Mouthwatering Italy: 2008
When you take your tongue out sightseeing in Italy, what are its favorite taste treats?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
Wine tour in Rome
While in Italy in the fall I booked a private wine tour with sarah(email@example.com) in Rome. It was fantastic! She tooks us to the cutest backstreet wine bars, and really taught us a lot about Italian wine and wine tasting. Rome is such a great place, and a culinary delight if you really dig deep and avoid the tourist traps. We found her through the graffiti wall. It was the highlight of our trip to Rome, although Rome is such an amazing city, hard to just chose one thing!!
Seattle, WA USA Sat 12/27/2008
Fabulous sleeping & eating
My husband and I recently returned from Florence and stayed at Rick's recommended Soggiorno Annamaria (Fabulous!!) While there, Annamaria suggested we eat at Trattoria da Guido. We ate there twice in the 3 days we were there it was SO good. Via Faenza 34r - Highly recommend both the accomodations and the restaurant.
Winder, GA USA Thu 12/25/2008
Good restaurant in Florence
There is a fantastic restaurant in Florence that everyone should try - Osteria del Porcellino. I had dinner there a few years ago and now everytime I am in Florence I make it a point to go there. The food is excellent, unique with a Tuscan flair. The owner of the restaurant, Enzo, who I have now met on several occassions has always been very welcoming to me and my family. The restaurant is between Piazza della Repubblica and Ponte Vecchio. It can be a little hard to find, look for the wild boar on Via val di Lamona. From the street you will see another restaurant called Mamma Mia (which I don't recommend) but it's a good marker that you are in the right place. Osteria del Porcellino is next door. You won't be disappointed and be sure to tell Enzo that Kathy in Chicago sent you there.
Chicago, IL USA Fri 12/19/2008
Restaurant Rip-off by the Spanish Steps.
Watch out for this one Restaurant/Snack Bar by the Spanish Steps. They have hidden charges! They almost doubled the charges for our meal just because we SAT DOWN. Sorry, I forgot the the name of the Restaurant, but it's really close to the Steps. They had yellow umbrellas outside like most of the restaurants. They have an all-male staff.
If a fat, bald Italian Waiter grabs your arm than that's them. Just say "NO" and walk away. Go to the Ancient McDonald's instead and I don't even like Fast-food.
Thank G-d this only happened once. All the other Restaurants in Rome were Honest and had excellent service and best of all had good food!
Seattle, WA USA Mon 12/01/2008
Great Food in Sienna
Just got back from Sienna - and ate at a fantastic restaurant...two nights in a row, it was so good. They weren't in the "Italy" book, but might be in the regional. If not, they should be. Hosteria Il Carroccio, via Casato di Sotto, 32
Spokane, WA USA Sat 11/22/2008
Great restaurant in Mondovi', Piedmont.
For great eating in Italy, I like the Piedmont region, especially the region around Alba and the Langhe hills. This September I had a wonderful meal at a great small restaurant called Ezzolino in the historic center of the charming town of Mondovi'. The very creative chef, Antonio, can recommend other top restaurants in the area. There is also a nice wine bar, Le cantine Napoleoniche, on the central piazza (if you reserve ahead you might get a seat on the back terrace, which has a lovely view of the Langhe). My small hotel, Casa del Canonico (highly recommended; firstname.lastname@example.org), was a few steps from both restaurants. Don't miss the bakery in the lower town (connected to the upper by a funicular, also on the main piazza).
Seattle, WA USA Sat 11/22/2008
Eating on the Amalfi Coast
We just returned from two weeks in Amalfi and found that there is a little secret restaurant under the city passages that has great food and a wonderful family. Il Teatro. Ask anyone on the street, they all know where it is - try the meat stuffed eggplant.
Issaquah, WA USA Tue 11/18/2008
Eating in Florence can be overwhelming...
Florence's fun tour for foodies, anyone who loves to eat, or those that can't stand another day of just museums! We are all of the above and when we heard about the Taste Florence food and wine tour in Florence's city center - we jumped at the chance for something different and fun. It was more than we imagined. My husband and son loved it - we all did. The tour took us to a historic, local market where we were amazed to see the displays of so many foods. We got to taste a tray full of cheeses, cured meats, olives, and more. We learned about the difference cheeses, how to serve them, and got to taste the cheeses with all kinds of sauces and spreads. We sampled so many things - oils, vinegars, hams, so much more. Then shopped in the market and had some things shipped home from there. My son and husband were so happy to have a day free of art - plus they were both turned on by all the activity, seeing how the locals live, and learning about of the foods. We have made some family dinners planned around what we learned and the items we brought home. We reminisce everytime we prepare these meals and thank Taste Florence for enriching our family life in this way. After the market, we went on to a wine shop. It is family operated for generations, a local treasure. We learned so much about wines, my husband has added several Italians to our wine cabinet. The stop for gelato was my son's favorite - we had to return to that shop every day on our stay. It was the best! Plus the guide gave us recommendations on where to eat and shop for wines and foods. Choosing a restaurant in a foreign city can be stressful - will the food be good, are we missing something better somewhere else, is it a tourist trap, overpriced? We were able to select from guide's list and enjoyed some of the very best meals we had in Italy or France. We hope you will get a chance to visit wonderful Italy - and when you do, make time to take this tour - it is a living treasure.
Washington, DC USA Thu 11/06/2008
tasteflorence walking tour
My two daughters and I enjoyed our morning spent with Antoinette Mazzaglia and her Taste Florence walking tour. (tasteflorence.com, +39 388.169.6835) She answered all our questions and opened our eyes to local information about bakeries, wine, cheeses, pasta, vegetables and fruit at the central market, and gelato treats. We tasted in four locations in the centro storico, strolling between them. We finished the morning with bellies full of good foods, minds opened to new experiences, and many suggestions for eating and visiting during the rest of our 10-day stay in Florence. I recommend this experience to travelers!
San Luis Obispo, CA USA Wed 10/29/2008
Great restaurants in Tuscany
My wife and I enjoyed a week in Tuscany this summer and wanted to share a few of our favoites.
Florence: La Grotta Guelfa - Via Pellicceria, 5R near the market by the Uffizi, Great lunch with huge portions, definitely large enough to share.
Vin Olio San Zanobi - Via Zanobi 126R Small wine bar with excellent food, very reasonable prices on wine.
La Congrega - Via Panicale 43R Found in Rick's guide, Great food and wine, friendly english speaking staff, a little pricy but well worth it, a special occasion destination.
Siena: Ristorante Gallo Nero - Via del Porrione 65/67 Medievil style restaurant and food. Very interesting and fun.
Ristorante Guidoriccio - Via G. Dupre 2 Right on the side of town hall down stairs location. Friendly staff and great tuscan food. Reasonable prices the owner suggested local specialties and wine. A wonderful meal.
The last location I don't recall its name. It is a deli in Pienza just to right of the main church 100 yards or so. They had porcheta sandwiches that were out of this world.
Hope this helps everyone.
Enjoy, Rich and Liz
Rich & Liz
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 10/28/2008
Great Meal in Bologna
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Paris and Italy. Our best meal was near the end of our trip, at the Trattoria dal Biassanot in Bologna. Bologna was an unexpected treat that included a fabulous pedestrian market area with incredible displays of fruit & vegetables, fresh meats, proscuitto, cheeses, prepared foods and flower stalls. Our hotel recommended dal Biassanot where the owner Christina over saw the kitchen & dining room; seating customers, opening wine & making sure everyone was enjoying their meal. Dinner was so good, we were at their door at noon the next day so we could have lunch before catching our train to Milan. Valerie & Brian Wadsworth, OH
Wadsworth, OH United States Tue 10/28/2008
I highly recommend Osteria Ponte Sisto in Rome (info in Rick Steve's guidebook). I had the lamb and my fiance had the lasagna, and both were excellent. The tiramasu was also very good. The service was good, especially for Rome. I had been to the restaurant in 2002, and it was every bit as good as I remebered.
