All of these restaurants in the top tier are wonderful, but expect to receive a hefty "conto". For a special occasion these restaurants fit the bill.
Berton al Lago, Il Sereno - Torno
This restaurant inside the new hip-luxe hotel Il Sereno, has a gorgeous setting: lakeside with panoramic views. The restaurant has earned a Michelin Star and is the hot spot on the lake right now. The cuisine is a twist on the Italian classics. Indoor (shown above) and outdoor dining.
Veranda, Villa d'Este - Cernobbio
The Veranda restaurant inside the lake's grande dame hotel has a sumptuous, formal dining room. The room is almost surrounded by large windows lined with blue hydrangeas, "ortensia" in Italian. A bit fancy, and doesn't have a modern feel. Intentional, I'm sure. The menu is always solid, and they are known for their perfect risottos. Order the bananas flambe' just because you can.
The Grille, Villa d'Este - Cernobbio
The hotel's more relaxed restaurant is my choice, unless a very special occasion, with outside dining and dependably great food in a glamorous setting.
Navedano - Como
Everything is excellent food wise here, but it is in a bit of an industrial area of Como outside of the city's walls. Once inside, though, you'll find a beautiful space with opulent flowers & top service. Some say it is expensive for the experience.
Tigli in Theoria - Como
A Michelin star restaurant in the heart of Como. An amazing, transporting space. A beautifully restored . Excellent drinks & nibbles served at the bar. Private dining rooms. A charming garden in a small courtyard in the warmer weather. Truly wonderful. Price tag matches.
Marketplace - Como
This restaurant just outside the city's walls has a New York City feel. The menu is creative and delicious. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you did not order a cocktail from the bar. They also own Fresco, an artisinal cocktail bar in Como. Marketplace offers an affordable lunch menu.
L'Orangerie, Casta Diva - Blevio
You'll feel like a million bucks as you drive down into Casta Diva's winding, foliage lined entrance. The setting couldn't be more special. The best seats are outside, on the lake. The food is very good, but there have been service problems in the past. Worth a try, since it is truly a special atmosphere and architecturally beautiful as well.
La Columbetta - Como
A Como classic run by three sisters who hail from the south. Some say the price tag is way too hefty and that you might as well go to one of the Michelin stars. There's something about the charming setting that promotes a good time.