Italy 2014 Guidebook
Best and worst restaurants:
Best: Vini da Gigio
Why: Wonderful wines by the quartino, perfect pasta, outstanding plate of crudo. Great atmosphere. Very classy and felt local.
Worst: Trattoria Milanese
Why: We only spent one night in Milan and decided to eat at Trattoria Milanese. The experience was not a very nice one. There are two restaurants by the same name, but we definitely went to the one you recommended. Our hotel (Gran Duca, outstanding by the way, thanks again) made a reservation for us and gave us directions. We arrived on time at 8 o’clock on a Friday night. They initially led us to the main dining room that had a very nice, warm vibe to it even though it was less than half full. There was some deliberation among the staff. Then they led us back to another room, still with character but filled with tourists like ourselves. They seated us at the same table as a party of 3 even though less than a quarter of this room was full. It felt very awkward. The service was professional but there was a definite sense of feeling like a second citizen, which as a visitor to the city we were, but I imagine that you would not be pleased to have your readers experience this. Incidentally, the risotto was outstanding but we have had much better osso buco from the prepared foods section of our supermarket; the meal came out disconcertingly fast. We had thought that perhaps there were other reservations and that we were seated so oddly because it was going to be busy, but it never was. A couple tables for two sat empty our entire meal and only one additional party came into the restaurant (also tourists, also seated in what was obviously a tourist room). I have never observed a restaurant doing this segregating into different rooms until eating at Trattoria Milanese. They obviously care about protecting the local character of the place and are trying to have it both ways. We cannot imagine that you would want your readers subjected to this. This was the first and only disappointing experience that we’ve had on your recommendation.
David in New York, NY USA 09/30/2013
Best: Antica Trattoria da Tito, Trattoria 13 Gobbi
Why: The food was AMAZING!! The people were great and thanks to the book at Antica Trattoria da Tito we had free drinks!!
Sherri Jipping in Grand Rapids, MI USA 09/08/2013
Best: Varenna: Nilus Bar and Bar il Molo. Florence: Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori and the Borgo Antico. Sorrento: Pizzeria da Franco and .
Why: Both the Nilus Bar and the Bar il Molo are great eateries. The harbor and lake views are great, the people watching is fun, the atmosphere is casual and food is good. In Florence, the Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, was very good and authentic. Definitely must have reservations days in advance in July, but tables are not hard to come by for lunch. Also in Florence the Borgo Antico was delightful. Great outdoor shaded dining atmosphere on the Piazza di Santo Spirito, excellent food, great service. Very popular. Must wait for a table if you dine in later part of the evening, especially on Friday. In Sorrento Pizzeria da Franco was lots of fun, had great pizza and is exactly like described in Rick Steve's Italy. Gelateria David was so great that we went there twice in three days.
Kraig Kenny in Sierra Vista, AZ USA 08/02/2013
Best: Ristorante il Gabriello
Why: My family of 4, including 2 teenagers, each found something they loved. We walked in without a reservation, said "Good evening" and "Rick Steves" and they seated us a few minutes later. It was a lovely, classic, Roman dinner.
Lisa in Columbia, SC USA 07/31/2013
Best: Pizzaria and Restaurant Charlie - Orvieto
Why: Awesome service, atmosphere, pizza, and they were pouring Palaner beer on draft. An old favorite of mine.
Worst: Pasta in Rome
Why: I trusted the fact that Plotkin's recommendation of Feticcini al Fredo would be best in Rome. I found it hard to find. I ordered it and got something more like long flat egg noodles with a pasty sour cream sauce. . . I won't mention the place - it was not on your list
James Lloyd in Petaluma, CA USA 07/28/2013
Best: Taverna San Giuseppe in Siena
Why: Wonderful atmosphere, food, service, reasonably priced, our favorite meal of the trip!
Worst: Ciccia Bomba in Rome
Why: Miserable service on a Saturday night. We watched as our waitress served all of the locals promptly (even those seated after our party), kept us waiting at every step of the meal, from ordering drinks to getting the check. Food was inconsistent. Two of our entrees were served at least 10 minutes before the rest. One of my daughter's plates sat while we watched the waitress chatting with the chefs. This plate was stone cold by time the waitress could be bothered to bring it to our table. The inconsistency of this restaurant should be listed in the guidebook - foreign traveler beware! This was the only bad experience we have ever had in eating from the Rick Steves' guidebooks all over Europe over the last 7 years!!
Kathryn C in Winchester, MA USA 07/16/2013
Best: Trattoria da Carlo
Why: Food was sublime. Had an extremely fun interaction with Carlo and his mom (though she only speaks Italian) once I showed her the RS book. Food was just excellent and Carlo came out and made recommendations, etc.
Worst: Osteria del Conte, Montepulciano
Why: Just wasn't good!
