I am no stranger to Ristorante Belle Isole where I eat dinner, but also because three years ago I rented a studio apartment in the building where the restaurant is located. It’s always a pleasure for me to eat there because I used to have lunch & dinner many times a week and still do. It was my cantine, as it’s often referred to in French when one goes to the same place to eat regularly. I have the privilege of knowing the whole family because it’s also a family-run restaurant like most of the places I know here on Viale Regina.
The food is classic Italian style and offers some of the most famous dishes in Lake Como such as Pesce persico con risotto (perch filet with risotto). My favourite is Vitello Tonnato (Vitello Tonnato is a Piedmontese dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavoured with tuna), the best I have ever eaten. Ricardo, the Chef, takes special pride in creating a menu that is done to perfection. I was very impressed to see Carla’s father who comes to help out. As grandfathers are called in Italian, Nonno is 84 years old and always happy to be in the kitchen helping Ricardo. Carla is the wife of Andrea who is running the show with Vittorio. Both are very comfortable mingling with the international clientele that rolls into their beautiful terrace with a view of Lake Como. They also have a regular clientele who have become friends over the years. The restaurant caters to both a local and an international clientele. In my view, this indicates that the food is authentic and the reason why quality is a constant.
Belle Isole is filled with memories for me especially in 2019 when my friend, Chrysa, from London, came for a few days to see my exhibition. In that same year, my friend, Afaf, from San Diego, California, joined me in Lake Como where, to this day, we share those precious moments that we hope we can live once again in Italy. While Afaf was here, we also celebrated at Belle Isole with the curators of my exhibition at Villa Carlotta, Alessandro & Elisa of Tablinum Cultural Management in Bellagio, together with Bruno of Galleria Tettamanti. He is not only a gallerist but also a passionate musician.
Belle Isole brings me that nice home feeling where one is always welcome and, as many of my friends know, Italian food is comfort food to me. It has that loving family feeling that I have shared with my family of friends in New York, that we all need and especially more so in times of uncertainty in today’s world.