The alta città of Bergamo isn’t exactly swimming in restaurants, so your choices are kind of limited from the second you decide to stay within the old city walls up there. But on my recent trip to Bergamo, I ate in a charming little trattoria tucked into quite literally a hole in a wall on one end of a parking lot. The outside may not have looked promising to most, but the food was spectacular.
Trattoria 3 Torri has the feel inside of a wine cellar, with its rounded brick walls and ceiling, and it’s one of those tiny places that makes the most of every inch of space. The parking lot the restaurant sits on is really a small piazza, and three of the buildings lining it have towers – hence the name of the trattoria. The handwritten menu outside the door looks like it could change regularly, but I imagine that most of the Bergamo specialties are usually available. The prices were relatively similar to the other restaurants around the alta città.
Here’s what we had for lunch:
- We shared an appetizer of hot polenta with a few slices of salami and one big slice of gorgonzola cheese (listed as “zola” on the menu). It was a cold and foggy day outside, so this appetizer was a good start to warming us both up.
- I had the “casoncelli della casa,” the Trattoria 3 Torri’s take on a Bergamo specialty – pasta pockets (think big ravioli) stuffed with ground meats, bathed in a butter sauce that had crispy bits of pancetta and sage leaves in it. The whole thing had a sharp grated cheese over the top, and was marvelous.
- The husband had another Bergamo specialty – hot polenta served over taleggio cheese, with mushrooms on the side and the whole thing covered in butter. (Yes, lunch was rich for both of us.) It felt like Bergamesco comfort food, especially given the chilly weather, and the cool ball of creamy cheese balanced the piping hot polenta nicely.
In addition to the dishes that are particular to Bergamo, the Trattoria 3 Torri also offered several regular Italian dishes as well, for appetizers (“antipasti”), pastas and main courses. The husband and I shared a half-litre of red wine, and each had coffee after our meal (a note to coffee fanatics, they don’t have an espresso machine, only a mokapot), and everything was just great. There was something listed on the menu called the “dolce della casa,” but we were both so full from our rich lunches that we had to pass on dessert. I’m still curious what it was.
The service was friendly – we got complimented on our orders, having both ordered local specialties – and although when we arrived at noon the place was empty, it began to fill up about a half-hour after we started our meal. Of course, it’s such a small dining room that by “fill up” I mean that four of the seven or so tables were occupied. If you’re spending a day in Bergamo, you could do much worse than to have a meal at the Trattoria 3 Torri.
(And no, that’s not a picture of the restaurant – or even the street the restaurant is on – up at the top of this post. I was so full and content with my meal after leaving that I forgot to snap a picture. Sorry.)
Address: Piazza Mercato del Fieno 7/a, 24129 Bergamo
Telephone: +39 035 244 366
Open: Lunch and dinner service, closed Wednesdays; always open in Summer
Seating: 25 in winter, 45 in summer with the veranda
Payment: major credit cards accepted
Photo by: Piotr Gaborek