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Fine dining on Lake Como 

One of the most common questions guests ask is: What is the best restaurant on Lake Como? Though we may be biased, the only answer is right here at Passalacqua. Especially this year, as we welcome Michelin-starred chef Viviana Varese to our team. Her elevated “cucina di casa” makes every meal at Passalacqua one to remember, her cooking classes inspire guests in their own culinary ambitions, and her kitchen is always open—as it is visiting friends and family—for guests to wander in, learn in and linger in… We can’t wait for you to meet her!

Of course, we are also incredibly proud of the culinary excellence across our beloved Lario, with some of the best food on Lake Como within easy reach of the hotel: whether it is an out-of-the-way trattoria, a Michelin-starred hotspot or a family-run vineyard. We invite you to take your tastebuds on a gastronomic journey of fine dining, Lake Como style!

Passalacqua Restaurant Lake Como 46

Welcome Viviana!

Viviana Varese is a unique talent, a strong woman in a male-dominated industry (she and Valentina de Santis are kindred spirits!) and the perfect amalgamation of Italian food culture. Born on the Amalfi Coast with its fragrant lemons and fresh seafood, Viviana grew up throwing dough at her dad’s pizzeria in Lombardy. It was an internship with renowned chef Gualtiero Marchesi that put her on the path to haute cuisine and to her first Michelin star—for Alice in Milan in 2011. That caught the attention of Eataly’s Oscar Farinetti, who welcomed her into his expanding empire and helped rebrand Alice as VIVA in the Milan Eataly in 2019. And now Viviana Varese comes to Passalacqua, where she is determined to make ours one of the top restaurants on Lake Como. With her singular vision and unbridled enthusiasm, she sees her role as that of a traditional “cuoca di casa” offering guests cooking lessons, chats in the open kitchens and regular pasta lessons as part of Passalacqua’s weekly activities. We are thrilled to have her!

Viviana Varese © Azzurra Primavera
Il Risotto, Zafferano, Animelle E Fondo Di Manzo © Azzurra Primavera
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Tasting Tour of Lake Como

Whenever anyone asks where to eat on Lake Como, we know exactly where to begin: in Como, the largest town on the lake and a vibrant food destination for locals as well as visitors from nearby Milan and Lugano. Our For You team can arrange a culinary tour of Como, visiting sights like the Duomo and sampling specialties from tiny fried alborelle fish to light-as-a-cloud nuvola cake. For a distinctive treat, we recommend the blossom-infused cocktails and Insta-worthy salads at stylish flower boutique Figli dei Fiori.

The journey continues just north of Como, where we dine at the astounding Kitchen, one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants on Lake Como. After amusing your bouche with a cocktail in Chef Andrea Casali’s own biodynamic kitchen garden, the fun continues indoors with a tasting menu (also available for vegetarians) that celebrates each ingredient on uber-artistic plates. There may be fewer foams and edible flowers at our next spot, but Trattoria del Porto across the lake in Careno—a quick boat ride away—is one of the best Lake Como restaurants for lake fish. The Zambra family treats every guest like family, the lakeview terrace is framed in fragrant jasmine and fresh fish is the star of the prix fixe menu!

We continue north to Sala Comacina for a bite at La Tirlindana, one of the best Lake Como restaurants with a view. Its cobblestone terrace, classic Italian dishes with a twist and gorgeous views of leafy Isola Comacina give this spot a laid-back lakeside charm that is unrivalled. Don’t miss the local cheese starter, served warm with smoked duck, and the dessert medley with homemade delights galore! The next stop on our gastronomic adventure isn’t actually on Lake Como, but if we follow the Adda River, which enters the lake at its northern tip, we come to a remote valley known as Valtellina. With mountains da Vinci once described as “tall and fearsome”, this is one of Italy’s most dramatic wine landscapes where they produce powerful Nebbiolo wines. We can arrange for a tour and tasting at a family-run vineyard, complete with a lunch of local delicacies, like the buckwheat pasta known as pizzoccheri or fried cheese fritters known as sciatt.

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For With a few bottles in tow, we head back south toward the central lake area to visit our sister hotel, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, instantly recognizable from the water with its floating pool and signature orange awnings. This Belle Epoque gem is home to La Terrazza Gualtiero Marchesi, a temple of fine dining on Lake Como and the only restaurant in the world offering the culinary artistry of Italy’s first three-star Michelin chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Every single dish, from his Pollock-inspired Dripping di Pesce to the risotto served with a perfect square of gold leaf, is a testament to Marchesi’s culinary genius and rebellious streak.

Which brings us full circle back to Passalacqua and our own kitchen, (wo)manned by Viviana Varese, another brilliant nonconformist who got her start with Maestro Marchesi and has spent her career breaking barriers just like he did. Her “alta cucina di casa” is effortless in its mix of Michelin-worthy virtuosity and the traditional recipes that have made Italian food famous the world over. True to the concept of villeggiatura, this delightful food is not just served under the frescos of our dining room. Guests can indulge in Varese’s inspired cuisine poolside (straight from the pizza oven!) or in a quiet corner of the lush park, in the privacy of their own suites or with a “chic-nic” on board a vintage wooden cruiser. As we never tire of saying—the lake’s the limit!

5 Rice, Gold And Saffron
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La Patata Sfogliata Con Tuorlo D’Uovo, Panna Acida E Caviale © Azzurra Primavera