going to venice and florence for honeymoon
in florence you should aboslutely go to Circo-Lo Teatro Del Sale (Via Dei Macci, 118/R, http://www.teatrodelsale.com). it's an incredibly unique dining experience and CHEAP (25e for dinner). the meal is family style/buffet served in a large hall with a wall of windows looking into the kitchen. the chef passes each dish through a window, announcing each one as they are offered up to the swarm of people eagerly awaiting each course. for dinner (they serve 3 meals a day) there is a show included with the price of the meal, but the meal itself is a theatrical event. the food is delicious and plentiful and the wine is on tap! you must pace yourself or you will explode. seriously, eat less than you think you should because the courses are seemingly never-ending. note that you have to become a member (5 euro for a year, paid on arrival) and make a reservation in advance. if you'd like a meal without the production, they also own Cibreo across the street, which I hear is excellent. however, this place is unlike any other and, in my opinion, should not be missed.
we had our honeymoon as well in italy and had a fantastic time... some of our favorite places
venice: Al Giardinetto... delicious gongonzola gnocchi
just walk around and buy the delicious yellow cirlce cookies for snacks at the local bakery... not sure what they were called, but I still dream on them. One place to stay away from is Carpaccio. Most horrible and expenisve meal there. the fish was horrificly bad and ruined the night and made me skiddish of fish for the beginning part of our trip
Florence was our second favorite place. You must go the the central market and get some snack/train food. The cheese and meats were amazing. But in terms of restaraunts, we went to two amazing places for dinner. La Maremma and La Fagolia were fantastic. But the absolute favorite place for Gelato (we ate there at least twice) was Gelateria De neri. I had this amazing gelato, still not sure what exactly was in it, but it was divine.
Just returning from a wonderful vacation in Italy I would suggest to add one or two days to spend in Mira, at the Riviera della Brenta about 10 miles from Venice, in order to see the Venetian villas by Palladio etc... (http://www.lamalcontenta.com/index2.html).
There are several very romantic hotels on the Brenta, such as the Villa Margherita:
http://www.villa-margherita.com/en/index.php. On the other side of the river is the Trattoria Nalin, one of the best - and at the same time least expensive - places for seafood. We had scampi crudi and carpaccio di branzino, spaghetti alle vongole, sepioline in brodo on polenta (small cuttlefish, smaller than your thumb, in its ink, with polenta, to die for...), fritto misto (you wont eat it again anywhere else) and sorbetto di limone, self made and served in the lemon).
You pay four times more for mediocre food in Venice...
Here is another list of addresses of eateries along the Brenta:
And you can take the "Burchiello" to see all the villas !!
And even in the main season this area is not crowded, so best suited for a honeymoon !
I can't comment on Venice but I was in Florence in November visiting my daughter studying there. Here are or favorites:
Aqua al Due (definately try the pasta sampler appetizer!)
Zaza's was very good. We had lunch outside. Great salads!
We went to a great panini place somewhere in the back of the Duomo that was great. The Oil factory ...Look it up, you get to choose the bread and ingredients. You can eat it there or take it out. We took our sandwiches and went and sat by the Duomo to eat and take in the scene.
I love Firenze! Have a great time!
Just returned from Venice and Verona and was lucky enough to eat at some places recommended by the locals that were tasty and moderately priced.
My favorite place in Venice was La Corte Antica Birraria in San Polo Square, which was packed with Venetians just getting off work. Try the homemade bigoli with amatriciana sauce - it was the best meal I had in Venice, and it was one fourth of the price of my trip to Da Fiore, which was just okay - the wine was fabulous and the location divine, but the pasta was bland and we got there too late to try the famed fish (the kitchen was closing down as we were seated.)
Enoteca San Marco on the Frezzaria in the San Marco sestiere (tel 041 52852420) was my favorite wine bar - the white was well chilled (a rarity in Venice) and we had an excellent cheese plate and lovely desserts.
