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Osteria degli Amici, Stresa

33 Via A. M. Bolongaro
Lake Maggiore
Italy 28838
Tel: 39 0323 30 453's insider take:

Like all lakeside tourist towns, Stresa is littered with passable pizzerias and bland restaurants cranking out the "greatest hits" of Italian specialties for the masses. The Osteria degli Amici is decidedly neither sort of place. Make no mistake: It still serves pizza. But the pizza comes from a wood-fired oven and is topped with such mouthwatering combinations as porcini and lake perch or arugula and gamberetti. The restaurant also does a roaring business in such tried-and-true Italian favorites as sirloin steak with rosemary, grilled fish, broiled perch under slivered almonds, and a hearty casserole of pasta crêpes folded with ham and cheese from the nearby Valle d'Aosta region. But the restaurant's commitment to fresh ingredients and traditional recipes helps ensure that even simple dishes are done to perfection, and tellingly, as many locals as tourists pack into the delightfully boisterous trio of cozy rooms. If you book early enough, you can even snag a seat on the pocket-size patio shaded by vines.

Open Thursdays through Tuesdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7 pm to midnight.

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