What and where to eat in Mantua: 10 typical dishes and the best restaurants

A rich, ” full-bodied ” cuisine , full of flavors from the best Lombard food and wine tradition, but with a touch of modernity that will not leave indifferent even the most “traditional” palates. The cuisine of Mantua is to be considered a real forge of colors, textures, perfectly successful mixes, where cured meats and vegetables play a very important role.

Where to eat in Mantua: cheap restaurants, typical bars and street food

1 – Trattoria due cavallini

Family-run restaurant consisting of 3 simply furnished rooms with a small garden offering traditional cuisine.

  • Address : via Salnitro, 5 – Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel 0376 322084
  • House specialties : donkey stew, macaroni stew, pumpkin ravioli
  • Average price per person : from € 18.00

2 – Il Trovatore Restaurant

Warm and welcoming restaurant a stone’s throw from Palazzo Ducale serves Mantuan cuisine and traditional dishes.

  • Address : piazza Sordello, 49 – Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel 0376 196 0178
  • House specialty : pumpkin and gorgonzola risotto, pumpkin tortelli
  • Average price per person : from € 16.00

3 – Il Cigno dei Martini restaurant

Elegant restaurant with wooden furniture and design, which offers Mantuan dishes inspired by the Gonzaga recipe books.

  • Address : piazza Carlo D’Arco, 1 – Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel 0376 327101
  • House specialties : agnoli, capon, pike in sauce
  • Average price per person : from € 30.00

4 – Osteria dell’Oca

Wooden tables, copper pots and various trinkets are the backdrop to this rustic tavern that offers exquisite dishes.

  • Address : via Trieste, 10 – Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel 0376 327171
  • Specialties of the house : tagliatelle del baffo, pumpkin ravioli, cold cuts platters
  • Average price per person : from € 20.00

5 – Osteria la Bottega

A welcoming and warm place, it offers a traditional menu with typical products.

  • Address : via Filippo Corridoni, 44 – Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel 0376 223568
  • Specialty of the house : donkey stew, understood
  • Average price per person : from € 27.00

6 – Hamburgheria Viva Cafe

If you think that once you enter the Viva Cafe burger shop you will find yourself in front of the umpteenth American fast food chain, then you are making an unforgivable mistake. From the most famous stars and stripes fast food chains, this nice place draws only the philosophy of offering customers lunch and dinner based on super burgers and the inevitable side dish based on fries; but the Viva Cafe also offers other courses, all made with fresh and very Italian products.

  • Address : Piazzale Cesare Beccaria 5. Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 0376 245705
  • House specialty : Chianina burger with potato side dish
  • Average price per person : € 5.00 – € 10.00

7 – Alla Buca della Gabbia Brewery and Wine Shop

Don’t call it a simple brewery. Alla Buca della Gabbia is a real institution in the field of pubs and wine bars in Mantua. Located in an excellent position, the restaurant offers a varied menu that draws on the Mantuan tradition and a vast and detailed selection of wines and beers (among these, it is worth trying the pumpkin , truly unique).

  • Address : Via Camillo Benso Cavour 98. Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 345 633 6101, facebook page
  • House specialty : mixed platter of cold cuts and cheeses
  • Average price per person : € 20.00


8 – Osteria delle Quattro Tette

The name of the place and the mood considered rather rustic to be a restaurant serving typical Mantuan specialties should not be misleading. At Quattro Tette you eat well and spend relatively little . Recommended for young people and those who love – or who want to experience for the first time – the typical flavors of the city.

  • Address : Vicolo Nazione 4. Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 0376 329478
  • House specialty : pumpkin crepes with mulled wine
  • Average price per person : € 20.00

9 – Bigoleria Al Torchio

The local specialty is quite obvious, but the flavor will not stop surprising you. If you are a fan of bigoli , you cannot miss Al Torchio to try all the specialties of this extraordinary egg pasta, served as tradition requires: al dente .