Danielle Ayotte in Paxton, MA USA 07/12/2013
Best: Ristorante Delfino- Sorrento
Why: Spectacular scenery and delicious food. Our favorite meal of the trip.
Worst: Borgo Antico
Why: Lousy service and unremarkable food. Disappointed in this place.
Jennifer Durkee in Channahon, IL USA 07/02/2013
Best: Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre in Vernazza
Why: Food was the best we had in Italy, owner -twins were fun and gregarious, customers including us kept coming back each night...!! If they only had an ocean view but the food and fun kept bringing us back...!
Ken and Sharon Barber in Yorba Linda, CA USA 06/08/2013
Worst: Hostaria Borromei /Milan (p. 333)
Why: Hardly a "yuppie" scene. Just American tourists. No atmosphere. Blah presentation. Food rather ordinary. Bread like Wonder Bread! Flimsy paper napkins! (Never got another in 11 days in Italy) Very disappointing. We chose this for our anniversary dinner and should have followed the suggestion of our hotel.
Peggy & BIl Breer in Washington, DC USA 06/07/2013
Best: Ristorante Bagni Delfino, Marina Grande Sorrento
Why: The location right on the ocean is gorgeous. Great service and the best freshest seafood. The risotto with mussels clams & octopus is outstanding!
Barbara Doty in The Woodlands, TX USA 06/04/2013
Best: Restaurant Miky
Why: Delicious fresh seafood in an elegant but unpretentious setting in "new" town of Monterosso just down the hill from our B&B.
Jennifer Henry in Dallas, TX USA 06/03/2013
Best: Cul de Sac, Cavour 313
Why: Delicious, unassuming meals
Rebecca Barrilleaux in Centennial, Co USA 06/01/2013
Best: the restaurante gardenia in ravello
Why: the food, the service, the desserts, the locale...what more could you want?
Worst: some of the budget places?
Why: very nice to have budget recommendations but it does seem that they come and go, so it is best to have the most recent guidebook.
jack, paula and jenny gron in corpus christi, TX USA 05/31/2013
Best: Bufalito Inn
Why: The food was wonderful, especially the buffalo steaks. We ate buffalo mozzarella for antipasto and shared a T-bone. The next night we returned to the Bufalito Inn and ordered different dishes. The wait staff was very happy to see us return. On both nights the service we received was outstanding.
Gary M Jones in GEORGETOWN, TX USA 05/27/2013
Best: Miscellanea near the Pantheon
Why: Fun restaurant with good service. Rather than sexy wine (my husband doesn't drink) they brought us each a complimentary bowl of fresh fruit.
Sue in Lacey, WA USA 05/16/2013
Best: Ristorante il Caminetto in Varenna
Why: Moreno picked us up at Hotel Montecodeno and took us to his restaurant, where we had a fabulous four or five course dinner. Moreno returned us to our hotel at the end of the evening.
Gary Jones in Georgetown, TX USA 05/15/2013
Best: Il Pirata, Vernazza
Why: The food is delicious and the hosts are hilarious.
Kathryn in Vancouver, BC Canada 05/12/2013
Best: Cannolli Bros at the Pirates in Vernazza
Why: Thick as soup hot chocolate and to-die-for desserts served with great humor and Italian charm. Perfection on a cold rainy day.
Worst: Miky in Monterosso
Why: While the food and service were good, it was not a good value...we found it overrated and overpriced. Sorry to say!
Scott and Amy Schaefer in Buffalo, NY USA 04/07/2013
Best: "Osteria da Mario" in Rome: Italy 2012, p 860
Why: Quaint and friendly, family-run Osteria. We enjoyed seeing the family members run the Osteria and feeling like a welcomed relative. Food was pretty good too.
Worst: "Target Restaurant" in Rome: Italy 2012, p 865
Why: Very touristy. Food was bland.
Waiters expect a tip and one even brought over his manager over to pressure me.
Roger in San Francisco, CA USA 01/13/2013
Best: Hotel Olivedo in Varenna
Why: Best eggplant parmesan in the world! We ate there ten years ago and discovered their eggplant, the best we have ever had. In the intervening ten years we have traveled much of Italy and had good eggplant, but nothing like Olivedo. In September 2012 we returned to Olivedo just for the eggplant parmesan, and it was as wonderful as we remembered it. The proprietor said it's the local cheese they use that makes it so good. Try it...you'll love it.
Ron in DeWitt, MI USA 12/16/2012
Best: Ristorante Etruria
Why: Food was wonderful and inexpensive.
There were actually a lot of great restaurants in your book.
Worst: two places that were not on your list but were convenient
Why: food was not good in comparison to Italy's food
Ruth Stark in Sun Cityy Center, FL USA 10/22/2012
Best: Paulaner Stuben
Why: You can't get a better pizza, Tyrolean meal, liter of local wine, and a liter mug of Oktoberfest beer anywhere.
