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My Italy: 7 Travel Tips From Beretta Chef Ruggero Gadaldi

Notable San Franciscans dish on their favorite destinations in a seven-part series.

You can take Ruggero Gadaldi out of Italy, but you can’t take Italy out of him. Gadaldi—the chef behind the mini empire of Beretta, Delarosa, and Pesce—has updated authentic Italian cuisine for SF’s savvy foodie set. Here, the culinary impresario gives us a taste of the Old Country, his hometown of Bergamo, where he reconnects with his heritage, family, and appetite for the local quail.

The spot that really captures Bergamo's energy is . . .
Citta Alta, one of the few walled cities in Northern Italy, and the valleys that surround it.

I always leave full and happy at . . .
My parents' house, after my 80-year-old father cooks dinner. One evening he prepared polenta and uccelli (local wild quail). He had recruited a local hunter to bring the birds. At another meal, he made an old Italian dish called stoccafisso (salted cod cooked with home-canned tomato, winter garlic raised in his garden, and white wine).  

Among locals, it’s a faux pas to . . .
Refuse to eat what is being offered.

A hidden gem in Bergamo is . . .
Trattoria Del Tone, a restaurant in the outskirts of the city. The chef, Fiorenzo Innocenti, is truly one of the best in the country.

In my bag, I always pack . . .
The appropriate gear for the season. This year, I brought ski gear, including avalanche protection. The Dolomites are in my city's backyard, and there was an abundance of snow. With a GoPro camera on my helmet, I was able to document a run, so I could show my kids the beauty of back-country skiing.

I want to buy everything whenever I go to . . .
La Formaggeria di Bigoni in Clusone (15 miles north of Bergamo in Valle Seriana).

The perfect way to end the night is . . .
With a shot of grappa infused with a wild mountain radish (a digestive).