Located in the Veronese historical center in a narrow street next to Via Cappello, between Piazza delle Erbe and Juliet’s balcony is Trattoria Al Pompiere.
The trattoria started off as an inn, run by a retired fireman who never bothered to give it a name. The locals started a trend, calling the inn ‘Al Pompiere’ which literally translates to ‘The Fireman’s’ to honour the founder.
After being passed down several times since it was opened in the first half of the last century, the current owner Marco Dandrea, who is also the chef, prepares delectable and typical Veronese and Veneto dishes.
With high wooden ceiling beams, Italian styled table-clothed furniture and very interesting black and white pictures on the wall, the trattoria is very home-like but stylish and charming with a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. After all, trattoria does mean an informal restaurant or tavern and this is exactly what it feels like, my local tavern.
In the far right corner of the restaurant, almost the first thing you notice when arriving, is the huge range (35 to be exact) range of cold cuts, cured hams, proscuitto and speck hanging from the ceiling.
Next to this corner, there is a big cheese counter with over a hundred different Italian cheeses. You could spend ages deciding which ones to try, they all look so good.
“cold cuts, cured hams, proscuitto and speck hanging from the ceiling”
One of the things I really love about this place is the personalized service. The Chefs come out of the kitchen in uniform, to greet and assist you with your order. I had the pleasure of being served by the owner himself! I was incredibly impressed by the English fluency of the waitstaff, the customer consideration and helpfulness throughout the night and especially when we described what sort of ham flavors we preferred and didn’t; we received ultimate customer care with varieties.
The proscuitto and speck, looking so savory and appetizing turned out to be an obvious antipasto choice. The Chef recommended to do up a three-way platter for us or ‘mixed salumi’ as they call it, including cured ham and salami from the Tuscan, Verona and Parma regions (€20). We were also recommended to try an incredibly dry, crisp and light bottle of Soave (€25). It had a zero wine’y aftertaste which was refreshing and rare. Soave became our favorite type of wine while in Verona as the vineyards are just next door and of course, because it was such a delicious one.
“cured ham and salami from the Tuscan, Verona and Parma regions”
I can confidently say that I have never tasted salami as soft as this. It was the freshest of its division, the kind that melts on your tongue and the supple smooth aftertaste; almost as if it were meat butter! It was not overly salty like most salamis, which is a rare characteristic.
The most distinctive flavor on this platter came from the Tuscan ham. Not only was it delicate being so finely carved, it had a light smoky apple aroma alongside a musky finishing.
Parma ham which came from the Parma region (no pun intended!) was also soft but crisp. The usual large layer of lard was almost non existent, which I loved.
Verona is world famous for its risotto rice, Vialone Nano. Mr.B, knowing how much I love risotto, made sure that I got my risotto fix. We ordered the Risotto del giorno (for two people) (€14) which was a creamy Parmesan infused rice with a generous slab of goat meat. I loved how the juices from the goat meat flowed onto and soaked into the rice, giving the rice an extra mixture and infusion of salty goodness and not forgetting to mention the exceptional smell it gave off. I am certain that the Parmesan used in the risotto was of the best quality, I could feel and taste it in every bite as it plunged into my senses.
“Verona is world famous for its risotto rice, Vialone Nano”
Don’t expect a romantic evening here, it’s very casual and spectacular in its own way with almost every table polishing off a bottle of Soave and being part of the loud chatter, Italian tunes and flirtatious Italians. We were extremely lucky to get a table here sans reservations and it wasn’t even the weekend!
+39 045 8030537 (Reservations HIGHLY recommended)
Vicolo Regina d’Ungheria, 5 – 37121 Verona (Italia)
(Closed on Sunday)