Joseph Terranova in Lancaster, NY USA 10/22/2012
Why: They were all delicious
Why: No complaints about the food.
David Graham in Shell, Ecuador 10/20/2012
Best: MIky in Monterosso
Why: We gladly paid more for a meal here -- great setting, impressive menu. Our best dinner of the trip!
Katie Baker in Laguna Beach, CA USA 10/15/2012
Best: Mikys, Monterosso al Mare
Why: Sara! She was a delight...***** food, service & Limoncello - thank you Simonetta!
Why: see above "no worst" comment
Betsy Santarpio in Moultonborough NH, NH USA 10/14/2012
Worst: Trattoria dei 13 Gobbi
Why: I've had good experience following Rick Steve's reviews but this wasn't one of those times. We were staying close by and looking for a basic Italian meal. We had the hotel call for a reservation and when we arrived asked for a table 'outside'.
The 'maitre d' told us that wasn't possible and offered to sit us at 'his' table - hmmm - really - this table was at the end of the bar, directly across from the kitchen and the top of the table was 8" from my chin. I'll chalk it up to here's two American women who wouldn't know a good table if it hit them in the face, literally. Strike one and two. We asked to be moved which he agreed to, but then told us we would need to eat fast, we agreed. Strike 3. Then we ordered salad and shared pasta and a shared main. All 3 arrived at the same time... hint, hint... he did say we needed to eat fast. Strike 4... The food was ok. Nothing even close to special, more like Momma's for Sunday dinner. Wasn't bad, just wasn't worth the $80 tab which included 2 glasses of wine and no dessert. In my opinion, you can do better.
Terry in Wilmington, DE USA 10/13/2012
Best: Ristorante Da Giovanni; Annicinquanta Pizzeria (Rome, both near Termini Station); Da Rita e Antonio (Milan)
Why: excellent dinners where locals also go; for tourists, go at 19:00, stay long, and watch the locals as they begin to come in at 20:00
Sean Fisher in Melrose, MA USA 10/03/2012
Worst: Antico Frantoio Bruschetteria in Civita
Why: The owner was rude and profane. Outside, he boasted of Rick Steves' recommendation on a sign. Inside, he was a jerk. I will never return.
John Cohoon in Venice, FL USA 10/01/2012
Best: Osteria dei Fabbri (Padova)
Why: Great service, wonderful food and a great value ... probably our favorite restaurant over the two weeks ... better than Rome or Florence
michael in Portland, OR USA 09/29/2012
Best: Tried many on RS list - all were fine but Taverna Foscarini in Venice stands out, see below!
Why: Had table on the canal, good reasonably priced food & wine, pleasant staff, sunny day, my husband of 47 years seated across from me - life is good!!
Worst: Ristorante Alla Speranza in Siena
Why: Not really bad since food was good & ambiance of Il Campo is great! RS said no cover, but they had one & were rather snooty about the issue - also wine quantity served was noticeably less than other spots we had been.
LINDA HOOD in LEWIS CENTER, OH USA 09/26/2012
Best: Florence--Za Za, Manarola--,Tattoria Il Porticcilolo, Venice Terrazza del Casin die Nobili
Why: Friendly and kind service with DELICIOUS fairly priced food. Scenic location.
Worst: Venice--Ristorante Alguibabio, and Osteria da Alberto
Why: Bad and unfriendly service
Cindy Bennett in Canby, Or USA 08/07/2012
Best: Pizzeria da Franco in Sorrento
Why: We loved this place so much, we ate there for three nights in a row. It had a fun, crowded atmosphere on weekend nights and was quieter on the Monday night. The pizza is fresh and delicious. The staff are friendly and English-speaking. Just note your table number and go to the register to pay when you're done! My favorite: the mushroom, parmesan, and tomato pizza.
Kyla Gurganus in Ypsilanti, MI USA 08/03/2012
Why: We were on a tour where most of the meals were provided so we didn't get a chance to take advantage of your recommended restaurants
Kevin P. Quill in Virginia Beach, VA USA 07/23/2012
Best: Ristorante Moresco in Levanto
Why: The food was almost unbelievably delicious! Also had great meals at Ciccia Bomba and L'EnotecAntica in Rome, the granita con panna at Cafe Tazza D'Oro is amazing, and the gelato at Giolotti's too!!
Kristyn Turaj in Raleigh, NC USA 07/23/2012
Best: La Cantina di Miky
Why: Real nice anchovy
Yoonhee in Minneapolis, MN USA 07/22/2012
Best: Rome - Cul de Sak, Insalata Ricci, Il Fortunato
Why: Cul de Sak - variety! Insalata Ricci - a cool salad was a nice change from pasta and pizza Il Fortunato - classy joint with an interesting history. Can't beat the food and the atmosphere for the $$.