We also highly enjoyed our meal at Life restaurant, located on Via Della Vitae 28/30 (near the Spanish stairs). The restaurant is about a block or two off of Via d. Corso. The staff was very friendly and the gnocchi was excellent.
Finally, we also had some wine and cheese at a small wine bar near Piazza Navona/the Pantheon. The wine bar was next door to the Osteria Mario (off of Rue Copelle), which is listed in Rick Steve's Italy book). The Italian meats and cheeses plate was good, and the ambiance on the square was nice. A good way to end an evening (no "real meals" here).
Houston/London, TX USA Mon 10/27/2008
Restaurant Recs in Italy
My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Italy. Restaurants we would strongly recommend are: Rome we recommend Il Brillo Parlante which is just off the Palazzo Puppolo, which is full of locals and NO tourists. A local tour guide told us about it. Wonderful melt in your mouth pizza. We also loved Rick's suggestion of Il Gabriello which is on 51 Via Vittoria in Rome. Delicious food, excellent wine and amazing service. Make a reservation. Our favorite place was in Siena called Ristorante Il Duomo (you guessed it, right by the duomo). It is at 19 Via Dei Fusari. We stumbled on it and decided to eat there because we were exhausted and starving. I've never had and probably never will again had lasagna like it. It literally melted in your mouth. My husband and I wanted to go back, but it was closed on Sundays. The only word for the food is divine and the price was fantastic. We spent 20 euros on antipasta, two plates of lasagna and a 1/2 liter of wine. Loved it! We also loved Rick's other recommendation of Antica Osteria Da Divo. It's located in old Etruscan home. It was a culinary journey. The food was amazing although pricey. Rick says you have to get dressed up, but I wouldn't worry. It's not stuffy and you can get away with anything but jeans. The staff was friendly and the food was of the quality of a three-star Mobile restaurant. We had quail for an appetizer...who knew quail was so delectable??? Definitely worth the extra euros. If you're a foodie, you'll love it.
Cincinnati, OH USA Sun 10/26/2008
Italian Dining at its Finest
Your visit to Rome isn't complete until you experience dinner at Il Giardino di Albino! You are treated like family - outstanding service, excellent food, and entertainment by Umberto. Via Zucchelli 29, Rome.
The Hague, NL Sat 10/25/2008
La Cascina Ristoranti is worth a trip on the metro. It is 100 yards from the metro stop at Cinecitta. Cinecitta is where Ben Hur and parts of Spaghetti Westerns were filmed. The specialty is seafood, but they have woodfired grills for steaks. It is expensive.
Omaha, NE USA Thu 10/23/2008
Samarcanda Restaurant and Lounge Bar
If you're flying into or out of Malpensa Airport and staying at Hotel Cervo as Steve recommends in" Italy 2008", the good news if that the hotel restaurant is closed. The other good news is that the restaurant down the street is open. We had one of the best dining experiences of out trip there. It's a fun, lively, kind of trendy place with a great staff and great food. You'd never guess it's only been open for about a year. We highly recommend it.
Walnut Creek, CA USA Sun 10/19/2008
Siena - Caffe del Corso
My husband and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner here in September. Downstairs is a pizzeria and bar, but if you walk upstairs you will be pleasantly surprised with a nice tuscan restaurant that is reasonably priced. The Tagliata ai porcini is steak filet with mushrooms and melts in your mouth. My husband enjoyed "another" pizza after traveling for two weeks, but this one was exceptional. Added a side of fried spinach with garlic. We had house wine and homemade tiramisu - all at reasonable prices! Highly recommend this place...and the servers were actually friendly!
Elkton, MD USA Sun 10/19/2008
We recently returned from a 2 week trip to Italy,and of all the places we ate,the absolute best food I have EVER tasted was at Osteria del Teatro in Cortona.I had fagottini stuffed with goat cheese and pear,with a walnut sauce which was totally divine,and my boyfriend had tortelloni verdi in black truffle cream-also wonderful.The best lunch we had was at Fuflun's restaurant,which is in Ricks' book,and we had their pizza-cheap,cozy,great house wine,nothing bad to say at all.
shubenacadie, NS Canada Sat 10/04/2008
Cooking class in Tuscany
My husband and I just returned from vacationing in Tuscany with 3 other couples. We rented a farm house near San Gimignano. We had a great cooking class with Fiamma from Kitchen Chez Nous. She and her helper, Teresa, came from Florence to our farm house for the lesson. We made home made pasta. We had a great time rolling the pasta through the machine. It was alot of laughs and great recipes that I will try at home. You can contact Fiamma at www.tuscanycooking.net. Bon Appetito
Delta, BC Canada Fri 10/03/2008
Taverna Garibaldi Levanto
Me and my family just come back from 5 Terre / Levanto! Levanto is perfect to visit 5T and we had our best meal at Taverna Garibaldi. Best pizza we ever had and wonderful heplful staff. also taste their Focaccia and farinata. Don't miss the Tiramisu and the other desserts. the restaurant is well known by locals and tourists, so is better to reserve during wends and summertimes. They even give your kids a special Kid's Paper Table Cover and coloured pencils Ty taverna to make our staying wonderful!
Los Angeles, USA Sun 09/07/2008
Google map directions/GPS to festivals/sagre in Tuscany
I want to share with you a new web site, Toscana e Tirreno, (http://www.toscanaetirreno.com), which was recommended to me that provides directions to feste and sagre in Tuscany using Google maps or GPS coordinates. While the main web page has designations for English or Italian, the information about the feste and sagre in Tuscany is in Italian only.
This web site has a tourist blurb on each of the 10 provinces of Tuscany and the weather forecast. At this time, it only lists 2 months of feste and sagre in Tuscany at a time: current month and the next month.
Under Events, for example, when you click on some month (and in this case, it is either August or September), it will display a listing for many feste and sagre in all of Tuscany. When you go to the month of September, at the bottom of the listing is a breakdown of events by province.
The folks at Toscana e Tirreno are adding content frequently and it appears to be a good resource for those individual traveling to and/or living in Tuscany. I have added this link to my blog entry titled, Info on Events and Festivals (feste or sagre) in Tuscany, (http://moving2italy2.blogspot.com/2008/05/info-on-events-and-festivals-feste-or.html).
BTW, while you may have directions and/or GPS coordinates to the location (read city, town, village) of the specific festa or sagra, once you get there, usually my wife or I will ask a local walking down the street the question, "Dove festa/sagra?" -- where is the festival or sagre? My wife and I have attended at least a dozen plus events this summer and except for 2, we had to ask the question, Dove festa/sagra? to someone or drove around the town to find it.
By going to a festa or sagra, not only do you have the opportunity on sampling the local foods and wine but you will/may meet some Italians who live in the community and share a meal together.
That's it for now. Ciao, Ben
Monte San Savino (AR), Italy Sat 08/30/2008
Florence - What and where to eat- all about the food!