  • Address : Via Solferino E San Martino 31. Get directions
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 348 046 6563, Facebook page
  • House specialty : bigoli with donkey and rabbit ragout
  • Average price per person : € 7.00


10 – Farmer Ciapa and Porta a Cà

Zero kilometer products , a wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, main courses of fresh meat and vegetables and a pizza worthy of praise. The Contadinostrano Ciapa and leads to ca is ideally located for a quick meal (and plentiful !) With an eye on your health (all products used for the recipes were grown and maintained in an absolutely healthy) and, not negligible detail, for your wallet.

  • Address : Via Orefici 9.
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 0376 196 1484,
  • House specialty : Venere rice with zucchini, chickpeas and scamorza cheese
  • Average price per person : € 7.00 – € 20.00

11 – Osteria dell’Oca

Let’s start with an obligatory premise: the Osteria dell’Oca , a place that serves the typical specialties of Mantua, is accessible above all by reservation (unfortunately the tables are rather small, probably this is the only drawback of this restaurant). The effort to find a place, however, will be amply rewarded with a menu that will leave you speechless for the gluttony, thanks to a wide selection of typical dishes of the Lombard city, from appetizers to desserts.

  • Address : Via Trieste 10.
  • House specialty : sbrisolona cake
  • Average price per person : € 20.00

12 – Agriturismo Corte Bersaglio

Noisy place but excellent quality food in the suggestive location offered by the Corte Bersaglio Farmhouse , the ideal place to celebrate a special event in cheerful company.

  • Address : Viale Learco Guerra 15 | Location Migliaretto.
  • Contacts : Tel: +39 346 726 0961
  • House specialty : risotto with porcini mushrooms and truffle cream
  • Average price per person : € 20.00

13 – Pizzeria La Botte

Okay, Mantua is not Naples and the best Lombard pizza cannot be even remotely comparable to its Neapolitan counterpart. However, La Botte , a characteristic pizzeria in the Lombard city, offers an excellent product, with perfect rising times, a wide selection of flavors, all surrounded by very kind staff and at a more than affordable price.

  • Address : Via della Conciliazione 96.
  • House specialty : white pizza with artichokes and artichoke cream
  • Average price per person : € 8.00

14 – Tortelli & Friends

It will not be at all difficult to guess the must eat dish of Tortelli & Friends , a tavern in which lunch and dinner become, more than obligatory stops, real sensory experiences.

  • Address : Via Domenico Fernelli 28 / A.
  • House specialty : pumpkin tortelli with butter and sage
  • Average price per person : € 13.00

Specialties and typical dishes

A self-respecting meal can only open with a wide selection of 100% Mantuan cured meats and cold cuts as an appetizer accompanied by chiscela , the typical salty focaccia of the place. Among the first courses , risotto, agnolini in broth and the famous pumpkin tortelli, a must for restaurants in Mantua, are to be preferred. The second courses are mainly based on meat (braised, stewed donkey and mixed boiled meat), but the lake fauna is not disdained (stewed or fried catfish is a real delicacy); inevitable, alongside every self-respecting second Lombard dish, the evergreen polenta. Every self-respecting meal always ends on a sweet note: the rose cake made with butter and sugar, the Elvezia cake made with almond paste and garnished with zabaglione, and finally the extravagant and exquisite sbrisolona cake .

1 – Pumpkin tortelli

It is a typical dish of the Christmas holidays but which is found every day on the Mantuan tables.
These tortelli, strictly handmade with fresh egg pasta, have a pumpkin-based filling mixed with amaretti, Mantuan mustard, nutmeg, parmesan and spices .
They are seasoned mainly with melted butter and parmesan, but there are those who prefer tomato sauce.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 8.00
  • Main ingredients : fresh egg pasta, pumpkin, amaretto, mustard, parmesan, spices

2 – Agnoli in broth

Similar to Bolognese tortellini, they differ slightly in their non-circular shape and filling.
Egg pasta is stuffed with beef stew in white wine, pork salami, bacon, eggs and spices .

