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Jul 18, 2010 08:37 PM

Italy for the first time - Rome, Florence and Venice


I will be in Italy for the first time in early September. I am staying near St Peter's Basilica in Rome, and near Rialto bridge in Venice.

I just want some recommendations for reasonably priced, Italian restaurants. I would like a mix of pizza, pasta and enoteca, so I can have some places in my pocket in case I am at a loose end, I don't want to easte a meal in Italy in a tourist trap.


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  1. My suggestion is to search this board as there are more posts on these three cities than anywhere else in Italy. You will find recommendations for all types of restaurants as well as pizzarias and enoteca/bacari. There has been a recent post on eating in Venice. Venice proper is compact, therefore, where you are staying will have very little impact on choosing places to eat. If you can be more specific on budget (what is reasonable is very subjective), ambience, day of the week, etc, you will get some good specific recommendations.

    1. relax, Italians are by and large outgoing and friendly. avoid places that cater to early dinners. directly South of Vatican City (maybe a nice 20 minute stroll along the Tiber) is Trastevere, a small laid-back neighborhood with a variety of cafes and enotecas.

      frankly I just wandered around Italy, followed my instincts and only found myself in a tourist trap once in Florence (avoid anything in the main Piazza across from the Duomo and the Palazzo Medici, duck down a side street behind them)

      1 Reply
      1. re: hill food

        I agree. The two best meals we had on our recent trip were places I found by following my chow-radar.

      2. For Rome:

        Also, search Katie's site for other gems and great info.

        1. the Restaurants page contains a group of non-tourist trap places for each of these cities.
          while its a bit buggy, if you put in your address,cityname,IT it will give you some nearby possibilities.

          There are not really "pasta" restaurants in Italy, it is generally one course in a meal, though you can eat just one or two courses in most places.

          7 Replies
          1. re: jen kalb

            (Not to be technical, jen, but you still can find a spaghetteria in Italy, with little else being served but pasta.)

            1. re: barberinibee

              thanks for the clarification- what I would call "pastarias" are very common types of cheap italian eating places here in the US - not anything Id seek out as an eater in Italy and not something I remember seeing on my travels - do any of them have decent food in your estimation?

              1. re: jen kalb

                I've located spaghetterie that consistently turned out some of the best cooked pasta in town. It was all they did, so they had a good feel for it. So the dining was certainly decent, especially if you were seeking to avoid the pressure of a restaurant menu but didn't want pizza. I don't always have the appetite or mood for two restaurant experiences per day when I'm traveling in Italy. But I can always eat pasta!

                1. re: barberinibee

                  thats good to know - two large meals is unmanageable for us, too, even though we are very active. can you recommend some such places?

                    1. re: barberinibee

                      its rare that I dont hit at least one of rome, venice or naples on a visit tho honestly I cant see the utility of such a specialist place to us in naples with all of the exceptionally inexpensive and good trattorias with fine veg dishes and pastas already.Mostly just curious about whether there are some truly good options of this sort.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        "Truly good"? I wouldn't stake my reputation on that! For me, pleasantly surprised is more like it, since I've only gone in to avoid going to a restaurant!

                        I've never tried one in Venice or Naples (Napoli is actually the inventor of the spaghetteria), and in Rome most of these places don't have names other than "Spaghetteria" -- you look, you go in, you eat (or at least I don't remember the names). There is one in Rome near the Trevi fountain that pops up in guidebooks -- Spaghetteria l'Archetto in the via dell'Archetto, I've not been there, but I see somebody posted about it favorably on Chowhound in 2006, and noted the same people run a second spaghetteria in Trastevere (I tracked it down on google: via A. Bertani at piazza s. Cosimato)


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