The best in Florence is Taste Florence (tasteflornce.com)...recommended to me and was the greatest thing! Outstanding food tasting tour that really added value to my entire Tuscan experience. Group of 7, liked that - we met in the old city center and spent the morning visiting the most interesting shops, cafes, markets. The guide was from US - so she spoke English, as well as Italian, made us feel at home. We tasted all kinds of foods and wines, and learned so much about the foods of Tuscany and even their histories. It was the most interesting time. Also, the guide gave us lots of tips on where to eat and what to try on the rest of our days in Florence; things a visitor would never know about nor find on one's own. She also told us about the surrounding hilltowns, restaurants there and places to go throughout Tuscany for wines, olive oil, local specialities, etc. The special candy from Siena, cheeses from another town , and (OMG) the wines! But, back to the tour, we went to a city market where we were treated to an array of cheeses, cured meats (Tuscan specialities), breads, olive - they even ship home for you. This place is in Gourmet Magazine and William Sonoma. We went to a special cafe to have coffees - still roasted right in Florence in the traditional way. Then we went for a tasting of olive oils - and learned so much about olives and the wonderful, healthy oils produced in Tuscany. The oils from Tuscany have a special taste - peppery - so good and FRESH! She told us about the Slow Food movement in Italy and why it is so important and popular. We had a wine tasting, and learned allot about Italian wines - their ratings and what makes them outstanding, how to select, and more. We had fantastic gelato and chocolates at two other shops. It was so much fun and interesting, such a good break from museums and churches! Just something different and very interesting - and, by the way - tasty!! Go hungry - there is so much to taste you'll want room for it all! When you go to some of the places the guide recommends - let them know who told you about their restaurant or shop - they will treat you like regulars. This really enhanced my visit to Florence and Tuscany. I felt like a local with all the inside knowledge of what to see and where and what to eat. Don't miss this tour - I'd do it again. Knowledge to use in your everyday life - ENJOY! I'd recommend Tatse Florence to folks of all ages.
Washington, DC USA Tue 08/26/2008
Food Festivals in Italy
Many food festivals, often but not always called "sagra," change dates from year to year. They will usually be around the same period, such as the first or second weekend of September...
Another amazing festival to check out (among many!) is the cherry festival in Lari, near Pisa. The festival usually occurs at the end of May/beginning of June. You MUST try the cherry fritters. I go every year for the fritters!
So many sagras, so little time...
Florence, Italy, USA Mon 08/25/2008
Monterosso Olive Oil Festival Date Change
Attention Cinque Terre travelers (especially fellow foodies). Rick's Italy 2008 book lists a Salted Anchovies and olive oil festival in Monterosso (Cinque Terre) on September 6.
I just noticed that the date of the festival is actualy September 15-16. Not sure if it was a typo or a date change - but just wanted to try to help others who, like me, had been planning to visit this festival.
Philadelphia, PA USA Sun 08/24/2008
Great eating in Monterosso
I just returned from my fifth visit to Cinque Terre and was lucky enough to find some new things to do and great places to eat. We first came upon Angelo's Boat Tours in the old part of town. We had the best day ever with them touring the coast of 5 Terre, swimming and snorkeling in a private pristine cove with a waterfall and caves for exploring. Angelo's wife Paula is American and she prepared the most delicious lunch using many ingredients from her garden and Angelo barbecued fresh fish-everything including the company was perfect-we felt as though we had spent a day with friends. One of the best values for our money to be sure-don't miss it. The second best meal we had was recommended by Angelo & Paula and it's called Barabba in White and is located in the newer part of town just before the statue of Il Gigante. Caterina, the young owners finance spoke perfect english, she was completely charming and helpful. The menu was not your typical Cinque Terre fare but a little more sophisticated, in a good way and everything we had was delicious. I had the chestnut pasta with pesto and tomato it was exceptional. My husband loved the tuna filet that they served at the table with a hot volcanic stone to cook as you like. The bruschetta with proscuitto and mozzarella was great as was the pizza my daughter had-she also ordered the chocolate fondue which was simply to die for-it was because of this that we had to return the next day for lunch. We were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful sandwiches, not the typical panini you always get in Italy plus wonderful large salads. The restaurant's location is right on the beach-good service, quality and a good value. We had the best linguini with clams at Osteria Baia in the Hotel Baia, you can eat right above the beach outside.
Barbara Lee Church
oakland, ca USA Fri 08/15/2008
How and Where to Eat in Italy :)
I lived and studied in Florence, Italy for a year and was completely blown away by the food! Now that I'm back in my hometown of New York City, I can barely stand to go to "Italian restaurants" here in the city. Here are some eating-out tips I can offer to those lucky enough to travel to Italy:
1.) Avoid restaurants around the main tourist attractions (il Duomo, Uffizi, etc.), especially when they boast cheap tourist menus in English. All you're getting is a mediocre (at best!) meal that doesn't do Italian food justice. 2.) Follow the locals! Italians know how to eat well, and they will lead you to the best food in the city. Even ask a friendly Italian for a recommendation; they'll never steer you wrong. 3.) ENJOY! Italian meals are always long and drawn out so both the food and the company can be savored. Don't just treat it as sustenence.
Great Florence restaurants: Il Latini (An amazing deal for a huge, authentic meal), NapoLeone (ZaZa's lesser know sister restaurant, frequented by locals, not tourists), Trattoria Mama Gina, and Buca Lapi (more expensive but PHENOMENAL).
New York, NY USA Mon 08/11/2008
Great Winery tour in Tuscany
While in Tuscany last month we stopped by Dievole Vineyard near Sienna. Beautiful location and Great Wines. They have a reataurant and agritourismo. Wonderful food for lunch followed by cellar tour. We tasted 6 wines with a excellent english speaking guide. She explained the wine and provided a taste of food with each wine for comparison. 10 euro charge that you can put toward purchases. Enjoy, Rich
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 08/05/2008
Guided wine tasting
We booked a tour with Sarah based on comments on this forum, and we were more than happy. We had a wine tour in the city of Rome and we tasted 4 different wines and ate fantastic cheeses and cold meats. Sarah guided us through the tasting and taught us what we need to know for future wine tasting. When we go back to Italy next year we plan to take her trip to Frascati. Thanks to people on this board for giving us such wonderful advice, like places to eat, and where to get the best gelato. We consider ourselves foodies, so we always try to make our travels food forward. Here is Sarah's email email@example.com
Santa Cruz, CA USA Sun 07/27/2008
Spoleto Albergo & Restaurant
Near Spoleto there is a wonderful hotel/restaurant in Monteluco. Yes it is up a winding mountain road. Claudio and Amma Rita Musco run this friendly place called Albergo Paradiso. The food is great and prices reasonable(esp. in Italy). Use a mapping service and it is easy to find. We loved it.
Castle Rock, CO USA Sat 07/26/2008
Il Pirata Restaurant, Vernazza Italy
My husband and I spent our 4th visit to Vernazza over July 4th weekend and as with every visit since our first in 2004 we start are days eating breakfast at Il Pirata. Our first three visits we stayed in Monterosso and took the train to Vernazza this time we stayed in Vernazza and as always the pasteries and the pure fruit Italian slushes are amazing!!! You don't want to visit Cinque Terre without stopping to grab a meal here. You are truly missing out if you do. We love the friendly, relaxed, and fun atmosphere that Massimo and Luca bring to their business. We are happy to call them our friends.
Ramstein , Germany Thu 07/24/2008
Nerone Trattoria in Florence
Thank you to those who have recommended Nerone Trattoria on via Faenza in Florence (a five minute walk from the train station). My wife and I, and our two sons, had dinner there July 8. Great food. Reasonably priced. The hospitality of our server, Julio, was outstanding. Save room for the warm apple cake. You won't regret it.
Ann Arbor, MI USA Sun 07/20/2008
Gelateria Della Palma
When in Rome, be sure to go to the Gelateria Della Palma on 20/23 via della Maddalena (not far from the Pantheon). You'll be surprised with just how many flavors of gelatos are available. We counted more than 120. After you've been there once, you'll go back again and again...as my wife and I and our two sons did during the four days we were in Rome.
Ann Arbor, MI USA Sun 07/20/2008
The best meal I ate during our 3 weeks in southern Italy was at Il Paniere in Vieste on the Gargano peninsula. The staff was friendly and attentive. We were the only nonItalians in the restaurant. The food was incredible. I had the zuppa de pesce (fish stew). I didn't recognize all of the sea creatures in my dish, but the taste was unbelievably good. Our dinner ended with a free Moscata drink and biscotti for dipping. I cannot recommend this wonderful place highly enough.
