Table of Contents
- Where Is Trento?
- Why Visit Trento?
- Trento Food Guide
- Plan Your Trento Stay
- Take a Trento Tour
- Hungry for More Italian Food?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
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Regardless of the reason, we quickly fell for the delightful Italian city at the foot of the Dolomite Alps. This may have been our first visit to Trento, but it surely won’t be our last.
Where Is Trento?
Located on the Adige River, the same waterway that flows through Verona, Trento is the capital of Trentino in northern Italy. And at just a short drive from both Lake Garda and the Dolomites, the location couldn’t get much better.
In many ways, Trento, filled with fairytale architecture and beer gardens, looks and feels like it’s in Austria instead of Italy. In fact, the city was part of the Austrian empire until the early 20th century. But Trento is definitely in Italy now, albeit in a unique part of the boot where pizza and bratwurst peacefully coexist.
Getting to Trento by train is easy – it’s just an hour from Verona and less than three hours from Milan. The city’s rail station is adjacent to the center of town, only a 7-minute walk from lively Piazza Duomo.
Why Visit Trento?
Many people start their Trentino travels in Trento before moving on to scenic destinations like previously mentioned Lake Garda and the Dolomites. Some hop off the train from Verona or Milan and immediately transfer to their final destination.
In our opinion, Trento is a destination in its own right that deserves a couple days of exploration. This city has it all from castles to cathedrals as well as glorious mountain views that made our hearts skip a beat for their pure beauty and majestic presence.
You won’t be the first to visit Trento. The Catholic elite convened here in the 16th century for the famous Council of Trent. But you’ll find your own hidden treasures if you take the time to wander along Trento’s cobblestone streets and relax in its Piazza Duomo.
Be sure to sample Trento’s unique food culture with elements from both Italy and Austria. You’ll do a double-take when you walk into one of Trento’s German-style beer halls but that won’t stop you from enjoying a pint or two before your pasta dinner.
Trento Food Guide
Trento has a large number of restaurants considering its relatively small population of just over 100,000 people. Many of these restaurants serve simple, hearty Italian and Austrian food favorites for tourists who want to eat a meal or two as they breeze through town.
But where are the best places to eat in Trento? Read on – we’ve got you covered with solid dining options.
We tried a sampling of the best restaurants in Trento during our visit, making sure to order as much local food as possible. However, since we were in Italy, pizza had to happen at least once. Disclosure – we ate pizza three separate times in Trento.
But we didn’t just eat pizza in Trento. We also sampled local favorites like canederli (dumplings), carne salada (salted meat) and risotto.
The following Trento restaurants were our favorites:
The concept of eating Austrian food in Italy seems counterintuitive except in Trento. But that’s what you’ll eat (with a slight Italian twist) at Forsterbräu, a local restaurant that’s been brewing beer and serving food since 1906.
Sure, Forsterbräu’s menu features pasta and risotto, but those dishes are available everywhere in Trento. This is a restaurant where eating dishes like schnitzel, bratwurst and canederli is the thing to do.
Forsterbräu serves all manner of canederli, a Northern Italian variation on knödel, Austria’s ubiquitous bread dumplings. The historic restaurant even offers spinach canederli for vegetarian diners. Since we’re the opposite of vegetarian, we shared a plate of canederli made with sausage, cheese and speck, the region’s famous cured and smoked variation of prosciutto.
Swimming in a pool of melted butter and sage, these dumplings were the ultimate comfort food – more appropriate after an energetic day in the mountains than during a relaxing day at the beach. As an option, Forsterbräu also serves their dumplings in Italian meat broth or brodo, a traditional preparation in the Trentino region.
At first glance, Forsterbräu looks touristic. Once you order a fresh beer, chew into a bready canederli and bite into a salty bretzel, you won’t care.
Forsterbräu is located at Via Paolo Oss-Mazzurana, 38, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Locanda Le Due Travi
Named after the Travaglia family, Locanda Le Due Travi is a comfortable Trento restaurant that serves a mix of local Trentino cuisine and Mediterranean tapas dishes. The menu changes regularly, allowing the chefs to take advantage of seasonal food available in the area.
First up during our meal was Tortel de Patate (potato pancakes) with Carne Salada (raw cured beef). A typical combination in Trentino, this dish pairs salty beef with crispy, fried potatoes.
As kids, we topped potato Latkes with apple sauce and sour cream. With mineral beefy flavors that contrast well with starchy, crunchy potatoes, this sophisticated pairing is more for grownups.
