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emilia romana advice for a foodie

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My wife and I love cutting edge Italian food. Not only great taste but creativity and looks.
We leave next month for two weeks starting in Milan and working our way through Emila
Romana and up to Lake Garda. We would appreciate comments so far on the following possible choices and any other places we might love. Price is not a big issue but would like to keep meals under $400 a night (including a good bottle of wine and tips)

1. Milan -- Ristorante alla Scala , Craco or Giacomo Bistro

2. Mantua -- L Aquilla Nigra (the Black Eagle)

3. Parma -- Parrizi or Riva
(nearby -- Da Ivan)

4. Bolgna -- Bitone, I Portice, Pappagallo, Marco Fagio Bistrot

5 Imola -- San Domenico

6. Ferrara -- Zafferano or L Orca Givliua or La Providenza

7. Verona -- Arche, Il Desco,

8. Ravena -- La Gardela

9. Lake Garda (depending on where we stay -- San Viglio, Villa del Sogno, or Grand Hotel
Villa Floraliso , La Rucola or ?

We have been to Italy 7 or 8 times before but have liitle experience in this area

Please help

Mel/dog21

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  1. Of your Bologna choices, I've only eaten in I Portici. I thought the "non-traditional" side of their menu was not as good as the "traditional" menu they offered, and I would not describe the non-traditional menu at I Portici as cutting edge, if by that you mean unusual cooking techniques and exotic flavor combinations. I would describe the non-traditional menu as inventive.

    Also, a spelling correction: Marco Fadiga Bistrot

    And you might be interested in reading this negative report of Bitone:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/267203

    2 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      no cutting edge food at L'Oca Giuliva, Aquila Nigra, Da Ivan.
      This is not the area to experience cutting edge food.
      Am very surprised Dal Pescatore is not on the list.

      1. re: barberinibee

        Nor at La Gardela in Ravenna.

        Consider Osteria Francescana in Modena and Le Calandre (or Il Calandrino) near Padua; menus and prices are online.

      2. thanks for your kind replies. We have put both Le Candre and Dal Pescatore on our list. Question--I got on their web site (Dal Pescatore) and saw no mention of prices. Is everything prix fix and what is the approx tariff for dinner there before wine?
        While we love creative cutting edge food, I realize we can/t eat like this everyday. We plan to space out our incredble meals with great traditional ones that hopefully will still be wonderful.

        when we travel, the food is the most important, and many times, we book our restaurants first and then our hotels. Another love is the one or two star meals with a nice room upstairs for us. Mornings afterwards are often spent visiting with the chef/owner. We often spend much more on our dining than our rooms. It is definitly a fun hobby.
        I really appreciate your advice
        Mel/dog21

        1 Reply
        1. re: dog21

          This year prix fixe at Dal Pescatore and Le Calandre is 180 Euros per person. Both have ala carte menus which would be slightly less expensive (for fewer courses).

        2. Although not directly responsive, there are some companies in that area that will take you to see parmigiano reggiano being made (and stored) as well as to see how balsamic vinegar is produced and how parma ham is prepared. We have actually done all three, including a lunch focusing on those items in a single day--though it was a marathon. I highly recommend the experience--especially the cheese. The company we originally used was called (I think) Parma Galosa.

          1. I live in Ferrara and the only place I've been to is Zafferano. But! If you want a great glass of wine and a snack, face the Duomo and look to the left. There will be a small passageway with a bike shop and beyond the bike shop is an Enoteca called Brindisi. Its literally my favorite place to be in Ferrara after dark. LOVE IT. If you're going to be in Modena (where we live during the week thanks to work), please go to La Ca' dal Porc. Its a place that have a fixed menu of classic pig dishes from the region. Spicy Borlenghi, mountains of Porchetta, Coppa di Testa, and great wine made by the owner's brother. Its where I take family members who come to visit and really want a taste of the region. Its also where my husband's boss hosts their yearly office dinner in December. GREAT STUFF.