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Sep 19, 2009 06:20 PM

Florence and Rome: pick one

Mr. CG and i will be in Florence and Rome in October and would love to try one restaurant that is outstanding and we are willing to pay for that one meal, but only if it is worth it. No high-priced tourist traps, please. If you were going to pick one extraordinary high end meal in either Rome or Florence, what would it be?

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  1. We're leaning toward Il Pagliaccio or La Pergola in Rome or Il Cibreo in Florence.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Fancy 'seeing' you on the Italy board, chicgail.

      I have not been to La Pergola, although DH went to Loyola Academy, and this is his opinion. It is outstanding. If there is a comparison with Chicago, it would be the Ritz Carlton Dining Room when Sarah Stegner was at the helm. It is the only 3-starred Michelin restaurant in Rome. Depending on where you will be in Rome, note that it is high up in Monte Mario. Which again compared to Chicago is like Wilmette. There is a shuttle though i think that can take you there. Anyway, this is hearsay from DH, and i will let other Italy 'hounds speak more authoritatively about La Pergola.

      With Il Pagliaccio, we had a very unforgettable experience on Xmas eve a few years back. It is i would say one of my top 5 meals ever. Again, if there is a comparison to Chicago, i would say it's TRU. My only advice tough is that the food at Il Pagliaccio is very international. So do you want an outstanding meal in the Eternal City that is perhaps more global than local? Just look at their latest menu on the website. Suckling pig and coconut sorbet on the same dish! Am i in Rome? It is my #1 favorite place in Rome nevertheless.

      I've only been to Florence for the very first time this spring, and we on purpose did not seek out the very high end places. That said, i would highly recommend Osteria Tornabourni. It is a newish place. I think it's only been open since March? It serves very traditional Tuscan cuisine. In a really luxurious, well appointed place. Owner Silvio is so very gracious, and speaks perfect English (having studied at Georgetown). I wish i'm back there now actually lol. Anyway, enjoy your trip.

      1. re: ms. chow

        ms chow, How great to hear from such a trusted source!

        Il Pagliaccio sounds great. I will look into Osteria Tomabourni for sure. I'm sure it hasn't shown up anywhere yet or from anyone else because it's so new.

      1. re: intrepid

        Thought I was reading the Chicago board when I saw your post. For Florence, your thought of Il Cibreo is good for quality and it is not as pricey as Enoteca Pinchiorri (which has had 1 or more Michelin stars for years) but you could splurge at the Enoteca.

        If you will be in Florence for several days, there are some other places you should definitely try: Trattoria Sostanza for bistecca fiorentina (and their chicken in butter sauce is divine), Le Mossacce for a quick lunch near the Duomo, and Teatro del Sale. If you search this board for "Florence Report - December 2007" you'll find my lengthy post on Teatro del Sale and on several other worthwhile dining spots. I highly recommend you go to Teatro del Sale (run by the man who owns Il Cibreo and Trattoria Cibreo and all 3 are in the same block). Closed Sunday and Monday, but it would be worth making a reservation for dinner at Teatro (reservations required for dinner, not for lunch) for an outstanding variety of dishes you might never encounter anywhere else. The shows which follow dinner are quite good, even if you don't speak Italian, and they are included in the price of dinner. I receive weekly e-mails from Teatro listing the performers and special dishes they will be serving on a specific night. It is a common occurrence that a fine winery will provide Teatro diners with their wine at dinner (wine is always included in the price of lunch or dinner). You won't find anything like this place in Chicago and you will remember it. The post I referred to above will give you good detail.

        1. re: chezfredo

          Giggetto is not really in the "outstanding" category. Many people (such as my husband) won't even go there, though it does have its fans. In any case, it's quite plain and traditional, and it sounds as thought the OP is looking for a bit of pizazz.

          Pagliaccio isn't THAT international, but it certainly doesn’t give you any sense of place, though the meal structure is certainly Italian.

          There is no useful shuttle to La Pergola. You can get pretty close with a public bus, but really only fanatics (like my husband) consider it a desirable start to a three-star evening. Normal people take a taxi.

          Zibbibo in Florence is great. Il Cibreo is more upscale and was still wonderful last winter when i had lunch there.