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Italian Restaurant Review site [moved from Italy]

SourberryLily Aug 10, 2011 01:04 PM

I'm slowly going through tourism books, this board, trip advisor and trying to come up with some restaurants to go to in each Italian city that i'm visiting.

And... i'm now overwhelmed. Or underwhelmed by my results. Ironically, i have a ton of suggestions for Rome, the one major city i'm NOT going to.

Is there a website italians use for their reviews? Not tourist websites, but locals.

Here we use yelp, urbanspoon or restomontreal.... Anything similar (and in english)?

Thanks!

  1. jen kalb Aug 10, 2011 01:48 PM

    not really. tripadvisor seems to be getting more international use, but it is not reliable.

    there are a number of italian language restaurant review sites that cover the whole country, with review posts and ratings, like 2spaghi,ilmangione, etc. On the latter you will have to register to access the actual reviews. Please remember that some of the reviews may be tourists, since there is a lot of italian tourism within italy. Of course, these are all in italian.

    there are quite a number of local discussion sites in places like bologna, puglia, pisa, parma. but again all in italian

    There are other sites with organized information for example, ilcorriere has reviews and comments posted. there are also many blogs - these can be both italian and english. forexample parlafood and Spotted by Locals are in english.

    for all of the above (except the English blogs) you will need to use Google translate or similar- it works ok , but with all the slang, idiom and dialect its a bit of a slog

    Why not put your inquiries for your destination towns out here and see what our folks suggest?.

    You can also put your city destinations into our restaurant page. The included restaurants are drawn mainly from Italian guidebooks such as Gambero Rosso, Slowfood , other reliable local sources and websites and chowhound reccomendations. While its still being built out, it covers most (not yet all likely destinations) - chowhounds mostly have not adopted adding ratings on these pages, though links to discussions appearing after the restaurant was added do appear.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb
      b
      bob96 Aug 11, 2011 01:54 PM

      Jen, one set of supplementary sources I've found useful are UK newspapers--the Observer, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, and Times of London all have extensive travel sections filled with reviews of places and restaurants. All of Italy is well represented, as you can imagine--far greater coverage than anything here. With the exception of the Times, the rest all free, and their online pages well designed, indexed, and searchable. The reviews might often be cursory, but are always interesting and informative and well written. And in English.

      1. re: bob96
        b
        barberinibee Aug 11, 2011 05:00 PM

        Since I read a lot of the British press (and ate a lot of bad food in Britain when I lived there), I do want to caution that the premium newspapers put on "news" often translates into "novelty" when it comes to recommending restaurants to travelers, and there is a special danger in Italy.

        In Italy, restaurants don't often change hands, or change their menus. If a restaurant gains a good reputation, it often works very hard to keep it., and it keeps on serving the exact same food. Newspapers dislike repeating the same names of good restaurants over and over, and travel writers find it much easier to make a living if they are constantly offering "What's new in _ _ _ _ _" angles.

        1. re: barberinibee
          b
          bob96 Aug 11, 2011 07:24 PM

          Good point of course, and true for all media. Even glossy food mags of a decent rep can mislead and misinform (I remember a recent special Sicily issue that was shot through with amazing inaccuracies and notices of places written about many, many times elsewhere). I did find at least one excellent agriturismo via the Observer, and nods to some good restaurants I'd not read about here in the US, but as always, traveller beware. The sheer volume of UK travel news/reviews makes finding at leats some gems a lot more possible than with US newspapers.

      2. re: jen kalb
        Steve R Aug 12, 2011 04:59 AM

        Of course, there are the major food board sites that have members in various countries. Although you cant just look up a listing of restaurants on these, you can get some decent discussion by folks who know the areas and search the boards for posts on various cities. And, on those boards, you can contact individuals and start conversations about specifics. My usual food board (other than CH) is mouthfulsfood.com but I also look in on egullet.com. Even donrockwell.com, which is a Wash D.C. food board, has an out of town travel section that has threads on where folks have gone.

        Blogs often list links to other blogs and sites that can be useful. I'd read the Rome based blogs by several posters here on CH who, while based in Rome, get around the country pretty well &/or link to others.

        1. re: Steve R
          jen kalb Aug 12, 2011 06:34 AM

          In all honesty Steve, while there have been good discussions on those boards in the past, I it seems to have mostly died down recently. Fortunaltely, with all the very good bloggers, italian language italian sites and google translate - as well as Chowhound - we can get access to theviews of local enthusiasts and arent limited to inbound tourist-slanted info.

          1. re: jen kalb
            Steve R Aug 12, 2011 07:25 AM

            I cant really disagree with you but I think there's enough potential there to at least make posters aware they exist. Using myself as an example, planning for my trip in Oct, I used the "personal messaging" function on mouthfulsfoods.com to contact one of the Italy posters and wound up in a conversation that yielded some local Umbria advice I never would have tracked down otherwise (some new restaurants in Umbertide, the name of an olive oil producer who might give us a tour, etc).

            Overall, the food board discussions have clearly diminished in scope and content but, then again, others complain that its just as hard sorting thru the "static" on CH to get meaningful info.... something I also disagree with.

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