Worst: Ciccia Bomba in Rome
Why: Great food and location; the owner was really annoyed when I showed him the book!
dkm in Chicago, il USA 07/13/2012
Best: Verde Mare
Why: Verde Mare restaurant in Sorrento was wonderful -- delicious food, attentive service, great prices. A lovely evening. The book doesn't do it justice.
Marianne Thompson in La Canada, Ca USA 07/11/2012
Best: Trattoria Pizzeria al Nono Risorto in Venice (p.131).
Why: After enjoying many of the book's eating recommendations we were totally disappointed at Trattoria Pizzeria al Nono Risorto in Venice (p.131) We hope you will not continue to recommend them. Here is our experience. We arrived punctually for our 7:30 dinner reservation; there were a few other parties there as well. Our son's pizza came about 20 minutes after ordering, my husband's and my food still had not arrived after another 40 minutes. We politely asked several servers (our original server never returned after we ordered and appeared to have been reassigned to the other side of the restaurant). After an hour a server came up an said "Mi dispiace!" It is all my fault!" We said, ok, no problem, mistakes happen. Our food arrived 20 minutes after that and we were left adrift from that time forward. After another 30 minutes of asking for our bill we finally went to the cash and asked if we could pay. They were clearly not happy that we had come up - although there were no other customers there and the person who totals up the bills was unoccupied. We could see no effort to fix what went wrong, and no concern that the service was so poor. Many restaurants would at least have the manager apologize, or offer a token such as a complimentary glass of limoncello. This restaurant made it clear that we were not valued customers. Mistakes happen to be sure, but good restaurants care about it; this one does not.
Amy Dalphy in Mission Viejo, CA USA 07/10/2012
Best: Delfino in Sorrento
Why: The whole package -- excellent, attentive staff; beautiful location, fresh fish & seafood, creative menu, delicious food. We told Luisa that she was our favorite restaurant after 3 days in Italy. She said she hoped they would remain number one at the end of our trip. I am happy to report that her wish came true.
Why: We couldn't find the recommended places, or they were closed. So we followed all the tips but still landed at a tourist trap. I have no doubt the pasta was pre-cooked and micro-waved. However, one bad meal will not erase all the fabulous food we did eat throughout Italy!
Amy in Hartford, CT USA 07/09/2012
Worst: 4Leoni in Florence
Why: Except for the pear ravioli (wow), the food was marginal--dry veal chop, tastless marinara sauce, fish very ordinary. Abrupt, harried waitress that would not explain the italian menu to us other than to rattle off "chicken, beef ,veal, fish." We watched her do the same thing with 5 other tables after us. It was like a bad Saturday Night Live skit: "Cheeseburger, cheeseburger." The other staff looked just as miserable. Nice physical atmosphere, but not a nice experience at all.
Barbara O'Connell in Philadelphia, PA USA 07/08/2012
Best: Belvidere, Monterossa
Why: Awesome food, generous portions, kind staff, beautiful view and wonderful prices. Also, at the end of the trail we hiked for 2 hours and appeared to us in perfect timing!
Karen in Cleveland , OH USA 07/01/2012
Best: Your recommended gelato shop in Bellagio
Why: The BEST gelato I have ever had!!! Just sweet enough, but tastes more flavorful. A mix of coconut and chocolate was amazing!!
AB in Murfreesboro, TN USA 06/22/2012
Best: Delfino's at Marina Grande
Why: Great food. Lovely people, including the owners and staff. Unfortunately, the night we were there, we had torrential rains. But that still didn't dampen our spirits and our overall dining experience. We will definitely return next visit to Sorrento.
Worst: L'antica Trattoria
Why: It wasn't a terrible restaurant by any means. BUT, it was disappointing. It's definitely more akin to a high end French restaurant. All style, not much substance. Big prices. Small portions. Lots of ambience. Not much to fill the appetite. We have no qualms about paying more for good food. But we found the food here to be pretty mediocre, at best. And I'm an avid cook and baker. Used to do it for a living. I know good food. One thing about Italy: there is absolutely no reason to spend big bucks for a good meal.
Mark Richard in Bensalem, PA USA 06/04/2012
Best: Bellagio, aperitivo et al
Why: Besides the salads being big and fresh, they were very delicious!
Lionel in Kennebunk, ME USA 05/30/2012
Best: Trattoria ZaZa
Why: Of four restaurants tried from two of Rick's books, this was the only one still open and operating!! Adequate price, service, and food, but really nothing special. Seemed like many chain restaurants back in the good ol' USA.
Synda Sallee in Scottsdale, AZ USA 05/28/2012
Best: Osteria l'anfora
Why: Helpful and good food. Downside: toilet was a 'hole in the floor'
Worst: Not recommended as is too new but you need to know: Ristorante Zafferano, via N Tommaseo, Padua
Why: Got lost getting there as very far back from the road so was late for reservation (absolutely no signage whatsoever - not even over door - had to check name on menu at door!). First words from head waiter: 'we're full'. Grudging gave us our table (tho' I felt like leaving & we were the only ones in the place). Food ok to good but service brusque to point of rudeness - so un-Italian! Bill practically thrown at me at the end. Put me in a very poor mood and so angry I was almost in tears.
