Subject: Re: Switzerland - Locarno
Hi Mary,

I'm very pleased to read that you have decided to spend a couple of days in Locarno and I'm sure the Hotel du Lac is a good choice.

I have several suggestions regarding restaurants/ grotto's in Locarno and its neighbourhoods.

The closest to your hotel (just round the corner) is Trattoria da Luigi, which is serving Mediterranean food. One of my favorite dishes there is branzino (which should be bass in English) and the deserts are fabolous. The price might be a bit expensive compared to what you usually pay for dinner in the U.S. Just have a look a the menu card which should be placed just near the entrance and you can decide if you would like to have dinner at the Trattoria. Reservation is recommended.

If you just would like to have a pizza try out the restaurant Universo (it's located behind the Casino and it's also a hotel) or Casa del Popolo. You find this restaurant in the old part of the town called Cittą Vecchia near a little square with a fountain.

If you would like to spend an evening in Ascona you could have dinner at the Osteria Nostrana. A lot of locals eat there but during summertime of course also many tourists. They serve pizza and pasta. I particularly like the insalata mista (mixed salad) and for desert I would recommend mousse al cioccolato.

You also asked me about grotto's: actually the grotto's are located a bit outside Locarno/Ascona and you would need to take a taxi to get there. One is called Grotto Madonna della Fontana which is near Ascona, the other one is Grotto Scalinata, in Tenero (closed on Tuesday). Typical dishes in a grotto are salamino nostrano, tagliata (a combination of prosciutto crudo, coppa and salami with pickles). As hot dishes they serve polenta e coniglio (rabitt) or polenta e brasato (beef with sauce) but also risotto.

If you want to try the best risotto in the area you should take the Centovallina (train going from Locarno to Domodossola) and stop at Ponte Brolla. There you'll find the Ristorante Centovalli. I bet you have never eaten a risotto like that.It's just melting in your mouth. They also have homemade sherbets. All the dishes are served in a nice garden and you can see the grapes hanging over your head. Please call to make reservation. I think they are closed Monday and Tuesday.

I do not know the grotto you mentionned in your e-mail but I guess it is reachable only by foot. To get to Monti di Comino you have to take the Centovallina till Intragna and from there walk to the cableway Pila-Costa that takes you to the monti. I do not know exactly how far the grotto is from the cableway station.

If you like pastries I have 2 recommandations: Marnin, located in the Cittą Vecchia and Paticceria Fontana located near Globus. Do not miss to try amaretti (sweet almond cookies) which are a specialty of Ticino and Locarno in particular.

I hope I made you feel hungry and that you will enjoy our specialties.

Regards, Cornelia