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HELP:Best Eats in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Parma, Venice, Sorrento

My husband and I will be visiting Italy on honeymoon to take in the lovely sites and most importantly, we are unpretentious foodies! We'll be hitting Rome, Florence, Bologna, Parma, Venice and Sorrento so if anyone has any good recommendations with the best cheap eats to a nice mid-range romantic and memorable restaurant or hole in the wall, please help us out! In Rome, we'll be staying near the Termini and In Florence, we'll be staying right by the Stazione Centrale. Also, if you have any recommendations on other towns to visit in Tuscany for food would be AWESOME!

Thank you!

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  1. Sorrento: Best pizza at a good price can be found at Pizza Aurora
    Rome: Best wine bar (amazing wine list by the glass & bottle) with nice cold cuts/cheese platters (+ so much more) can be found at Cul-de-Sac


    2 Replies
    1. re: sylvrgirl

      I'm headed to Rome in a week for a week and I need to definitely check out Cul de Sac - a lot of folks are raving about it.

      1. re: nicholel

        You will enjoy it so much! Have a great time!

    2. Recommend you begin by doing a search on this board for the cities that interest you. These are not obscure destinations and restaurant recs at each have been discussed with frequency.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Indy 67

        Yes, I have done that but I've noticed that a lot of the posts are from 2006 and some 2007 so I'm looking for something a little more recent. We head there in 2 weeks.

        1. re: shutterbabe

          Okay. So take the next step to let people help you. List the specific restaurants that have appealed to you on the basis of these older posts and ask if updates exist. The inclination on these boards is to be helpful, but you're not going to get the best results with a query about six cities, two price tiers, and any town in Tuscany.

          1. re: shutterbabe

            the restaurant scene in Italy is not like NY or LA. Most of the restaurants we talk about are family, not chef-driven restaurants and have been there for years (we are still talking about and recommending restaurants some of us first visited 25 years and more ago) so you neednt be too concerned about currency of info in most cases.

        2. Trattoria Anna Maria in Bologna, wonderful tripe and lasagna.
          Restaurant Charly in Parma, not cheap but one of the best meals I've ever had.
          Almost any little trattoria in every town, house special lunch, 2 or 3 course with house wine for $15 or 20 bucks. Every town has its own pasta specialty, always great.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefstu

            If you think that there are massive changes in restaurants in Rome or other cities each year and you need reviews which are current, you are mistaken. Now and again, a restaurant which was good will decline due to passing of the owner or other reasons. But generally, what was rated highly in 2007 will still be rated highly. You can have confidence in reviews and posts which have appeared on this board for the last year.

            1. re: CJT

              I second that advice, CJT -- I just returned from Rome for a week, and the recs I had were from searching this board all of '06, '07 and in Jan '08. The only thing that seemed off was the day of the week that the restaurants were closed ... you need to call them, or rely on more recent advice here for that info. We went to several MEMORABLE dinners that were recommended here consistently the last couple years, including recommendations made by CJT, MBFANT, ROMEADDICT, ANTONIO, JEN KALB, etc. Search some very helpful posts by those person and I promise you, you will not want to leave Rome until you've tried them all!!

          2. Are you interested in wine? We just returned from Rome and had a great wine tasting experience. It was kind of private, in the real home of the sommelier (it was a she!) and she did a great job, we drank so many different wines and had a lot of fun, it was great. It is called "vino roma", if you are interested. That evening was better than any restaurants we went to!

            1. Where do I begin... I live in Bologna I'm a big fan of my local neighborhood trattoria which has some of the most authentic Bolognese food around: Trattoria Autotreno in Via della Secchia, 3 outside the city walls. No english spoken. Another amazing restaurant and perhaps the only one that will satisfy someone looking for traditional bolognese, innovative bolognese, and vegetables is Trattoria Trebbi in Via Solferino, 40 near the Tribunale (call ahead for reservations its often full 051 583 713). It is wonderful wonderful wonderful. They blew my mind the last time I was there with Squash tortelloni with guanciale and balsamic vinegar. They also have a "vegetable bar" with seasonal vegetables cooked in a variety of ways and you fill up your plate and pay by the plate. The prices are typical bolognese prices, that is, higher than south of the appenine mountains.