Austin, Texas USA Sat 07/19/2008
A month in Italy, and we found two restaurants that we still dream about!
Sorrento: La Laterna Due, run by the charming Italo and his family. The best food, wonderful atmosphere and outside tables, and the hosts welcomed us like long-lost family. We went there the first time because of the recommendation on this website and the reasonable prices. We ate there every dinner we were in Sorrento because nothing could have possibly topped it!
Spoleto - 10 km outside of town up the mountain is the woodsy town of Monteluco. The Hotel Restaurant Paradiso had a fixed price meal, prepared by the family chefs for eating on a beautiful terrace, with even more beautiful food. It was a real Italian experience (not much English spoken, but smiles got us by!). The millefoglie (lasagna) was delicate and dreamy, the Siennese pork was cooked right in front of us, and the hosts were lovely! This is also a good place to stay in the Spoleto area.
Denver, CO USA Fri 07/18/2008
Eating in Siena
In May 2008 my husband & I spent 2 weeks in Siena & day tripping. It was our best vacation yet & we've been to Europe 7 times! I found, thru browsing on this website, a recommendation for Osteria Enoteca Sotto le Fonti on 118 via Esterna Fontebranda, just outside the old city walls of Siena. We so enjoyed it we ate there twice. The homemade pici with wild boar sauce was terrific,as was the ravioli. But what made the meal for us was the warm chocolate cake for dessert. It was to die for. We went back the second time because of the dessert! Britta & Roberto(the owners), Roberto is also the chef, were fabulous hosts. In fact they were out of the cake that night but Roberto graciously offered to make a batch. How's that for service! We ate 3 of them! Some may think the walk is too much (but isn't the wandering half the fun) but believe me, it's well worth it. And if you have too much chocolate (as if), you can always take the escalator back up to the old city.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, USA Thu 07/17/2008
Sicilian canoli in Vernazza
Il Pirata della Cinque Terre Cafe. If you want a canolo that's the real deal this is the place to get it. The "Canolo Bros." who run this gelateria/cafe stuff their canoli the Sicilian way with sweet ricotta cheese (not with creme that you will find all over Italy unless you are in Sicily or near it). They don't fill the canolo shell until you order it so the shell doesn't sit all day and get soggy like most canoli that you see in pasticcerias across Italy. They serve many other things for lunches and dinners. The "Canolo Bro." that my wife and I met in June is a very nice and proud Sicilian that's been in Vernazza for six years to "help teach Italians how to eat". He took a picture with me and is super friendly. It's the distance of 3-4 blocks up-hill from the rail station (see Rick's book). Don't miss this treat!
Littleton/Denver, CO USA Wed 07/16/2008
Tuscan Wine Tour
On June 24 we took a day-long tour of the Chianti Classico region run by Tuscan Wine Tours (www.tuscan-wine-tours.com). This semi-private tour (8 people) was wonderful! Touring with such an intimate group was like visiting the countryside with some distant relatives. Rebecca, who runs this small operation, was extremely pleasant, and both knowledgeable and passionate about wine. We visited two wineries, had an incredible Tuscan farmhouse lunch at one of them and also spent time in the small town of Greve. This was a wonderful way to get outside of Florence for the day and see some of the countryside. It was a highlight of our trip!
Columbus, OH USA Sat 07/12/2008
Eating in Italy
We think La Gardela in Ravenna is excellent, and reasonably priced. Pierluigi, Piazza Ricci, in Rome is spectacular, also reasonably priced. In Florence, Cantinetta dei Verrazzano serves great lunches and good wines. Pasticcia Robiglio, near the Accademia in Florence, can't be beat. However, Self-Service Ristorante Leonardo, recommended in Rick Steves' 2008 Italy book, is pretty bad and not worthy of inclusion. Rick should pay another visit to this restaurant.
New York, NY USA Thu 07/10/2008
Le Sirene Ristorante in Positano, Italy
Positano offered us the best dining experience ever...so great we had to go back for our second night! Le Sirene (www.lesirenepositano.com) is a true treasure. Located in a private cove (free boat shuttle from Positano Harbor) the restaurant is owned by a new OUTSTANDING Chef and his family...it is a true dining experience. The staff shows you all the dishes of the day and brings out great samples to try...one better than the other. They catch their own fish and make everything from scratch including their after dinner drinks. The brusetta, eggplant and pasta are without a doubt the best we have ever had anywhere. It is so great, we recommended it to friends who just returned home saying it was the best dining experience of their life also. It is an all-evening event...not just a dinner. We would like to keep this top secret but also want him to thrive...so we must share! We will go back to Positano just to eat at LeSirene. Best food, good prices and out of the way of tourists...at least til word spreads. This is one not to miss...enjoy!
Frontenac, , MO USA Thu 07/10/2008
If ever in the Rivabella section of Rimini, stop at Ristorante Del Pesce La Posada - you will NOT be sorry.
Naples, Italy Mon 07/07/2008
Excellent Trattoria in Florence
We stumbled, quite literally, upon Trattoria Antellesi located just steps from our hotel on the Via Faenza. The owner was friendly and adapted the menu to my mother's low sodium requirements. The fixed price menu is a bargin - 13 or 15 Euros I can't recall, bought you an appetizer, main course, and side dish. The ribollita soup was out of this world. This lady must have her grandmother's recipes because everything the four of us ordered was superb. Dinner for four, including dessert, vino de casa, and a bottle of water, was 78 Euros. We went back the next night and experienced the same excellent fare (different items) and a similar tab. If I'm ever fortunate enough to return to Florence, I'll go again to Trattoria Antellesi! Traveling note: The Via Faenza was undergoing repairs during our visit, mid-June 2008. The street is unpassble to vehicles, not the Vespas!, and has a partial sidewalk with boards stretched across holes where the work is being done. It's a little inconvenient but not impossible.
Annapolis, MD USA Sat 06/28/2008
La Buca di Enea Restaurant
We JUST returned from a month long trip ,the majority of it spent in Italy. We, too, stumbled on La Buca di Enea in Pienza and found exactly the same experience as the previous poster. Gabriella and Antonio treated us like family. We ate there every night of our 5 night stay in Pienza and loved every moment and every meal. My "pigeon" Italian was kindly accepted and gently coached and the laughs and good times came with the meals. These experiences were our favorite in all of Italy!
Tucson, Az USA Tue 06/24/2008
Blue Ice Gelato
Blue Ice!! The gelato there is absolutely faboulous. Probably the best best I had throughtout Italy. chunky portions slapped onto a fresh crunchy cone. The pistachio flavour is exceptionally delightful. There is one just along one of the streets around the trevvi fountain. Its neon blue board screams out from the rest of the gelato shops. Mouth watering. Yummy!!!
sinagpore, Singapore Mon 06/23/2008
Wine Tour in Rome
we had five days in Italy, and I decided to spend my time in Rome. I was sad that we didn't have time to go winetasting in Tuscany, but then another guest gave me the business card of a wine guide in Rome who gives guided tasting tours, so we had a private "tour" with her. her name is Sarah May and she is fantastic and full of wine knowledge. It was a great escape from the everyday tourist places in Rome. We visited two enoteca(wine bars) and tried 4 different wines, and some cheese. She also does day tours from Rome. Sarah May firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 06/17/2008
Best Resturant in Northern Italy!
If you are in northern Italy around Bologna, the best restaurant which is owned and ran by a family friend is called Ristorante Gualdo it is the best food I have had in all of Italy!! the web site is at the bottom, it is located out side Forli which is a 45 mins from Bologna.
