We have been living in Italy for over a year - we eat out often enough that we feel as though we are qualified to rate Italian cuisine. Let's start there, because that's ultimately why you go to a restaurant. La Baita nails traditional Italian cuisie. It is unapologetically authentic. We started with an antipasti - bresaola, which is an air-dried beef. The presentation was beautiful and the taste was delicious. If I had one complaint - it would be around this dish. When you dine in "family" style places like this - be careful. I ordered the dish, thinking we could all share one portion (€15). She asked if we wanted it for four, and I said "yes" - thinking she meant for us all to share. Instead, she brought four portions (€60) - which was way more meat than any of us ever needed.
Next, we had a trio of pasta - a sampling of ravioli in butter in sage sauce, pasta with tomato and mushroom and a penne arrabiata. The pasta was served family style - she brought out a large bowl and spooned portions onto our plate. The bread they served (so you can scoop the sauce) was very good.
Finally, we ordered ribs and lamb - also served family style. I was careful to explain that I only wanted one portion of each as well (we were already stuffed). I didn't need eight portions of food brought out! We were too stuffed to eat dessert, so just moved onto to cafe.
I would give the food 10/10 - really good, really authentic.
Next, the atmosphere. You can do NO better for an authentic meal than a place like La Baita. High in the hills of Menaggio - the place commands an amazing view of Lake Como. But for me - the unpretentious look of the place, the fact that it's hidden in the woods and the requirement to travel a narrow and winding road make it perfect. You may even question that you're on the right road.... you are - just keep going.
The proprietors were incredibly nice. They forgave me for arriving very late for lunch (I had called ahead and traffic caused us to be 45 min late). We didn't sit down to lunch until after 2:00 - which is waaaaay after the normal lunch time; they handled it with kindness and made us feel comfortable despite our awkward arrival.
All in all - it was a great place, but not for the faint of heart. If you want good authentic Italian food, in the hills with a magical view - then this is the place for you. If you only want typical touristy places, stay in town.
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