Guest Book Write a Comment
|8.12.2009 Yvonne & Jeff|
17th June 09
Our daughter and son-in-law held their wedding cereomy and reception on Isola Comacina and it was absolutely superb!! Benvenuto could not have been more helpful and all of his team were absolutely brilliant. Thank you for a wonderful day.
|23.6.2009 Toni Ann Rufeh-Dunn|
This past fall October, 2009 we had the opportunity to have dined at your establishment. Locanda Dell'Isola was quite an expereince. It was filled with the most tasteful food, the most georgeous view and the weather was spactacular. It was also fun to view all photographs of visitors to your island and resturant. What a fantastic day we shared we for sure will visit and tell our frinds near and far.
Keep up the great tradition! Toni Ann Rufeh-Dunn
|5.5.2009 Culinary Widow|
My husband and I were staying in Lake Como a year and a half ago. We had a list of places we wanted to try including the restaurant on Isola and Gato di Nero. The simple food at Isola was perfect. We enjoyed every dish. I only wish we would have gone earlier on our vacation so that we could have gone another time.
By the ay, we enjoyed our meal at Isola Comacina much more than the one at Gato di Nero which has great service, a stunning view but incredibly disappointing food.
I loved the beans you served in a bowl at the beginning of the meal. What was the name of the bean? I would like to buy it here in the United States
|11.7.2008 Jim & Betty Wilcox|
Loved your restuarant - we were the only ones there due to "No Shows" - It was absoltuely delightful.
|30.5.2008 Wendy and Mark|
We had a lovely lunch at your restaurant. Now our friends are coming next month (June). Les, Wayne and Trish are looking forward to a spectacular lunch as we recomended your wonderful hospitality. They will probably book under the name of Les Coles. We know you will look after them. Thank you!
|Mary & Anthony Fiorito|
WE ARE GOING TO THIS BEAUTIFUL ISLAND AGAIN IN AUG 2008 FOR THE FIFTH TIME, WE LOVE BRINGING FAMILY
AND FRIENDS TO THIS WONDERFUL EXPIENCE OF EATING.
TAKING A LITTLE BOAT TO GET THEIR AND HAVING A FUN DAY.
SEE YOU IN AUGUST.
Locanda dell'Isola Comacina was my first flag of our trip. I'm far from a foodie, but I'm increasingly enjoying the eating experience, and from what I've heard this was going to be a good one. I was definitely looking forward to it. We had a little difficulty getting to the right boat stop for crossing over to the island. It led to a minor disagreement, but nothing that would tarnish the evening.
We found the correct boat dock, and sitting there was a little vaporetto fishing boat, like the toy one we bought today. Things are looking up! It was 5E a piece for the ride across. It includs a return after dinner. The sun was just setting as we came over. We had 7pm reservations. Kind of early for Italy, but we didn't want to book too late with it only being our second night. We walked from the dock up to the restaurant. We were greeted by our host and the owner Benvenuto Puricelli. He was quite the character all dressed up in a plaid vest wearing a matching ski hat.
Upon seating we were given a couple copies of the menu. It's actually more of program than a menu. They have served the same meal since 1947, and I don't think there are plans to change it anytime soon. It's 55E per person for the food and wine.
We were the second table to be seated that night. After being greeted came a bottle of white wine and the antipasto. It was huge. If this was a sign of things to come they were going to have to roll us out of there. The antipasto was an array of eight large plates; celery, carrots, baked onions, sweet peppers, courgettes beans, broccoli and french beans. Then came separate plates for each of us with a slab of prosciutto, some kind of salted beef with cucumbers and melon. All very tasty. More people rolled in.
The second course was local grilled lake trout. It was dressed at the table adding lemon, salt and olive oil. After that came fried chicken which was actually quite tasty, even Liz ate it. Between courses we tried "secure" a menu that we could abscond with to bring home and frame. Every time we got a hold of one and sort of tucked it away they would come back to the table and find it immediately. They must get a lot of that. By this time the restaurant is packed.
After our two meat courses they rolled out a huge round of parmigiano reggiano cheese. They scoped out blocks of it and deposited them into our hands. Great, gritty texture and very rich. Dessert was peaches in a banana liqueur served with vanilla gelato. They kept bringing us extra gelato so the other customers who arrived later could finish up their meal. The goal is for everyone to finish at once so Bienvenuto can have his big finale.
