Dinner Help - Milan/Venice/Florence/Siena/Rome
We are headed to Italy soon and are looking for some resturant reservations. I've been before but mostly wandered into ones that looked good (suprisingly successful!) but have become more of a...well..chowhound :-) since then! So any good recommendations - we are tring to spend less than $100/night for dinner for 2 people without wine/drinks - maybe $50 for lunch. It sounded like so much more before the dollar tanked against the euro!
Milan (3 dinners/1 lunch)
Lake Como (1 lunch)
Venice (3 each - dinner & lunch)
Florence (5 dinners a few lunches)
Siena - (1 lunch and maybe 1 dinner)
Rome - (3 each - dinner & lunch)
I remember a place that translated to "White Boar" in Florence that was very good a few years ago and Antico Martini (sp?) in Venice that was good (but pricey).
Any suggestions would be great!
The restaurant you're thinking of in Florence is Osteria Cinghiale Bianco on Borgo Sant' Jacopo.
Even with the miserable value of the dollar against the Euro, I don't think you'll have much trouble finding lots of restaurants that will meet your budget since you're not planning on drinking wine. (Do remember you'll be ordering bottled water.)
You don't say how many courses you routinely eat/share. We spent between 100 and 165 Euros nightly for dinner last June including wine. (Our wine never topped 20 Euros.) In general, we'd share both an antipasto and a pasta course. Then, we'd order two mains. At least one night, we ordered two pasta dishes and shared our main course. Most nights we shared dessert -- always fresh fruit.
This trip was unusual because our gelato consumption was down dramatically. That's our usual dessert. Not so this trip. I suspect this difference was the result of eating the rich food of Emilia-Romagna. Gelato afterwards seemed less appealing.
In Venice you must go to Alla Madonna. It is in San Polo very near the Rialto Bridge. The food is simple, fresh and wonderful. Dinner should not be much over $100 for 2. The fried sardines are superb.
At Lake Como you should try Silvio on the outskirts of Bellagio. The setting is magnificent and the food memorable. Extensive menu of lake fish caught fresh daily, and some really good meat dishes too. Our favorites were the lasagnetta with fish ragout (made with crepes instead of pasta), lavarello (a fish native to Lake Como) sauteed in butter with garlic and parsley, and beef filet with green peppercorn sauce. Desserts are very good, too.
We had three wonderful lunches at IL LATINI in Florence. It'son a small back street near the Furla store downstream and north of the Ponte Vecchio.
Cibreo is also a good and moderate priced place in Florence. There is a restaurant and a less formal room. You can find it in most guide books.
We had the absolute best lunch of our life in Sienna at Antica Osteria Da Divo. It was a week day and we were the only people in the restaurant, so the chef ordered our meal and the wine. We met his wife and baby and he gave us a bit of a tour. The lower part of the restaurant is an old Etruscan catacomb.
The food is seasonal and absolutely delicious. An experience we will never forget.
Here's a few places to try that should stay within or fairly close to your budget. Happy dining....
Latteria San Marco (Via San Marco 24) This will probably be the most expensive place but with fresh simple good food.
Trattoria degli Orti (Via Monviso 13) Probably my favorite place in Milan right now. It's a bit out of the center. It has a nice atmosphere and great food with Milanese and Lombard cuisine. Go here for your risotto, ossobuco, that kind of thing.
If you visit this restaurant you can walk a few blocks for the best gelato I have had in Italy. It's Il Massimo del Gelato and I kid you not, there is no better place than this. This is not hyperbole and I'll put my money where my mouth is, if it's not the best gelato you have on your entire trip I'll buy you a cone. Il Massimo Del Gelato (Via Castelvetro Lodovico, 18 )
Gambarotta (Via della Moscova 50) Great everyday food. A menu with a lot of variety. Filled with locals every night. Probably the best value of all the places I list here. They also have pizza.
Sibilla (Via Mercato 14) This is my favorite pizza in Milan. You will definitely stay under budget here. The cheapest thing on the menu, pizza marinara, is also the best.
For lunch: The Peck Italian Bar (Via Cantu 3) is the closest to the center and is a good place for lunch. Feel free to email me if you want more suggestions (food and otherwise) for Milan firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy your trip.
Around the corner from Antico Martini in Venice is a wine bar called VinoVino that serves a limited menu of food from the Antico Martini kitchen. Prices are reasonable and it is a good place for lunch or a light dinner. The wine list there is excellent.
I would encourage you to do a "Search this board" search for all the cities you are planning to visit. You will find dozens and dozens of helpful posts and recommendations already here for you to review.