We visit Lugano three to four times per year and it's pretty much mandatory now for us to drink and dine at Bottegone. The menu, although limited, usually has something each of us likes, the wine is fabulous, and the atmosphere convivial. It's popular with visitors and locals alike. At lunchtime, tables are quickly filled, so if you don't have a reservation, get there early!
Talk to the staff about the type of wine(s) you want -- their advice is spot on. If you order by the glass, they may leave the bottle by the table "just in case" you want more -- and you probably will. Note: their selection of dessert wines is good too, don't overlook those. I never leave without a Passito.
The menu depends on what's fresh in the market and the chef's mood. In winter, there is almost always a hearty choice with beef or game. Every time that I've been, there has been a salad with goat cheese (tomme) on the menu -- it's one of the few standards and my default choice if I'm not having a daily special. Shortly after you arrive, you'll be given a plate with some complimentary nibbles -- usually a bread, cheese, salami and mini bruschetta selection.
Even though each item on the menu isn't that expensive, your overall bill will probably not be light because you'll most likely give in to the temptation to have a few glasses of wine, coffee, maybe dessert etc. Resistance is futile -- so sit back and enjoy!
Note: the restaurant is dog friendly. At lunchtime, one of the regulars brings her charming French bulldog. We've brought our own dog there a few times.
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