Imagine yourself lost in thought as you meander around the picturesque alleys of a centuries-old Italian town, savoring every last bite of gelato while the scent of pizzas fills the air. Amid all this Italian goodness, I stumbled upon a gastronomic treasure. Let me introduce you to Restaurant Dahlak, a must-know treasure in Bergamo that serves exquisite Eritrean cuisine.

Dahlak Restaurant: The Unexpected Culinary Destination

The lovely city of Bergamo in northern Italy’s Lombardy region is one of those places that often escapes the tourist radar. It’s a city that boasts stunning architecture, rich history, and a tranquil ambiance. It also has a thriving Eritrean population, contributing to the city’s exciting food scene. An example of this is Dahlak Restaurant. This restaurant, located in Bergamo’s lower city, is well-known for its authentic Eritrean cuisine, and it did not disappoint.

As I stepped into Ristorante Dahlak, the warm ambiance welcomed me. The darkly lit dining room radiated intimacy, with traditional Eritrean and Ethiopian artwork adorning the walls, providing a pleasant mood. Andom and Haitanot, the husband and wife proprietors, were inspired by their passion for their land and began offering traditional Eritrean cuisine at various major festivals in 1996. Then, Dahlak was created ten years later, in 2006, in the old Borgo Palazzo in Bergamo. Throughout the years, they have worked tirelessly to make every lunch and dinner a meeting of cuisine and culture. 

A Wonderful Feast For The Senses

Dahlak doesn’t let you down with its irresistible Eritrean specialties served on enjera, a traditional flatbread. The aroma that accompanied the arrival of my big, slightly spongy meal was so enticing that it made my mouth water. There were a lot of tempting options, but I went with the tasting dish with meat, which had spiciness in the form of beef stew, chicken stew, and a selection of vegetarian entrees served atop the enjera, creating a colorful and enticing spread.

The flavors were a revelation. The spices were bold yet harmonious, and the combination of tender meats, hearty stews, and fragrant vegetables was a joy for the palate. Eating with my hands, as is customary in Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine, added sensory pleasure to the meal. Based on my fantastic experience, I suggest Dahlak Restaurant in Bergamo to anyone planning a trip to Italy looking for an alternative to the usual Italian fare. What you eat here is more than simply cuisine; it’s a window into the warm and inviting Eritrean culture. 

To reach Bergamo from Milan, you have several convenient options. One is the direct train from Milan’s Centrale or Porta Garibaldi stations to Bergamo Centrale. The journey takes around an hour and offers spectacular views.