Portland, OR USA Tue 06/17/2008
Levanto, IT Due Luna Pizzeria Ristorante
If you are looking for typical Ligurian food, enjoyed by the locals, try Due Luna next to the parking lot that is adjacent to the promenade along the sea in Levanto. It was one of the least expensive meals we had in Europe and was excellent. The mussels were very good, as was the bruschetta and caprese, and while we usually don't do dessert at the restaurant, their tiramisu and chocolate gelato were very good also. We understand that this is a new eating establishment, but seems to be well received by the locals.
Tomball, TX USA Mon 06/16/2008
Incredible Emilia Romagna
2 words ,...... EMILA ROMAGNA ! The best region of ALLL of Italy to eat. Best Pasta, (cappelleti), best cheese (Parmesan - from Parma), best Proscutto (Parma Ham), best bread (Piadina), and best Balsamic Vinegar (from Modena).
I have lived here for 2 years, as well as in Piemonte and traveled extensively throughout Italy, and Emilia Romagna is the best....BY FAR !
But you have to have the PIZZA from NAPLES!!!
peoria, IL USA Sun 06/15/2008
Excellente Restuarante in Flornece
After traveling all day around Florence, my wife and I were hungry. On the way back to our hotel we stopped into a small resturant by chance. Boy we happy we did. Our waitress, Christina, a spunky brunette who made it clear her name was pronounced like the blonde signer but she had brains. We started with the house white wine which was the best we have tasted thus far. We had bruscetta and a mixed salad. Both we wonderful. The salad had a liqouriss taste and came to find out there was finnel in it. We then had our starter dish. I had the Tagliatte (flat pasta noodle) with porky mushroom suace. My wife treid the Tagliatte which a tomato and cheese sauce. Both were excellent. All the food was made fresh on the spot. I actually saw them making my noodles as I past the kitchen for the wash closet. We ended dinner with a chocolate dessert. I cannot remember the name of it but it was like a cream filled pastry covered with thick rich chocolate, shredded chocolate, chocolate sprinkles and fresh wipped cream. It was awesome. We felt so strongly about this place that we came right back to the hotel to write this. The restuarnt is called Pizzeria/Spaghettia Wine bar. tel: 392.0447702. There was no cover charge and the service was included in the price. It is located at Via Martelli 14 which is right near the Flroencia Duomo. I highly recommend stopping in. The price was very reasonable as well.
LaGrange, Ga USA Sat 06/14/2008
Excellent Restaurant Part II
Obviously it is clear that my husband cannot type and or spell but just to clear up the name of this wonderful eating establishment the correct name is the Little David, it is a pizzeria/spaghetteria Wine Bar.He did get the phone number and address correct and it was worth every Euro which was cheap for Florence.
LaGrange, GA USA Sat 06/14/2008
Eating on the Amalfi Coast.
Yuck! Whatever you do, avoid eating at Siracco Rest., in the hills above Positano, at Montepertuso. Marie, of Hotel California in Positano, sends everyone there. Must get a commission. Worst food in 2 weeks in Italy. Best food - Rest. Quattro Passi in Nerano, on the road to Marina Del Cantone. Beautiful setting, excellent service and food to die for. Well worth the trip from Amalfi Coast or Sorrento. Ask for Tonio, chef/owner. And anywhere in Italy, bring money. Lots of money.
Sanibel Island, FL USA Fri 06/13/2008
Rood in Rome
We were in Roma for about 8 days. We ate at Ristorante pizzeria DODO, via dei serpenti 87. tel 0648906716. Ricardo is the owner chef. Outstanding food,wine etc.We ate there five of the 8 days in Roma.
Payson, az USA Thu 06/12/2008
Great Beer in Rome
If you are tired of wine and want great beer, not Peroni and Morretti, go to Bir and Fud in Trestevare. The beer selection is fabulous and the food is outstanding! Organic and artisinal without being bland. I had a sausage and potatoe pizza and it was awesome!! http://modernrometravel.blogspot.com/2008/05/bir-e-fud-in-trastevere-when-youre.html
Houston, Texas USA Wed 06/11/2008
Some advice for having a wonderful eating experience in Italy (from a former resident of Rome)
Don't go to restaurants that speak English. Your experience may be good, but usually won't be great. Learn how to say "How do you make this?" (Come fa questo?) or "Can I have the recipe?" (Posso avere la ricetta?). This is taken as quite a compliment in Italy. By saying these simple words, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet some of the cooks at my favorite restaurants, I have been given dessert to take with me when I left, and I have even been brought back into the kitchen to help the cook prepare my next course. Also, despite its perks, it's also a nice way to let Italians know that us Americans appreciate them and their great food.
EXPECT to pay for bread. Italians don't bring bread to the table to try to scam us unsuspecting Americans. They do it as a sign of welcome and tradition. While the charge for bread may seem steep at some restaurants (sometimes as much as $3 per person), it's just the Italian way. If it makes you feel any better, Italians get charged just as much as us Americans do for bread. So if you have to pay for it, you might as well enjoy it. Drizzle some olive oil on it, and suck it up!
Get off the beaten path (especially during tourist season). Bus loads of loud tourists just seem to ruin a good meal in Italy. Don't be afraid to ask a worker at your hotel if they know of any good restaurants filled with locals outside the city. You'd be surprised how many great restaurants there are just a few bus stops away.
Find your OWN restaurant. Although suggestions from others are nice, eating in Italy is all about the experience, and chances are that you won't have the same experience as the person who recommended the restaurant to you. Take a risk. Trust me, it will be worth it when you finally find that one restaurant that is all "yours."
Rochester, NY USA Thu 05/29/2008
Delightful Trattoria in Pienza-La Buca de Enea
We stumbled on the most delightful and delicious trattoria in Pienza, Italy in October 2007. La Buca de Enea is on a little side street (via della Buca #10), and is run by an enchanting husband (Antonio) and wife (Gabriella, the cook). The pizzas were amazing, and when my husband inquired about torellini w/ speck (bacon), Antonio had Gabriella whip up a complimentary plate for him! We went back again the next night for more of the wonderful food and generous spirit.
Tucson, AZ USA Sun 05/25/2008
Manarola Restaurant-Trattoria Il Porticciolo
In Manarola, we ate at the Trattoria Il Porticciolo, as suggested in the book. It was fantastic! The salmon ravioli was one of the best dishes we had in all of Italy. We also sat in the restaurant and found ourselves as the only two not part of a big First Communion party. A big Italian family of about 50 or more were in a room there, and the waitress seated us among them. What an experience!!!
Spring Lake, MI USA Sun 05/25/2008
Cumpa Cosimo in Ravello Italy
Cumpa Cosimo's in Ravello, Italy. Fabulous place. Waiters are friendly, food is 5 stars! And Mamma Netta comes around to every table to be sure that all is well and that you have cleaned your plate! We wanted to take a picture and so she latched on to both husbands and commented "yum-yum" as we took the picture. We loved the restaurant so much that we came back for another meal. Wonderful place!! Thanks Rick Steves!
Debra & Mark W.
Austin, TX USA Sun 05/25/2008
Dinner in Florence-Hostaria il Desco
We visited Florence in May 2008. We ate at ZaZa's along with a lot of tourists clutching Rick Steve's guidebooks, but thought it was just "okay", not great. The next night, we had a very good meal at Hostaria il Desco, a small place on Via Delle Terme, a narrow "alley" between the Arno and Via Porta Rossa. It was worth searching for.
Glastonbury, CT USA Sat 05/24/2008
Two great places near Vatican City
Highy recommend Hosteria Pizzeria Da Vito E Dina, Via degli Scipioni 50. A couple of blocks from Vatican museum or Ottaviano Metro stop. Wonderful food, good portions, and excellent value. Not open Mondays.
