Italy report(Rome, Florence and venice)
We live in OC and are used to high prices at the restaurants,but after seeing our credit card statement online I was surprised how expensive everything turned out. We went to casual or moderate places and on average paid $80-90 for a simple lunch.
We had a great meal here and I highy recommend this place. We had a very delicious Tortiglioni zucchine- pesto and Filetto di manzo. The pesto was a saffron pistachios and it was great. The fillet was very tasty and it came with the most delicious potatoes au gratin we have ever had. Why can't US restaurants make such a delicious food at resonable prices? I wish we had a place like this near us.
We had an Ok lunch here. We were the first ones to arrive for lunch and by time we left the place was packed. We even saw a mini bus of tourist arriving on the side of the restaurant and this was the only touristy restaurant of the trip. We had a shrimp melon salad, porcini pasta and grilled manzo. The salad was fine, the pasta was not as Al dente as we like and the grilled manzo was a small, fatty piece of beef. We told them we wanted to share everything, but when it came to the beef, they didn't povide us with additional plate or silverware. I finally had to ask one of the guys for a fork. Overall, the food was Ok , the service was Ok at first and as the crowd grew, the service went downhill. As a bonus we got double charged so watch out!!
We felt the pizza was average at best and the procsuitto topping was of a poor quality. The middle of the pizza was soggy and I make a much better pizza myself.
Thanks to Rome Addict we had a great lunch and dinner at this restaurant.
For lunch we had Amatriciana pasta and Pistacchio pesto pasta. They were both delicious. We also had the Melanzane parmigiana. I make a good one myself, but this was the best I have had at the restaurant. We noticed the great looking pizza, so we made reservation to come back that night for dinner.
For dinner we had the very delicious porcini pizza(special) and salame pizza. We also had two great salads. We loved this place so much and will go back anytime.
Il Forno di Campo de Fiori
Great pizza bianco prior to going to Pierluigi. We should have just ate here.
We had good Gelatti here.
They charged more than Giolitti and not as good. We sampled a few flavors and they were all just Ok. The Zabigone was very weak.
I love this place and miss it very much. The Zabigone flavor was amazing, it Numbed my tongue each time. The riso, kiwi, casata and others were all good. I have never seen such a large selection. We also tried bunch of their cookies and baked goods and they were all good.
We had two tasy panini and of course the best salesperson in the world sold us three different kind of cheese and a balsamic syrup. He was going to sell us the whole place and wouldn't give up. Upon arrival(home) I unwrap the package and noticed there was a mold on the top of the Pecorino and after I removed the mold, it was fine. The other two look fine, but I haven't tried them yet.
I quattro Ami
The service was interesting, like arguing about who will take care of us or serving us the same amuse twice or briniging us the wrong wine, but the food was pretty good. First you are seved prosecco and then there was a sardine amuse. We started with Antipaso Toscano and that was a large plate of parmesano, procsuitto and a couple diffrent kind of crostini for a bargain price of 10 Euro. We then had Scampi Thermidor and fish of the day deboned table side. Everything was great and this restaurant was the only place that didn't charge us cover !! I would go back to this place anytime .
Osteria dell' Olio
This place was near Duomo and I should have known they will rip us off. I had a very tasty beef with porcini and arugula and my poor husband had a pasta with lobster sauce. All he got was some lobster shell with one ounce of meat. The icing on the cake was getting charged 6 Euro for cover and 8 Euro for service. That lunch costed us $100. For that price you expect more.
Someone here mentioned they had great donnar kebob, but it was just average. It was nothing like the donnar kebob in turkey.
We had a simple lunch here. The food was very inexpensive. We had two salads, lasagna and squash risotto with amaretti.
We heard so much about this place and was there ten minutes before opening. We asked one of the wait staff if we should put our name down and she said no. As we were waiting the crowd grew and as the door opened everyone rushed in and the guy in the front asked everyone if they had reservation and yelled at us for not having one. We were seated near the bathroom!! We ordered two pizza and didn't care for the crust. It was too much dough. I am surprised at some people, eating the whole thing. I guess Neopolitan pizza is not for us.
Our hotel recommended this place for bisteca and we got two bistecca and fried veggies. My bisteca had a better grill mark, so my husband wanted to switch! The veggied were pretty good. We were hit with the service and cover charge again.
