As with many of the best things in Italy, the Antica Trattoria Balotta is hundreds of years old – founded in 1605 to be exact!
In its modern incarnation, you might drive by it without realising what a culinary gem it is – in fact, its reputation amongst the locals and knowledgeable epicureans is such that it neither advertises nor promotes itself: it is simply a light saffron-yellow house in the quaint village of Torreglia, near the spa town of Abano Terme, in Veneto, northern Italy.
But within its kitchens, gastronomical delights are prepared with gusto! The restaurant is a reference point of exceptional cuisine, dedicated to traditional regional specialities.
And these Chefs you see below are not trainees – they are the best of the best who come to the Antica Trattoria Balotta to challenge themselves in public competitions!
Sometimes the representatives of all the provinces in the region show up to do battle!
And the Antica Trattoria Balotta leads the way. Why? because the food is amazing!
Take the above dish, for instance – Bigoli tradizionali al sugo di anatra di corte – it’s simply a thick spaghetti (bigoli) with duck sauce (sugo d’anatra). That’s all. Well, alright: a little tomato and rosemary and sage on top. A simple traditional dish, but incredibly delicious!
You may dine indoors…
or al fresco.
As superb as the food is, and as acclaimed as its reputation has become, the people have remained true to themselves – no arrogance, no posturing, no airs of anything other than: “Here, enjoy a nice meal!”
Unlike other restaurants I visit, where the Chef comes out for a few celebratory photos – at the Antica Trattoria Balotta they kicked me out of the kitchen! “You can come in only if you’re going to do some work!”
But they did let me into the wine area!
And lastly, after a meal of astounding history, taste, and even perfect simplicity – dessert!
Overall, it doesn’t get any more authentic than the Antica Trattoria balotta – northern Italian food at its best!
The Antica Trattoria Balotta in Torreglia, near Abano Terme, Italy, is easy to find, here is an interactive map: