The main square of Ascona, or “la piazza,” as we locals know it as, is a place where one can find the most beautiful scenery in Ticino: the beauty of the Swiss alps mirrored on lake Maggiore. This view, accompanied with an aperitif or a good meal, is one of the things to do when visiting the area.
Yet, along the very many little streets that lead to the main square, one can find so many restaurants that offer great food and service. I call them my “secret lunch spots;” the places where I know to find smily faces and fantastic Italian food.
Here in Ascona, I am spoiled with choices, but I start of by sharing my joyful lunch experience at Hosteria San Pietro; a restaurant on Passagio San Pietro, less than 3 seconds away from my studio/gallery.
Hosteria San Pietro, da Gino, Gino being the owner of the restautant, has been making great food for over 10 years. Gino’s son and wife entertain guests with nice barbecues in the evenings. Barbecuing is in fact their specialty! I haven’t yet had the opportunity to dine at Hosteria San Pietro, but I see many of their customers leave content and merry when I see them pass by those evenings I work till late hours in my studio.
At lunch, however, the delicious Italian plates (with a twist), are prepared by their friendly Ticino-born chef, Carlo. He tells me, while interrupting his concentration in the kitchen, that he has been cooking professionally since the age of 15!
I start my lunch with a cold zucchini soup (spuma) topped with wiped cream. I learn that the zucchini is cut into squares and pour in boiling water for only a few minutes. Carlo then makes a thick purée to which he adds a bit of wassabi…yes, I do say wassabi; it is after all, Italian food with a cool twist! I catch him in the act of seasoning this dish to perfection.
I emptied my plate and wondered how things could get any better when the second dish came into view: tagliolini agli asparagi, a pasta plate decorated with cooked asparagus. It looked so beautiful it took me a few minutes to overcome my fear of destroying Carlo’s art. This dish not only looked stunning; it WAS delicious!
Unfortunatelly, I cannot write anything about the restaurant’s desserts as in this occasion I couldn’t eat more than the soup and pasta. All I can definitely say is that I left the restaurant like I always do, a happy customer.