Based on other positive reviews, I booked 3 nights at Al Grottino. Thank you to those who penned the earlier reviews, for this spot is a prize on the side of the hill. As a first time visitor to this area, I had no idea how far the lodge would be from the nearest city of any size (Lavena Ponte Tresa). We are traveling by train, so needed transportation to Al Grottino. No problem - the owner and his daughter picked us up and took us back to the lodge. The establishment resembles a small hunting lodge. Our second floor room has lovely wooden walls and a cathedral ceiling. We can look out the windows, and see beautiful Lake Lugano through the trees. The owner operators are husband and wife plus their grown daughter. Papa is culinary school trained and passionate about his cooking. The rooms come with half board, I.e. breakfast and dinner. Breakfast includes beautiful pastries (all baked in-house), yoghurt, juice, fresh fruit, caffe latte, and/or tea. First night's dinner started with antipasti of prosciutto, cheese, and fish from Lugano. First course was a most memorable pasta dish with porcini and wild blueberries! A flavorful filet and smoky risotto came next. Tonight it was roasted peppers and a creamy local cheese and chives to start, then gnocchi basilico, outstanding risotto with Gorgonzola and pears, salad, and a fig torte. Cannot wait to see what Papa has planned for tomorrow night. The rooms are named after alpine animals. If you have children, they will be enchanted with the Bambi room and Al Grottino's squirrel mascot who is depicted in many paces around the property. We observed that restaurant guests who came with children received a very warm welcome. There is a children's menu and Mama engages the children in conversation. One can walk to the nearby village of Ardena, which has a most beautiful church and panoramic view of the lake. The owners graciously transported us to lakeside towns so we could explore. At E50.00/person/day Al Grottino is an amazing value. At home in California, we would pay the equivalent of E50.00 each for just an Italian dinner of this quality and doubt we could find one preparing such regional specialties. All I can say is: make the trip up the hill and claim your prize.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Famiglia Bossetti, proprietaria e gestore dal 1996 della Trattoria “Al Grottino”, sita ad Ardena frazione di Brusimpiano, un piccolo paesino immerso nel verde e nella Tranquillità delle Prealpi Varesine e località sul Lago di Lugano a 5 minuti dalla dogana italo/svizzera di Ponte Tresa, . Ora, Gestita come una piccola pensione, con 2 Camere con servizi e bagni privati con tutte le comodità e il comfort, luogo ideale dove passare in serenità le vostre vacanze, i vostri week-end, immersi in un'atmosfera accogliente e famigliare, che non vorrete più tornare a casa. ... more less