Food in Italy?

Feb 13th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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Food in Italy?


Thanks to everyone who have posted useful information that helped us plan our first trip to Italy in March. We will be in Florence and Venice. Any suggestions on precautions to be taken while eating out in restaurants?
Feb 13th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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Precautions?? Don't forget to take either local currency or a credit card or preferably both.
cmt is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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Chew thoroughly before swallowing.

thit_cho is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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Try to walk a bit away from the main tourist centers in each city--you'll generally have a better chance to find decent restaurants with reasonable prices.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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Other precautions:

If you'd like to order penne, it's very important to pronounce the double "n" sound.

If you order "latte," you are ordering milk. It's simply plain milk, not coffee with milk. ("Latte di mandorle" is a sweetened drink made from crushed bitter and sweet almonds in water. But you probably won't find that in Venice or Florence unless you happen to go to a place that serves Sicilian refreshments.)

If you order bruschetta, usually you will get toasted bread, with some olive oil and maybe some garlic rubbed on it, but without a big "topping." (But depending on where you are, sometimes it will be the above plus a tomato or other topping on it.)

Peperoni is not a dry sausage; it's peppers.

If you order "panini," you are ordering more than one sandwich. a single one is a "panino."

Fennel (the vegetable) is "finocchio." It is also a slang word for a male homosexual.
cmt is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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If the menu has lots of pictures of the food - and is badly translated into 8 languages - the food is likely to be poorly prepared and too expensive.

Look for someplace more real.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Hi-I would recommend looking at a cookbook by Patricia Wells called Trattoria. It's one of my favorite cookbooks and she basis most, if not all, of her recipes from small family restaurants she and her husband ate in all over Italy. I agree that anything off the beaten path is probably best, and I think this book will help.
Jenski is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Wear pants with elastic waistbands! and remember, the wine is cheaper than soft drinks.
suec1 is online now  
Feb 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Don't hang your pocketbook on the back of your chair.
suze is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Local/true Italian pizza is a bit different than the American version of pizza
beachysis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Make sure if you're ordering a whole fish dish that you may pay for it by the gram - the menu will say so - can be an expensive surprise.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 13th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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When in Florence, Crostini is a great antipasto, and look for dishes with pecorino cheese. It is so delicious! In Florence and Venice water is not always free, and if you do not want the carbonated type, ask for "no gas" or "still". Enjoy all of the wonderful food you will get to experience.
RSTravelers is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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If you are stopping at a cafe for a drink of somekind you will pay more to sit at a table (inside or outside) as standing at the bar and drinking it there is less expensive. And no, you cannot order it at the bar and than take it to a table and sit down. You either order it at the bar and stand there and drink it or you indicate you want a table and the waiter will order your drink for you while you sit at the table.
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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I definitely second RufusTFirefly's suggestion. Some of our worst meals were had in touristy areas. You can end up paying a lot for a mediocre meal in a touristy area or paying little but getting a wonderful meal if you venture away from the main touristy areas. We love to meander around side roads, menu shopping until something catches our eye.

tcreath is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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My florence gem. No one i've sent has been disappointed.

The hunter style rabbit is fantastic, as is any of the pasta with mushroom based sauces:

Trattoria Nella
Via Delle Terme 15e
50100 Firenze

It's very close to the ponte vechhio, but is also in an alley, with nothing else near it, so you do feel lost while walking there.

Seriously, no one has been disappointed.
bradykp is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 05:18 AM
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wow! So much I did'nt know about where to eat and how to order. Thank you all very much for the suggestions and tips. Any suggestions for good vegetarian food in Florence and Venice?
Feb 15th, 2006, 05:25 AM
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You can eat excellent vegetarian food in EVERY Italian restaurant.

The typical Italian menu consists of four courses:

1) Antipasti, often taken from a buffet. The heart of antipasti are grilled vegetables in olive oil which are served cold.

2) Pasta or risotto. Many of these dishes are vegetarian. If they contain meat it is usually a tiny amount, just to give a hint of taste.

3) Meat or fish. You can simply skip this course (which is the most expensive course).

4) Dessert, which is, of course, vegetarian (if you don't mind milk and egg).
traveller1959 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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Italian menus often divide into 5 courses:

primo (pasta or risotto)
secondo (meat or fish)
contorni (vegetables/salad)
dolci (dessert)

Don't feel obliged to order 5 courses. Although italians regard pasta as effectively a starter, it's still perfectly acceptable to order pasta and skip a secondo. Pasta dishes are often, however, probably smaller than you're used to.

Don't be shocked if you order a salad to go with your main course and it comes AFTER it - italians like to split all the extras into separate courses, and see salad as a palette cleanser at the end of your meal.

Not all restaurants with english versions of their menus are bad tourist traps - these are MAJOR tourist centres so virtually all restaurants cater for foreigners as well as locals. Just research recommendations to make sure you don't fall into a trap.

Pizzas are thin crust and won't come piled high with toppings - 2 or 3 sparsely scattered ingredients is normal. Not all pizzas come with a tomato base - if it doesn't list 'pomodoro' in the ingredients then it won't have a tomato base. Don't let this put you off - the italians kick arse when it comes to pizza.

If you stuff your face and are groaning by the end of the meal then I heartily recommend having a digestivo such as cynar (pronounced cheenar) - this a pretty revolting artichoke liqueur that will magically releave your bloated feeling in about 10 mins. Works like magic - if you don't like the tase then look upon it as medicine.

Bruschetta is pronounced brusketta.
Kate is offline  
Feb 15th, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Florence: la Giostra (book ahead)
Venice: la Corte Sconta (amazing seafood. . . they serve a tasting menu and their gnocchi is the texture of wet popcorn, but in an utterly positive way. . . you will see.)
Harry's American: incredibly expensive but I love it there. Drink a Bellini (14&euro and eat a burger (33&euro, then get their chocolate cake that will melt your bitterness at having paid so much for a cheeseburger. Then think "Truman Capote loved to eat here." Wander outside and down the street and buy something expensive (Codognato cameos is right down the street. . . museum quality in some cases)

laclaire is offline  
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