Good Seafood in Rome and Florence

Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:51 PM
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Good Seafood in Rome and Florence

I live in Colorado - yes, we get 'jet fresh' fish and seafood, but it's just not the same as it coming from the sea. I know Florence isn't close to the ocean - but much closer than Boulder!

Also, my sister is vegaquarian (or fish & chip'ocrit) - so seafood restaurants work for everyone

Anyway - does anyone have any suggestions for great, but not super expensive/formal places in either Rome or Florence?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 09:35 PM
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I don't know your definition of super expensive, but in Rome, try Scoglio di Frisio on Via Merulana down the street from Santa Maria Maggiore. The cuisine is Neapolitan and very good. I don't have any suggestions for Florence.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 10:12 PM
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That looks quite good, and the price fine. We're near the Piazza Navona - any suggestions nearer there?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 11:09 PM
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I like Pierluigi. It seems to be getting mixed reviews lately, mostly with regards to service issues. We had an attitudinal waiter, but we thought all of our seafood dishes were spectacular.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:36 AM
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What makes a difference in italian cuisine is not the mileage, but the fact that local transport of fresh fish in Italy is not optimal, and therefore historically, fresh fish was not terribly popular with inland locals, so they don't necessarily cook it well or have great recipes for it. You will notice that most Italians go to the seaside to eat fresh fish.

Of course the cities of modern Italy attract excellent, well-trained chefs, and fish is more popular throughout Italy now. But if you really want good fresh fish in Florence and Rome, be prepared to pay a hefty price for it. Otherwise, fish you get may be frozen or inferior in many ways.

In Rome, in the historic Jewish Ghetto, there are many places serving fried fish, fried zucchini blossoms and other fried veg depending on the season. Fish and chips was originally a Jewish dish, cooked up by immigrants in Britain. But much of the fish used in Roman Jewish cuisine is preserved fish (dried cod or anchovies).

Pisa, which formerly was on the seaside, has a longer tradition of eating fish in its cuisine than does Florence, so if you are headed that way as part of being in Florence, you might keep that in mind. But if you are dreaming of a fresh fish meal in Italy, it would be worth it to go to Forte dei Marmi or another Tuscan seaside destination for a big lunch. In Rome, going out Fiumicino or Ostia, or taking the hour trip down to Naples for lunch, could net you the meal you are craving.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 04:37 AM
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Seafood restaurants in both those cities will be expensive. Agree with poster above who offers sage advice: take the train to get closer to the shore.

We had a great meal in Nettuno, only an hour or so from Rome.
(Restaurant much discussed in Fred Plotkin guide but may now be shuttered)

I would opt for veg pasta, or other veg dishes, even mixed veg antipati, rather than seafood, if you want to keep prices down. Or go for the baccala or other fish dishes offered on Fridays at many if not most restaurants.

In Florence, this gets good reports but I've not been and it looks pricey; I doubt if I would seek out a seafood place in that city in any case, even if I were vegetarian, but there are a couple of others that have been around a while but the names escape mw right now.

Exception to above is the budget classic, Filleto di Baccala, near Campo di Fiori in Rome. Known for fried salt cod. Make sure you visit the nearby is a gem. Casual and open only for dinner, I believe.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 04:53 AM
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In Rome, La Gensola in Trasavere had wonderful fish. It was full of locals and was a favorite of ours.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 06:16 AM
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La Gensola is owned by Sicilians, who are superb fish cooks, and the restaurant prizes its reputation for freshness. I would think that a rock bottom cost for dinner there would be 50 e per person. including a modest Sicilian wine. But you can probably find dining reports on Tripadvisor and Chowhound that say exactly what people paid for their meal. Although the atmosphere is informal and neighborhood, this is not the kind of place where you go in and order one plate of pasta or one plate of mixed fried fish and that's it.

In generall in Italy, you should also be sure you know the price of a fish dish before you order it . Many times, a daily special of fresh fish is not listed as a fixed price on the menu, but instead is priced by weight and cooked to order (rather like lobster in America) and it can end up being quite expensive. Any quality restaurant will be happy to answer your question about the price of any dish or wine.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 06:21 AM
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I ate at La Rosetta, near the Pantheon, twice in May, for lunch and dinner.

It's rather expensive. It was worth it. The chef was very amiable and came by to make sure patrons were happy with their meals. I was. And then some.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 07:01 AM
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hmmm - it's sounding like searching out fish/seafood isn't such a great idea. I'll actually be in Cinque Terre for a week earlier in the trip, and then in Maine for a week in late August so can get my fish fix then. We have limited time while my sister is there, and she lives in Rhode Island, so going out of the way for seafood isn't really sensible for us this time. I just thought Rome especially, as it isn't that far from the sea, would probably have good seafood places.

Thanks for the help/advice everyone.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 09:39 AM
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The baccala dishes are wonderful. She can get them on Federal Hill in Providence, but it may be a lot more trouble for you. You can have it fried, Jewish-style, or stewed with tomatoes, olives, and raisins, Sicilian style. Also watch for spaghetti with Bottarga, another Sicilian specialty of salted and pressed cod roe.

These are available well away from the sea, though I won't say "anywhere" since Italian food is so regional
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 05:26 PM
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I went to Fuor d'Acqua in Florence in 2009. It was the one place where I was cheated in Florence in a restaurant. The waiter insisted that I have a full dinner (I ate a la carte virtually everywhere else in my month there), and if I recall correctly, it was about 70 euro (I'll bet it's 90 now). I could have walked out but I was seated way in the back and was very hungry. The fish was barely ok--I think I had sea bass, de-boned, and it ended up being a fairly tiny portion, and a very small portion of vegetable. RIPOFF as I've said. Florence is not the place to have fish--in Tuscany you need to go to the coast, even though it's not even 3 hours' away. That's just how they do things (I mean you can buy calamari in oil or octopus salad in the markets, but already cooked.) Florentines are very traditional--it's usually some version of pork and of course the bistecca a la fiorentina. I got pretty sick of pork after a few weeks, and in the hot weather while I was there, really wanted fish. Maybe there's someplace new since then. Fuor d'Acqua is a pretty, even elegant restaurant, I'll say that. It's quite high end for Florence.
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Old Jun 24th, 2013, 03:58 PM
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We had a delicious dinner at La Gensola, with hideous service. Every course was wrong, and we had to wait while they fixed it, and then we nearly had to beg for someone to take our dessert order.

Our bill for two, with absolutely NO alcohol or wine or coffee, just mineral water, was 110 euro.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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I think I'll get my seafood fix in Cinque Terre, Nice and Maine and leave Florence and Rome for more terrestrial treats.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 09:36 PM
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Thanks to all for the suggestions and warnings!
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