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Feb 23, 2013 07:15 AM

Restaurant suggestions for our Italy trip

We are traveling from March 23 - April 5th in Italy. I've just finished booking our hotels and apartments and now I'm starting on food. We are traveling with our 16 year old daughter who doesn't have a terribly sophisticated palate, but she does love pasta.

Here's our trip:
Milan one night Sunday- staying near the Central Train Station - would like to eat in the old town area.
Venice - 3 nights, MTW - staying in an apartment near the San Stae in CAMPO SAN BOLDO. Wednesday night is our daughter's 16th birthday.
Florence - 1 night, Th - thinking of eating at Cantinetta Antinori where we ate 15 years ago. Any thoughts on that?
Tuscany - 3 nights, FSatSun - we haven't yet booked our farm stay, but it will be near Pienza or Montepulciano.
Rome - 4 nights, MTWTh. We are staying in an apt near the Spanish Steps and have traveled in other parts of Italy, but never been to Rome.

We have spent a bit of time in Paris and we find our favorite places are chef run bistros. We would be looking for the Italian equivalent.

Any suggestions?

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  1. There have been quite a few threads on dining in and around Pienza and Montepulciano here over the past several months.
    If you go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do searches for both places, you should be able to find many helpful suggestions.

    Here is one thread that should be helpful:

    1 Reply
    1. Im assuming when you say Milan Old town you mean the historic center, near the cathedral. One alternative in that area is Trattoria Milanese, very traditional as the name suggests.

      Sunday night can be a little tough in business areas like the Center of Milan - another place which looks like its open (more toward the Central Station than the historic center - is Osteria del Treno. Ive not been to either of these, but they should be solid - not stylish, however.

      Venice - you need to pay attention to closing days in all of Italy because the closing days of your desired restaurants may not match up with your visit. Restaurants very near you include La Zucca, no seafood, tasty vegetable and meat dishes (at the rich rather than austere end of the spectrum), and Il Refolo stylish pizzeria and other light dishes in a nice piazza) - but you can always get on a boat or walk to another area for a special meal

      Tuscany - you might want to choose a lodging that offers evening meals or where you can prepare your own meal - driving on the twisty country roads at night can be challenging. May still be pretty chilly Mar-April in the Tuscan country side.

      I will never forget staying here for a couple weeks many years ago. they would offer everything you need, in a room, apartment or house with an unforgettable view of tuscany, a restaurant serving produce from their estate and a good location for touring.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jen kalb

        Great suggestions. We plan to wander around Venice. Love to be armed with info, but also like the aspect of adventure and discovery with travel.

        Thanks for the advice on staying in Tuscany. We hadn't thought about driving for dinner and I'm sure we won't want to venture far. Still trying to find a place, but have eliminated some places that don't have a restaurant.

      2. There are some good places to eat around the San Stae area in Venice. La Zucca is well known and you must reserve there. Il Refolo is better for ambiance than for food these days and I don't think it will be warm enough to sit outside so I'd skip it. There is a branch of the Muro chain (3 locations in Venice) close to San Stae that is very good and has something for everyone. I also really like Ostaria Mocenigo and it is good to reserve there as well.

        If you get a hankering for pizza there is a great pizza place in the San Stae area - called Al Anfora. The pizzas are huge so be careful how many you order. In Campo San Giacomo dell Orio there is a great wine bar that serves sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie, and salads called Al Prosecco. For tips on other parts of Venice do a search here, but you are staying in a great area for eating so if you wear yourself out during the day, you'll not be far from a good dinner at night.

        1. Venice: your apartment on Cp San Boldo is conveniently located in Santa Croce and near San Polo. If you are interested in traditional Venetian food, the only trattoria/osteria I can recommend in Santa Croce is Antica Besseta. Venice is compact, therefore, I would not confine myself just to the area around Cp San Boldo. Just about every osteria/trattoria in Venice will have pasta on their menu; most of the time it is paired with seafood but also seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, peas, artichoke, radicchio, etc. Generally, avoid 'generic' pasta such as Bolognese, Carbonara, all'amatricana, etc. Search this board as there have been many posts on eating in Venice. Most of the recommendations on earlier threads are small family own osterie and trattorie. Some of these such as Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane, Al Covo, Fiaschetteria Toscana, Al Paradiso,Vini da Gigio are on the expensive side but there also many moderate/inexpensive choices: da Rioba, Anice Stellato, ai Promessi Sposi, alla Vedova, da Alberto, Trattoria da Fiore, Al Bacareto, Alla Frasca, Alla Bifora, ai 4Feri. Pick a few that might fit what you are looking for and askwith the board for specific feedback.
          If your main meal of the day is dinner, midday eat at the many bacari throughout Venice. They are also great for late afternoon breaks. There are always some around where one is sightseeing. Search this board for the many earlier posts on this topic.
          There are good pizza in Venice though none cook in a wood burning oven; might consider eating it in Rome which has better pizza.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            PBSF what's your opinion on Osteria di Santa Marina? You never mention it in your posts. Would eating at Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane, Al Covo, Fiaschetteria Toscana, Al Paradiso, or Vini da Gigio be better?

            1. re: msfood

              I had mentioned Osteria di Santa Marina on couple of early posts on this board. I had two good meals there but haven't eaten there in three years. I have been to the others on your list the past year and multiple times at Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane and Vini da Gigio. Just thought those were better recommendations for most visitors on this board that are in Venice for only two or three days.

          2. Hi knitgirl,

            I suggest you put up a separate post asking about chef-run bistro-type places in Rome and Florence in hopes of attracting the attention of some of the posters who live in Italy who have that information.

            1 Reply