              1. We will be briefly in Parma in June - the restaurants on my short list for this visit are Cocchi, Tribunali and I Siochett (the last in the suburbs) of which we will be lucky to hit one, due to closing days (we will be there Sunday-Monday). For sheer romance, I highly recommend Filoma, one of the most lovely and civilized restaurants we have ever experienced. My husband and I had not been married long when we went there and we really enjoyed the spirit of the people (especially an elegant middle-aged couple, he small and active, she more ample in physique, who were obviously in love and who struck up a conversation with us, at an adjacent table) as well as the beautiful room and delicious food. I am assuming you are taking trains, but if you are not, I would add that a lot of very fine restaurants are out in the countryside or smaller towns. We are aiming at Il Cavallino Bianco, Campanini and Osteria Ardenga in the Bassa Parmense (ruled out Da Ivan based on the chat on a local website) of which again we may be lucky enough to hit one or two, as well as Arnaldo Clinica Gastronomica, in Rubiera, a small town between Modena and Reggio Emilia.

                If you are going to Sorrento, I assume you are visiting Pompeii. Here is a reprint of what I said about eating there last year:Two suggestions in Pompeii:the more upscale is Il Principe (closed when I was there, on the town square - nearer to the scavi is the one I visited, Zi Caterina http://www.dine-online.co.uk/vicat.htm At Zi Caterina, the vegetarian appetizers and stewed baby octopus were wonderful, the fritto misto huge and the most diverse and best encountered on our Naples/Amalfi coast trip. Zi Caterina is huge and it looks touristy (strolling musician, waiter rolling eyeballs at my lack of good italian), but it delivers and I highly recommend. Great wines in Campania, especially the whites.

                There are tons of reccs on this Board for Venice - mostly well away from San Marco. If you steer toward the places recommended on this site - or even the places marked on a rough guide map (the best Venice map) you are unlikely to have the bad food experiences people talk about.

                1. In Rome, you MUST try Costanza. It's in a little alley just off of Campo dei Fiori - not exactly easy to find but DEFINITELY worth the trouble to locate. We were only there for a week, but it was easily the best food we had in Italy so we went back several times. I ordered the gnocchi the first time and the risotto (I think it was spinach) after that. It's been a couple years, so I'm not sure the menu will be the same. They also brought us a small appetizer with liver, mascarpone, and crostinis (sounds horrendous but was absolutely heavenly). The owner was SO friendly and came to our table each time we were there. I tell everyone who goes to Rome about this place and just can't say enough wonderful things about the food!

                  1. Venice:

                    Inexpensive to moderate - Alla Madonna
                    Expensive but worth every penny - Al Covo


                    Moderate to expensive but superb - Caruso
                    Moderate and very good - Antica Trattoria

                    When in Tuscany, if you can get to Lucca you will be rewarded with a beautifully preserved medieval city and the opportunity to dine at Buca di San Antonio. Moderate/upper moderate, and the best food we had in Tuscany.

                    1. My wife and i spent our honeymoon last October in Sorrento and its environs and we can certainly reccomend IL Buco,L'Antica Trattoria and Caruso all in Sorrento.

                      IL Buco was outstanding,it is very formal but with fabulous food and excellent service on both occasions we ate there,book in advance as it is very popular.

                      L'Antica Trattoria was less formal but no less enjoyable in its own way,my wife had the meat tasting menu and i had the fish equivalent both were superb,a very funny fiddle player entertained the dining room as we ate.

                      Caruso probably falls between the two others,not as formal as IL Buco but more formal than L'Antica,we both enjoyed it very much and ate here three times during our stay mainly because the wine list here is nothing short of incredible.