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A Really Good Restaurant in Padova


I don't know about you, but when I visit somewhere, I want to immerse myself in the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the village, town, or country I am visiting.

For me, that is what makes travel such a joy.

I put aside the routines of home and embrace the differences. It is a refreshing change, an exhilarating escape from the mundane.

Food is a big part of that.

Maria and William at the Osteria Ai ScarponiMe and my son at the Osteria Ai Scarponi

There is a quote that goes something like: "To know a country is to eat at its table." I've always found that to be very true.

Even if the food hasn't always been the greatest, it has always been an experience I will treasure. Personally, though, I will give the Casu Marzu a miss the next time I am in Sardinia, and the same goes for the Khash( affectionately known as a "Smiley") in Turkey.

But even the Casa Marzu, though maybe not the Smiley, would beat heading to the KFC or Burger King. Though I'll admit to having eaten in both when I visited the USA, I kind of liked the fried chicken, though I'm not sure it was the healthiest meal I've ever eaten. Some great sandwiches in New York too that many Italians would turn their nose up at. That's their loss. I loved them.

In Padova the "difficult " dishes are things like horse meat, octopus, and tripe. You can easily skip these, without offending anyone, and try plenty of other far less risky local treats, dishes like  pollo alla cacciatora, the local bigoli pasta and so much more.

Where should you try them? 

Well, my pick would be the Osteria Ai Scarponi. It's a tiny little place and very popular with locals; you will definitely need to book.

From the moment you walk through the door to a friendly welcome, you know this is going to be a great lunch or dinner. Everything is made fresh from locally sourced ingredients, nothing is prepared beforehand, and nothing is ever made from frozen - if it's not fresh it's not on the menu here.

What to Eat

Osteria Ai Scarponi Menu

Their menu is always changing, depending entirely on what is in season; however, I can tell you that my family and I, as well as friends we've invited to dinner, have never been disappointed with anything we've ever ordered.

Some of the outstanding dishes we've tried include: bigoli with various sauces, baccalà, the mixed antipasti for two people, and their biscotti con passito.

Prices are really reasonable; you'd expect to pay around twice as much for this sort of quality. They have a good wine selection featuring many of the best wines from the various wine regions of the Veneto, although we normally just go with their house selection; it always seems to match the food perfectly.

They are open most days for dinner (the exception being Tuesday), but only on Saturday and Sunday for lunch. If you would like to book, you can do so online directly from their website.

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