Verona Story 03: Ristorante Maffei
Apart from the romance and the beautiful architecture that make Verona unforgettable, the food is also just as impressive. I will discuss this in more details on my next Verona city guide blog post, but one restaurant that really stood out from this trip was Ristorante Maffei at Palazzo Maffei in Piazza Delle Erbe.
As the name suggested, the restaurant was located on the ground floor and basement of Palazzo Maffei with its own private courtyard dining area, which was where we were seated. From here, one could see the whole length of Piazza Delle Erbe in a homely intimate environment with no noisy tourists walking pass. The restaurant offered a wide selection of dishes, including 4 course tasting menu of traditional Veneto cuisine, which we decided to try. The chef was very vegetarian friendly and offered a 4 course vegetarian tasting menu too. Although I have been a vegetarian for a year now, for this meal I was being naughty and decided to choose the Veneto menu instead because I wanted to try the local cuisine the traditional way.
Our 4 course Veneto Tasting Menu began with Roast Venison on a bed of vegetables with raspberries and blueberries reduction. The venison was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. The sharp flavour from mixed berries reduction was well balanced by the sweetness and rich flavours of venison and vegetables perfectly. It was followed by Tortelli stuffed with cotechino on peara cream and fried cabbage, which was my favourite out of the 4 dishes because the home made pasta and vegetables were so fresh. This was one thing I really loved about food in Italy. Their raw ingredients were always so fresh and of such high quality that simple dishes were just full of natural flavour without having to add condiments or complicated cooking methods. Next was Braised beef cheek with Amarone wine, turmeric polenta gratin and celeriac sticks, which again was tender and juicy, without any meaty stench thanks to the wine. I liked how the polenta soaked up all the rich flavours from braised beef and amorone wine. By the time we finished off our lunch with Artisanal tiramisu with Verona pandoro, we were so full that we ended up just continuing to sit in the courtyard, sipping Aperol Spritz and crowd watching until sunset.
Palazzo Maffei itself was also an iconic site in Verona. It was the seat of the Maffei family who ruled the banking activities in medieval Verona. It was the most elaborate building in town, designed by an architect from Rome, and according to archeologists, the site itself used to be a Roman Capitol, or the main temple of the city. Statues of both Roman and Greek gods could be seen adorning the balustrade of the terraces of Palazzo Maffei throughout, as tribute to the sacred nature of the site.
If you ever come to Verona, I highly recommend having lunch at this restaurant, or at least having drinks in their courtyard because it was one of the best places to spend a summer afternoon taking in the beauty of Verona Piazza Delle Erbe without having to put up with the noisy crowds. We loved the ambience here so much that we actually went back on our last day for the final rounds of Aperol Spritz and tried out their signature dessert, Pasta phyllo with pistachio chopped millefeuille stuffed with raspberry and basil cream, which turned out to be the best dessert we had while in Verona as well!
Photographer: May Naruemannalinee
Photo Editor: Julia Jevzikova