Continuing our exploration of local Trento cuisine, we moved on to risotto made with local apples and creamy Casolét cheese. Adding apples to risotto is common in Trento since nearby Val di Non produces some of the best apples in all of Europe.
Lush Casolét cheese, from the mountainous Peio Valley, is also local to Trentino. Mixing sweet fruit and local cheeses into risotto is obviously a thing in the Trentino region. It’s almost like combining pears and brie in a sandwich or adding raisins to a tagine.
Locanda Le Due Travi Trento is located at Via del Suffragio, 20, Via Torre Verde, 66, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Pizzeria Ristorante Duomo
Without enough time to linger over a proper meal at recommended Osteria a le Due Spade, we headed down the block to Pizzeria Ristorante Duomo in search of a speedy lunch. After snagging an outdoor table, we quickly ate dishes like Apple Gorgonzola Risotto and Dumpling Souufflé.
Curious to sample the restaurant’s pizza, we returned for a second lunch. This Trentino restaurant uses local products like Luganega salami and locally cured and smoked speck in pizzas like the Trentina pizza pictured above.
However, the Gran Strudel with tomato, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, raw cured ham and Trentingrana cheese may be the most interesting ‘pizza’ on the menu. More similar to stromboli than pizza, this doughy dish was a meal on a plate.
Pizzeria Ristorante Duomo is located at Via Giuseppe Verdi, 77, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Ristorante e Pizza Antico Pozzo
We joined friends for a late lunch (or was it an early dinner?) at Antico Pozzo, a restaurant conveniently located on a secluded alley right near our hotel. The restaurant’s name literally translates to ancient well in tribute to the building’s centuries-old well.
As it turns out, this Trento restaurant is an ideal spot for a group of friends to enjoy the better things in life, i.e. pizza, pasta, wine and beer. Antico Pozzo’s menu has additional local food like carne salada and polenta for those looking for a multi-course dining experience.
We stuck to pizza and pasta during our meal. Both were generously sized and big enough to share. We especially liked the soft cooked egg atop the Antico Pozzo pizza and the pappardelle with a rustic, homestyle ‘ragu’ featuring large chunks of carrot and sausage that tasted like it was made by an Italstrian grandma.
Overall, we found Antico Pozzo well-equipped for large groups thanks to its grand space and varied menu. Why not give it a try?
Ristorante e Pizza Antico Pozzo is located at Vicolo della Sat, 6, 38100 Trento TN, Italy.
Open since 1990 in the center of Trento, Ristorante Patelli is a great spot to try Trento food favorites like spaetzle, canederli, pasta and risotto.
Our plate of Risotto al Tereoldego reminded us of the many plates of Risotto all’ Amarone we ate in Verona, but this local version incorporated Trentino’s signature DOC red wine, Grana Trentino cheese and Trentino Garda olive oil. Less intensely flavored than its Verona cousin, this dish nicely melds Trentino’s local ingredients into one tasty dish.
Ristorante Patelli is located at Via Dietro le Mura B, A, 9, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Green Tower Ristorante Pizzeria
Green Tower stands out in our minds as our introduction to the Trento restaurant scene and local Trentino cuisine. We literally met friends for lunch at the popular spot just hours after dropping off our luggage at our hotel.
Though we enjoyed our pizza, the standout dish was risotto with Vialone Nano rice, pears, Roquefort cheese and crispy speck. Far from our last pizza or risotto in Trento, these dishes provided a gateway to this new-to-us part of Italy.
Green Tower Ristorante Pizzeria is located at Via Torre Verde, 29, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Eating so much pasta and pizza presents a challenge – leaving room for dessert. Though we often failed at this challenge in Trento due to full bellies and expanding waistlines, we made sure to sample various local sweet treats.
This is an Italian city where apple strudel and Sacher tortes are as easy to find as gelato. Based on our tireless research, these are our favorite Trento desserts:
Trento’s Gelateria Cherry serves an incredibly creamy product that compares favorably to the best gelato we’ve eaten in Italy. To be sure, we taste-tested several flavors including Amarena, Pistachio and Stracciatella.
We shared a cone stacked high with scoops of Cherry Fondant (Cherry’s sensational version of dark chocolate) and Monalisa gelato during our first visit.
Dark and rich, the fondant scoop was one of the best chocolate gelatos we’ve ever licked into oblivion. Just as tasty, the Monalisa scoop blended yogurt with marzipan and orange to create a luxurious flavor sensation rivaling the best gelatos in Bologna, Venice and Verona.
Despite the gelateria’s numerous options, we ordered the same flavors during our second visit, a decision for which we have no regrets. Why mess with success when it comes to gelato?!
