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Crafting Venice/ Florence/ Rome Lunches and Dinner Selections—Help is Appreciated!

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We are heading to Venice, Rome and Florence next month. I have been searching Chowhound, Katie Parla, Maureen Fant, Elizabeth Minichelli and many more for recommendations. We are spending three nights in each city. We are a party of four—my husband (who likes craft beer, not wine but may be persuaded), my mother, and our niece who will have just graduated from high school—this will be her first trip to Europe.

I am a fan of delicious food. I am flexible on price point, have no problem spending money for excellence. I would prefer not to have leisurely lunches (can always be persuaded otherwise) but have no problem with a relaxed dinner.

Venice
Lunches:
Birraria on Campo San Polo (this was suggested by an acquaintance and looks like it is close-ish to our apartment so might be a good first day option?)
La Bitta is also a close option for first day lunch
La Cantina
Beccafico, near Campo Stefano
Gia Schiavi
Not sure if any of these are overly inspiring? I am open to suggestion.

Dinner:
1. Cicchetti tour with Monica Cesarato (first night in Italy—might be tired, thought this might be a good way to see the town, have a little sustenance)
2. Al Covo
3. Antiche Carampane

We will take the train to Florence on a Sunday morning.
Florence
Lunches—only can choose three, help me!
Zeb
Cantinetta Verrazzano
Nerbone
‘Ino
ll’Antico Vinaio

Dinners—other recommendations?
1. Sostanza
2. Il Santo Bevitore
3. I cannot make a third restaurant choice. Maybe I am restaurant researched out?

Rome
Lunches
1. Gusto—was recommended because it is close to our apartment, and would be an option before we head to the Colosseum/ Forum for a tour. (Our train arrives from Florence at 10:35, we have to go to the apartment and then be at the Colosseum for 2:30.) Is Gusto a good choice? Or should try Hosteria Nerone or Li Rioni a Santiquattro Snc instead?
2. Pizzarium
3. We are doing a little walk around tasting in the Campo de Fiori

Dinners
1. Il Convivo—should we go here our last night in Italy?
2. One night we are having an Italian beer tasting with Katie Parla at Baladin. I hate wasting a dinner opportunity in a beer pub but this will make my husband incredibly happy.
3. Armando seems to be a fave with some? Any other suggestions for a third dinner in Rome? Or is Armando the place?

In advance thanks for any suggestions or comments you might have. Sorry so long and I promise to report back.

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  1. About Rome:
    Gusto looks lovely and has great atmosphere (which part are you considering?) but the food is not good. Nerone might be a better option before your tour, li rioni is not (dinner only).
    Pizzarium - excellent choice. There is also beer :)
    Tour around campo df - guided or do you need suggestions?
    Il convivio is being discussed on another thread right now, have a look. I am not a fan.
    Tasting with katie at baladin is great for your husband. But it won't be a full dinner, do plan something for afterwards.
    Armando is great for roman food in the center.

    3 Replies
    1. re: vinoroma

      Thanks for the input. I got the sense that Gusto was not the right choice food-wise—may have been a proximate suggestion. We will head over to Nerone. Does anyone know if it is hard to get a table at lunch?
      We are using a guide for the Campo df, Carolina Vicente, she was recommended by the people from whom we are renting our apartment. I will be sure to report back.
      Hmmm, on Il Convivo discussion on another thread....In my research it seemed to be suggested as more "about Rome" than some of the more modern options. I guess I am looking for one casual night (the beer+) and two special-ish meals—Armando + one other. Can you suggest a second option after Armando? Metamorfosi? Which I know is less traditional but seems to tip to the thumbs up side in discussions online. Or do you have another suggestion? At the end of the day I want good food in Rome, perhaps something whose memory will make me think—yes, we had such a nice night.
      Thanks for suggesting a bite after the beer tasting. Anything you can recommend in the area? I see Roscioli is near and it appeals—but this place inspires strong opinions from awful to incredible. Would I be insane to go there? Or maybe Piperno? Or Antico Forno Urbani?
      Thanks so much for any direction you can offer.

      1. re: cathleenmarie

        Explain what you mean "about Rome". Do you mean places that serve the Roman classics? Armando is my first recommendation and La Campana my 2nd. For the tradition of Testaccio, try Felice (ask for the waiter Alessio). I ate at Armando and La Campana last week.

        Il Convivio takes the Roman classics and gives them a creative twist. Ask for the waiter Eric and consult with the superlative wine steward and part owner, Massimo. Tell both that I send you.

        You may also wish to try places that serve the Jewish tradition in Rome. I'll let others advise you on this.

      2. re: vinoroma

        I am a fan of Il Convivio, an my numerous posts about this sterling restaurant will give my reasons

      3. Yes, go to Il Convivio. Armando will do.

        1. See my posts "Sid's short list Rome" and Sid's short(er) list Venice

          1 Reply
          1. re: sidcundiff

            Thanks Sid. Your lists have been most helpful in coming to my conclusions at present.

          2. You've certainly done your research!

            Venice: Lunches are ok, but rather than plan ahead for them, try to see what neighborhood you end up in, then go from there.
            Dinners seem spot on.

            Florence:
            Lunches:
            I would ilminate Cantinetta Verrazzano, and then choose between l'Antico Vinaio and 'Ino (both are panini). Both Zeb and Nerbone are so unique, that I'd keep both in.
            Dinner: For something very different try Tranvai. It's a bit of a walk, but a nice one and will take you to another neighborhood.

            Rome:
            Lunches:
            Gusto is just not very good anymore. Like Vinoroma says, it's nice to look at, and often open when other places aren't,but that's about it. Nerone is near the Colosseum, and good. Another choice is Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, which is also quite near and easier to get into for lunch than dinner.
            Dinners: I love Armando!
            I never really go to Convivio, so can't advise on that. It's the kind of 'fancy' place that if you're a local, it takes an occasion to get to.

            I'll look forward to hearing back!

            www.ElizabethMinchilliInRome.com

            3 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              Elizabeth, thanks for the feedback. Can you tell I have been using your apps? They have been fabulously helpful in trying to map out the food parts of our trip in Venice, Florence and Rome.

              1. re: minchilli

                Elizabeth Minchilliln has a point is saying about Il Convivo "it takes an occasion to get to". Perhaps just an occasion for Cathleenmarie is going to Rome. Try Il Convivio.

                1. re: sidcundiff

                  Thanks Sid!

              2. The Il Convivio, which I have praised in many posts, offers fine dining with a great wind steward. Armando is an upscale Roman Trattoria with excellent food.