Allie Taylor in Vancouver, BC Canada 05/26/2012
Worst: Hotel Zum Turm, Castelrotto
Why: Like the other top restaurant recommended by Rick, the food was over-salted, generally tasteless, unimaginative and highly overpriced. We had a much better meal in a highway gas station/restaurant near Trento. Don't waste your money.
Craig Steinfeld in Morrison, CO USA 05/26/2012
Worst: Cavallino D'Oro
Why: Food was tasteless, mainly tasted of salt, and was very overpriced. This was the top recommendation of Rick Steves guidebook for Castelrotto, and it was one of the worst restaurants I have ever eaten at. Both my dish (venison) and my wife's (crepes florentine) were terrible. I can't imagine why this restaurant was recommended.
Craig Steinfeld in Morrison, CO USA 05/26/2012
Best: Ristorante il Cavatappi
Why: The restaurants in Varenna offered some of the best meals we had in Italy. Our favorite was Ristorante il Cavatappi on Via XX Settembre. Mario, the chef, was "in his right moon" and the meal was beyond excellent. We had the missoltino with polenta in a light vinegar sauce for an appetizer; home-made gnocchi with a delicious cheese and chocolate sauce for the primo piatto; the lakefish special for the secondo piatto; and the just-baked nocciola cake for dessert. The wine was perfect. We also enjoyed the conversation with a couple from England and a couple from Italy, and Mario, in this intimate (5 table) restaurant.
Charlie Gingo in Bennington, VT USA 05/05/2012
Best: Il Brillo parlante
Why: Probably in rick's $$ range. Great selection of wine, friendly staff. Restaurant is downstairs, upstairs they have an actual bar with bar stools where you can sit and have atlases of wine, trying to practice Italian on the bartender. Near Spanish steps
Chip Milosch in Wauconda, Il USA 05/01/2012
Worst: Ristorante il cardellino
Why: In Firenze, on via s. gallo. Presumed owner is woman who never smiled, at least at tourists. We ordered antipasti..since they had one listed as being liver, assumed the "misto" was some combination - wrong. Chicken liver which we both abhore. My GF ordered grilled salmon, when they set the plate down the aroma was enough to nearly nauseate. They claimed it smelled fine but swapped it out for veal scalloping that was not overly tender $ and dressed in the saltiest tomato based sauce I ever tasted. Ditto for the mixed grilled vegetables which included chard with easily 10 times too much salt. When we finally got the check & paid the bill, there was no Grazie from anyone there.
Chip Milosch in Wauconda, Il USA 05/01/2012
Best: Osteria Mananan (Corniglia)
Why: A nice spot for a romantic dinner. Great atmosphere and excellent food. Our server spoke fluent English and German. Be sure to remember that it is a restaurant and they expect you to order a meal (we saw others get scolded for just ordering drinks and dessert).
Worst: Enoteca il Pirun (Corniglia)
Why: We stopped by early in the evening to reserve a table, but when we came back we were told they were full and sent away. We never got to try the restaurant.
Nessa Austria 04/10/2012
Best: La Palotta in Assisi
Why: Food was great! Ambiance was delightful. Prices were reasonable.
Worst: Osteria al Bomba in Venice
Why: Overpriced, under flavored. The polenta was good, though.
Marfa in Corvallis, OR USA 03/27/2012
Why: Fantastic food and amazing wine ... and in such a classy atmosphere.
Worst: La Rustichella
Why: While the food was acceptable, the ambience and "freshness" of the restaurant was lacking. The restaurant smelled of bleach and the the walls were visibly dirty. It was a less than memorable experience.
Randall Griswold in Kaiserslautern, Germany 03/17/2012
Best: Dolce Atmosphere - Mt Vesuvius and Birra Peroni - Roma
Why: Dolce Atmosphere is on the mountain actually, and this penne dish i had was unreal, and the bruschetta was so good, and the homemade wine...
As for Rome-- check out the Birra Peroni --its not far from the Vittorio
Bar Nettuno - Salerno --- the gelato here is great, i had a croissant with gelato in it, it was reccomended to me by a professor in college i had
Anthony in Milwauke, WI USA 02/12/2012
Best: Restaurants in Salerno (not in book as this town gets very short treatment in RS Italy)
Why: Al Cenacolo for upscale Campanian food near cathedral, or Ristorante Pizzeria Pinocchio on seafront. For the latter, look behind name and big neon sign of the namesake cartoon character; it is a very good restaurant with excellent seafood and other Campanian dishes. All Salerno restaurants we encountered were very reasonably priced.
