Friuli region, Italy
two recommendations for eating in Udine, based on experience in last 24 hours:
last night, we had dinner at Hostaria Allegria--clean-modern restaurant in a hotel, all neat lines and blond wood and subtly/soothingly colored fabrics. food was remarkable--wait staff could not have worked harder to make two nervous visitors comfortable.
2 covers, two pastas, two main course, bottle of house Merlot , water, one coffee, one extremely nice grappa, total less than 70 euros. Ms Margaret had pasta with San Daniel ham then an Irish-beef filet; myself took gnocchi flavored with "local forest herbs", then mixed deep-fried fish (teensy shrimp, big shrimp, squid, tiny fish, etc.).
Lunch we took today (a Sunday) at Osteria Alla Ghiacciaia. Looks a bit like a sophisticated American college beer dive, patio overlooks a canal. We shared a mixed meat/cheese plate (way generous); herself had penne with gorgonzola, speck and raddichio, no tomato, but oil and or butter; I had bean soup with riso pasta. we shared 1 L house white (maybe a dry Tokay?), 1 L water (in carafe), two coffees ....about 40 Euros. GREAT music (Charles Mingus) on the sound system, doting, but not too doting, young waitresses, lot...just under 40 Euro....
It is hard to find a better place than Allegria; they have the right combination of great food, good service, and acceptable price level.
If you look for something outside of downtown Udine: try La Frasca on the road to Palmanova !
This is the best place to eat meat (bistecca, cotoletta di agnello, fegato, braciola di maiale, etc., etc), funghi porcini (not yet in season, sorry) or asparagus (YES !) ! They have their own wines and grappa. Reservation a must...
meant to remark, in earlier post, on the vast numbers of Chinese restaurants we've been seeing around northern Italy. also, I should say, southern France. what's that al about? are they good? who eats there? locals? the Chinese colony? tourists? there are so many and some seem so elaborately decorated, that they must have a lot of trade.