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Florence and Venice vacation

Hello Everyone! My boyfriend and I are going away in March to Florence and Venice and I was hoping for some restaurant reccs in each city. I have heard some good things about La Giostra in Florence? Any suggestions on a nice and romantic restaurant in Venice that isn't too touristy?

Thanks everyone!!

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  1. Christina, I hope that in addition to any suggestions you get on this thread, you also do a search of this Board and the International Board. If you do, you will turn up dozens or recommendations for Florence and Venice.

    Its hard to avoid romance in Venice. Enjoy!

    1. This is not a restaurant recommendation per se--though if you can afford da fiore in Venice (lunch is more reasonable) I'd say go!--but I wanted to advise you to pick up Maureen Fant's book on eating in Rome, Venice and Florence.

      While it could be a *bit* more user friendly (the edition we have doesn't make it easy to search by neighborhood), it never steered us wrong. And my husband and I are the kind of people who tend to have very bad luck with food when we travel.

      Venice can be tricky and people often say its hard to eat well there, however armed with M Fant's book I never went astray

      1 Reply
      1. I haven't posted on my Florence trip yet, but one of my favorite restaurants was called Osteria de Macci on a street of the same name (via de macci or something) in the Santa Croce neighborhood where we stayed. The service was unremarkable but the food was really delicious. Try the pasta with white truffles. They were quite generous with the truffles and the bill was still reasonable. Five of us ate antipasti, pasta and main course with several bottles of wine for around $350 if I recall correctly. http://www.osteriademacci.it/inglese/...

        We also ate at a local trattoria called Ristorante Leo in Santa Croce. Good local spot, very friendly service, delicous food. We popped in there one day at 2pm for a late lunch just as they were getting ready to close down. They were kind enough to accommodate us anyway. We went back for Christmas eve dinner and had a feast! Started with a lovely shaved zucchini and smoked salmon with lots of good olive oil, a pasta sampler of ravioli with a shrimp sauce and pasta with a tomato/pesto sauce. Moved on the the main courses of salmon, another fish that I can't recall at this moment and bistecca fiorentina with sides of potatoes, spinach. Ended the night with some panettone. Boy were we full and satisfied!'

        1. Thanks Lissy! We are actually staying in the Santa Croce neighborhood, so we'll definitely check these out.

          1. An enthusiastic second for Leo in Santa Croce! We've been eating there for six years and have never been disappointed. Their bistecca Fiorentina is the best version we've ever tried and we've sampled other places to see if these could beat Leo.

            We usually let the maitre d' create a meal for us and we've never been disappointed. The house wine is lovely and a bargain. We tend to skip dessert at Leo; instead, we walk around the corner for ice cream at Vivoli (if we've in the mood for one of their unique flavors) or Neri.

            For a glimpse at how the other half lives, walk past Entoeca Pinchiorri at Via Ghibellina 87. You'll probably notice the stream of limousines and upscale cars stopping in front of an unmarked address on Via Ghibellina. That's Pinchiorri, the only two-starred Michelin restaurant in Florence. Italian law requires that they post their menu outside just like much more modest establishments. In spite of the liveried doorman, be brave and walk up to read the menu and marvel at the prices.

            Other recommended Santa Croce-area restaurants:

            Dino: (Via Ghibellina; The restaurant moved a couple of doors away in Fall of 2005 so your guidebook may or may not have the current address.) We ate dinner there twice in a one-week visit to Florence. Enough said.

            Osteria dei Benci: Casual with indoor and outdoor patio dining options. We ate a pasta with cherry tomatoes, black pepper, and grated cheese that we're still swooning over.

            Finally, it's a bit of a hike to Trattoria 4 Leoni on the Oltrarno side, but a hike well worth taking.

            1. We were in Florence in October, and stayed in Santa Croce. It's a great neighborhood to stay in--lots of restaurants and interesting shops, lively street life without the tourist-generated frenetic pace you experience as you get into the center of town.

