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A week in Italy (rome/florence/venice)

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My girlfriend and I just got to rome today. I would've posted sooner but the trip was all last minute and after a horrible weekend in France, we need help to salvage our foodie desires in Italy.
We both have 16+ years of restaurant experience (hence being on chow), so we're definite foodies, but not in a pretentious way. We like hearty cooking, especially Italian made with lots of garlic, olive oil, etc. She also has a bit of a truffle fetish (for a while I nearly had to use truffle oil with everything), so if anyone knows of a good place in any of these cities that focuses on truffle oil that would be cool.
We aren't into super pretentious restaurants, more family style, smaller scale, places where there are more regulars and less tourists. We would love some good recommendations if anyone has any, lunch and dinner alike.
Also, I am new to chow.com posting but if anyone is ever going to travel to the Seattle area you can e-mail me and i can recommend a number of good places to fit your needs, we go out a lot and know the best and worst places, as well as being some what of happy hour experts =)
Thanks for all the help!
Mykal

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  1. Two Suggestions -

    1) Buy a copy of the Slow Food Guide to the Osterias of Italy. It is probably the best guide available to the kind of restaurants you are looking for. It is published in English, although I do not know if it is for sale in Rome. But even the Italian language version can be useful.
    2) Do a quick "Search this board" search for the cities you will be visiting. You will find many, many, many helpful suggestions already here for you to review.

    1. Except for the truffles, Alla Madonna in Venice fits your description exactly. If you decide to try something fancier, Al Covo is really good and not pretentious, just a little more formal and expensive. A search will find these mentioned in my and others' posts.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        1. I agree with alla Madonna in Venice. I would also suggest da Rioba and Anice Stellato in Cannareggio.
        2. Truffles are extremely expensive in Venice. For truffles you could make a short day trip into Slovenia, about 100 miles east, close to Trieste. There you can get excellent dishes with a lot of local truffles.
        3. Truffle oil has nothing to do with truffles, it is a purely synthetic product.

        1. re: Sturmi

          Alla Madonna was perfect but it was very hard to find on dark, narrow alleys. After asking several people, a Venecian couple came along and offered to guide us there 2 weeks ago. Best part was that the waiter told one of our gals that they did NOT serve butter with the bread. "It's an American thing!" Complimentary lemoncello but maybe because one of us was celebrating a birthday.