Ristorante Pizzeria Osteria Del Pontefici, 165 Roma via Gregorio VII, 53 - South of St Peters about 10 minutes at Gregorio bus stop. Very good service and food at a reasonable price.
Columbia, MD USA Sun 05/18/2008
Capri - poor service at Ristorante
Had a disappointing experience at Ristorante "da Paolino", via Palazzo a Mare. Hard to find because it is set back from the main road but the setting is very nice. Anti pasta bar was one of the best I've experienced. However, we were basically forgotten once our order was taken. I had to go ask the waiter where our food was after sitting for 30-45 minutes. Poor service - among other things I was never asked if we wanted more water or wine. However, after I was served the food was excellent. At the price they charge I expect never to be wanting. Save your money and try some of the other great places on the island.
Columbia, MD USA Sun 05/18/2008
Not a place to eat in Ravenna
I found not all ristorantes charged for bread or service... but many did. I used Rick Steves "Italy 2008" many times to find places to stay or eat while I was in Italy for 4 weeks (April 16-May 11).
One place that was in the book, in Ravenna, is definitely a place to avoid...
Ca' da Ven Ristorante
Listed in "Italy 2008" as a place to eat in Ravenna - this ristorante had been closed for a year and had just reopened. Great setting - like the book said, an old re-modeled warehouse. It was easy to find as well. The hostess who worked the register is probably from England, from her accent and very understanding; however, the wait staff was amazingly hostile. That is the best word to use, hostile.
It took 10 minutes to be seated, but the place was crowded. The wait staff did not stop to ask drink orders or anything for 20 minutes. One group, seated before us, received some sort of antitpasti, but left when the waiter never returned to get the rest of their order. When our waiter (the same hostile man) came to our table, we did all our ordering at once. During the contact he said he spoke no english (that's ok, I can point)... Even when I pointed to the menu item, I got a question that sounded like a repetition of what I had pointed to; alas, that was not the case... instead the waiter was telling me he was going to bring me something completely different - at least that is what I have to assume, because that is what I got. The Paidine we ordered (there were 3 of us) were not fully prepared... no cheese had melted. I received a Paidine that I had not ordered and did not get the plate of sausages that I had ordered... I was charged for the wrong item (the more expensive sausages, of course).
We asked for the bill after were were done with our meal, the hostile waiter took mumbled something and walked off, we never saw him again, so we went to the register. The English woman had our bill and we inspected it, disputed the item I mentioned, then the waiter came by and she spoke with him about it... I couldn't believe the way he talked to her; it was italian, but I know when someone is being difficult or disrespectful. The English woman told us the ristorante had just reopened after a year, that the waiter was from the old staff (we told her how hostile he appeared) she said they were understaffed (that was apparent) but we told her he was hurting business by his attitude. We told her we 'understood' how difficult it is to be overworked, she said the only reason we understood was because we were americans and other people were not so understanding. I think this ristorante needs another visit by Mr. Steves, and it will probably be removed as a recommended place to eat until the staff improves. Ravenna is a jewel and I loved it, too bad this place left its mark on us.
sacramento, ca USA Wed 05/14/2008
Favourite Recommendations in Italy
Rome: Il forno di Campo de' fiori, Osteria da Mario
Vernazza: Il Castello, Il Pirata
Florence: Nerone, Tratoria Nella
Venice: Da Beppe
Naples: Osteria Antica Da Michelle's
Sorrento: Il Nido restaurant
Calgary, AB USA Wed 05/14/2008
Cooking Class in Cortona
I was in Tuscany last week and took a wonderful one day cooking class with Alessandra through Journey to Enlightenment Tours (http://www.tuscan-tours.com). Alessandra is an amazing cook and the class was the highlight of the week. We ate our lunch with Tania and Keith, who organize the tours. Not only did I learn about cooking, I learned a lot about the local culture and foods. I thought that I would pass it along since I enjoyed it so much.
Zurich, CH Mon 05/12/2008
Favorite Roman Trattoria was was Ristorante Da Giovanni, Via A. Salandvra 1, close to Termini. Nothing fancy but no bread charge, no 15% service charge. The daily specials are the way to go, especially the meat and prima dishes. Typically wine, antipasto, two primi, one seconde, and two desserts ran 40 euro. Our special favorites were the pepper cured olives on the antipasto plates, the gnocchi, the roast veal and roast pork, the torta di frutta, and both the house white and house red at 6 euro/litre. The waiters are all elderly gentlemen who made my 12 year old daughter feel like the center of the world. The service is extremely prompt by Italian standards but unobtrusive. The clientele is >50% Italian, but they do not resent tourists. In my mind the best out of 5 restaurants we ate at in Rome, went back twice more because we enjoyed it so much. It was probably the cheapest restaurant we went to, but had the best food, excellent meal every night, something different every night.
Severna Park, MD USA Sun 05/11/2008
Coffee and Peace in Napoli
A piece of quiet heaven in the insanity of central Napoli is the Bar Caffetteria De Maresciallo, Via Silvio Spaventa. We landed in Naples May 1 planning to go to Pompeii on a day trip and discovered it was a holiday and closed. Naples was a freaking zoo and my daughter and I were overwhelmed by the masses of people out shopping on the streets. We found this Coffee Bar just around the corner from the train station and sat down with pstry and coffe to figure out our next move. It was hard to believe that 250 ft away was a seething mass of people and cars. We sat at a table on street chatting with the 3 generations of proprietors in horribly broken Italian and English for a couple of hours until we could regain our equilibrium. There is an excellent pizzaria across the street also.
Severna Park, MD USA Sun 05/11/2008
Indian Food in Rome
I Lived in Rome for 4 months and the best restaurant I found was indian of all places. It was just around the corner from my apartment. it is called the maharajah and I recommend the lamb pasanda. Mmmm. I miss it so much!
Irvine, CA USA Fri 05/09/2008
Eating in Meta Sorrento
In Meta (Sorrento) is restaurant called La Tavernetta. It is run by Diego Navas and his girl friend Petra. We ate there three nights of our four night stay, eating everything from the light as air Gnocchi, linguine with fresh seafood, salads, the seafood risotto, the soups, ravioli, rigatoni with a dark spicy Neapolitan sauce, and of course the deserts. What we found remarkable about the restaurant were the variety of sauces with each of the separate dishes, the consistently high quality of the ingredients, and the care used in the preparation of the dishes. Petra's service was efficient, warm and helpful. Diego and Petra truly love their restaurant and customers and have pride what they do. If it is not too busy, ask Petra or Diego for a tour of the wine and cheese cellars. The house wine was a good selection and a good value as was this entire restaurant. In fact, dinner for four was no more expensive than a night out in a similar "Italian" restaurant in the US. It is worth the train trip to Meta from Sorrento.
Auburn, NY USA Wed 04/30/2008
More About Blue Ice Gelato
I agree with the previous comment about Blue Ice Gelato. I think it IS a chain restaurant, but it was delicious and ALWAYS packed with locals and tourists. A little EXPENSIVE though, 5 Euros for a large waffle cone. A nice alternative that I found was Gelateria Tartufo, located at 69/69A Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. I paid 3.50 Euros for a large waffle cone and they filled the cone full. Make sure that you WALK EVERYWHERE in Rome so that you can eat gelato twice a day and burn the calories off, LOL.
Harlingen, TX USA Wed 04/30/2008
Blue Ice Gelato
In Rome last November and we discovered Blue Ice gelato. The best I've had. It's more a chain type store (Baskin Robins?) But the gelato was the best...and the servings were huge compared to other places we've ordered. We got our in a cone dipped in chocolate -so good! Every dip was fresh. The flavors were wonderful, not bland.