In the Mantuan tradition the agnoli were served on Christmas Eve in meat broth, today they can always be eaten, both soupy and dry seasoned with butter and sage.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 8.00
  • Main ingredients : egg pasta, beef stew, sausage, bacon, eggs, meat broth

3 – Rice to the pilot

A must dish of traditional Mantuan cuisine is this risotto, which was also served in the times of the Gonzagas in court families.
The ” pilots ” were the workers in charge of the pile, a mortar that was used for peeling and cleaning the rice.
This rice is made with pork pistume (salamelle) and creamed with parmesan but the secret to having it perfect is the right amount of water and rice because the final result must not be creamy but dry and grainy.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 8.00
  • Main ingredients : semi-fine vialone nano rice, salami, parmesan

4 – Donkey stew

A tasty and tasty dish that is prepared by marinating the donkey meat for 12/24 hours in Lambrusco wine and then ” overcooked ” for 3-4 hours on a low heat until it frays.
The dish is served with soft or grilled polenta that goes perfectly with the sauce.
Since donkey meat is difficult to find in recent times, it can be replaced with beef.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 14.00
  • Main ingredients : donkey meat, lambrusco, spices, celery and carrot

5 – Pike in sauce

An ancient dish that has always been popular in Mantuan kitchens that highlights the flavor of pike : a typical fish from the Mantuan freshwater streams, with a strong flavor and intense flavor.

The pike is boiled and flavored with a sauce based on wine, capers and vegetables and served warm accompanied by toasted polenta .
Unfortunately, it is a specialty that is disappearing as pike is not a fish that can be farmed and its growth in running waters is very slow.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 13.00
  • Main ingredients : pike, white wine, capers, vegetables, corn polenta

6 – Sbrisolona

It is a typical Mantuan dessert, whose name derives from ” brisà ” which means crumb; in fact, the cake is roughly kneaded in order to give a grainy and particularly crumbly consistency!

Made with corn flour, butter and almonds, it is excellent to be enjoyed as a dessert dipped in a good sweet wine such as Malvasia or Moscato.

  • Recommended for : breakfast, snack, dessert
  • Average cost : € 7.50 a medium cake
  • Main ingredients : corn flour, butter, almonds

7 – Noodle cake

This traditional dessert was once prepared on the night of Saint Lucia, December 13 to be consumed at Christmas.

The preparation is twofold: first you make a pastry based on eggs and flour (such as the one for tagliatelle) cut into thin strips that will enrich the pan in layers, then the dough that will be inserted inside based on butter, almonds and sugar .
The result is three layers of noodles interspersed with almond cream and is baked for 40 minutes.

  • Recommended for : snack, dessert, snack
  • Average cost : € 7.00 medium sized cake
  • Main ingredients : egg pasta, soft wheat flour, butter, almonds, sugar

8 – Capunsei

Known as bread dumplings , they are a dish of the Mantuan peasant tradition and can be eaten in broth or dry, seasoned with melted butter, parmesan, or meat sauce .
The ancient recipe was imported to the Lombardy area by Tyrolean emigrants and is based on breadcrumbs, Grana Padano, butter, onion, garlic, broth and nutmeg.

These ingredients are mixed with cheese and eggs and once mixed well it is necessary to form elongated gnocchi to be cooked in boiling water or broth.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 8.00
  • Main ingredients : breadcrumbs, parmesan, onion, broth, eggs

9 – Risotto with saltarelli

Often considered a single dish, risotto con i saltarelli is based on river prawns (saltarelli or jumpi once abounded in the Mantuan waterways) which are fried in hot oil and placed on a white risotto made only with vialone rice. nano-cultivated in the Scaligeri rice fields, broth and onion.

The dish should be served after having creamed the rice with a knob of butter and parmesan and brought to the table with hot saltarelli.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 12.00
  • Main ingredients : saltarelli, rice, broth, onion, parmesan, oil for frying

10 – Bigoli with sardines

This is the main dish of the centenary ” La Bigolada ” festival which is celebrated every year on Ash Wednesday in Casel d’Ario.
The pasta, similar to a large spaghetti , is made with soft wheat, water, egg and salt; once mixed, the mixture is put in the press (an ancient instrument) from which the bigoli originate, which must be rough in order to retain the sauces.
They should be seasoned with onions and sardines washed and cleaned from the bones that must be slowly melted in the hot oil.

  • Recommended for : lunch, dinner
  • Average cost : € 12.00
  • Main ingredients : bigoli, sardines, onion, oil

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