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Best of the Italian Lakes

Ristorante Mistral, Lake Como

Courtesy of Ristorante Mistral

Lake Como: Eat

International A-listers frequent Navedano (Via Giuseppe Velzi, Como; 39-031/308-080; dinner for two $208), in a 19th-century windmill. Fresh flowers fill the intimate dining room year-round, and during summer, the outdoor veranda is surrounded by roses, orchids, and lemon trees. Order the bouquet di mare, a vast platter of steamed seafood with lemon juice and olive oil.

Every morning owner Cristian Ponzini sails out on Como to catch lavarello and other native fish to serve at his glass-walled Ristorante Silvio (12 Via Carcano, Bellagio; 39-031/950-322; dinner for two $91). Ponzini is one of the few who have fishing rights on the lake—a privilege that has been passed down through his family for generations.

For the best pizza in the area, head to the no-frills La Piazzetta (6 Piazza Roma, Argegno; 39-031/821-110; dinner for two $78), where a wood-fired stone oven turns out crunchy buckwheat thin-crust pies. Standout toppings include locally sourced Gorgonzola, fresh marinated tuna, and red Tropea onions.

Ettore Bocchia is one of the most experimental chefs in the region, incorporating molecular gastronomic techniques at Ristorante Mistral (1 Via Roma, Bellagio; 39-031/956-435; dinner for two $215). Besides the liquid-nitrogen-cooled guacamole ice cream, we love the ravioli stuffed with tender peacock breast.

Hot on Bocchia’s heels is up-and-coming chef Simone Raviscioni, who runs the kitchen at Pesa Vegia (7 Piazza G. Verdi, Bellano; 39-0341/810-306; dinner for two $105), housed in a pink villa. Don’t miss his spin on a classic tiramisu, made with siphon-sprayed mascarpone foam.

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