Friuli Giulia, special romantic restaurant... ?
I'm looking for a nice, romantic place to take my girlfriend (an avid foodie) out for her birthday dinner in late June. We want to go somewhere in the Friuli Giulia, perhaps on the beach, but ultimately, the location matters less than the food. On another thread, I read that Marano Lagunare has nice seafood... ? Besides the food, an additional plus would be a hotel within walking distance so we can enjoy as much wine as possible.
I've been reading the slow food guide, and must admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by the preponderance of barley and bean soup, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
What you mean is Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It's one of those double regions. Roughly speaking, Friuli is the mountainous part (main city is Udine), VG, the coastal part (main city Trieste, also the regional capital). The Gambero Rosso guide gives a few along the coast (in Duino Aurisina, Grado, But look inland too. I went to Al Cacciatore de la Subida some years ago and thought it was great. I think you can sleep there too (www.lasubida.it). Al Castello di Trussio dell'Aquila d'Oro, in Dolegna del Collio (prov. Groizia) was even better and definitely romantic.
Let us see:
Beach: the beaches of Friuli (Lignano, Bibione, Grado) were called by Ernest Hemingway "Italys Florida", and they are almost as crowded. Of course, there are a few romantic spots, but they are usually not right on the beach...
Marano Lagunare is more for a day trip. It is an old, romantic village, but it has no beach, and it is a fish market, so the people go there mostly for (multi-course) lunch, not dinner !
Mountains: much better. There are hills, higher hills, and real steep mountains. To be honest, the mountains are quite rough and much less romantic than in Tyrol or Switzerland, but there are always exceptions. Still, if you are not a montaineer, I would stick to the hills !
As mbfant wrote, the Collio area is quite romantic, YES!! But La Subida is a large and very popular restaurant, great if you eat out with friends and/or the whole family, but less so for a romantic birthday rendezvous. I would rather go to Giardinetto, right in the center of Cormons. This is a small and cozy place, and you have to eat the plum dumplings as starters (they have other niceties for dessert - and even more if you ask for the bill !). Many Hotels right next door.
Another idea: Why not Udine ? This is a very nice, old Italian town, NO TOURISTS, but many old buildings, and great food...
I would suggest the Hotel Allegria: It is maybe the best restaurant of Udine, and it has also rooms where to stay. And it is NOT expensive !!
But wait, there is more:
What about a stay in a romantic castle ?
The Villa di Tissano is right in the middle of nowhere:
Of course, their restaurant is nice, but it is really romantic ?
OTOH, there is a great AND romantic restaurant just half a mile away !
OK, that is it. Your choice !!
We left Udine for Castelmonte to see Archangel Michele working that Devil over. It was certainly worth the drive. Then we went on to Cividale for an outstanding lunch at Al Tre Re (see Slow Food Guide). The osteria was rather difficult to find in its top secret location, but the first person my wife approached for directions spoke perfect English and sent us directly there. The food was wonderful and they replaced the out of stock wine I ordered for the same price with a superior bottle of 2003 Ermacora, Pignolo. They were so attentive and it was just a great meal. This is a very scenic area.