When in Rome find one in Piazza Fiore and there's another one hear the Spanish Steps
USA Wed 04/16/2008
We had a gelato tasting mission this time in Italy(other times were pizza, pasta, etc.)In just about every corner of any city of meaningful size in Italy you will find a gelateria. We have tried so many that we have lost counts. But one really stuck in our taste buds: RivaReno Gelato in Milan. They also have branches in Verona, Turin and Venice. What sets their gelato head and shoulder above others is the freshness, purity and the incredible tastiness. We went eat their gelato everyday where we were there. Absolutely the most incredible treat!
San Diego, CA USA Tue 04/15/2008
We had the best rolls "brioche" to go with our perfect morning cappuccino, everywhere we went in Italy: Vernazza, Lucca, Siena,and Florence. It didn't seem to matter whether the pasticceria was off the elegant Via Calzaiuoli in Florence or a "whole in the wall" bar in the Cinque Terre. Most of them were still warm from the oven.
Roseville, mn USA Fri 04/11/2008
For an excellent and reasonably-priced meal (and wine), try Il Santo Bevitore, Via Santo Spirito in the Oltrarno district. The staff was great, the selections varied and delicious; and if you show up without a reservation and have to wait, there's an internet cafe just around the corner.
Bainbridge Island, WA USA Wed 04/09/2008
Discount at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy
Just heard on NPR this morning that Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy will give a 20% discount on food to those that show there US passport. I can't wait to try this out when I am there next month!!
Here is the link if you wish to hear the story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89457947
Seattle, WA USA Tue 04/08/2008
Eating in Rome & Sorrento
Just returned from three weeks in Rome and Sorrento area. Many delicious meals experienced by our extended family of six! Highlights include, Cannavota (near San Giovanni in Laterano church) - excellent, home-cooked Roman food, off the beaten track, at excellent prices; Da Gemma in Capri - also fantastic food with an amazing view of the Amalfi pennisula; and La Laterna Due in Sorrento - wonderful family-run restaurant where we celebrated 3 generations of special birthdays. Didn't experience a bad cappucino anywhere - recommendations in Rome are Tazza d'Oro and Sant Eustachio. Ciao!
Vancouver, BC Canada Sun 04/06/2008
Hostaria Nerone Overpriced and Overrated
In Rome, the Hostaria Nerone restaurant--cited in the 2008 Rick Steve's Italy--is seriously overpriced and disappointing, in our view. We ate dinner at this restaurant in late March 2008; for 4 persons we spent $100 and walked away hungry. One of the 4 had an omelette, so at $25 a person, we were not getting much. The bill was driven up by a 10% service charge, and an extortionate 1.50 euro per person bread charge ($2.40). So, we were charged almost $10 for bread alone (not listed on the menu that we could see). The food was ok but hardly outstanding. The manager rushed us through the meal, and was clearly impatient and seemingly trying to get us out quickly, although the restaurant was not full. All in all, this was a very unsatisfactory experience and the restaurant seemed overrated to us by reviews we had read. The nearby Via Cavour has a wider selection of restaurants and pizzerias; some of the less expensive ones are in the direction of the Stazione Termini.
Wheaton, MD USA Fri 04/04/2008
Tuscan Wine Tours
I had a great experience with Tuscan Wine Tours on my vacation to Florence last week. We toured the Vernaccia di San Gimignano region, visiting two wineries and also having lunch on a saffron-producing farm. Phenomenal! This is one of the things our travel companions and we will talk about forever. I highly recommend this excellent company to anyone looking for a wine tour in Tuscany. Fantastico!
Lambertville, NJ USA Sat 03/29/2008
Accidental Tourist Tours
I highly recommend the different tours offered by Accidental Tourist (accidentaltourist.com, or find through a Google search). A friend and I did the full day wine tasting/cooking class tour in early March and thoroughly enjoyed the day, even though it was on a weekend when the winery is closed. After being picked up in Florence only a 5-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio (15-20 minutes walking from the Duomo), we were driven out to an old monestary where we tasted 4 wines produced by the vineyard we were near. Our guide Jesse was very knowledgable about the wines and I learned a lot--all of my questions were answered. We also tasted fresh olive oil produced by the same vineyard and it was AMAZING, served with salt-sprinkled Tuscan bread. After wine tasting we drove to the home of the company's owner--Majla--for our cooking class. Her home is an old watchtower that has been converted into cozy apartments, where she lives with her family. After taking a tour of her home we cooked tagliatelle (fettucini) and ravioli completely from scratch, which was then accompanied by *delicious* antipasti prepared by Enzo, who also works in a local restaurant. My friend and I were lucky enough to have a private tour (the other group was a no-show that morning), but I would feel confident to say that even in the busy summer months where there may be two vans full of participants, you will have an invaluable experience, a perfect serene escape from the thrilling congestion of Florence.
Pasadena, CA USA Fri 03/28/2008
If you are staying in Venice and want to get away from Pazza San Marco you MUST go to La Piscina, located on the Zattere in the Dorsoduro. It is a splurge, and make sure you have great wine with your meal. The pennette with spinach cream and shredded pecorino was the best meal I have ever had (and I have thought about this statement ad nauseum, and feel confident to say that I am not exaggerating). It's a VERY hearty serving of perfectly cooked pasta in a not-too-creamy, not-too-spinachy spinach cream sauce that stayed warm **to the last bite.** I cannot gush enough about this amazing pasta dish. The dessert--pineapple sorbet drizzled in wine sauce--was the perfect ending to this perfect meal. With a great selection of wine, meats, AND vegetarian options, you CAN'T miss this waterfront gem!
Pasadena, CA USA Fri 03/28/2008
La Tavernetta near Sorrento
In Meta less than 5 miles from Sorrento.Take the 'A' bus from there to this great place. I have worked in the restaurant industry and Diego's cooking is outstanding. He does a traditional menu and another with local ingredients prepared in a light manner. Ask for his reccomendations and go with them. The man knows food. We were sent there by our hosts at Orchid Corner B&B in Meta. Also great. www.latavernettadimeta.it and http://www.orchidcorner.net/
Monte San Savino, Italy Wed 02/27/2008
Siena restaurant - the best meal ever!
For anyone who will be in Siena I highly recommend the restaurant "Cane & Gatto" it is in the center of the old city and very well known - I lived in Italy for two years and travel there often and this was the best meal ever! They serve a set menu of 6 to 7 courses so all you have to do is it down! This is a small cozy place, OK to dress casual, but it is expensive - base price for dinner for two is 120 euro (60 euro each), but for a once in a life time dinning expierence you can't beat this place! The owner is the chef, his wife helps out and their daughter was our server -excellent service. Trust me, splurge, it really is worth it! Phone or fax for reservations - only 24 seats, 0577.287.545, fax 0577.333.916.
Houston, Tx USA Sun 02/24/2008
4 Leoni (Florence) = the BEST
My friends and I were in Florence for a month last summer and had a wonderful time wandering between restaurants around the city. We stumbled across an amazing little restaurant across the Arno from "downtown" Florence and it was amazing! Although I have issues with the lack of salt in the Florentine bread, everything else was perfect. It is called QUATTRO LEONI and is frequented by celebrities on the downlow. It was fabulous and we had pear-filled pasta (Fiocchetti di pere con salsa di taleggio e asparagi). It was amazing; please see the website (www.4leoni.com). A MUST-EAT; YOU WILL BE MISSING OUT IF YOU DON'T TRY IT!