Gelateria dei Neri
They had great gelatti and sorbetti. I requested the chocolate chili with orange peel as one of my selections but the girl behind the counter asked me whether I was sure I wanted that flavor. She gave me a sample to try and it was delicious. I guess Italians are not used to chili in their gelatti.
They had pretty good stuff also specially the chocolate and bacio.
Great hot chocolate and good cappucuino.
Antico forno Santi
Great selection of biscotti with whole fruit or chocolate. We still have a few pieces left.
the only place with Ok gelato. It tasted like the stuff you can get anywhere.
This place is vey popular in Lido. The food was good, but not great. We had pasta with zucchini and Gnocchi with crab meat. We also had grilled prawn. The prawn was overcooked and the pasta was better than the Gnocchi. Another Ok, overpriced meal.
Gran cafe lavena
I had a very weak hot chocolate here. It tasted more like a cocoa. The cafe was fine.
Vini Da Gigio
This was the only meal in venice that was worth the price. they had a great bread basket and didn't charge us for it!! What a shock. We Got a pasta with black truffles, pasta with gorgonzola, pistachios sauce and fried scampi. Thy actually gave us good amount of trruffle. We had to wait a long time for our scampi. At one point we thought they had gone to the fish market to buy some. The guy across from us sent back his pasta with mussels. We were thinking of making a reservation for the next day and as we were waiting to talk to our waiter they brought a fresh pasta with mussels for the cranky guy. After a couple of minute he sent it back for the second time and a very loud arguement started. You never see this kind of scene in this country. We just decided to get out and wish we understood what they were saying.
We had a hard time finding this place, but it was worth it. We bought some cookies, had two diffrent kind of cake and good cafe and chocolato.
This place was the best. The shop smelled amazing and they had great stuff. I bought four different kind off cookies and baked goods. The Canolo was the best ever. The shell was so light, the filling was as light as it can get with orange peels and chocolate. I have never had a canolo this good in this country. The other cookies were great also.
I type this in response to the first sentence of the original post:
Today, the exchange rate on the Euro is US $1.46.6 as I type this. Visa, MC and Amex add several cents to this so your E 50 lunch now costs approximately US $75 or 76.00. Six years ago the exact same E 50 lunch cost US $42.50 because the exchange rate in the fall of 2001 was US $.84.
Il Pizzaiola is the best pizzaria in Firenze; it is also 99% as good as the best in Napoli. But Italian pizza IS different from most pizza served in the U. S. Different crust, different mozz, different overall flavor and texture but all of these are a reflection of the country it is served in. Most Italians are critical of what is served here just as many Americans are critical of "true" Italian pizza. Still, if you didn't like Il Pizzaiola you probably would not like Naples' Brandi, da Michele or the best Italian pizza I've ever had which was in Rimini.
re: Joe H
Ive found that in much of Italy the Pizza dough is not salted (or salted very little) - when the crust is very thin and is balanced out by the topping that might not be perceived as a problem for Americans but if there is more dough, as with neapolitan style pizza, it could be since we tend to like our bread/dough salty (thus the issue for some with tuscan bread). Its interesting that in Naples this issue was not present - either they salt the dough more or their wonderful fermentation process produces more flavor - maybe both.
re: Indy 67
We went to Carabe and we're blown away by their milk flavored gelato. We didn't try other flavors, but that one was one of the most unique we've had. It didn't have the buttery texture we were used to in gelato, but a nice, smooth, sweet cream.
We also went to Badiani for gelato. We tried four flavors, and two were incredible. Definitely worth the hike!
just a comment - its hard to go to an italian restaurant without the "pane e coperto"cover charge though its usually lower than you cite- and the service charge is what it is, a charge for the service. You dont have to tip. an 8% service charge out of a 100 euro bill is not bad.
glad you found Tonolo - next time try the cream-filled fritters, they are yummy.
So glad you enjoyed my favorite restaurant, Fiammetta. I just find their food incredible & how divine that the tourista have not discovered it. Don't you love the way they cook everything in that enormous wood-fired oven? It's not the easiest place to locate unless you know exactly where you're going. It's definitely my first stop next trip.
Now, thanks to you, I'll try Babette in a few months. Thanks for the great foodie report. I agree with everything you said about Pierluigi, Baffetto, & Giolitti.
Next trip include Capri if you haven't been; it's very special. Ciao.