              I can recommend two places to you. Osteria de Benci, on the street of the same name, was one of our favorite restaurants in Italy. It is a fun place with indoor and outdoor tables, and with really good food. We went there several times--the herbed roast chicken is very very good. Their specialty is their Chianese steak--it is a t-bone of the highest quality, presented for your approval before it is grilled--then comes back perfectly rare on the inside, topped with greens (arugula or watercress) and shavings of Parmegiano Reggiano. We only drank the house red wine by the liter--it was cheap and good. Try to get a table where Giuseppe is the waiter. Reservations are a must--it is very popular.

              Then, for dessert, there is Gelateria Neri, just down the street a block or two. Some of the best gelato we tasted in Italy.

              We found both of these places by accident, but it turned out that Osteria de Benci got raves in Fodor's, and Gelateria Neri is one of Rick Steves' recs.


              2 Replies
              1. re: albinoni

                dei Tintori is also nr Santa Croce, on one of the streets running parallel to the river.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  woops, the post below gets it right. Thanks, Diva.

              2. on via tintori Is FAgioli a favorite with us locals!

                1. Tiny hole in wall on the via Magazzini called Vini e Vecchi Sapori - delicious veal tonnato and crostini with asparagus - to die for.....then out came the grappas and vin santo and that was lunch! It is tiny only three to four tables and not one English voice anywhere to be heard. Also Buca del Orafo just under the Uffizi really good and highly recommendable. Osteria De Benci does delish roast chicken and potatoes with a tomato, rocket and anchovy salad, 4 Leone is ok I don't rate it as highly as the others but is ok, Osteria Santa Spirito again good, La Casalinga also excellent and cheap, For gelati - perche noi, and Vivoli and the gelateria. I think of Italy and my waistline expands.....

                  1. Il Cibreo is the best restaurant in Florence with Fabio Picchi who is an incredible, charismatic chef. You have the choice of his cafe, restaurant, trattoria or his theatre with a wonderful buffet so you have a range of prices. They are all next to a great food market. I agree with the suggestion of La Casalinga. Venice is difficult but la Cova is excellent. Stay away from Piazza San Marco and anyplace which has a menu in 4 languages in the window.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: billups

                      A hearty second for Cibreo! If you go to the trattoria, the portions are small enough(and priced accordingly) so that you can try 2 or 3 mains. This was one of our most memorable meals ever!

                    2. Check out this thread recently on Venice - I'm going in April and can't wait to check out this place "Trattoria della Marisa". I've googled it and gotten other great reviews, looks like a great hit with locals.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: lexpatti

                        I think you need to go at dinnertime not for lunch - they seem to serve a different meal to local workers at lunchtime,at least during the offseason.

                      2. I met a friend in Florence for a day back in October and she took me to Cammillo Trattoria for lunch. the address is Borgo S. Jacopo 57. it is just across the river from the the Uffizi and close to the Ponte a Santa Trinita. I liked the place so much I took one of their cards so I can remember it and go back there again. she had crostini with chicken livers and I had beef carpaccio. we both had chicory salad and the pasta special, bucatini with chanterelles. we both thought it was really great. they have a very nice house red too. it was all reasonably priced. the different rooms have a cozy feel to them. I think you will really enjoy eating there and will not be disappointed. plus there are lots of cool stores and antiques galleries in the neighborhood.

                        1. Lunch only: Trattoria Mario, across the street from the Mussolini Market, is one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. It's a limited menu, but everyday there are pastas, soups, and meats like you dream about. Only ten tables, almost all locals, very inexspensive, and their ragu AND their rebollita will make you want to cry. We ate their everyday, got friendly with the owner, and on the last day ordered the steak. He wanted to impress us, and gave us this freaking monster that was charred on the outside, raw on the inside, and nearly impossible to finish, though he sat on the counter a foot away with a smile on his face. We ordered an extra carafe and got it down, but barely. If this happens to you, maybe plead for a smaller slice. But don't miss the ribollita or ragu.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ptridel

                            megadittos on Mario and the ragu and ribollita. and dead cheap, for Florence.

                            we've never been to Camillo - its had a good reputation among foreign tourists for many years. For example write ups in Gourmet Mag in the 70s. For that reason and relative expense, we tended to stay away, but that doesnt mean they arent good.