how to eat in rome florence and venice?

Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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how to eat in rome florence and venice?

we are ready to travel aug 7 can not wait. we are from northeast and frequent restaurants in nyc. we do not like stuffy tourist spots, but love to be with the local people and enjoy the wonders of italy . any suggestions or should we just walk and wing it , is there any thing we should look for stay away from. we are so gvery excited for our new adventure without the kids thank you all i love to read all your posts
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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etk401, definitely DON'T just wing it. Our favorite restaurants in Italy, with good food, good atmosphere, and good prices, were all recommendations of family run restaurants. The ones we wandered by and found on our own all ended up having bad food for higher prices.

Our #1 favorite restaurant in Italy was Ristorante der Pallaro in Rome. Lots of Italian-speaking customers eating there. It was 20 euros for a whole 5-course home-made dinner there last summer. Found it in Rick Steves guidebook. Run by a friendly Italian family. I have a list of our favorite restaurants in Italy if you want to e-mail me at [email protected] Too long to type it all here. But write "Italy restaurants" in the subject line because that's how I preview mail before deciding whether or not to open it.

Great idea to ask here on-line. Bring restaurant recommendations and addresses with you! I have more recommendations for Rome, and Florence. I have fewer recommendations for Venice though. food in Venice is expensive and not as good as Rome.

Buon viaggio and Buon appetito! Sorry if I have my Italian mixed up with Spanish, I hope not.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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You will find many, many suggestions if you do restaurant searches for each city here, but frankly, although I've done that and have gone armed with detailed lists of highly recommended spots, by far my favorite experiences have been from "winging it" as you say. Get off the beaten path, follow your nose and the locals. Eat at a late hour if you want to be with the locals. After one dinner we spend time walking and seek out a place for the next night. When you see a place lively at 10:30 and obviously locals, you know it's probably a good spot to go tommorrow night. Most places have menus posted -- avoid the plastic laminated ones or English only posted -- so you can check out prices and menus.

But I've said it before and I'll say it again. Don't think that if a place has a lot of tourists it's necessarily bad. Today's tourists are pretty savvy and many have discovered the best places to eat. I tend to firmly believe that if a place has been around for 20 years and is really good, then there are plenty of tourists who have found it by now.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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Hi et,

In Florence

Il Ritrovo Via dei Pucci 4/A 055.281688 Best food for the price Has fish. Full dinner w/wine abt 40E pp Closed Monday
From Pzza San Giovani (NW corner of the Pza del Duomo) walk one blk East to Via dei Martelli. Go left to Via dei Pucci. Turn Right. Look very carefully on left. No sign. Door could be locked. Ring bell.

In Venice
Cantinone Storico is on a canal near the Accademia Bridge, within sound of the bells of one of the churches. Lovely atmosphere. Excellent cooking. Very good presentation. Superior service.

Alla Madonna near the Rialto Bridge.

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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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PS

>how to eat in rome florence and venice?

Keep your fork in your left hand, tines down, and your knife in your right hand.

Europeans do not switch the fork from the left to the right hand.

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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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While having a list of recos is always a good idea - we have found that winging it works wonderfully well in Rome and Florence - and have never had a bad meal. Caveat: We do not eat in the restaruants righ tnext to major sites that feaure menus in 12 languages - those are generally not very good - and way too expensive for what they give you.

Venice is a little different. We have had a couple of bad experiences there - even in fairly expensive places - I think thre are just too many tourists who are willing to eat almost anything. We found that asking folks in the hotel (sometimes the desk clerk as well as the concierge - and having to convince them we did want something "local" and simple) got us some gret places - usually off the beaten track.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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Patrick and Ny Traveler gave you good advice. For anyone who is serious about good eating away from the foreign tourists, a must read is the book entitled Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin. Although the book is almost 10 years old by now, this man knows Italy so well and provides wonderful advice on eating, shopping for food, and the country in general. Most of his recs are still there and still wonderful, in my experience. Don't miss it!! Then do your research here and on sites like the incomparable chowhound.com. As Patrick said, just because there are tourists in a place does not mean it is a "tourist" restaurant.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:38 PM
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i guess i think of tourist places like sunday brunch at christmastime at tavern on the green. we prefer low key good food. i have heard there is no bad food in italy, but if any one has any good suggestions that would be great. melissa i will take you up on your offer, i will send an e mail tomorrow thanks
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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I think you misunderstood my comment. Look, I am a tourist when I go to Italy and I like to think I avoid "touristy" places. Yet just cause there is a table of foreigners at a place does not mean it is not a local favorite and a good one. Many Italian cities and towns where you are likely to be going are crawling with visitors much of the year (one reason I usually go in winter) so it is unlikely you will avoid them anywhere. That said, you can find lots of places anywhere with a preponderance of locals eating there. Much of this is up to you: Do your research as I suggested above, talk to people in shops, at your hotel, etc. I live in Manhattan and have not been to Tavern on the Green since I took my grandma about 30 years ago. I can walk into any tiny "local" place in four boroughs and chances are if the place has gotten any press or word of mouth there will be foreign visitors there. We are talking Roosevelt Avenue, Chinatown Flushing, Arthur Avenue, Harlem, as well as mid-and down-town Manhattan.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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As others have said, stay away from restaurants near tourist sites. If you are near a tourist site, walk away from it a few blocks before you eat anything.

