10 'special' restaurants by Pamela Pintus

10 'special' restaurants by Pamela Pintus

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my passions is gastronomy in addition to travel. I love spending hours on the web to discover restaurants for new culinary experiences. During my travels I love immersing myself completely in the local kitchen of the place, testing new dishes that I share on my Instagram profile.

Thanks to its geographical position, the Canton of Ticino has very similar characteristics to the Italian northern regions, especially to Lombardy, both from a naturalistic and landscape point of view, and concerning the cuisine.

There are many restaurants that I consider "special" in Ticino because they can satisfy the most demanding palates. Below I have selected 10 of them among my favorites.

Ristorante La Chiesa

Ristorante La Chiesa

Restaurant La Chiesa

Locarno Monti

As its name suggests, this restaurant is adjacent to the parish of the Holy Trinity. The premises have been completely renovated and offer now to their guests, not only pleasant rooms inside but also a beautiful veranda overlooking Lake Maggiore and a well-kept garden.

The cuisine is refined and allows you to taste typical dishes of the Mediterranean tradition, revisited thanks to Asian influences. Among the specialties on the menu there are sophisticated appetizers, homemade ravioli, fish and meat main courses, including the saddle of roe deer with chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, pears and blueberries, and delicious desserts made with local products. The La Chiesa restaurant is also the ideal location for a romantic candlelit dinner.


Ristorante Locanda Locarnese

Ristorante Locanda Locarnese

Restaurant Locanda Locarnese


Locanda Locarnese is located not far from the main square of Locarno and is suitable for those who want to enjoy the typical dishes of local cuisine, prepared with passion and dedication, using only local ingredients.

The chef pays great attention to the seasonality of the products, so the menu varies according to availability. In autumn, for example, Locanda Locarnese offers delicious truffle dishes. Among the specialties of the house you can find the chestnut cream with squids, risottos, venison medallions, lamb fillet with herbs from Ticino and chocolate cake with passion fruit sauce. Vegetarian dishes are also available.


Ristorante Rodolfo

Ristorante Rodolfo

Antico Ristorante Rodolfo


The Antico Ristorante Rodolfo in Gambarogno has been an important reference point for lovers of good food for years. For generations, in fact, the Ratti family has managed this restaurant by preparing dishes of Ticino cuisine with passion and dedication, and an excellent balance between quality and price. The ambiance is rustic and informal; the room with a fireplace. Then, makes the atmosphere warm and familiar.

The menu includes refined dishes, based on fish from the lake and meat. Particularly tasty are the fresh maltagliati with wild boar ragout, the roe deer fillet with blackcurrant risotto and the mixed fried fish of the lake. The gastronomic proposals are varied and rich in flavors. A real experience not to be missed for those who are near Gambarogno.


Grotto dei Due Ponti

Grotto dei Due Ponti

Grotto dei Due Ponti


The location of the restaurant Grotto dei Due Ponti is already a peculiarity; in fact, it is located on a small island in Ticino and takes its name from the two ancient bridges that link this small paradise to the mainland. Since ancient times, artisan workshops and small factories have developed here, and mills have been built; today it offers visitors the opportunity to taste typical menus in a quiet and peaceful environment.

The restaurant can only be reached on foot, passing over the Roman bridge. Particularly well-cared for and specialties of the house are the dishes based on game as well as a wide choice of recipes based on polenta. The excellent typical cheeses and homemade desserts complete the proposal of the Grotto dei Due Ponti.



Osteria Ronchetto


The Osteria Ronchetto offers a guest’s indoor rooms and a pleasant garden, ideal for summer days. There are just 20 seats and a simple furnishing, the cutlery essential, the tablecloths strictly white. No unnecessary frills because the real protagonist here is the kitchen.

A place where you can recover lost flavors, thanks to the dishes prepared with rigorously selected products. Try the appetizers based on cured meats, cheeses and vegetables from Ticino, meat, sweets and local wines. Every day, the chef proposes different dishes.



Grotto dell'Ortiga


The Grotto dell'Ortiga is the result of a skillful renovation of old farmhouses, located in the village of Manno, between the hills and countryside of Ticino. The same name, "Ortiga", derives from the dialectal form "urtiga", which indicates the fields of nettles that surrounded these houses. The restaurant’s décor is rustic, solid and essential, like the soul and character of the men who have always lived in these territories.

The cuisine is inspired by the typical Ticino cuisine with traditional recipes, but it is also inspired by the Tuscan tradition. The menu deliberately offers not too many dishes, but all related to the season, so based on fresh products, mainly organically grown. Among the proposals stand out the meat of lamb, beef, game and pork cooked with wisdom and skill, meats and cheeses and the typical Tuscan ribollita, as well as pappa al pomodoro.



Porto Pojana

Riva San Vitale

The Porto Pojana Restaurant has reopened after a long renovation and is offering an elegant and sophisticated ambiance. It is also a place suitable for ceremonies and events. In addition, there is a lounge with a choice of fine spirits and outdoor spaces.

The cuisine is refined, with dishes mainly based on seafood; among the specialties stand out whole meal fusilli with whitefish, gnocchi with clams, fish of the day with various preparations. Try the tasting menu for a real sensory journey, guided by the chef's proposals.



Restaurant Arté al Lago


Restaurant Arté al Lago has been awarded several times and can boast a Michelin Star, deserved thanks to the creations of Chef Frank Oerthle and Sous Chef Diego Bertona. The location is exceptional: in a gallery full of art works of that directly overlooks the shores of Lake Ceresio and offers to the guests a wonderful view.

The menu is based on typical Mediterranean dishes revisited by the chef and his staff. You can choose dishes a la carte or be guided along this path by opting for the tasting menu.

A main photo on top: Chef Frank Oerthle, Sous Chef Diego Bertona and Crew.


The LAB Barbacpa

The LAB Barbacpa

The LAB Barbacoa


This is an innovative restaurant on the menu and the service. You can taste typical dishes revisited with an exotic touch, such as mayonnaise with wasabi or various vegetables common in Asia, America or England that you can hardly find on Italian tables. It is the right place for brunch with friends, in a well-kept but essential ambiance, and it should not be missed during your stay in Lugano.


Chalet San Giorgio

Chalet San Giorgio

Chalet San Giorgio

Brusino Arsizio

The Chalet San Giorgio in Brusino Arsizio is my favorite for pizzoccheri and game. The Baden-Baden roe deer saddle is one of the best dishes that Stefano and Ausi offer their guests. For pizza lovers the Chalet San Giorgio also offers pizza of excellent quality. The various rooms, both inside and outside, have a marvelous view of Lake Lugano and Morcote.


Bomn aüüetote by Pamela

Incantevole vista lago a pochi passi dal centro di Lugano

Incantevole vista lago a pochi passi dal centro di Lugano