Local Dishes & Desserts: What to Eat in Bergamo
When I think of what to eat in Bergamo… I’m ready to hop on a plane to the northern Italian city just to indulge in the city’s local food. Here’s a tour of Bergamo’s delicious dishes and desserts including where to find them.
Local Cuisine of Bergamo
Bergamo is a perfect destination for those that love European culture. Picture yourself getting lost in a picturesque cobbled medieval old town or taking in breathtaking views of the Dolomites.
During your stay you also get to indulge in what I think is one of Italy’s best traits — its food!
What to Eat in Bergamo
A little Italian lesson first. When you read the word bergamasca it means native or from Bergamo. Here we go with the best of what to eat in Bergamo. Starting with…
In all of my trips to Italy, I found it didn’t really matter if I ate at a five-star restaurant or a small corner joint, the pizza in Italy is simply to die for and cannot be replicated any place else in the world. Bergamo lived up to that. In fact, I had one of the best pizzas in my life.
Where to eat pizza in Bergamo:
Lucky me, locals introduced me to Da Mimmo in the Citta Alta.
Da Mimmo’s Margarita recipe has been awarded a Denominazione di Origine Controllata certification. That translates to Protected Designation of Origin. A Margarita pizza is awarded a D.O.C. if it is made according to very specific guidelines.
A side dish of polenta or polenta all by itself is a must when thinking of what to eat in Bergamo. It is a hot dish made with corn flour boiled in the water.
In Bergamo, the polenta targana is the local version which features Italian cheeses like Taleggio, Gorgonzola or Fontina. Bergamo is also famous for a polenta dessert which you’ll find later in this post.
Italian pasta — cooked in that perfect way Italians know how — should definitely be on your list when thinking of what to eat in Bergamo. Order Bergamo’s famous pasta dish called casoncelli alla bergamasca.
It is homemade pasta with a delicious meat filling in a butter sauce. It can also be tossed with sage and pancetta.
Where to eat polenta and casconcelli in Bergamo:
Head to La Vendemmia. In Italian, the name translates to the harvest. Located right by the Venetian walls of the upper town, the restaurant has been serving traditional Bergamo plates since 1920.
Risotto alla bergamasca is Italian rice cooked with vegetables, a classic northern Italian specialty. There are many variations. My personal favorite is mushroom risotto (pictured below).
Where to have risotto in Bergamo:
La Taverna Babale is a wonderful place to dine near Bergamo. If you are in the Scanzorosciate area, just outside of Bergamo, this restaurant is the perfect dining experience for all of the local specialties of Bergamo.
Local Braised Beef with Olive Oil with Bergamo Polenta
In Italian it translates to manzo all’olio con polenta bergamasca. It is a soft, local braised beef with olive oil and served with the aforementioned polenta.
Where to eat local braised beef with polenta in Bergamo:
I recommend fine dining at Baretto di San Vigilio. I loved the environment, service and menu at this charming hilltop restaurant. It was raining so we missed out on the amazing view over the Lombardy region.
This restaurant is known for its beautiful local take on dishes like Spanish bresaola “Cecina de Leon” and Valtaleggio local salami with tomato croutons. How about Paccheri pasta with sausage, mushrooms and cheese of fossa? Yes, please!
Desserts of Bergamo
As you stroll down the streets of the upper town, I guarantee you’ll stop in your tracks in front of the charming windows displaying stands of beautifully baked Italian cookies, cakes and assorted sweets.
Polenta e Osei
When it comes to the sweet side of what to eat in Bergamo, polenta e osei tops the list. This gorgeous cake is made with maize flour, chocolate butter, rum and hazelnut cream. In Italian, osei translates to birds. The chocolate shapes on top represent birds.
Doesn’t it just look lovely?
You can’t imagine how thrilled I was to learn I was standing in the city that invented one of my favorite ice cream flavors. In the U.S., stracciatella is known as chocolate chip.
Have a scoop of stracciatella gelato in Bergamo and you are in gelato heaven.
Where to eat stracciatella gelato in Bergamo:
La Marianna is the famous go-to gelato and dessert shop for stracciatella. Why? This is the place that invented it.
What to Drink in Bergamo
In Bergamo, the spritz rules. It’s a cool, bitter, wine based cocktail with a dash of Aperol or Campari and sparkling water.
Where to drink a spritz in Bergamo:
For drinks head to Caffe and Ristorante Della Funicolare. We had a great time sipping drinks at this lovely restaurant bar near the cable car.
Address: Via Porta Dipinta 1
The local wine is the ValCalepio which is a D.O.C. of northern Italy around lakes Como and Iseo in Lombardy. While out on the town, be sure to order the red Moscato di Scanzo.
Where to have local wine in Bergamo:
For a true local wine experience, head to La Brugherata di Bendinelli which is a winery in Scanzorosciate. Tour the facilities, taste local wines and enjoy the scenery. Just outside of Bergamo, it is worth the trip.
More on What to Eat in Bergamo
For more on Italian food culture and what you can expect for breakfast in Bergamo check out this post Italian Eating Rules by Life in Italy blog.
For more about Bergamo, check out my Travel Europe: Bergamo, Italy mini-guide. Also, visit my other posts:
Have you ever dined in northern Italy? Would you add any drinks, local dishes or desserts to this list of what to eat in Bergamo?