Don't want to ruin people's expectations, but how do you consider food in Bardolino restaurants compared to food in other parts of Italy? The reason I am askin is that we recently returned from our trip, and were very dissappointed as far as food goes. Food was one of the reasons we chose to have a holiday in Italy also this year. We are not too picky "food snobs", but can't recall having a very good meal in Bardolino, even though we dined out every night of the week and had a couple of lunches when we were not on day trips. We tried restaurants in different parts of old town and also in Cisano. Not only were we dissappointed with the food, but sometimes the service was just ridiculous. In fact, we were left without our main courses twice, two nights in a row!
My explanation is that since most people dining in Bardolino are tourists, the restaurants do not have ambition to do their best. They know that tourists will come only once, so there is no point trying. The most ridiculous service we had was at Corte San Luca. That was clearly a tourist trap with too few members of staff. My husband ordered Italian beer - got German. I ordered Prosecco - which came in a jug. Well that was just the beginning. We were with our 2-year-old boy, and not prepared to wait for our main course for hours. Yes, hours. The starters came, and the pace setting for the main course came. But the food never did. We waited and waited, then informed our waiter. He promised the food would come in 5 mins. After half an hour we asked again. Again, it was supposed to come "in 5-10 minutes". Another half an hour, and our child was too tired to wait. We told the staff that unless the food was coming, we would go. Waited for 15 minutes and decided to pay for the drinks and Caprese and leave hungry. No apologies from the staff, no discount. Leaving hungry and having paid 50 euros for drinks and a few slices of tomato and mozzarella was money badly spent.
The next night, we decided to walk to Cisano to Voga. Figured that less tourists there would mean at least that we would get our food. Again, we waited for our drinks and starters for ages. We also observed the same happening in other tables. Our neighbours asked after their rose - which was after 15 minutes delivered to us. And our drinks went to another table. Finally we got our drinks, but starters never came. According to the waiter, our table had only ordered drinks, no food. Not a nice think to find out after waiting for an hour. The starters finally arrived, but the thick chunks of meat did and rucola gone bad did not resemble carpaccio. People in other tables had given up, and I went to the bar to pay for the starters and drinks. There was already a long que waiting to do the same. Did not even have a chance to pay the bill as the main waiter just told me that we did not have to pay for it. That was fair - at least this place had a sence of pride.
During our week in Italy, we had one very good meal in Bellagio, Como, one fairly good in Como town and an ok pizza surprisingly in a beach bar type of low key place in Bardolino. Maybe we were just unlucky, but I wish we did not have such high expectations. In our previous trips in Tuscany, Liguria and Sicily the food was always at least ok, mostly just wonderfull.
Old Bardolino was beautiful, but full of mainly German tourists. I have nothing against Germans, in fact have very nice German colleagues at work. But when you come to Italy, you kind of expect the life to be more Italian or at least more international. Also, Bardolino wasn't exactly good for a beach vacation. Did not bother us, as we mainly did daytrips, but just to let you know that we enjoyed beaches in Sirmione and Malcesine much more. Lazise was the same. The town has one of the only sandy beaches in Garda, but partly reserved to a campsite, no services, narrow and during our visit very crowded.
Sorry, if I am too negative. However, there is one place I really recommed: Bio Suites Pacinotti apartments. Lovely, new apartments and nice, quiet pool. Very friendly service!