La Casa degli Spiriti -“The house of the spirits”
Romance and joy – feel free !
Many tourists from all over Europe and also the world travel to Italy every summer. The area surrounding Lake Garda in northern Italy is well known to many. The cosy and charming small villages circling the lake like pearls on a string, attracts a lot of families, couples and not least people who like to actively challenge the hills on mountain bike or racing ditto. The nice weather and hospitality of the Italian people living there in combination with good food, makes a holiday worth remembering and many comes back year after year.
To choose a favorite village among the many is a difficult task, but the area around the village of Garda, that gave the name to the Lake and the location just at the foot of the Dolomite mountains, make one of the favorites. Some others are Bardolino, famous for the local fine wine production, and the village Lazise, just nearby, with the many camping grounds, attracting a huge number of families with kids every summer.
Looking for good food and small sneaky places of all kinds, then the variety is great. Opportunities are in big numbers from small pizza places to big restaurants situated just on the waterfront. Several times the view and atmosphere – especially in the evenings – outcompete the quality of the food which is some time too touristic. However at one place this is not the case and the food, hospitality, atmosphere and actually also pricing, combines into an extraordinaire treatment, that everybody should allow themselves to experience.
On the mountain road from the village of Garda to San Zeno di Montagna (590 meters above lake level), you will find a restaurant named “La Casa degli Spiriti”. The house of the spirits. A restaurant you have to visit at least one time in your life, if you ever come to this neighborhood. For well experienced tourists, who might have visited the area several times, it can happen that the restaurant has been bypassed and perhaps not noticed by many.
The location is beautifully located right on the rim of the mountain in one of the “hairpin bends” of the mountain road. The expression is somewhat reserved from the back of the restaurant, but that is a shame.
The hospitality and warm welcome, being expressed by the owners and staff, is second to none and should be experienced. Imagine sitting on the terrace with a breathtaking view of the lake and with a good glass of chilled Chardonnay or the local Soave? Perhaps a good cup of coffee (cappuchino or espresso) with some homemade Tiramisu on the side? Why not on top a beautiful dinner with one or more of your love ones, while the sunset is glooming mirroring in the lake deep below?
We were so lucky to have a chance to visit La Casa degli Spiriti in the fall. Still with the temperature well above the 20 degrees Centigrade and sun from a blue sky. Marvelous!
Take a look here : http://www.casadeglispiriti.it/ – it’s in Italian, but there is a translation button on their website.
The owner of the restaurant is Sara and Federico Chignola. They take good care of the guest year round together with the dedicated staff, no matter if you might be a guest one time or a frequent local aficionado of this restaurant with visits every week. They bought the house 19 years ago and at that time it was almost a ruin, but the location was ideal, right on the edge of the mountain on one of the bends of the narrow mountain road. Through gentle renovation and investments into the restaurant concept they woke up the old spirit of the house. Today it is a stylish and elegant place with extremely high focus on quality in everything they do in combination with excellent Italian traditional food and service you don’t get many other places.
In 2011 the restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin Star.
Le Chef is Paolo Cappuccio. A very experienced master chef who has a wide international experience from prestigious restaurants in France and Italy. He was the first Chef who personally was awarded a Michelin star back in 2005, where he headed his own restaurant in Madonna di Campiglio. The famous skiing resort in the Italian Dolomite Mountains. Mr. Cappuccio is extremely serious with his skills and do magics in his kitchen. A native of Naples. The heart of Italian food cuisine and the original pizza, he is very interested and practice the whole Mediterranean style of many varieties of excellent food that speaks to your senses.
Fish is a speciality in La Casa degli Spirit
Fish is a speciality in La Casa degli Spiriti, but they can make all kinds of food to perfection. The general view is that all food needs to be made from the bottom and almost in hand. They don’t practice any experiments with chemistry and molecules, which is quite modern in several big cities. No – good solid high quality ingredients with huge respect for the Italian fresh raw food and culture, is the leading star here. Paolo actually believes in producing “anti-aging food”, which is a refreshing new perspective. By using less sugar and fat, he is still able to prepare wonders on the plate, no matter whether it is fish or meat of all kinds. A staff of 12 experienced people is helping him in the kitchen.
We experienced quite a journey on the 6 meals course we enjoyed that evening. A huge selection of well prepared fish and meats together with a garnish of antipasti, vegetables and potatoes/spaghetti cooked to perfection, really played with our senses and well-being. The selection of wines to accompany the different dishes were chosen with extremely confidence and care by the serving staff and sommelier. One little exception to the Italian kitchen was a small dish of Foie Gras. Prepared to perfection!
After that dinner life was not too bad after all. A moment of joy and happiness came to us. A really successful experience and evening that we can only recommend. No matter where ever you come from in the world and If you pass by the area surrounding the Lake Garda in northern Italy, nearby Verona, then don’t miss this opportunity. You won’t regret it. We are already looking forward to visit the restaurant again and encourage everybody to do the same