If you make it to Verona, try to get a reservation at Trattoria alla Colonna on Largo Pescheria (045 596718) - this is where the locals eat. You must try the cottoletta, a fried veal cutlet with fried potatoes - it's THE specialty of the house and delicious. Be warned, however - even the medium size cutlet is huge. Unless you are a sumo wrestler in town for a match at the Arena, I'd go for the small.
As sfernando also posted earlier on this thread, Alle Testiere is heavily overrated. It is simply an elegantly designed tourist trap, whose high ratings are simply caused by the fact that the waiters/owners do speak english. If you want to eat there, be prepared to get average food for twice the price of other Venetion trattorias, and four times the price of much better places on the mainland. If you want to get the real "bacaro feeling", just cross the large Piazza S.Maria Formosa, into the Calle Lungo S.M Formosa, and look for a "hole in the wall" place, the Al Mascaron. This is what Alle Testiere wants to be, a no frills/high quality seafood place.
Fodors link: http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/mgresults.cfm?destination=venice@163&cur_section=din&property_id=161586
For better food, we have a favorite spot already mentioned on this board: Fiaschetteria Toscana. They have a nice small garden, and - as in Harrys Bar - downstairs seating is preferrable. They have seafood of a great variety, and the prices are lower than in other high end places. http://www.fiaschetteriatoscana.it/
Cant comment on the food, but when we were in Venice in the tourist doldrums last February, we walked past both of these at lunchtime- Al Mascaron was bustling and in Alle Testiere, the staff was standing around. I suspect that they have priced themselves a little bit higher than the local market.
I'm a CH regular on NYC's Outer Boroughs board and just posted on another thread about Venice places we went to when there in late April so I wont repeat those here. Take a look if you wish. We were in Florence a couple of days later (after checking out Ravenna), so here are some Florence notes:
Il Guscio, Via dell'Orto, 49, a place written up and recommended by "erica" on CH and, given its location, pretty much a locals' place. A moderately priced, Park Slope/West Village type of place, the food was excellent. We split a mixed appetizer plate of cauliflower mousse, bean spread w/orange, sopressata cubes & ribolla cheese in filo dough. Ginny then had the maltagliati (hand-made, hand-torn pasta) w/shrimp and zucchini flowers; I had the spaghetti w/ "fish ragu". For mains, I had veal brain w/roasted potatoes and veggie tempura; Ginny had "padella", seafood in liquid (mussels, clams, languestinos, shrimp). All excellent. With a Chianti Reserva '01, some water con gas, a grappa & a limoncello, it all came to 100euros (including a 10 euro tip). This is a major recommendation from us.
Dont miss Central Market and lunch at Nerbone. A Ribollita for Ginny and a Bollito w/the works for me. For those not already convinced, the bollito is a sliced boiled beef sandwich on panini, dipped in broth, salted, w/salsa verde & some hot pepper sauce (3euros). Would've eaten more there but we had to leave room for the many samples given out at the Perini stand: they ply you with cheese, meats, even wines & roasted garlic. Dessert was sweet aged balsemic from another stand w/samples (we have no conscience).
Another good dinner at Trattoria Cammillo, Borgo San Jacopo 57/R (a place we remembered from our last trip), where we had a very nice dinner, with many French, German & other tourists, for 90euros. This is a "safe bet" type of place where nothing is exceptional, but everything is nicely prepared & we left well satisfied. Many rooms and, although it never looks too crowded, there must be well over 70 tables all told.
Dinner at Sostanza (9pm seating). The Steak Florentine was excellent, the tortellini in butter was ok, but the spinach and other sides were worthless. Someone I know described it as being "the Peter Luger's of Florence" & that's pretty much on the money, although the steak isnt quite that good. We had a good time and spent the usual 90 or so euros with wine.
Omero, a place south of our hotel in the middle of a close suburb of Florence, may be worth a visit. Beutiful sunset views west (of course) and north to Florence. Written up in the Access guide, so some tourists were there, but not many, since you really need a car to get there if you're not staying at a place nearby. The food is a little overpriced but the views and setting make it worth it. It's a "traditional" Tuscan menu, and a lot of the roasting of freshly slaughtered animals is done on site. Not a must but, if one has the time, recommended.
