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Jan 30, 2014 03:44 PM

Please critique my food itinerary for a trip in April 2014

Hello Chowhounders,

Sorry, I know that there are lots of requests for itinerary critiques, but I'm heading to Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence from April 10-18, 2014 with my boyfriend. We love food so we've done lots of research by reading the Italy board. It's Easter, so are there any restaurants in particular that you think I need to make reservations weeks in advance vs reservations same day/day before? Thank you in advance! I really appreciate all your advice and input!

Apr 10 (Rome)
Dinner - Taverna dei Fori Imperalia

Apr 11 (Milan)
Lunch - Nerino Dieci Trattoria
Dinner - Trattoria Abele La Temperenza

Apr 12 (Venice)
Lunch - find food at Mercato di Rialto
Afternoon tea - Florian (high tea vs individual items)
Dinner - All'Arco

Apr 13 (Venice)
Lunch - Enoteca al Volto
Dinner - L'Anice Stellato

Apr 14 (Florence)
Lunch/Dinner - All'Antico Vinaio OR 'Ino OR Da Vinattieri

Apr 15 (Florence)
Lunch - Gustapanino
Dinner - Gustapizza

Apr 16 (Florence)
Lunch - find food at Mercato Centrale (?Nerbone)
Dinner - Sostanza OR Del Fagioli

Apr 17 (Rome)
Lunch - Pizzarium
Dinner - Metamorfosi (set menu vs tasting menu)

Apr 18 (Rome)
Breakfast - Pasticceria Dagnino
Lunch - Forno Campo de' Fiori OR Antico Forno Roscioli
Dinner - Colline Emiliane OR Taverna Lucifero

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  1. I will give feedback about your Rome choices.
    Taverna fori imperiali - i do not like it. Not bcs it is touristy (a lot of places in central rome are) but bcs i think the food quality is low.
    Pizzarium - excellent
    Metamorfosi - excellent - they have three tasting menus or you can eat a la carte. I suggest the big tasting menu plus wine pairings if your stomach and budget allow it.
    Dagnino - if you want sicilian, then ok.
    Lunch - do both - get the potato pizza at forno cf, rossa at roscioli.
    Dinner - they are not in the same league. Plus not roman. You should have at least one roman trattoria meal, i suggest cesare or if you want to stay central, armando.
    Re reservations: a week before should be ok for all dinners in rome, except metamorfosi.

    5 Replies
    1. re: vinoroma

      Thanks Vinoroma for your input! We will be spending our day at the pantheon, spanish steps, etc, so i would prefer to stay central. Armando was also on my list, so I'll have to look into it some more!

      Out of curiosity, what exactly is 'Roman' style food?

      1. re: Sannie_2

        Not roman style but roman. Too long for me to go into now (on a mobile device) but basically every region in italy has a different cuisine depending on the produce available in the area plus traditions. Colline emiliane is from emiglia romagna, lucifero... I don't even know. You could read through the forums a bit to see what constitutes roman food but for example if you take pasta; carbonara, cacio e pepe, gricia, amatriciana are roman, whereas lasagna or orecchiette with broccoletti or rigatoni alla norma or pizzoccheri or risotto are not....

        1. re: Sannie_2

          Armando al Pantheon has posted its typical Roman menu online. You can look at the historic dishes, which you might want to do anyway if you plan to go. You can read it in both Italian and a translation:

          North American cooking used to be a lot more like Italy's in that it was highly varied for being specific and regional and based on the local produce. When people traveled around they made a point of eating highly local foods they couldn't get where they lived. Then people got sold on the idea of being able to find standardized food when they traveled (look for the Golden Arches!) but local eating might win a comeback in north America. it is worth seeking out local food in Rome.

          1. re: kmzed

            Thanks so much for the link! I am SOLD. The menu looks amazing. I want to try everything on their typical menu. Hopefully I can grow an extra stomach or something. Out of curiosity, do you know how much their dishes are? Approximately? There is no price on the website..

            I totally agree about seeking out local food. That's the point of traveling, right? I never understood people who would go to McDonalds, Hard Rock Cafe, etc while on vacation.

          2. re: Sannie_2

            Here is a nice article about the regional food idea in italy. I don't agree with everything, but it is a nice introduction.

        2. For Venice,
          All'Arco is not open evenings. It is a tiny standup only bacaro. Go there for their cicchetti during your morning visit to the Rialto market. The seafood stalls shut down by noon and many of the produce vendor by 1pm. The market itself does not sell any prepared food, therefore, eat at the numerous nearby bacari.
          Enoteca al Volto is a good traditional osteria, few that are open Sundays and L'Anice Stellato is excellent.
          As for reservations, to be safe, a week before for L'Anice Stellato should be fine for a Sunday night. Not needed for lunch at Volto.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            Thanks for the tip regarding All'arco. I'll switch that into the lunch spot and find another place for dinner. Not a lot of choice on a sunday.. I would love to try Al Covo or All Testiere, but I dont want to go to too many pricy restaurants. Any recs for a resto that would be below 30€ pp? We are also hoping to check out Harry's Bar after dinner for their bellini's!

            1. re: Sannie_2

              There are a lot of old atmospheric bacari around the Rialto market, therefore, try to visit more than one. All'Arco is one of the best and friendiest.
              You already have Anice Stellato for Sunday; your other day in Venice is Saturday so shouldn't have problem finding places that are open. For around 30pp, Ai Promessi Sposi or alle Vedova are good. Alla Frasca is all seafood and should be within your budget and the reliable Da Alberto. Just skip dessert and if it is not too late (after 10pm), there are gelato places everywhere.
              The bellini at Harry Bar is tough on the budget; last year, think our house guests paid 18e per.

          2. You've done a lot of homework! Here are my comments:

            I'm a big fan of Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, but it books up so make sure you reserve

            Venice: All good choices.

            Florence: Not sure of your April 14 plans for lunch/dinner. These are all definitely stand up lunch places. Not places for dinner. And if you just have a sandwich, then I think you are going to want something more substantial (and relaxing) for dinner.
            I've never hear of either Gustapanino or Gustapizza. But a quick look online makes me think they are inexpensive, centrally located simple places aimed at students and tourists.
            I'd pick Sostanza over Fagioli if you have to choose one.
            Rome again:
            All good, except for your last evening. I've been hearing bad things about Colline Emiliane recently, both in terms of service and quality. And isn't Taverna Lucifero that foundue place? Not sure I would send you to a place that serves fondue in Rome for your last meal in Italy.


            1 Reply
            1. re: minchilli

              Thank you Elizabeth for your response! Looking back, I'm not sure how Lucifero made it onto my list in the first place!

              With regards to Colline emiliane, I read that they had good pasta. We are going to the pantheon, Spanish steps, etc that day. Is there a place in that area, or anywhere between those places and the central train station that you would especially recommend for their pasta?

            2. 4 cities is a lot in 8 days. Personally I'd want to travel less and enjoy more. You might consider cutting out one stop and saving it for a future trip.

              I would definitely opt for Sostanza for the night of the 16th.

              1 Reply
              1. re: black_lab

                I know =( It isn't very much time, but my boyfriend only gets 2 weeks of vacation a year, so we were really restricted with time. Our itinerary is pretty tight, but I figure we can fit everything we want to do if we are organized (ie purchase tickets ahead of time).