Spokane, WA USA Sat 02/23/2008
romantic dining in Cortona
If you are looking for an authentic Tuscan experience,you can do no better than La Bucaccia in Cortona. The husband and wife team of Romano and Agostina(he handles the front of the house and she runs the kitchen) are always ready with home-made Tuscan specialties and a warm welcome for guests.The restaurant is located in a charming cellar in the heart of the ancient hilltown of Cortona. The pasta is made fresh daily and the cheeses are also made on site. The menu, which changes according to what is fresh in season, provides all sorts of interesting varieties. One thing not to be missed is the Pecorino cheese baked in the oven with various toppings,(mushrooms,truffles,pears and pine nuts). An excellent and reasonably priced wine list ,heavy on Tuscan, but with a good selection of wines from other regions of Italy is available. Romano is always extremely attentive to all his guests and goes out of his way to insure that every one leaves satisfied. Highly recommended!
Washington,, DC USA Tue 02/19/2008
The most phenomenal dessert of a 3 month tour of 13 different countries goes to the Sfogliatelle of Naples! Although it is not the most tantalizing city a little bakery offers the most delectable dessert! The Sfogliatelle, not the layered kind, but the cake kind, at Antico Forno Delle Sfogliatelle calde, R.M. ATTANASIO srl. Vico Ferrovia, 1-2-3-4-Tel./Fax 081285675 www.fratelliattanasio.it is to die for! Just a quick dash from the train station past the vendors selling who knows what and up a side street is a blessing to those who find themselves a little disheveled in Naples. Take a number and join the local children and business men dusting powdered sugar from their shirts while smiling gleefully and begging for just one more! Enjoy!
Portland, OR USA Sat 02/02/2008
Best Italian food
I would have to say that the best Italian food I had was found in the neighborhood markets. We had the best produce, prosciutto, dessert, and Pecorino cheese at local farmers market in Italy. Although it may be a little touristy, the morning famers market at Campo Difiori in Rome was great!!! Whatever you do, stay away from eating near major tourist spots. They are usually very expensive and not very good.
Beaverton, OR USA Wed 01/30/2008
eating in rome
In 2004 I posted a review on the graffiti wall of the restaurant La Zucca Gialla on Via di Governo Vecchio in Rome. I loved it! We went there four times on that trip, and each visit confirmed that it was the best restaurant I had ever been to. La Zucca Gialla of 2004 is still the best restaurant I have ever been to. But La Zucca Gialla that I went to in November of 2007 was a disappointment. Not bad, actually still pretty good, but not magical as 2004 LZG had been. None of the dishes that blew me away in '04 are still on the menu. I think I should have kept my mouth shut. In '04 LZG was new, lean and hungry and eager to make a name for itself. In '07 it was successful; fat, happy, satisfied and boring. If I were to make one suggestion for eating in Italy it would be this: If anyone you might be directly dealing with speaks English, leave. Bad Italian restaurants get rich from stupid tourists. Good Italian restaurants worry that their neighbors might not come for dinner anymore. My second suggestion would be this: It's Italy- if you can't thrive on the excellent bread, cheese and wine available in even the smallest town, book your next vacation for Vegas.
Woodstock, IL USA Tue 01/29/2008
New Restaurant in Cortona - Wonderful
Just got back from a swing through Tuscany and Umbria. If you're visiting Cortona (Under the Tuscan Sun) there is a new restaurant right off the main street called Nessun Dorma.
The food was superb, reasonably priced, service was wonderful and the ambiance was in an old vaulted brick cellar with Pavarotti playing in the background.
This restaurant is new, and my wife and I highly recommend it.
Savannah, GA USA Sun 01/27/2008
Great place to eat in Cinque Terre
Here is an article giving all the details on a great place to eat in Monterosso, Cinque Terre. The seafood spaghetti is to die for. http://noambit.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/view-larger-map.html
Houston, TX USA Wed 01/16/2008
Fine Food In Montisi, Tuscany
We stayed at Agroturismo Belsedere near Trequanda, Tuscany in Oct 2007 about 30 miles south of Siena and after a very long intensive day of exploring needed a place to eat. Our Inn Keeper recommended Da Roberto Taverna in the next town over in Montisi. We were graciously welcomed, ate a wonderful meal of fresh local ingredients, had a wine collection of many excellent local wines to choose from and during the meal had the very entertaining attention of the owner/chef Roberto to describe what we were eating and drinking. Roberto is fluent and erudite in english and several other languages and makes the meal literally and figuratively. We went back again before we left! Excellent!
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 01/14/2008
I fell in love with gelato in italy and came home to discover that it was here, too! We a number of wonderful small gelato shops and restaurants that serve gelato in Portland, Oregon. One store is right across the street from our own Powell's City of Books!
Dallas, OR USA Sat 01/12/2008
Favorite towns, hotels and restaurants in Tuscany
We just returned from a 10 day trip to Florence, Tuscany and Venice. We used Rick Steves 2007 book, which we found very useful. Even when all the meals we had in our trip were good, I just want to remark that we had the best meals of the trip in San Gimignano in a restaurant mentioned in Rick's book (Chiri Biri). I literally cried when I tasted those gnocchi, since they reminded me of ones my grandmother used to cook for our family lunch on Sundays when I was growing up. The second place I want to recommend, it was not in Rick's book, however it was excellent, it is called Dolce Maria in Cortona (they have their own website). It's totally worth stopping by for an excellent gourmet Italian meal in a great athomosphere. While in Cortona, we stayed in a B&B next to Dolce Maria, which was part of a family owned hotel (Hotel Sabrina), with big cozy rooms, very nicely decorated, with big bathrooms at a very reasonable price (75 euros). Make sure you stay in the B&B and not in the main hotel which is a block down the road from the B&B. My favorite towns in Tuscany were San Gimignano (which was empty at Christmas) and Cortona. Do not forget to stop in Monteriggioni, a tiny medieval fortress town near Siena. Amazing place!
NYC, NY USA Sat 01/05/2008
A gem of a Rome Restaurant...Target Restaurant
I just returned from participating in the 7 day Rick Steves Rome tour over the Christmas Holiday. Prior to any trip I take I do extensive restaurant research so I always have a variety of options, this trip was no exception.
However on Dec. 26th it was a cold and dreary night and the thought of tramping across Rome to have dinner wasn't very appealing.
At the sugestion of our guide and a very brief write up in the Rome 2008 Rick Steves guide book, we decided to give Target Restaurant a try since it was just around the corner from our hotel.
I have to say that the guidebook entry for this restaurant does not do the place justice...it was sensational!
Now, I have to say that when I heard the name of the place, Target Restaurant, and living here in the U.S.A. when I hear the name Target a good restaurant image does not come to mind,(instead I think of a big-box store!) but we checked the menu earlier in the day and it looked pretty good.
The menu is extensive, with selections ranging from salads (which were enormous) to pizzas, pastas and full second courses.
Since we hadn't eaten much all day, we chose to go with the whole "she-bang" and had bruschetta, soups, fish and beef course, wine, dessert and espresso, yes, the bill for all that was probably steeper then most may want to pay, for us it didn't matter since that was our only meal that day, but you could definitely trim the price by just ordering a salad and/or pasta dish.
The service was great, we arrived just after the restaurant opened and there were maybe 3 other tables with people, within 30 minutes almost every table was full and although in an area with lots of hotels, there was also a very good number of what appeared to be local clientele.
I would highly recommend Target Restaurant on Via Torino just off Via Nationale any time!
Bluffton , SC USA Wed 01/02/2008
I agree with the previous writer's review of Ristorante Target in Rome, but be warned the write up in Rick's 2007 Rome book makes Target sound like a casual restaurant; it's not. Reservations strongly recommended unless you are eating early in the evening and expect to be in and out quickly before the crowds start to arrive between 8 and 9 PM. We found service a tiny bit snooty and felt underdressed, but that may be in comparision to our expectations of a more casual place.
Martinez, CA USA Wed 01/02/2008
You ate tramezzino. You had Prosciuto, which is a type of ham usually from parma. they are famous in Venice.
Milan, Italy Tue 01/01/2008