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“Quintessential Italian experience”

Agriturismo La Selvaggia
Certificate of Excellence
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 23 June 2014

As a part of our motorcycle tour around Europe, one of our stops was the Moto Guzzi museum in Mandello del Lario. We found a great new B&B as well and asked the proprietor if there was anywhere local to get some dinner. She said there was a local place that we may like, and she could check if they were open if we liked…. I am sure glad we said yes.

After getting ourselves sorted out, we set out on foot to find the restaurant. Winding our way through the narrow mountain streets, luck smiled on us and we took a turn down the right stone lined alleyway. We were pretty dubious that we had the right path until we happened upon another couple also taking the stone steps up the mountain. In my impeccable Italian I said “Scusi” and then must have looked like a monkey trying to mime restaurant… Fortunately, the lady was sharp and with a big smile waved her arms and told us to follow them up the mountain.

It was very warm that evening, and by the time we got to the top, we were dripping sweat. We found what looked like a little cabin with a family having a meal outside at a picnic table. Stepping into the cabin we ran into who I can only think of as “Mama”. The lady from the steps gave her the heads up and we told her our booking name. It was like arriving at home! While she handed us paper towels to mop ourselves up, she told us about Mandello del Lario, the lake, the people, the village…. At least I think she did, because I didn’t understand a word.. But she did tell us our waitress’s name and pushed us out the door to the picnic tables.

We found a spot on the end of a picnic table for 8 that already had 4 people. Then it started. A bottle of white wine with no label landed on the table, followed immediately by a basket of bread and plates of antipasti. She told us she would be right back with a bottle of red wine as well. Near full from the antipasti, and a bottle of wine closer to nirvana, a plate of gnocchi suddenly appeared, followed by a lovely truffle pasta. Somewhere in there another bottle of wine was drained and then I lost count of the courses. Suffice is to say that they were many and each was more delicious than the last.

About when we felt we could not possible take another bite, a huge block of cheese and an even bigger jar of honey with a pump spout on it appeared. I actually had no idea what to do with this, so it was fortunate that we were nearly family with the 4 other people at the table by then. They demonstrated how you cut a small piece if cheese, pump a little honey onto it and pop it in your mouth. I was skeptical, but it was like fireworks in my mouth. They were rich fireworks though, so I had to tap out after only a couple morsels. This is also about when the grappa and lemoncello started flowing. I happen to like lemoncello, and this was properly chilled and went down oh so nicely in the remaining evening heat. The grappa was a bit like medicine to me, so I just had to wash it down with more lemoncello.

Grudgingly, we decided to call it a night and I went to look into the bill. I found my way into the kitchen where I dug into my always reliable Italian vocabulary and came out with “bellissimo!”. When they showed me the bill, I thought it was very reasonable and told her my friend would like his bill as well. She said that was for both! I could not believe it. 48 Euros in total! I would have thought that appropriate just as the tip! I paid her 60 and went back to tell my riding mate the good news.. he was only into me for 30 Euros…

By the time we staggered down the hill with our new found friends from our table, I decided this was one of the highlights of the trip. As an Italian friend of mine used to always say.. “This is LIFE!”

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6  Thank LinDerui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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22 - 26 of 481 reviews

Reviewed 23 April 2014

I read all the other reviews so I had decided we had to find this restaurant. However, we'd gotten lost trying to find our hotel and my husband was not enthusiastic about yet another expedition or adventure. I insisted. First (despite having a GPS voice assist) we got lost finding the cemetary in Somana. So prospective guests need to find this first. Once we started hiking we made a couple of wrong turns and came back to our starting point and luckily encountered a hiker who literally retraced his steps and guided us up to the restaurant. (I've told Angela that she should have someone take pictures of all the landmarks and print a PDF with directions to send to anyone who wants to get to the restaurant.)

We arrived and were immediately greeted with white wine and bread and were ushered to our seats and then the food began to arrive: cipollini onions, peppers, salamis, cheeses, mushrooms, each one more delicious (and abundant) than the last. We tried to pace ourselves but, of course, we didn't want to leave anything on the plates. We gave up when the pasta arrived, and then soup, and the gnocchi, and the veal, and the stew, and the cheese and honey, and the desserts (oh, and did I mention the bottle of red wine?) and then the prosecco and pastries, and coffee. We had arrived a little past 7:00 and it was almost 11:00. Angela's mother had emerged from the kitchen looking tired as she said goodnight to us all (Can you imagine cooking all of this 5 nights a week?) and we finally stumbled down the trail (with headlights and flashlights) at around 11:30. I have to admit to having a mild hangover the next day but if you play, you pay. The ambience, the food, the people (Angela, her mother, her father) were all amazing. I would LOVE to bring a big group back here. Utterly fabulous!

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3  Thank babznlulu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2014

It was a very nice moment we spent with Marcello doing waitress this evening. It is an experience ! The major drawback : the place is very difficult to find. I will put some récent pictures. But in case you are lost, the easier is to ask a neighbour, italian you may cross like us on the road which will help you ! Good food, funny atmosphere. In one word : NATURE

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1  Thank Clemence85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2013

Where to start. First, La Selvaggia is extremely difficult to find. Having been I still don't believe I could give decent directions. There are no signs in the village from where you have to find the path! When you do find the right path it is a 15 minute, fairly steep climb up stone step pathway. In fact we hiked up twice - first at lunch via a road (so steep vehicles are not allowed) a local pointed out to us after we got lost only to find out we needed a reservation. Angela (whose English is quite good) did say we could return for dinner. While descending, filling in the afternoon and then hiking back up the mountainside was not appealing Angela appeared very nice and the reviews have obviously been very positive. So we did decide to come back and are we ever glad with our decision.

We returned around 6:45 pm and didn't leave until near midnight. That says it all. This is not just a meal but an experience.

On nice evenings one eats oustide at a series of picnic tables under the trees overlooking Lake Como (the inside looked very nice as well). Once the food began it pretty much didn't stop. Angela's father was responsible for liquid refresments and did his job well, making sure we had enough wine, prosecco and after dinner liqueurs. This is not 5 star Michelin food but rather well prepared really good Italian family cooking. Of course there was the antipasto - some excellent mushroom and eggplant dips with bread; and then tomatoes and quail's eggs; cheese and pasta - not one but two excellent pastas - gnocchi and then tagliatelle; and then the meat - some beef and rabbit. All followed by a selection of cakes for dessert; coffee and as mentioned Italian liqueurs.

The great part of the setup is that you will likely be joined by other travellers - in our case two fellows from England. We enjoyed a great (and long - as mentioned over five hours) evening getting through the numerous courses and sharing travel stories.

Although we came prepared this is the first place I was given a flashlight at the end of the evening, in order that we could safely descend the stone steps.

And all this for only 24 euros each ... ridiculously great value.

Thank you Angela; thanks to your dad and all others who had a hand in preparing the meal and allowing us to experience such an enjoyable evening.

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6  Thank NSMoosehead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2013

Visited there in September 2013. We got 9 people and difficulties to get taxi there. Angela arranged us an great boy to pick us from near village and get us there. After 10 minutes walk we were there and the meal started with bread and wine. Everything was perfect. There were one German couple and we from Finland. One hour later there came four Italian old men from village. We all had a good time with owners bringing the food and wine more and more. Really enjoyable. Thanks Angela

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Thank Petri1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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