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Ristorante Pizzeria La Conca near Aviano is perfect for dinner out with the family or a date night for two

Ristorante Pizzeria La Conca's grilled vegetables with meat entree.

NORMAN LLAMAS/STARS AND STRIPES

By NORMAN LLAMAS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 20, 2020

One of the great advantages to serving in Italy is the country’s food, which my family and I can’t get enough of eating.

But it was still a challenge to find a restaurant that prepares Italian food just the way we like it. For us, that place is Ristorante Pizzeria La Conca, a homey eatery on the outskirts of Vigonovo di Fontanafredda, about 7 miles from Aviano Air Base.

My wife and I have frequented the restaurant for the past two years. It’s family friendly like most Italian places, but we also enjoy it when we get the chance to have a date night without the kids.

La Conca, which has been around since 1987, is located near an industrial area. But its garden, ponds and beautiful dining rooms help diners forget the location. The many trees shade the socially distanced tables throughout the garden as part of their outdoor eating concept, introduced this year following the pandemic. Our kids really liked the setting, which allowed my 5-year-old to run around without getting in trouble.

The main dining room is more intimate and romantic for those on a date. There’s also a second dining room that opens up to the garden, right over a pond and a view of all the flowering plants.

The staff is friendly and they speak enough English to help you place your order. The daily menu is seasonal, while the fixed-price menu takes away all the work of having to choose everything. And of course there’s always the go-to option of pizza.

Last time we were there, we ordered a platter of mixed cold cuts, cheese and mustard as an appetizer. Other available options include a mixed seafood appetizer; raw thin-sliced black Angus beef with frant, a sweet and spicy cheese from the Carnia region; and lastly, a mixture of deep-fried vegetables served with tartar sauce.

For our first course, we ordered the seasonal risotto, with bacon and porcini mushrooms. The creamy, al dente risotto merged well with the intense flavor of the mushrooms.

For our main course, my wife ordered the meat with grilled vegetables, which came out smoky and firm. I took the grilled sirloin steak with arugula salad and stewed vegetables. The steak was tender, flavorful and cooked as ordered to a medium finish.

I haven’t tried these yet, but here are a few dishes La Conca does that are on my list: sea bass baked in foil with olives; a fried seafood mix with vegetables; rotisserie-roasted suckling pig with sliced vegetables; and radicchio lettuce with sweet and sour ubriaco cheese from a nearby dairy.

I would certainly recommend trying La Conca. The atmosphere, the food and the prices all add up to a very pleasant experience.

llamas.norman@stripes.com
Twitter: @normanllamas

Address: Via La Croce, 17 33074 Vigonovo di Fontanafredda, PN, Italy

Hours: Monday, noon-2 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday, noon-2 p.m. and 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday, noon-2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed Monday evening and all day Tuesday.

Food: Salads, rotisserie roast pork, grilled meats, seafood; no kids menu available, but there are many side dishes and pizza.

Drinks: Draft beers, wine and a full bar; sodas, juice, water and coffee.

Prices: 10-20 euros for most entrees; course meals full meals average around 25-30 euros

Dress: Casual

Menu: Italian. Most of the workers speak a little English and are very helpful.

Phone: +39 0434 999870. It’s advisable to make reservations.

Crocantino dessert made with vanilla ice cream with a cherry-flavored center, from Ristorante Pizzeria La Conca in Vigonovo di Fontanafredda, Italy. The restaurant is located about 7 miles from Aviano Air Base.
NORMAN LLAMAS/STARS AND STRIPES