Hope this was helpful.
Just returned from Venice and Florence last Sunday. Had some excellent meals in both places.
Venice: highly recommend Da Remigio for seafood. slightly east of San Marco in Castello. Try the grilled razor clams if they have them. Family run establishment, very gracious and hospitable, make reservations. Also had my birthday dinner at Alle Testiere (Castello)which many here have raved about but found it quite a bit of a disappointment versus the hype. Significant other and I had a romantic lunch at Harry's Dolci on Guidecca and pretty much had the place to ourselves with a corner table on the water. Great service, spectacular view of Dorsoduro, acceptable food, pricey. Have a Bellini!
Florence: Must visit Mercato Centrale if you're a foodie. All manner of stalls selling delectables dirt cheap. Check out the raw tripe right next to the cooked meats--you'll never see that in our sterile stores. Nearby are Trattoria ZaZa and Trattoria Mario, both a bit touristy but with great food at very fair prices. My brother ate three times in 24 hours at ZaZa, pigging out on the pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar sauce) each time! Mario only opens for lunch. Have a bistecca fiorentina at ZaZa. Mercato-Medici Chapels-lunch at one of the above makes for a great morning excursion. If you visit Basilica San Croce, look Trattoria Anita, a small place catering to local folks. We had a three course lunch for six euros per head...unbelievably good at that price or three times as much. Also save room for dessert at Gelateria Neri (Via Neri) nearby for the best gelato in the city that invented it.
Congratulations, and enjoy your honeymoon.
We were recently in Florence/Tuscany for our honeymoon. My favorite spots in Florence were:
-Aqua Al Due (40 Via della Vigna Vecchia): try the 5 pasta sampler for 2 and the blueberry steak...oh my!
-Cafe Mario (2 Via Rosina): open for lunch only, try whatever is recommended
-Il Continoni (sp?) (6 P. Santo Spirito): across the river, seafood risotto rocks, as does everything else we had.
p.s. I must disagree with ZaZa - we were disappointed with that place.
Vivoli Gelataria (1 via Isola della Stinche): the best Gelato in the world!!!
I agree with Gretchen S. on Taverna del Bronzino in Florence. It was my family's favorite meal during our recent visit, also, by far, the most expensive. Although reservations were recommended, I saw only 3 other parties there while we were there. The waiter was extremely helpful, we speak no Italian and he patiently described nearly everything on the menu. Additionally, since we couldn't decide on an appetizer (antipasti), the waiter said they could fix us a "sample" plate of antipasti which was definitely the way to go- 5 items, everything was delicious.
I found Sandra Gustafson's book "Great Eats Italy" to be very helpful, you may want to take a look.
There are loads of posts on both so do a search to get tons of recommendations. Some personal favorites:
Florence: Taverna del Bronzino for a very special meal (closed Sundays). Trattoria Marione for crowded, inexpensive but delicious meal, especially pasta (best pasta with meat sauce I’ve ever had). Also Nerone at the Mercato Centrale for cheap and delicious. Coffees at the stand-up bar in the Mercato Centrale are the cheapest we found in town.
Venice: Osteria Giorgione (Canneregio, calle dei Proverbi) a very small, simple establishment with excellent food, especially bronzino (Mediterranean sea bass). Harry S Dolci, across in Giudecca for amazing cannelloni. Vini da Gigio (Canneregio, near Ca’ D’Oro). Ai Gondolieri (behind the Peggy Guggenheim) an elegant establishment serving amazing meat dishes (unusual for Venice). Reservations recommended for all of these, and none is cheap.
Also in Venice, you can get great picnic stuff at the Casa del Parmigiano (which is in a little campo between the Rialto Bridge and the Pescharia or fish market that my map identifies as Campo di Corderia, but which has a sign that says Campo Cesare Battisti) and at the fruit and veggie stall in the same campo. The staff at both places are very patient with limited Italian accompnaied by smiles.
Have a great trip and please post a report when you return – it adds greatly to the general knowledge!