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Are restaurant reservations really necessary in Italy?

Are restaurant reservations really necessary in Italy?

Old Jun 6th, 2000, 01:41 PM
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Are restaurant reservations really necessary in Italy?

I have necer been the nervous traveller and can easily do three weeks in Europe with a carry-on. True I am so bored with what I was wearing I may not put it on for two years---but all this chat about restaurant reservations is making me nervous. Normally I would walk and explore til tired, find a restauant full of people who speak the native lanquage and tuck in. This page is making me fear every decent restaurant in Tuscany and Venice is booked for lunch and dinner and I had best develope a taste for salami and bread. Any comments--I really don't want to be tied to restaurant reservations though I will take the advice for a few that sound great.
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 01:46 PM
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I'm with you Cheryl.
Stick to you current game plan- it's much more fun.
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 01:53 PM
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Cheryl, I too am caught between the surety of a place to eat and the spontaneity of finding a place to eat. I sort of did a compromise by making a list of restaurants (from guidebooks and recommendations on this forum) and the locations/phone numbers; if we run into trouble finding a place to eat on the first day, I'll start making reservations.

I figure, too, heck it's Italy...just about any restaurant will have good food!
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 02:06 PM
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Thank goodness! I was beginning to wonder if my own sense of culinary adventure was going to be enslaved by a long-distance reservation frenzy. If any regular visitors can comfort my remaining fears, I'd appreciate it, but otherwise, I plan to wing it and rely on my hotels for advice.
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 02:33 PM
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I've never done a reservation for lunch in all my travels to Italy. I only make reservations for dinner very seldom ... when I want to go to A SPECIFIC restaurant and know before hand it MAY be crowded.

Maybe 9 times out of 10 I actually do exactly like you, Cheryl. Here and there I may find a place that looks very nice and there's no room ... I may then reserve for the next night. Also, I like to explore. Very seldom I repeat restaurants where I've had very good experiences in the past. Specially when dinner isn't that cheap I normally want to taste something new.


PS. I do have an extensive list of candidate restaurants when I travel, like Elvira ... and more often than not I end up going somewhere else
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 03:41 PM
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Luckily for us people eat later in Europe, so if you're willing to eat early--about 6 or 7 or when the restaurant opens, there should be no problem. Another great idea to get onto a top restaurant is to get a concierge or front desk to book for you--always works. And even if you are not staying at a hotel with a concierge, find one, tell the concierge what you are doing and tip up front --$5 or $10, and stand there while he/she calls. Always works for me. Be flexible. Book when you arrive. And eat where the locals do to be sure of a good meal.
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 04:27 PM
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I'm so happy you posted this. I too have the same fears of having to choose before hand without asking around for recommendations. I love to just wander in places as well. It is funny but I asked about a couple of restaurants a few weeks back and how I like to explore and just happen upon a place and everyone said I needed to reserve. I'm happy with the responses that you are getting!
Old Jun 6th, 2000, 04:53 PM
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Paolo is absolutely right on. If it's somewhere very special and we have to go there, we make a reservation and that becomes part of the game plan. If not, we walk around and maybe find one to book for that night. If not available, we try for the next night. Also agree to use the concierge at your hotel to book restaurants. There are some I would plan around and whoever said there's never a really bad restaurant in Italy is also right on. And, remember, if there's a restaurant you MUST go to and it's fully booked, there's a great Italian tradition of having your big meal at lunch time. It also keeps the calories in tow.

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