Worst: recommended pizzerias in Naples -- Da Michele and that other one across the street
Why: I'm sure the pizza is great -- but we'll never know! A sea of people outside trying to get in, at about 3 pm on a Friday. So I thought, WWRD? (what would Rick do?). Undoubtedly, wade into the crowd, charm it with some broken Italian, and soon be seated at the best table as the locals performed an impromptu folk dance. But we, being made of lesser stuff, simply had a gelato next door and saved our appetite for another good dinner back in Salerno.
Phil in Washington, DC USA 12/20/2011
Best: Ristorante il Gabriello (Rome)
Why: It was so good we ate there at both the beginning and end of our trip. The food was superb, the service was excellent (with the exception of one haughty young waitress on our second visit), and the restaurant is lovely. The panna cotta with caramel sauce is wonderful - we had it on both visits. It is expensive but the splurge was worth it.
Why: All of the recommended restaurants at which we ate were very good.
Karen in Winnipeg, MB Canada 11/27/2011
Best: Dao Lilo restaurant in Reiomaggiore, IT
Why: Recommended by both the Guidebook, and Massimo (of the Canolli Brothers in Vernazza), this place lived up to its reputation for dinner.
Worst: Il Pirun, Corniglia, IT
Why: The recommended Il Pirum, in Corniglia was not as it was described. Since the (also recommended) restaurant next door was packed, we tried Il Pirun. Mario, the proprietor, was not at all welcoming, but since it was lunch hour and we were hungry after the high trail hike from Vernazza, we decided to stay. The restaurant, up a narrow curving staircase, was nice enough, but completely empty. The teenage waitress was very surly and played an Italian version of MTV very loud on a wide screen TV. We asked for separate checks, and were greeted with disgust. Then we learned that we would be charged 2.5 euros per person as a cover charge. The food was good enough, but too expensive considering the cover charge, and I certainly cannot recommend the atmosphere or service!
Arlene Geist in Seattle, WA USA 11/08/2011
Best: Dar Poeta_Rome and Galottis for gelata
Why: Best pizza in 3 weeks touring Italy. The desert Nutella calzone was pure heaven. Went back when we had 24hour delay because of Air France strike and we got a bonus night in Rome-VERY GOOD LUCK!!!
Jolanda Terhoeven in Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA 11/07/2011
Best: Antica Osteria Da Divo, Siena
Why: Incredible setting - multiple levels carved into the rock. Creative and fresh cooking. Lots of fresh truffles. Great service and a good wine list.
Worst: Trattoria Mario's, Florence
Why: Tourist overload - this must be in every guidebook worldwide. Cramped seating. Food isn't bad but also not great. At least it was cheap.
John Osgood in New York, NY USA 11/01/2011
Best: Osteria del Conte in Montepulciano,
Why: Delicious food, wonderful wait staff, and a true Italian dining experience capped off when the owner visits your table to see if you are satisfied. Don't miss this experience but reservations are needed as it is small and the people don't eat and run.
Pat in Middletown, DE USA 10/31/2011
Best: Pirates in Vernazza
Why: Incredible food, the owners are very entertaining. we ate there 3 times.
Dale Kingsbury in St. Paul, mn USA 10/28/2011
Best: Miky's - Monterosso, Cinque Terre
Why: Anchovy sampler platter was fantastic. Right on the waterfront, friendly service.
Mark and Doreen in Pittsburgh, PA USA 10/21/2011
Worst: Ristorante La Pentolaccia in Rome
Why: Food was good but service was awful. It was Sunday evening and I don't know if they were short on help but our waiter just seemed to ignore us. Courses came very slow. Very disappointed given the price of the meal
Nancy in Scotch Plains, NJ USA 10/06/2011
Best: Ristorante La Loggetta in Cortona
Why: The Food was absolutely amazing
Laura Lee Crosetti in Putnam, CT USA 09/30/2011
Best: Ristorante Belforte, Vernazza, Cinque terre
Why: Owner/Manager very engaging guy. Waiter was friendly, hard-working. View was unbeatable, lovely breeze. Food was excellent--the only really good restaurant we found in our entire trip. Be prepared to spend the egg money but it is worth it.
Worst: No real "worst."
Why: We found most restaurants in Rome and Florence only satisfactory at best. Some were less so. Very ordinary, often mediocre food.
Dick and Denise Devlin in Kingston, NH USA 09/26/2011
Best: La Palomba in Orvieto
Why: Homemade pasta with shaved truffles. YUM
Barbara James in Beaufort , SC USA 09/25/2011
Best: Restaurante Miky
Why: Reservations are a must as Miky fills up fast. It opens at 7pm - and there was a line at the door at 7pm. Fortunately I had made a reservation as those without one werer being turned away.
