Osteria a la Carega
Osteria a la Carega is an old favourite of mine. Carega is the local expression of the more formal cadrega, which means 'chair' (look for the clues in the bar).
Cosy and authentic, it is popular with locals and the occasional visiting tourist. The food is honest and tasty. The background music, usually with a jazzy vibe, is always good. In fact, for many years the Carega hosted a lively jazz festival and it still hosts occasional live music nights.
There is no written menu (aside from a generic price list behind the bar), and the options of the day are generally delivered in rapid fire Italian by your waiter. Listen carefully for words that sound familiar - or ask for some help in English! There are usually standard favourites like Tagliatelle al Ragú but plenty else to choose from if you're feeling more adventurous. For a quick starter while you're waiting for your main, I would recommend the horse meatballs that are usually found amongst the snacks on the bar - a local speciality.
Today I had lasagna with ricotta, salsiccia and ortiche (which, after some discussion, I realised were nettles).
There's no sting at La Carega though and the pasta served with bread and water followed by a coffee cost just €9. A glass of wine on top of the water would have added a couple of euros to the bill. The lasagna was fresh and creamy with a distinctive herby flavour. Adequate rather than generous portion control left me feeling satisfied but not overdone.
Only ten-minutes from Piazza Erbe, La Carega is slightly off the beaten track and can be quite difficult to find. It's worth the effort though for an authentic slice of simple Veronese hospitality or just an early evening glass of wine.