The lights darken and at the sound of a bell Bienvenuto enters the room and starts to burn brandy in a large black pot. He goes through the history of the island while performing the fire ceremony with the brandy. We actually almost left before this all began. The fire ceremony didn't start until 10pm, three hours after we arrived. It was taking all our strength to hang on, but it was certainly worth it.
We ate a very light breakfast, as the day was to revolve around eating! After a walk around Bellagio, we got ready to board the ferry for DHís surprise lunch.
I hadnít told him where we were going or what we were doing, so he was quite pleased when after a 40 minute ferry ride, we got off on Lake Comoís only island, Isola Comacina.
We were having lunch at Locanda dellíIsola Comacina , www.comacina.it .They have been serving the same menu since 1947, and it is wonderful. We were seated promptly, given a bottle of wine, and each served a slice of tomato with a slice of lemon, while they prepared to bring our antipasto. After setting up another table next to us, they brought nine bowls filled with various marinated vegetables and a plate of ham and salted dried beef. We tried to pace ourselves, but everything was delicious. Even DS was trying vegetables he would not ordinarily eat. Next course was fresh grilled trout, boned at the table.
By now we are thinking we canít possibly eat another bite and they bring the chicken course! Served with a simple salad, it was delicious.
Now on our second bottle of wine (they automatically replace it if you finish the first!), comes a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and dessert. Freshly sliced oranges in an orange liquor sauce with vanilla gelato.
As if this isnít enough, our host performs a ceremony at the end of the meal for all the patrons. He burns brandy in a large pot, adding sugar and coffee as he goes, while telling the history of the island. 54E per person. It is a lot of fun and the island is beautiful.
We had been there for almost three hours, but had about 45 minutes to walk around the island and explore , before taking the ferry back to Bellagio.
Everybody must eat once at the remarkable Locanda dell'Isola Comacina,
even though the bill is way too high for the decidedly rustic prix fixe menu. But the meal does include a choreographed show, with dancing peppermills, splashes of olive oil, and the host's "fire ceremony," in which he deploys brandy, sugar, coffee, and matches while offering a well-worn history of the island. The rigmarole is meant to exorcise a curse put on the isola by a 12th-century bishop of Como. Closed Tuesdays; open all week from June to September. Get there by boat from Sala Comacina.
Charming But Sadly Alone|
When you explore Isola Comacina you have to wonder why the ancient Byzantines of the area thought it was such a great idea to build seven churches on this tiny island. I'm sure there's an historical scholar out there who could explain it but while we were there I just keep wondering, "What were they thinking?". Apparently the conquering people of Como weren't too hot on the idea either as they destroyed all the churches in 1169. Oddly there are ruins of churches and little other evidence that anyone actually lived there. In any event, the Church of San Giovanni was built in about the 17th century. Still there didn't seem to be any immediate parishioners and hence it too was abandoned. There were several plaques posted amongst the graffiti referring to restoration efforts but work appears slow. And what a shame. The little church is wonderfully charming on the exterior and the interior. The doors were locked but I was able to capture it's faded beauty through the barred windows. If you look closely you can see the construction materials left inside waiting for efforts to resume.
Address: On Isola Comacina
Directions: Accessible only by boat. There are a limited number of ferry boat trips to the island so be sure to check the ferry boat schedule.
Ruins, Ruins and More Ruins
Isola Comacina has been inhabited since Roman times though there's not much easy evidence of this. There are, however, plenty of ruins. It seems the Byzantines found the island the perfect place build churches...lots of churches. In fact, they built a total of seven. This was great until 1169 when the State of Como decided to conquer the island and destroy nearly all of them. The ruins are spread all over the island but this one seemed the easiest for us to explore. The photo is of the apse of the Basilica di Sant' Eufemia which was built on the ruin of a Roman structure. At first it seemed confusing because of the windows. Generally, an apse is pretty solid down low with windows only above. Now comes the speculation: I think what can be interpreted as windows are really penetrations in the niches to afford a view of the lake beyond. In any event, it's easy to imagine statuary located in each niche now long lost. For an archeological want-a-be like myself, this is pretty good stuff.
Directions: Accessable only by boat.