We had probably the best dinner we have had in a long time. It started with splitting the spaghetti with clams ‘Primi’. It arrived in a crock covered with a thin, crispy dough shell that gets flambéed with brandy. It gets torn off and is like pizza crust that the spaghetti gets put on. Delicious, with fresh tomatoes and lots of little clams in the shell - we are still talking about it.
Then the main event - Presentation of my mixed grilled seafood was incredible. Fresh tuna with capers, swordfish, scampi, prawns, razor clams, calamari and scallops - all laid out on a huge square plate. It was pretty to look at and tasted even better. My husband had a huge steak smothered in balsamic with cherry tomatoes and chipolini onions. It was truly OUTSTANDING! With a bottle of the house wine it was about €121 (about $165) with tip and worth every penny.
Laurie in Martinez, CA USA 09/24/2011
Best: So many!
Why: In Varenna: Vecchia Varenna, Ristorante la Vista, Ristorante del Sole (great pizza and we sat in the garden) In Bellagio: La Punta Ristorante (so peaceful and we needed the escape from the busy town) In Monterosso: Il Casello, Ristorante Belvedere, In Florence: Grom (we went there twice in the same day) Borgo Antico- Panzanella Salad and Pizza- so good, Trattoria Marione (osso bucco)
Why: Everything we tried was great- we were in Florence 3 days 2 nights August 24th, 25th and 26th and a lot of the restaurants in your book were closed (we expected that and want to go back another time to try them!)
Liza in Syracuse, NY USA 09/05/2011
Best: Couldn't get in to most of your recommendations
Why: Best food we found in Italy was in Pisa and Bologna
Worst: Die Frescobaldi restaurant in Florence
Why: Terrible food and rude staff
Pat Geddes in Berthoud, CO USA 08/16/2011
Why: Best pizza I have ever had!
Angel in Katy, TX USA 07/27/2011
Best: Ristorante il Gabriello in Rome
Why: The food was incredible and the atmosphere was delightful. Claudio and his support team enjoy what they are doing. The dining in many of these restaurants was like a celebration with friends...which of course is what it was.
Joe and Lila Klein in Richmond, MN USA 07/26/2011
Best: La Rinascente Food court in Milan; La Lampara in S. Margharita; Restaurant Metastasio; Tre Pupazzi
Why: While the Restaurant Metastasio in Assisi had the greatest view on our trip, the food was superb and should not be underestimated. Also, Tre Pupazzi in Rome along Borgo Pio has incredible food and a great menu and very reasonable.
Worst: Trattoria Milanese in Milan
Why: We could not find it.
John and Elyse O'Kane in Stone Mountain, GA USA 07/24/2011
Best: All of them
Why: All recommendations were great!
Debbie in Benton, Ky USA 07/20/2011
Best: RISTORO DI CAMBI in Florence
Why: Absolutely the best beef I've eaten in my life. To die for. Great service! They allowed us to dine without a reservation, but we arrived relatively early at 7PM. Reservations would be a good idea. Waitress was very pleasant and patient with my daughter and her three new summer-session-abroad roommates who joined us for dinner. Fresh caprese salad was a treat and the local pasta dishes were delightful. House white wine was very nice. Great value too. I'd go back to Italy just for the beef!
Maureen in Grayslake, IL USA 07/18/2011
Best: Ristorante Pizzeria Sacro e Profano
Why: This was really hard to find near the Trevi fountain. The streets were not marked (or at least we never found any signs). One family arrived with the Rick Steve's book in hand and said they had reservations from the night before but could never find it. The food was different. Never had Calabrian food before, but it was a nice change.
Worst: Ricci Est Est Est Pizzeria
Why: We went there twice because we liked the food. But the first time we went our receipt was stamped with "Service not included" so we tipped. The next time we went, our receipt was not stamped. So we felt gouged.
D Mitchell in Elk Grove, CA USA 07/12/2011
Best: ROME: BY THE SPANISH STEPS
Why: I DO NOT KNOW THE NAME OF THE RESTAURANT...SORRY
SANDI KELLY in SARASOTA, FL USA 07/10/2011
Best: ROME: Ristorante alla Rampa
Why: Located in a small square near the Spanish Steps, this restaurant is excellent. It used to be recommended by RS, but was dropped from the books several years ago, which we can't understand. We have been there several times over the years, and always enjoyed it. It has the most incredible antipasto bar, and we routinely make a meal of that alone. House wine is very reasonably priced, and outdoor seating is excellent. It should be included once again as a recommendation.
Ron in DeWitt, MI USA 06/30/2011
Best: Venice: Antica Berraria la Corte
Why: Exactly as recommended by RS, we ate dinner there two of our three nights in Venice. Food and service were excellent; lots of outdoor seating; and the big square which our young grandkids loved. They played with other children from the restaurant and the neighborhood as we older folks finished our wine and relaxed. A great spot.
Ron in DeWitt, MI USA 06/30/2011
Best: Marina Piccola and Trattoria Dal Billy in Manarola
Why: The first is on the water; the second has a great view of the water. Great food and service at both restaurants.
