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Jul 12, 2012 09:32 AM

Tasting Menus...Do all diners at the table have to opt for that? Looking for Rome/Florence restaurant with a little flexibility as far as that goes...

Hi all! Will be traveling to Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Venice for a 10-day trip in mid-October. I am much more adventurous when it comes to trying food compared with my husband, who is more of a meat and potatoes guy (in Italy, he will be ALL about the pasta too!). While the pasta is probably THE thing I am most looking forward to in Italy, as I have never been before, I am also looking to break out of the pasta box a few nights and go to at least one of the Michelin-star (or comparable) restaurants with a pre-fixed tasting menu. I looked at a few menus from places like Glass, Guida Ballerina, il Conviviotroiani, il Pagliaccio, La Pergola, etc. and all of them looked fantastic! The problem is that I know my husband (who is really not much of a seafood eater beyond the occasional shrimp or scallop appetizer) is not going to be into the tasting menus at all. Even in terms of the meat portion of the menus, he's more of a filet mignon / chicken guy...not so much pigeon and all the other "exotic" proteins.

Chowhounders, help me, please! Are there any restaurants of this calibur (see above paragraph for restaurants) where the chef will accommodate us so that I would be able to order the tasting menu and my husband wouldn't have to? We would also be fine with paying the price for two tasting menus, but would want the flexibility where he could switch out options so that he'd actually eat them.

We are in our very early 30's and are open to either a trendy atmosphere or a more formal one...above all, just looking for some amazing food! Thank you so much in advance. :)


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  1. One more thing...even if you all could recommend an exceptional restaurant with a little bit more of a conservative pre-fixed tasting menu compared to some of the more extremely-gourmet ones I've seen ....that would be an option for us, too! Thanks~

    1. In general (not only in Italy), tasting menus are for the whole table; just a question of synchronizing all the dishes; but no harm in asking before.

      Also, you could/can ask, in advance, for a tasting menu with no seafood/fish; some restaurants will oblige.

      1. The thing about tasting menus is the portions are many and small, which makes it hard to synchronize a meal for a table unless everyone is having it. Switching individual dishes is rarely a problem as long as the total number of courses remains the same. Even when you're not having a tasting menu, a meal in Italy works better if the entire table has the same courses, even if the dishes are all different. That way nobody is sitting looking at an empty place while the companion is tucking into his pasta.

        You might look at Agata e Romeo, which might be more to your husband's liking than some of the super modern places. I would also look at Al Ceppo, not the top rung, but right up there, with a giant fireplace for grilling meat that should buy you some credit for something more outré another evening. They have plenty else on the menu too, so you won't be bored.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mbfant

          Thank you so much for the suggestions! The food sounds good at Agata e Romeo. It seems to get mixed reviews, though... So, you highly recommend it?

          1. re: chattys82

            I love Agata e Romeo, but it's all a matter of perception. Some people use the word pretentious, while I like the quiet atmosphere with touches of elegance. It isn't stodgy or anything. The food is more conservative than Convivio and a lot more conservative than, say, Pipero or Pagliaccio. There's a smaller menu and many of the dishes are interpretations/variations of the classics, but Agata also makes fabulous carbonara and amatriciana in the traditional way.

          2. re: mbfant

            Do you know anything about Antico Arco?

            1. re: chattys82

              If you put the name into the seach upper right you will see a whole lot of discussions of Antico Arco by mbfant and others