No, we didn’t oversell it in the title. This meal was
LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!
Like Odysseus who fought heroically in the Trojan war and embarked on a long journey rife with cyclops, lotus-eaters, sea monsters and hostile giants; we too fought our own heroic battle of hunger and embarked on a journey rife with wrong turns, communication challenges, unpaved roads and hostile baby cries. In the end however, it worked out better for us than Odysseus.
We decided to visit the neighboring town of Lecco and grab a bite to eat. When I quickly opened my browser and selected a restaurant from Trip Advisor based solely on someones comment “good food, family friendly” – we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We plotted our course in the GPS and set out to eat at Osteria Belvedere Montalbano, a thirty minute-minute drive.
Lecco – a lake town on the east “leg” of Lake Como
A panoramic of the lake that I stitched together – the view on our way to the restaurant
Thirty-five minutes later, we pulled up. To a house. This couldn’t be right. We tried again. Twenty minutes later we ended up in the woods. Hmmm??? Twenty five minutes later we pulled up again. To another house. How many Via (Street) Montalbano’s could there be?! Jen dug a little deeper and translated a few google posts. She discovered that the restaurant is in fact, in the woods. So we were right when we were in the woods??? We tried that route again and hit a dirt path that looked to be traveled only by horses. As frustrated as you are reading this, you can imagine our displeasure. We’d had enough… time to throw in the towel.
As we were heading back down the hill we saw a final beacon of hope. We stopped two bikers and asked about this seemingly nonexistent place. They smiled and said, “turn around and follow us – but the road is pretty treacherous, so take it slow and be careful.” We spent another 15 minutes creeping up that very same dirt path; full of rocks and branches and no leeway on either side. Finally, we arrived and thanked our very kind guides.
“Follow us, but go slowly”… uhhh yeah, no problem guys!
This was actually the nicer part of the road
Getting a little dicier – hood shown for perspective
We pulled into the clearing in the woods and soaked up the view of the beautiful lake. The restaurant, a converted home – looked unassuming and inviting. But we were still a bit nervous as we walked up and were instantly relieved when we walked in and found that we had made it to the right place.
Osteria Belvedere Montalbano
As we seated ourselves, we knew we would be in for a treat. Our waiter Fabio, who also doubled as the cook – greeted us warmly and asked if we would like a half bottle or full bottle of wine. We responded that we’d like the half-bottle. He brought a full bottle.
Our host, Fabio
A delicious house wine
He also told us about the menu, which was not your typical explanation of specials and meal descriptions. It was him telling us what we would be eating. We didn’t quite understand, so we nodded politely and got ready to dig in. He started with a pasta dish, conscrigno tagliolini fungi bresaola e` tartufo (air cured beef over thin pasta noodles with mushrooms and truffles).
Primo (first course)
Before we were finished with the first dish, he brought caramelle al ragu` di cinghiale (wild boar ragu with a caramel drizzle).
More pasta as primi
Next was freshly-made raviolini di grano saraceno (hand-made ravioli made with buckwheat).
Third pasta dish
We couldn’t eat another bite. We begged him to stop… but then he described the next dish and we caved. We told him that we had to try it, but we needed to split one portion of the controfiletto con radicchio e gorgonzola (filet over radiccio with a gorgonzola sauce).
Secondo – meat dish
Then we moved onto dessert (delicious gelato) and coffee.
We were the last to leave (from the lunch crowd) and sauntered back to the car with a natural high that lasted all the way home. The road home was a lot more fun… but not nearly as much fun we expect it will be on our way back soon!
The indoor lighting
We were joined by a visitor for part of our meal
The only sign we saw for the restaurant… after we had eaten
I would also be remiss not to mention that when I walked up to pay, I discovered I didn’t have too much cash for this meal that would have to cost a fortune. I was quietly praying they accepted credit cards…until I got the bill. 30 euros for everything! I’d say Osteria Montalbano is the best deal in Lecco – if you can find it!!