where to eat on our honeymoon
I'm going on a two week trip with my fiancee covering Rome, Naples, Venice, Cinque Terre and Siena and want to try and plan ahead for some really nice meals.
I'd love to blow her mind away with a few amazing dinners (maybe somewhere really unique or with a great view, especially in Venice.
The problem is we aren't adventurous with what we eat. Neither of us eat seafood and we're not the type to try things that are very different for us i.e. rabbit, sweetbreads, liver, intestines, etc. Somewhere with great meat and vegetable dishes, pastas, pizzas (without seafood) are great for us though. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
While in Rome, please check out La Pergola in the Waldorf. It's at the top of the hill overlooking Rome-a spectacular view. On top of that, the food is truly outstanding. I can still taste the amazing pasta, and that was a year ago! I will warn you of two things- the price is very high. IMO, well worth it. And, if you do go- when you sit down, they will bring out a large cart with many bottles of champagne, wines, and other wonderful offerings. It will look and feel like it's included as part of your meal- it is NOT. And each glass will run you about $60. We didn't partake, but the host of the table next to us went berserk when he got the bill! Lastly, if you are going to Positano, there is a wonderful little place in an old house called Cafe Max. I also highly recommend this. And not as pricey as La Pergola. Have a great trip!
For Venice: amazing dinners, great view and no seafood are a difficult combination. The postcard view of Venice into the Grand Canal/Canal San Marco, San Giorgio are monopolized by the terrace restaurants of the high-end hotels such as the Gritti, Bauer, Monaco. If you are in Venice around the middle of April or after when one can dine outside weatherwise, many good places offer tables along the canals, not necessary the Grand Canal. Several such trattorie offer some good non-seafood choices (and not necessarily rabbit, sweetbreads, etc). Bancogiro has great seating on the loggia facing the Grand Canal near the Rialto. Also with a few tables on the side canals are Anice Stellato, L'Orto de Mori, da Rioba (good steak). No view but warm ambience, pretty good food is the non-seafood La Bitta. Al Gondolieri is probably the best high-end restaurant in Venice that serves no seafood. It has a extensive menu including a good tasting menu which we enjoyed last Spring. Many good trattorie such as Vini da Gigio and Al Covo will have good non-seafood choices in every menu categories.
As for your interest in Il Refolo and Alla Zucca: Il Refolo is a upscale pizzeria with outdoor seating in a small secluded campo. Along with numerous pizza choices, it has good antipasti and one or two non-seafood secondi. Alla Zucca is not particularly Venetian but the cooking is solid and has many good vegetable dishes. The simple modern ambience is warm and cozy. Not that they are not good but neither would be my choices on a very short stay during my first trip to Venice.
For great view, one might consider a drink at the terrace of the Bauer or for a spectacular arial view, the Skyline Bar at the Molino Stucky Hilton. Both are rather expensive, a spritz is around 18euros at the Bauer and a couple of euros less at the Molino Stucky. Or enjoy a drink at one of the outdoor terrace cafe on the Zattere for much less.
PBSF, thanks so much for your reply. Going to reconsider my choices after reading your post and doing some research on some of the restaurants you mentioned right now. Going to be in Naples just before we come to Venice so after all that pizza some really great pasta and a good steak would be nice. I noticed you put (good steak) next to da Rioba so thinking of putting that at the top of my list.
Just so you know, Naples has some truly great pasta, not all of it with seafood. In fact, one of Italy's most luscious pastas is called pasta alla genovese, and it is not from Genoa, but a southern Italian pasta that is made by slow-cooking onions and meat for hours, until they dissolve into a sauce, and then tossing hot pasta tubes into it the sauce -- then it's yours! It's a spectacular dish. You can go to a place like Ciro e Sant Brigida in Naples and find both pizza and pasta alla genovese on the menu.
Another great Neapolitan pasta without seafood is made with smoked provolone cheese (called provola), often served with potatoes in the pasta as well, the ultimate-super-carb mac'n'cheese. There is also Neapolitan lasagne with plenty of sausage and fresh ricotta, and there are other baked pasta dishes and pastas with pizza sauce:
The machine-cut dried pastas of the Neapolitan region are considered some of the most wonderful in Italy, and they are made in no end of goofy shapes and lengths. Even if you don't have room in your stomach to eat them all, they are lightweight and maybe you can find room in your suitcase to bring some home.
You really should spend 15 or 20 minutes reviewing past threads on the the cities & towns you are thinking of visiting. There is a search feature in the upper right-hand corner of this page you can use. You should also check out the "Discussions You Might Also Like...." on the right side of this page, which references several current threads on honeymooning in Italy. There are literally hundreds of reviews and suggestions already here for you to review.
The vast majority of dining establishments in Italy will likely have at least one or two items on the menu you will find appealing.
As the cuisines of Italy vary by region, I would highly getting a copy of Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler." The book does an excellent job of describing the types of food you will encounter in the various cities you will be visiting.
Congratulations, good luck and have fun!
You and your fiance are going to face quite a challenge eating in le Cinque Terre if you are not seafood eaters. Althought the most famous dish of the region is pasta with pesto (pounded basil and cheese and pine nuts), nearly everything else you will encounter is seafood. The most-often eaten meat in the region is rabbit, so no consolation there. Worse, if you see beef or pork offered on the menus (you will never see lamb), it's almost a guarantee it won't be cooked well, or be a nice cut (might be frozen). You will probably see a lot of pizza offered in local restaurants. It will probably be terrible because it is not a dish native to the region and it is only there for tourists. Likewise, hot dogs.
I don't know what time of year you are traveling, but there is another dish of that area called "pansoti con noci", which is a vegetable ravioli served with a creamy sauce made of pounded walnuts, milk and breadcrumbs. It's very good, but sometime you don't see it in summer.
An excellent non-seafood dish is "farinata," which is a kind of flat pizza-like dish but it is made of ground chickpeas. It is often sold in bakeries by the slice, and it a great food for hikes. The bakeries also sell lovely vegetable tortes by the slice (a bit like Greek pies) and delicious focaccia bread, sometimes smothered with onions or zucchini, etc, depending on the season.
So this is really just a heads-up that if you are looking for some really special meals, you might focus on other destinations you are going to, and figure that while you are in le Cinque Terre you will check out the bakeries, have some picnics to go with those beautiful views, and otherwise keep it simple.
PS: I don't go much to Venice, and when I go there I eat seafood, but I know you can find past threads about places to eat in Venice that don't serve seafood.
Have a great time!
Thanks so much for the response. It is very informative and helpful and very much appreciated. The non-seafood dishes you mentioned in Cinque Terre sound delicious and I look forward to a few picnics amongst such beauty.
After doing a bit of research I've come up with a few places that sound good to me - I'm thinking of making a point of going to Roscioli in Rome and perhaps Il Refolo and La Zucca in Venice. Still going to be looking for a few more restaurants to put at the top of my list.
Thanks for all of the help so far.