Italy-"heaven on earth" -looking for foods to die for!
Getting ready to head to Italy for 2 weeks in July with the rest of America! I'm looking for menu items to order for those memorable experiences. Love good value and cheap to moderate priced restaurants. I'll be visiting:
I'm going with a friend who flips over gelato, so any reccommendations for gelaterias would be appreciated!
Gratzie Amici Chowhounds!
best pasta in the world is in Siena, in a place behind the tower called, well, El Torre. Get there early for lunch (noon)--dunno about dinner- and you will be rewarded with the best pasta and homey secondi you've ever had in your life. Rich, healthy, generous portions and a proprietor who deeply cares about your enjoyment of his food. He even has a farm where all the wines and olive oil come from. It gets quite crowded, and I don't know if he takes reservations, so I'd get there pretty early. You can watch him cut the pasta.
We had some of the best food of our trip in Venice.
Ai 4 Feri: a great seafood restaurant. Very small, but very good. Try the vongole and pasta with shrimp.
Alla Zucca: interesting menu, good, not amazing food, but a solid choice.
Il Refolo: The best pizza we've had in Italy. The same owners as Da Fiore. The food was so good that we went here twice. The best things were the pizza with baby artichokes and lard (heavenly), the pizza with arugula, gorgonzola, and walnuts and the mussels. A must do.
Alaska: Right near il refolo and the best gelato we found in Venice. It is artisanal and standouts were the ginger and the yogurt.
Gelateria Nico: Come here just for the gianduiotto, a slab of gianduja ice cream topped with whipped cream. Amazing
Have a good trip!
In Sorrento, Caruso was wonderful. For a more local flavor with excellent food, try daGigino which was recommended to us by locals. Can't remember address.
In Lucca, our favorite was Canuelia on via Canuelia. Has an outside garden area and food was great. Have a wonderful trip.
I would recommend picking up a Slow Food Guide once you hit the ground in Italy. They are very hard to find in the states, and the Italian version is not printed in English, but that adds to the excitement. We just got back from two weeks in northern Italy and ate 90% of our meals from the guide and had zero regrets.
As for gelato in Venice, check out "gelato FANTASY". The address is Calle Dei Fabbri 929. It is artisan gelato, so you pay a little more but it is well worth it.
We were fairly disappointed by the cuisine in Venice as most places cater to "menu turistico", however there was one osteria we were referred to by friends (not in Slow Food) called Osteria La Frasca. Can't remember where it is, but maybe someone can jump in here and help.
Hope this helps
There are a lot of posts and recs on venice - here as elsewhere the slowfood picks are very good tho they do not pick up all the good places. Most of the best places are away from San Marco, as you would expect and dont offer "menu turistico". Osteria alla Frasca is just barely in Cannaregio (near castello) , and is a very nice, simple place on s tiny campo. The fish will be expensive (I recommend getting it, or the seafood app, for one person , not two if you are a couple and want to save) but very good - weve had really excellent pasta there as well. If you go at lunch, they, like some other venetian osterie, have a fixed price cheap lunch deal they offer to locals.
Corte de la Carità 5176 , Phone: 041.5285433
If you get to Positano, as advised above, avoid it and go one town south to Priano - have spaghetti alle fruitti de mare (sp?) at Armandino's - 1st restaurant off the little dock. You'll be in heaven & it won't cost all that much. Lots written on this little gem - do a search on Chowhound.
I would recommend tracking down a copy of Fred Plotkin's "Italy For The Gourmet Traveler." It was published almost 10 years ago, but you will find many helpful suggestions and recommendations there for restaurants, bakeries, food shops, caffes, markets. etc. It will certainly give you a good idea of what the various food specialities are of the various regions & cities within Italy. Another popular and highly recommended guide is the "Slow Food Guide to the Osterias of Italy," which you should be able to buy at any decent-sized bookstore in Italy.