Gelateria Cherry is located at Via Paolo Oss-Mazzurana, 41, 38100 Trento TN, Italy. Their original location is in Revoreto.
Making Trento sweeter since the 1960’s, Casa del Cioccolato is more than your typical Italian pasticceria. This Trento chocolate shop serves a wide selection of Austrian and Italian delicacies, with many Sicilian favorites in the mix.
We were initially perplexed by the shop’s authentic cassatas and cannolis despite the vast distance between Trento and Sicily. Seriously, they’re at opposite ends of the boot. However, we later learned that Casa del Cioccolato’s owner hails from Sicily.
Casa del Cioccolato is located at Via Rodolfo Belenzani, 21, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Whether you’re looking for a coffee to start your day or drinks to accompany your late afternoon aperitivo session, Trento has excellent drink options to satisfy thirsty visitors. We recommend the following spots when you want to whet your whistle in Trento:
Specialty coffee is our blessing and our curse. We love the stuff so much that we often have difficulty enjoying mainstream coffee shops. This is especially a problem in Italy where third wave coffee is still a bit of a unicorn concept.
In dire need of a good cup of coffee after a week drinking over-roasted coffee in Verona, we were guardedly optimistic to give Panificio Moderno a try. Our advance reconnaissance indicated that the modern bakery serves specialty coffee in addition to freshly baked breads, pizzas and pastries. But we’ve been disappointed before.
We’re pleased to report that Panificio Moderno exceeded our expectations. Not only does the cafe serve excellent specialty coffee, but it also has free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating. Needless to say, this cafe quickly became our happy place in Trento.
Panificio Moderno is located at Piazza Lodron, 21, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Trentodoc is serious. We’ve imbibed great sparklers in Spain, France and even Southern England. With subtle, mouth-tingling bubbles, a funky nose that almost reminded us of reblochon cheese and a subtle, dry finish, this Northern Italian appellation is not to be missed.
Using the same classic method as Champagne, Trentino wineries like Altemasi, Ferrari, Maso Miri and Rotari produce Trentodoc with just four grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Pinot Blanc. In fact, DOC regulations stipulate the use of these grapes only.
Why is Trentodoc so good? It probably has something to do with the area’s mountain terrain and a climate that’s not so different from France’s Champagne. Regardless of the reason, Trentodoc is our wine of choice in Trento.
Trentodoc is located everywhere in Trento.
While Trentodoc is arguably the best wine to drink in Trento, Rethia holds a similar status in regards to craft beer. Just a 15-minute drive from the city center, this craft brewery has been producing quality ales since 2014.
Head brewer Luciano Faes guided us around the Italian craft beer facility before leading us through a tasting. Under his tutelage, we tried six beers – Magnolia, Lisep, Mariamata, Jet Lag, Guna and Wild Side.
All were excellent but the Wild Side brew stood out for its unique flavor profile and 7% ABV. Considering Faes’ background as a winemaker and sommelier, this sour beer made with locally grown Sauvignon grapes makes perfect sense.
Birrificio Rethia is located at Via ai Fossadi, 21, 38096 Vallelaghi TN, Italy.
Antica Birreria Pedavena is the kind of beer hall we’d expect to find in Germany. Despite the geographical surprise, this Trento pub brews its own beers and serves them in a cavernous space filled with large tables of festive drinkers.
Dating back to 1921, the ‘antique’ brewery offers a range of local food specialties as well as dozens of pizza options. Beer, comfort food and pizza – what else do you need at a brewpub?
Antica Birreria Pedavena is located at Piazza di Fiera, 13, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Plan Your Trento Stay
We enjoyed our stay at the Grand Hotel Trento. Not only does this hotel have a prime location across from Piazza Dante, but it’s also accessible to the city’s train station and the best Trento sites.
Hotel services include 24/7 desk reception, free Wi-Fi and daily breakfast. We especially enjoyed the hotel’s morning buffet with items like local meat, cheese and pastries.
Our comfortable Trento hotel room featured a large window with a mountain view. Other highlights were a comfortable bed, effective shower and mini-fridge for chilling water and the occasional bottle of Trentodoc.
Grand Hotel Trento is located at Piazza Dante, 20, 38122 Trento TN, Italy.
Click here to book an Airbnb apartment if you want access to a kitchen during your stay in Trento.
Take a Trento Tour
There’s more to do in Trento besides eating great food. Start your exploration by securing a Trentino Guest Card and see the best Trento attractions.
Pin It for Later
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.