Budget restaurants Rome, Amalfi coast and Venice
Hi everyone, this is my first post. I've read what others have posted on the topic so far, and followed some suggestions -- checkout out venere and parlafood as well as some other suggestions. I understand that you are best able to guide newbies with more information rather than less, so here it goes:
1. I have severe lactose intolerance (and lactaid doesn't really help). As I search restaurants now, I am finding that recommendations tend to hinge on a certain dish/dishes - usually dairy, unfortunately. (eg there's a well-known restaurant in Trastevere famed for its pasta ceci a peperoni. Then I have to google to the recipe to see what's in it. Cheese. Back to the drawing board.)
2. I have been to Italy several times before but my choices have been totally random with mixed results.
3. My budget (1 person) is 20E for dinner, but I usually skip dessert which often has dairy anyway.
4. Lunch not a problem - I usually pick up a panini on the fly
5. Travelling alone - v comfortable with it, but I rather not sit in a restaurant for 3 hours surrounded by couples and families if I can help it. Remember, I'll have no one to talk to while I wait for my courses to come :)
1. Rome - staying near Teatro dell'Opera. Would like evening restaurants within walking distance (2km is fine). No car.
2. Campanie - 3 N Anacapri; 2 N Sorrento, 3 N Amalfi. No car
3. Venice 4 N. Potential use of kitchen in my B&B means this location less impt re: restaurants. Staying behind San Marco.
4. Florence 7 N - renting apt so maybe 1 or 2 N eating dinner out. Also looking for cooking classes for experienced cooks - maybe must start new thread (?) Found 4 or 5 with mixed reviews - people thought the classes were too elementary (eg in tavola) or for me, too expensive (hopefully less than 75E/class, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get that.) I'd be V happy to find a local person who does classes out of his/her home, very low key, as I'm more interested in the actual cooking techniques and recipes than anything.
if you map your destination addresses into the Restaurant page search field (for example Sorrento,IT or street address,Rome,IT) it should give you nearby restaurants in the database mostly with indicated price ranges. Keep and eye out for slowfood places, they tend to be for moderate budgets. Dont think there is anything in the database for Capri yet, though - its not exactly a budget dining destination.
re: jen kalb
its a bit flaky esp where Rome is concerned and if you just put in the city name (that problem doesnt arise so much elsewhere. If you put in a place name or address it should give you all the Rome data, closest to the address given or center of town first.. See http://www.chow.com/search?query=&location=Piazza+Spagna%2C+Roma%2C+Lazio%2C+IT&search_board_id=&type=Restaurant&search_board_id_btn=undefined&sort_mode=best_match&recipe_source=
Venice there are about 100 in the database. Venice has its own issues because the addresses are unusual, by Sestiere rather than street,, so some of the places do not map properly (when you see a place map just to the upper left of San Marco, it is usually not mapping properly)
Florence there are 80 so far. http://www.chow.com/search?query=&...
if you click on search in the map you can move around. or if you select a particular restaurant record you can click on the button to find restaurants nearby.
For Venice: since much of Venetian cooking is seafood base, being lactose intolerance should not be a big problem. Generally, Italians do not add cheese to seafood. Just a couple of things to consider: butter and cheese in some risotto, pasta and polenta. Just ask the staff if they can leave it out. And ask if you are not sure.
As for eating inexpensively, it is difficult to eat a seat down meal for 20euro even if one skip dessert. At most decent to good trattoria/osteria, antipasti/primi are 8euro, secondi around 15euro. A good option is to each your main meal at midday. There are many places that serve a simple plates for less than 10euro. Most are in Cannaaregio, especially on Fond Capuccine (Osteria a Bocco is good) and around Fond Miseriacordia. In the evening, even simple places such as ai Promessi Sposi, Alle Bomba, ai TreSpiedi, alle Botte will stretch your budget but lunch would be fine. Another good option is to eat cicchetti and drink simple wines at many of the bacari. Only drawback is that most do not open late. I would search this board as there has been a couple of recent posts on that topic. Another option is to buy prepare food and eat outside at the various campo; most supermarkets as well as smaller stores stock a good assortment of cured meat and prepared food items, etc.
Spending time with Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler would really be efficient in your case, because he describes the classic and delicious for everywhere you are going in Italy, and you will quickly see that while internet recommendations may favor cheesy dishes, many classic preparations have nothing to do with cheese or dairy in any form.
Also, you would get more familiar with the correct Italian names of ingredients. For instance, "ceci" is chickpeas, and "peperone" are red bell peppers. The cheese-based pasta you hope to avoid is called "cacio e pepe" (a type of cheese and ground black pepper). If you saw "pasta e ceci" on the menu, that would be a great dish for you, because it is chickpeas and pasta without cheese at all.
Once you know the classic dishes, you can study menus outside recommended restaurants before going in. There a zillions within walking distance of the places you are staying. For Rome, David Downie's guide (Food Wine Rome) is geared toward budget friendly.
In Venice, people eat bar snacks, so you can actually see what you are consuming, plus no problems with sitting alone waiting for courses. You might find this interesting:
An enoteca might also be just the right place for you and your budget. I suggest that you do a search on this board and elsewhere for enoteche in Florence and Rome -- and your Campania destinations as well. However, I think you have a tough nut to crack eating cheap in Amalfi and Anacapri, although you do see a few places serving salads and such. But it is also worth knowing that some of the best pizza in that part of the world does NOT have any cheese on it, at all.
Lastly, ask the locals! In Campania in particular the locals can help you find modestly priced restaurants and great pizza without cheese.
Thanks very much to berber and mb! I have checked out the first book from my local library.
I am afraid I may have sidetracked you with the lactose-thing -- I've been to Italy a few times before, and it's never posed a problem because I 've simply told them and asked them to make something for me, and it has always worked out.
My question more pertains to names of specific restaurants within my budget what are not famed in particular for the dishes I cannot eat. (For ex, I checked some reviews of that same restaurant and customers who ordered items other than the "cacio e pepe" dish were not bowled over by the restaurant).