Jen picked a wonderful restaurant in the heart of Verona, romantically hidden from site, lending the feeling of authenticity (as opposed to “touristy”). We were visiting the amazing city for the day (read all about our visit HERE) and had pre-selected, Ristorante Greppia as our place for pranzo (lunch).
The small street leading to Ristorante Greppia
We were instantly taken in by the charm and warmth of the restaurant. The wait staff elevated our excitement for the meal to come by extending great courteousness and hospitality (indulging me as I took photos with this blog in mind).
Jen and Julia out front
Dining al fresco
We eagerly reviewed the menu and decisions came easily for the women (pasta for both). I had a bit of a harder time deciding between the Ossobucco di Vitella con Polenta (braised veil shanks with polenta), Fegato di Vitella con Polenta (veil liver with polenta) or Cervello Dorate di Vitello (“golden” veil brain). I’m not afraid to gamble and I’m certainly adventurous with my food – so I left the meal to chance and asked the server for his recomendation of the three (rather hoping he’d land on the liver or brain). Of course he chose the brain (why oh why couldn’t he have just suggested the rather normal and delicious ossobucco?!) and so I willingly obliged.
Some of Ristorante Greppia’s Wine Selection
Jen and her mother Diane started with an Insalata Caprese (tomato and mozzarella salad) and I added a side of Patate al Forno (roasted potatoes) with my brains. “Yes, I’d like a side of potatoes with my brains please”… I didn’t quite realize how silly this all sounds until just now as I was typing!
The salads were brought out after we’d had a nice chance to enjoy some wine.
Jen’s mom, Diane chose a delicious Rigatoni al Ragu (a rigatoni noodle in a meat sauce), while Jen chose the Tris della Casa (three of the house) pastas which included a gnocchi, a spaghetti and a pappardelle.
Rigatoni al Ragu
Tris della Casa
When my cervello (brains) were served, they looked perfectly breaded (just ever-so lightly) and wonderfully pan fried. I took my first bite and… the consistency was a bit – well, perhaps brainy?! I took a second bite. I think I’ll go with… “rich”. I took another and another. My descriptors to the ladies moved from “good” to “unique” to “interesting” to “a one time experience” to “I’m done” rather quickly!
Five LARGE sections of the cervello (brain)
Potate al Forno (roasted potatoes) on the side
Had there been one section for me to nibble on as just an appetizer, I likely would have left feeling elated I was brave enough to eat brain and content with my meal. But since there were five little buggers staring me in the face and it was my entree, I was filled with dread after my second section. I decided two and a half sections (out of five) was enough. This was the first time since I’ve lived in Italy that I can remember leaving a meal hungry!
It may look like fried mozzarella – I assure you, it’s not!
The girls thoroughly enjoyed their pasta and Diane (who is very consistent with her ordering) joked with me after the meal; “you guys (myself, Jen and her husband Dominic) love to order these strange things – but you never know if you’re going to like your meal. I can always tell you that I’m going to love mine!” And she’s absolutely right – but I’ll continue to double down when possible and try the unusual menu items – because those have often been the best meals I’ve ever had. This experience will not rate in that category, but it will certainly land in the more memorable section!
I kept imagining the zombies from my favorite iPhone game saying “BRAINS!”
Next time you’re in Verona – check out Ristorante Greppia and enjoy your food. Just use your brain and steer clear of theirs. Buon appetito!