rustic atmosphere to the copper pots and old paintings on the walls. The padrona, or boss, is a lively old Italian woman who usually takes charge of the orders and has a lot to say. There is a wide choice of food from pizzas to pasta and steaks, but the delicious set menu is recommended. It never varies much, which is tiresome if you’re a regular customer but ideal on a one-off visit as the great taste is testament to the cook’s practiced hand. The menu usually consists of wine, a pasta dish such as tortellacci (squares stuffed with ricotta and spinach) or gramigna (short tubes of pasta with a sausage sauce) and a pudding of tiramisu. All the pasta is homemade and the perfect level of al dente.
Pizzeria Trattoria Piave, 24 Riviera Paleocopa, Padua, Italy, +39 498 719769
Most Paduans will tell you that this is where to find the best pizza in town, which is high praise considering the level of competition. It is simply decorated with white tiled walls and an arched roof. The pizza ranges from a simple margarita to one covered in spinach, beef carpaccio, mushrooms and mozzarella. It’s always busy and the atmosphere isn’t too cozy – staff might not have time to stand around for a chat but they will guarantee you a good pizza.
Al Duomo, 18 Via San Gregorio Barbarigo, Padua, Italy + 39 498 760434
Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron and Stendhal are all said to have found inspiration within the walls of this 18th-century cafe. Founded by Francesco Pedrocchi of Bergamo in 1722 in response to the increasing coffee consumption of the European bourgeoisie, it has been a pillar of Paduan society for centuries. Famous for its neoclassical architecture and powerful coffees, it offers a drink known as caffé pedrocchi. This looks like a cappuccino but actually consists of cold mint froth on top of a strong espresso base; the combination of hot bitter coffee and cool mint will leave your taste buds tingling.
Caffe Pedrocchi, Via VIII Febbraio 15, 35122 Padua, Italy, +39 498 781231
Gelateria Artigianale da Bruno
If you’re still peckish after dinner and fancy a stroll and an ice cream, then look no further than this excellent gelateria. It has a huge collection of flavors, all visible under the glass counter. The vanilla – made with Madagascan vanilla sticks – is one of the best. The owner proudly displays a certificate from the “Gelato World Tour” stating that his gelateria was a finalist in a competition for the world’s best ice cream.
Gelateria Artiginale da Bruno, Via Monta 83, Padua, Italy, +39 49 890 0800
This place features in the Two Fork Michelin Guide and earns a notable reputation thanks to its history, attentive service and menu. Started in 1860, Zaramella has been serving Paduans for more than a century. It offers a range of traditional dishes based on meat and fish, such as pasta with swordfish and broccoli, pumpkin and prawn risotto, and veal.
Zaramella, Largo Europa 9, Padua, Italy, +39 498 760868
Osteria Dal Capo
Avoid clattering bicyclists in a small back street to arrive at this local foodies’ favorite. Perch at a tiny table and be ready to make local friends over delicious novelty dishes such as eggplant caviar with buffalo mozzarella on crispy wafer bread.
Osteria Dal Capo, Via degli Obizzi 2, Padua, Italy, +39 496 63105
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