It’s no surprise that Ticinese cuisine shares many ingredients and influences with the cuisine of northern Italy, with less emphasis on pasta and more emphasis on polenta. The food is healthy, hearty and designed to nourish the body and soul. The ‘grotto’ is the local term for a typically Ticinese restaurant, with simple tavern-style food, a shaded terrace (often with granite tables) and lots of local wines to savor.
One local grotto close to Ascona (in Losone) that draws a loyal crowd is rustic Grotto Broggini, with its traditional interior and expansive outdoor terrace shaded by chestnut trees. Meals here are straight-up, honest affairs — the spit-roasted chicken simply prepared and presented with the creamiest polenta, a dessert plump with seasonal fruits. Other specialties worth sampling include the excellent vitello tonnato and a truly restorative risotto with porcini mushrooms.