Restaurant Recommendations in Rome, Florence and Venice
I will be going to Italy next month and am looking for some advice as to which restaurants I should try out. In terms of our preferences we both love pasta and my wife prefers a veal dish (especially veal scallopini) and I prefer chicken or lamb. My wife is allergic to seafood so we're looking for places that have a good variety on their menu.
In terms of price point we're looking at mid-range (20-30 Euros) and possibly one restaurant in Rome where I can have a nice meal to celebrate my birthday.
In Rome we're staying at the intersection of Via Fabio Massimo and Via Germanico.
In Florence we're staying at Via dei Belfredelli.
I'm hoping you guys can help me out!
It is an expensive city for dining out. Except for set menu at lunch in simple trattorie/osterie that caters to locals, it is difficult to eat a 3 course meal for 20-30 in most good places. Fortunately, local wines are not expensive. My choices would be Ai Sposi Promissi (the best of the group), Antica Mola, Al Bacco, Ai Tre Spiedi, Alla Vedova, L'Aquasanta. Pushing your budget a bit are da Alberto, Al Bacareto. All are basic no frill serving traditional Venetian food. If your wife does not eat any seafood, she will be limited by the choices in the antipasti and primi sections of the menu. For antipasto, her choices will probably be prosciutto, carpaccio and hopefully some sort of vegetable/cheese option. Pasta and risotto are mostly seafood based though there will be at least one meat or vegetable options. She will have more choices for a secondo. To keep within budget, can skip dessert here and there and take in gelati afterward. I would check if places that you choose will be open while you are there in August as it is a popular time for restaurant annual closings. Venice not as much.
As always, PBSF hits the nail on the head! Just a couple of details on ALLA VEDOVA - the bacala mantecato (creamed cod) was excellent, served with pieces of grilled polenta for several Euro if consumed as cichetti at the bar. Their polpette (deep fried meatballs) were mouthwateringly tasty, and very popular - each time a dish comes out of the kitchen they fly off the shelf (they're 1.50 Euro each at the bar).
We also sat down for a very simple and casual meal with friends one night. We started with a selection of cichetti and then had primi - nothing special or unusual (vongole, seppie etc.), but a bargain at around 8-10 Euro per plate. Secondi included crowd-pleasers like fritto misto, made to order, and one or two simple dolci. No coffee, BTW.
They're open for lunch and dinner (closed in the afternoon) so it's a dependable stop, whether it's just for an ombra and some cichetti standing up or for a cheap and simple meal. Easy to find too - through the calle where the vaporetto stops (Ca d'Oro), cross Strada Nuova and into Ramo d'Oro. If you're planning to sit down and eat, best to reserve a day ahead (you can stop by for some cichetti the evening before to check out the place and then just let them know you want to eat there the next day).