"Celebrity Death Match" of Rome/Venice/Florence restaurants for our trip - please help me finalize the final itinerary!
Hello....after much research and help from everyone on these boards (thank you!), I have come to the final list. It is impossible to narrow this down without some experts weighing in... can you help?
Day 1: first dinner in Rome: Glass or Asino d'Oro?
Day 2: Pizzarium lunch, then dinner at Roscioli
Day 3: dinner at Pipero al Rex or Taverna di Fori Imperiale?
Day 4: Sunday lunch at Perilli or La Gensola? (dinner at Checchino)
We have traded out: Trastavere, Palatium, Gatta Mangiona, Armando al Pantheon, Giuda Ballerino Osteria, Settembrini, Piazza Mazzini
Please let me know if things are overlapping in the wrong way, or if we've made the wrong calls & should adjust...
Dinner: Tripperia il Magazzino or Cipolla Rossa?
(We are eating at Taverna del Bronzino and il Teatro de Sale the other 2 nights)
Gatto Nero lunch, Giardinetto for dinner
Day 2: chichetti (Al Bottegon?), then need help narrowing down dinner:
Al Covo or Il Ridotto or Alle Testieres
Sending a virtual gelato as thanks...
Glass is upscale creative, Asino is casual Umbrian. Only you can say which you would prefer. The same applies to day 3. Day 4 is a mess: Checchino is closed on Sunday and Monday and in any case would be ridiculous following a lunch at Perilli. Between Perilli and La Gensola, I would prefer the latter, but again, it's your call. One is traditional meat-based (mainly) Roman cooking, the other is fish.
In Venice I like Al Covo very much.
If you are visiting Burano, Gatto Nero is very good. Giardinetto serves solid traditional Venetian food with friendly service. I have not eaten there in a number of years but I doubt it has change much as its been with the same family for ages. They have a nice garden but usually it is too cold in March.
Day 2: Al Bottegon (Cantine del vino Gia Schiavi) is one our favorite bacaro (among many). Very good wines (from Fruili as well as rest of Italy), tasty panini, crostini, etc, with old world atmosphere and charming owners. Excellent if you are visiting Dorsoduro. There are good bacari through out Venice, therefore, for me it comes down to location.
Al Covo, Il Ridotto or Alle Testiere: depends on what one is looking for. I have not been to Il Ridotto. Al Covo is a very good all around restaurant. Part of the menu changes seasonally but there are a few traditional dishes. For antipasti, there is always some sort of saor (excellent), fish tartare, charcuterie plate. The bigoli in salsa is good. For secondi, we tend to order meat dishes over the seafood. The quality of the beef and veal is excellent. The bacala with prune and rosemary sounds strange but is very good. Desserts are worth eating, especially the Fried Cream, the walnut cake, berry torte. The ambience is comfortable and relax with good informal service. .
Alle Testiere is all seafood; small (about 24 covers with two seatings) and cramp. Service is usually good but if things get hectic, it can be a bit brusque. The menu changes daily and the quality of the seafood is always topnotch; some of the best antipasti anywhere (octopus salad, baby squid with celery root, scallops with artichokes, an antipasto assortment of 5 small tastes). We usually don't order primi except for tagliolini with crabmeat and lemon or any pasta stuffed with seafood. Most days, three simple creative secondi (ie. San Pietro with citrus, wild branzino with black olives, monkfish with asparagus and prosciutto, plus a good assortment of simply grilled items. Excellent desserts including one of the best tiramisu, chestnut chocolate cake, mascarpone cream with wild strawberries.
I'm a big fan of Gatto Nero, the seafood is as fresh as it comes. Please resist soaking any dish in lemon before you taste out of habit (especially that frittura they've work so hard to make is light and crunchy)—these fish are flavorful and never "fishy," and the lemon will only obliterate the taste. You can always add it on the second bite if you prefer.
You'll find fine cichéti at Bottegòn già Schiavi, although we are all still stinging from the loss of its patriarco who passed just recently. Paolo is holding down the fort for now, we are hoping he continues; travelers and locals alike so depend on our Bottegon. Other good cichèti stops are Promessi Sposi, Vedova, and Vecià Carbonera in Cannaregio, Do Mori, all'Arco, Do Spade around the Rialto—even the bar at Caffè Quadri (cotechino polpetti, buonissimi), and a staple Aciugheta. Best time for freshest cicchetti are before official lunch time.
I'll throw in Orto dei Mori and Osteria Santa Marina for another meal options, on the campo dei Mori in Cannaregio. Ridotto is Gianni Buonacorsi's place, easily recommendable, as is Cesare's lagoon-dedicated Al Covo, along with the new Ristorante Quadri, just awarded a Michelin star. You'll sense the owners' passion for what they do in all these locales, I think.
No matter where you go, do ask what they recommended for the day; they'll let you know what's freshest.
Best of luck with your decision(s); not easy ones—fortunately.