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Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Published by Madeline Gowers — one month ago

If you’re ever in the Lake Iseo area, and searching for somewhere to enjoy some authentic Lombard food, look no further than Osteria Pastina! Perched at the top of a mountain overlooking Sale Marasino, this extraordinary little restaurant is a bit of a hidden secret – quite literally, in fact, since half the time, it’s submerged in clouds!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Getting there

This eating place can be reached either by car or on foot. There is a parking lot next to the restaurant, but I would recommend stopping a bit further down, and walking the last bit. This way, you’ll not only avoid difficult encounters with other cars (the further up you go, the narrower the roads become), but also you’ll be able to stop whenever you want to marvel at the extraordinary views! What's more, this is the best way to work up an appetite, so you can enjoy as many delicacies as you like once you’ve reached your destination!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

The restaurant

Osteria Pastina is a family-run eating place, which serves almost exclusively homemade food. Many of the ingredients in these dishes are grown onsite – unsurprisingly, since it would be pretty inconvenient for them to have to drive down the mountain every day to buy food – and, if you turn left out of the restaurant, you can go and visit the farm where meat and cheese are produced. Don’t be put off if you hear fierce barking – the dog is tied up!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Inside, the restaurant has a lovely, cosy feel to it. The waiters are all extremely friendly, and more than happy to offer their food and wine recommendations. This is also a very popular place for big family celebrations (weddings, anniversaries, etc.), so don’t be surprised if a huge cake is brought out at some point!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

A typical meal

When you’re dining at Osteria Pastina, it’s best to have a bit of a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. Order as many courses as you can think you can manage – all the food is very reasonably priced, and if you're defeated by it by it at any point, the waiters will very happily wrap up your leftovers. I had the pleasure of dining at this restaurant for the first time last week (no idea what happened to my left eyebrow in the photo!), and my friends and I decided that instead of getting individual meals, we’d share lots of different ones between us. This worked out very well for us, and I'd encourage you to do the same.

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Before looking properly at the menu, we decided to treat ourselves to an aperitivo. A new favourite of mine – and what we had that day – is pirlo: a Brescian drink made from white wine, Campari, and soda water. It’s pretty similar to an Aperol Spritz, only much stronger and much more bitter. Just one of these will make you merry for the rest of the meal, and when, as in this case, it only costs 1,20€, you really cannot go wrong! What’s more, you’ll often get free food with this sort of order. We were given an assortment of pretzels and mini crackers.

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Then came our antipasto (starter): salami, tuna in a red pepper sauce (probably my favourite), tuna with artichokes and mayonnaise, dough-balls, little fried pastries filled with tomato and melted cheese (my friend described them as ‘Italian Hot Pockets’!), and a feta, olive and pepper salad. The portion sizes were so generous that I actually think we could have stopped there, but oh no – that was just the beginning!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Next we shared fresh tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, and casoncelli (similar to ravioli) with butter and sage. I’m usually not a huge fan of mushrooms, but the former dish was extraordinary, and had a truffly taste to it. The latter was much less strong, and much more comfort food-y – just what was needed, given the freezing weather outside! Franciacorta, a local sparkling wine, was the perfect complement to this course (not that we really needed any more alcohol!).

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

By this point, our hunger was more than satisfied, but we all agreed that it would be a shame to skip the meat course entirely. As a compromise, we decided to order just one dish between the five of us: horse(!), topped with onion and cannellini beans. It was sliced very thinly, so actually ended up being very easy to get through, and naturally we topped it with some locally-made olive oil.

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

No matter how full you are, there’s always room in your stomach for dessert! My friend and I shared a homemade tiramisù, and it was one of the best I’ve ever tried: wonderfully velvety, and more sweet than bitter (I’m not a coffee drinker, so I tend to prefer it this way). I’ve been told that this classic dish always tastes better when the cream is yellow, and this little pearl of wisdom certainly has yet to be proven wrong to me!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

We finished off the meal the way we’d started: alcohol! This time, we tried some delicious grappa, which I believe had been flavoured with pine cones. It was very sweet – so much that the taste of liquor was almost entirely disguised – and, much taken by it, we all had a second round!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!

Final thoughts

I’ve been to Italy ten times now, and I think this is definitely one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in the country. It’s not the easiest to get to by any means, but my goodness is it worth the trek. As we walked back down the misty mountain after our hearty meal, I realised that I was metaphorically, and, for the first time ever, literally, on cloud nine!

Osteria Pastina: a restaurant in the clouds!


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