Worst: Osteria da Mario
Why: We were sitting outside; the restaurant adjoins a bar, and someone seated at the table abutting ours was blowing smoke our way, so we asked to be moved indoors (before we'd disturbed the table setting.) Our waiter was very annoyed about moving us, and our service suffered because of it. The owner actually told our waiter to bring us our check before we asked for it.
Lynette Taylor in Brooksville, FL USA 06/24/2011
Best: Trattoria da Billy
Why: Service by Eduardo, Aria di Mare's Maurizio's brother, was devoted, humorous, and welcoming of female couples. Plus, the food was superb and the sunset view of the ocean was gorgeous.
Roxanne in Seattle, WA USA 06/20/2011
Best: Vecchia Varenna
Why: The lake fish dishes were absolutely delicious, as were the desserts.
Why: All of the restaurants recommended were excellent. We stayed away from the menu turistico because we wanted the real thing.
Liz Santos in Seattle, WA USA 06/06/2011
Best: Trattoria la Pallota in Assisi
Why: Great service, unusual food, lovely setting. I left my camera, hat and scarf there, and they called the hotel to tell me, and I picked it up the next day. Stefano at La Pallota was also very generous about helping us.
suzanne conrad in Trinity Center, CA USA 05/31/2011
Best: Taverna Le Coppelle in Rome
Why: Outstanding pizza, good wine, fast service, lively atmosphere, low prices. What's not to like?
Worst: Osteria al Duca in Verona
Why: The food served here is WAY beyond the comfort range of most RS travelers, I'm pretty sure. Lots of horse and donkey meat, and some of the other local dishes are really hard to like (thin slices of cold veal with a tuna/mayo spread on it that was disgusting).
Michael in Seattle, WA USA 05/25/2011
Best: Antica Osteria Il Baretto
Why: Even thought there is not a sea view, you can sit outside and people watch. The food was delicious and more reasonably priceded then the restaurants on the square.
Worst: Trattoria Gianni
Why: Loved the hotel, but the food was not that great and very expensive. There vino del la casa was per bottle. Could not get a carafe. Was expensive and again, not the good.
Penney Haas in Belleville, IL USA 05/17/2011
Best: La Palomba
Why: very good quality and price
Worst: Agriturismo Pomonte, Umbria
Why: The food and wine was mediocre and we (4 of us) didn't eat almost anything and we were charged an exhobirant price (35 euros per head for nothing)
Elizabeth George in CLES, TN Italy 05/15/2011
Best: Lucca / Osteria via S. Giorgio
Why: All four of our dishes were outstanding. It was by far our favorite restaurant in Italy.
S. Blank in Seattle, WA USA 05/06/2011
Best: Ristorante Antica Sacrestia
Why: Only had Pizza Diavola and house wine, but was very good, despite being jammed. Would definitely visit again and recommend.
Worst: Ristorante alla Conchiglia
Why: Had the advertised fixed-price dinner. Where do I start? Paper napkins (everyone else in view had cloth). Stale bread. No butter. Wife had lasagne w/ meat sauce, breaded chicken cutlet and green salad. Lasagne "sauce" looked and tasted as if made w/ Campbell's Tomato Soup...no "meat" to be found. Breaded chicken breast was paper thin, and only of reasonable size due to being pounded to size. Worst was the green salad, which was yellow and almost the core. On the other hand, I had the spaghetti w/ clam sauce, fish fillet and roasted potatoes, which other than being treated like second class customers, was good. Don't waste your time or money.
Marshall Bender in Seattle, WA USA 04/28/2011
Best: Trattoria del Moro Aronne in Orvieto
Why: Best pasta ever, anywhere!
rachele in napa, ca USA 04/19/2011
Best: Trattoria del Moro, Orvieto, Italy
Why: The Nidi was to die for......as was the canneloni. Perhaps the best meal of our 9 day journey.
Jona Matevish in Santa Rosa, CA USA 03/14/2011
Best: Sorrento....il Buco and L'antica Trattoria a close 2nd
Why: fabulous food at both and servers at il Buco made it one of the best meals ever ...both expensive but worth every euro....
Pete Hall in Haddonfield, NJ USA 02/20/2011
Best: L'Alta Marea
Why: Amazing seafood. Best in Italy
Worst: Trattoria da Erminio
Why: Worst steak we we have ever had. The meat was rancid and tasted and smelled bad. We sent it back but were charged for it anyway.
Marisol Grossling in Vancouver, BC Canada 01/04/2011
Worst: trattoria pizzeria al Nono Risorto, venice
Why: the pizza tastes like cardboard, the house wine was bad, and they charged me a 2 euro cover charge on top of the excessively expensive bad pizza and bad wine
candace crawford in new orleans, la USA 01/04/2011