First night: Dinner was at Due Cavallini, recommended by a friend for bing very local and it was. We ate the typical food of Mantova–agnoli (small, round, meat-stuffed pasta) in a rich chicken broth and mixed roasted meats (veal, pork and faraona) for me. Ken had pasta with barlotti beans, hearty and creamy, and stinco (pork shank) and we shared a plate of mixed vegetables. The vegetables were the least successful part--the mushrooms didn't really taste like mushrooms and the potatoes had no taste at all. We drank a Lambrusco from Parma and it all seemed to work well together. We had one dessert "Elvezzia" layers of hazelnut cake with a zabaglione cream. Not my favorite. Maybe it was not so fresh.
The tab was 60 something.
‘Zzino a “fast food” place I had read about as among the best “street” food places in Montova. We got tramezzini and some really bland vegetable soup. AND they don't have a bathroom.
A wine bar with food, Buca della Gabbia, near by the Ducal Palace. The Gonzagas must have influenced us because we ordered the €15 platter of local meats and cheeses and my husband had agnolini with butter and sage, too. We got to eat the local favorite: grana with mostarda, in this case apple and pear. I loved the combination of salty cheese with the sweet/hot mostarda. The pasta was nice but the platter was fantastic. We each had a nice glass of Ribo cabernet (probably a blend of cab franc and cab sauvignon) with it. Tab was around €30
Dinner at Osteria ai Ranari. This was a really great meal! We both started with salad. Ken’s was with shaved fennel and green olives. Mine was raw baby spinach and artichokes, very small pieces of black olives and cacciocavallo cheese and a slice of some kind of ham on top. All dressed with fruity olive oil. For our main dishes I had a goose leg and thigh confit. Wow was it delicious! and it came with some wonderfully tasty cooked greens. Ken had bigoli (thick spaghetti) with guanciale and local cheese, a small mound of it coursely grated on top. With the drizzle of balsamico it looked like an ice cream sundae. . His pasta was very rich. We drank a half liter of a fruity lambrusco we really liked, too. The place was packed and I was really glad I had reserved; it was Saturday night and they turned away at least 5 tables while we ate. The tab was only €45.
The sweets are not to be missed, in general. You must try sbrisolona, the crunchy buttery cookie (I did several times) and if you are there in the late fall/winter their Anello di Monaco (ring of Munich) is kind of the local panettone but so much better--lighter, richer and with a swirl of hazelnut cream.