If you’re visiting Montegrotto, expect to be limited to one main street and an abundance of Terme Hotels. Guests usually keep to their hotel for an all-inclusive experience, but where do the locals go for a night out?
Town population estimates to 10,000 people so I was hoping to stumble upon a local restaurant on the main street; however, being that it’s off-season, I could only find pizza joints and restaurants with neon signs.
Therefore I resorted to Tripadvisor and found 3 reviews for Montegrotto. Out of the three, Ristorante Cencio pointed towards the local direction.
Via E. Fermi, 11 – 35036 – Montegrotto Terme
Google maps estimated a 20 minute walk from my hotel. We found it quite easily considering there are only 3 main streets in Montegrotto- one large cemetery, one round-about and one incline later, Ristorante Cencio was sitting there in the hills.
Greeted by the Chef himself, we entered the semi-modern/cottage-like restaurant with wicker chairs, Christmas tree looking centerpieces and a waterfall in the background (not sure which look they’re aiming for… all I know is that they should’ve turned on their air conditioning instead of leaving the windows open for the mosquitos to come in…)
Even though we were the first to arrive at 7:00pm, the restaurant filled up rather quickly. With three waiters on staff and the Chef in the kitchen, guests are able to enjoy their dining experience at a relaxed pace without the excessive wait periods. Staff members are happy to offer their personal suggestions, and I’m happy to report that their picks aren’t the most expensive dishes on the menu.
The xeroxed-handwritten menu was filled with local dishes, and I couldn’t wait to start ordering! Equipped with an Italian of Veneto origin, we chose the local specialties with an approving nod from the staff.
When the plates arrived, they were graciously divided in half so we could sample all of the regional dishes. Favorites included:
- Appetizer: Baccala’ (Veneto Salted Cod)
- First Course: Risotto with Scampi & Porcini Mushrooms
- Second Course: Fried Chicken
Some dishes fell short because the plate had too many ingredients. Tortino Di Mais (corn cake, the consistency of polenta) was too salty and the gnocchi with bacon and mushrooms did not need the additional pesto sauce.
Overall: Truly enjoyed this 2 hour dining experience in the hills of Montegrotto. I felt as if I discovered yet another diamond in the rough, however, others have beaten me to it since there was it had a Michelin sticker on the door! Head to Ristorante Cencio if you’re looking for a quality dining experience to complete your luxurious spa week.