A really great book is the Slow Food guide to Italian restaurants called Oísteria díItalia. I donít believe you can buy it in the US, but it can be purchased at www.slowfood.it. It isnít printed in English, but if you have a dictionary or know any Italian you can probably decipher some of it. At some point, my husband and I stopped trying and just picked restaurants from that book because they were always so good.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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That is a great idea that I forgot about. You can also go on their website (in English) and type in your city or town and get a list of the Slow Food places to eat. If you have time, check out Mario Batali's Babbo web site for some good ideas. And don't forget the Slow Trav web site...those people are very helpful and many of them live there part or full time.
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Old Jul 14th, 2005, 05:13 PM
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You can read my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34599242

It gives a lot of details about all the places we ate at on our 14 day trip to Rome, Venice and Florence. We were travelling with our kids, but they have a fairly sophisticated palate, so that did not limit our choices.




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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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thank you all so much for your input i am seeing so much more recommended in rome and florence then venice. why is that? we are making a list of many choices because we heard august travel many restaurants will close, so please keep your suggestions coming thanks
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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I think it's already been mentioned that restaurants in Venice tend, unfortunately, to be more expensive and less good than those in Florence and Rome, both of which have much larger local populations to support the restaurants in the two cities. Venice, on the other hand, has about 60,000 permanent residents and receives about 12 million tourists (I think that is the latest figure I've seen) per year. So it is not surprising that "touristy" restaurants are much more in evidence in Venice than in Florence or Rome.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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One suggestion I read once and it has worked for us. Ask a local who looks like you. If you are a single woman, ask one. If you are an older couple, ask one. And ask not just what they recommend, but ask where they eat nearby or where they would take a special someone. Enjoy planning your trip!
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Patricks idea of taking a walk after dinner and checking out restaurants while you do so is a very good idea IMO. Although books etc. can give good recommendations actually seeing a restaurant can give you such a good idea as to whether or not it is one you the traveller might enjoy. At least that has been my experience. Mangia!
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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By the way, not only do we do those walks after dinner but before as well. Often we spot a place that really turns us on and we want to eat there, but it is busy. That's the perfect time to say "could we book for tomorrow night?" The same is true when we find one of those busy places I mentioned above. Even though we've just eaten, when we spot a place that looks neat, is busy late, and has a menu we like, then we stop and make a booking for the next night.

I'll again say that although we've tried a lot of very highly and often recommended restaurants in Rome in particular, most of them ended up being fine, but not nearly as "special" as some of those we found on our own. One such often recommended place was La Tartaruga, OK, but nothing like what we expected from the many raves here. And after listening to everyone say we MUST go for pizza at Da Baffetto, we asked ourselves why? Again it was OK, but hardly worth the wait in line to be crowded at tables and eat average pizza. We've done much better following our noses.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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I'd recommend investing a few dollars in a book "Cheap Eats in Italy". We used it in those cities quite successfully-I believe there is a section on each, and only each, of your chosen cities so it's a great match for your itenerary.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Patrick, I have always had the same experience as you two have. I even have been drawn to a restaurant by the wonderful aromas. Have you? In fact in my small city the most "popular restaurant" does nothing for me. Horrible pasta, boring salads, illprepared dishes etc., and the most inattentive service you can imagine. But it is the place that is always raved about. I have just never never figured out why. Maybe the customers have one cocktail to many so that really don't care what they eat???

All this talk about restaurants makes me wish I was sitting in one in Italy right now. Take care.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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My experience has been quite different. I research restaurants carefully here and on other Web sites, many of them Italian.

Staying near Piazza Navona last May, I kept walking by a restaurant that seemed jammed with Italians having a great time.

So I went there one evening: substandard service, substandard food, inflated bill.

I have since concluded that if nobody knows a restaurant, it's probably because it's not worth knowing.

I have found www.slowfood.it a great source for excellent, unpretentious and reasonable restaurants. The only problem is that you have to understand some Italian.

My most memorable meal -- service, food, and reasonable price -- was at a restaurant in the centro storico where I was the only guest not greeted as a long-lost friend by the owner, where I was not offered a menu but discussed the possiblities with the waiter, and where everyting was of the highest quality. It was also my cheapest four-course lunch in Rome.

I did not "happen" upon it; I had researched it in advance.
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