Our love for Lake Garda knows no end! After hiking GardaTrek so many times, we usually get hungry – here are the best restaurants in Riva del Garda and surrounds, including amazing restaurants in Nago/Torbole and Arco!
Are you looking for things to do in Lake Garda? Most articles you’ll read will go on and on about the spectacular landscapes, adventure activities, and unique ‘Mediterranean meets the Alps’ atmosphere. However, let’s not forget that, even though you might heard more German than Italian being spoken on the streets, this is Italy, and food is amazing pretty much anywhere you go!
The majority of our Lake Garda visits has been in the Garda Trentino area, the northernmost section of the lake. The main town of Garda Trentino is Riva del Garda, located right on the lake shore, close to several trailheads and offering excellent opportunities for water sports and mountain biking.
We normally choose Riva del Garda as a base before or after our hikes, and the variety of sports and adventure activities available in the surrounds mean that there are lots of hungry travellers, and lots of excellent restaurants to choose from!
Here we’ve listed our favourite restaurants in Riva del Garda and around – the lakeside town of Nago/Torbole is so close to Riva you can even walk following the lakeshore promenade, and Arco (aka Italy’s climbing capital) is also very close, easy to reach with a bike ride along the Sarca River!
We have more hiking expeditions planned over the next few months, so no doubt we’ll add to this list of Riva del Garda restaurants!
Restaurants in Riva del Garda
Bar Gelateria Ristorante Pizzeria L’Ora
This striking glass-walled restaurant is located right on the Riva del Garda lake shore. The name of the establishment, L’Ora, refers to the famous Garda wind, reason why the place is so famous with windsurfers, sailors and kite surfers alike.
This restaurant is ideal for large groups, or if people in your party all want to eat different things. In fact, the restaurant offers excellent pizza, as well as an extensive list with dishes including Mediterranean and Alpine flavours – making it one of the best places to sample traditional Lake Garda specialties like trota salmonata (rainbow trout) and carne salada (cured beef, generally served with beans). All Garda dishes are clearly marked on the menu, and waiters speak multiple languages so they’ll be happy to advise.
The homemade ice cream is also great and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan specialties!
- Contact Details: Viale Rovereto, 101 – 38066 Riva del Garda (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 556100
- Opening Hours: 8 am-11 pm (restaurant opens at midday), closed on Mondays
- How Much: about €30 per person if ordering a la carte, €20 for pizza
Kapuziner am See
Riva del Garda and ‘Gardasee’ are very popular with German-speaking visitors who also fancy their very own comfort food from time to time – that is why Kapuziner is so popular! This restaurant is located along Viale Dante Alighieri, one of Lake Garda’s pedestrian drags, adjacent to a hotel. In summer, it’s also possible to sit outside, making it great for people-watching!
Waiters in lederhosen and waitresses in dirndl serve up a tasty range of Bavarian favourites, ranging from schnitzel to pork knuckle, dumplings and – naturally – a wide selection of sausages. To drink? A maß or a weizen beer, of course!
- Contact Details: Viale Dante Alighieri, 39 – 38066 Riva del Garda (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 559231
- Opening Hours: 11.30 am-12 am (kitchen closed between 2.30 and 5.30)
- How Much: about €20-25 per person
Ristorante Pizzeria RivaMia
This restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel with the same name. Guests can choose to sit indoors, in a room brightened up by large half moon-shaped windows, or outdoors. The eclectic menu includes different kinds of pizza, as well as seafood or meat-based dishes, with a focus on local produce.
An interesting addition to the menu is groestl, a Tyrolean meat and potato hash often served in mountain huts, that can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings like steak or a fried egg. The pasta dishes are also very good – we had the homemade gnocchi, and liked them a lot!
- Contact Details: Via Montanara, 2 – 38066 Riva del Garda (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 567099
- Opening Hours: 11.30 am-11 pm
- How Much: about €20-25 per person
Best Restaurants near Riva del Garda (Nago/Torbole, Arco)
Al Forte Alto
One of the reasons to visit Riva del Garda and surrounds is to explore WW1 history. The region used to be right on the frontline, and it is still possible to see trenches and forts – some of which were restored and given a new life.
Al Forte Alto is a great example – the restaurant is located in a former Austrian fort in Nago, less than 10 minutes drive from Riva del Garda. The chef and owner is a local guy named Marcello Franceschi, committed to offering his diners the very best of Garda gastronomy, including creative dishes that include traditional ingredients like freshwater fish, malga cheeses and wild herbs. The menu changes daily according to seasons and availability – we recommend opting for the tasting menu, an excellent deal at only €40 for three courses.
- Contact Details: Via Castel Penede, 26, 38066 Nago (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 505566
- Opening Hours: 7 pm-12 am Mon-Fri, 12 pm-12 am Sat-Sun
- How Much: 5 course tasting menu €40
If your budget can’t quite stretch far enough to afford a dinner at Al Forte Alto, this restaurant is a good alternative – it is also housed in a former WW1 fort, albeit a little lower than the former, and the views over Lake Garda are just as spectacular.
The menu is also one of the most original I’ve ever come across, serving up a range of WW1-inspired dishes like bread gnocchi and fried potato peels served in a metal canteen. The menu was developed with the help of Ta Pum, a local association dedicated to keeping WW1 history alive – you can order a la carte or choose from two set menus, one focusing on meat and one on fish.
- Contact Details: Via Europa, 3, 38066 Nago (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 505508
- Opening Hours: 12 pm-12 am
- How Much: about €25-30 per person
Arco is well known for its climbing tradition, and most people just make a beeline for the falesie (crags) surrounding the town – but its historic centre is also worth a visit. One of the most spectacular buildings is Palazzo Marchetti, the historic residence of the most notable local families.
Ai Conti is located on the ground floor of the building, and it’s worth visiting for the setting alone – you’ll either be dining in the inner courtyard or indoors, under a vaulted ceiling covered by frescoes dating back to the 16th century. The menu is varied, featuring pizzas and local specialties like freshwater fish carbonara. The restaurant specialises in homemade pasta like strangolapreti (spinach and cheese dumplings), and grilled meat and fish.
I will never forget my meal at Ai Conti because we had lunch with Adam Ondra, the world’s best climber, before he attempted a 9B pitch in one of the crags nearby. Do you know what was his meal of choice before such a demanding climb? Homemade tagliatelle with vegetables!
- Contact Details: Piazza Marchetti, 2, 38062 Arco (TN) | Tel: +39 0464 517151
- Opening Hours: 6.30 pm-10.30 pm Mon-Thu, also open for lunch between 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm Fri-Sun
- How Much: about €25-30 per person
We would like to thank Vale Bellotti from Garda Trentino for making this experience possible. Garda Trentino is not just beautiful, it’s also delicious!
Featured Image photo credits Garda Trentino/R. Vuilleumier