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Apr 28, 2014 02:37 PM

Welcoming your recommendations for Arezzo, Cortona, seafood in Florence?

We are staying at a small home outside Cortona for a week in June where we hope to shop locally and cook. But we'd welcome suggestions about favorite dining spots in the Cortona-Arezzo-Sienna-Greve areas. We have reservations at La Bottega del 30 in Castelnuovo Berardenga, but after writing 3 times to I Tre Bicchieri in Arezzo, I have given up hope that they will ever respond! Also interested in lunch in Parma and any recommendations for a seafood dinner in Florence? Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and ideas!

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  1. Be sure to use the search feature in the upper right-hand corner of this page to search for all the town & cities you are thinking of visiting. You will find a good number of past threads with many, many helpful suggestions already here for you to review.

    For example, here is a recent thread on Cortona:

    1. In Arezzo: 2012, La Torre di Gnicce, Piazza San Martino 8, Tel 05 75 35 20 35. In Fred Plotkin's book it's still recommended in the latest edition. Huge wine list, especially from the local region, and a large number of wines by the glass, up on the chalk board.

      in 2010 in Siena I ate well in:
      Hosteria Il Carrocio, ✉via Casato di Sotto, 32 ☎ 05 77 41 165

      L’Osteria, via de' Rossi 79/81, ☎ 05 77 28 592 , with especially friendly service.

      and I ate especially well at Grotta di Santa Caterina da Bagogna ✉via della Galluzza 26 ☎ 05 77 28 22 08

      and for your splurge meal: Le Logge , ✉Via del Porrione, 33, Siena, ☎ 05 77 48 013

      2 Replies
      1. re: sidcundiff

        Thanks very much Sid-- I recently purchased Fred Plotkin's book, but as it is HUGE, your recommendations are extremely welcome.

        1. re: lakesidegirl

          For big books like this, I scan or copy the relevant pages and then print out 2 sided, 4 pages per sheet. It travels pretty well and I can toss after I have moved through a region,

      2. I'm curious, why a seafood dinner in Florence? Florence is not known for it's seafood, and to find good seafood there is usually very expensive.

        7 Replies
        1. re: minchilli

          I was looking for a seafood restaurant because my husband and I prefer fish and seafood to beef and red meat. I am sure we will have some meat while traveling in Tuscany but was curious about any suggestions you might have regarding seafood since my husband has your Eat Florence app on his phone and there are none that you recommended-- BTW, we enjoy your blog and apps, and look forward to using them on our trip. Besides staying outside Cortona for a week, we will be in Rome, Florence, Venice, CinqueTerre and many
          towns in between-- a "dream" trip. Thanks very much!

          1. re: lakesidegirl

            Italians generally eat the food produced locally, so in landlocked central tuscany fish is rarely found on menus. You will mostly find it in upscale or splurge places - where folks go for a treat - or where the cuisine is more eclectic or international. A couple of exceptions I can think of is seppie in zimino, which is a trattoria dish one encounters sometime in Florence etc and the fresh water fish that can be found in the area around Lago di Trasimeno. If you are staying in Cortona, this area might be one for you to explore. Here is one old post that describes a meal in this area Use the search and you will find some more recommended restaurants.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Thanks Jen... I have been reading many posts and everyone is very helpful. We hope to visit some wonderful lunch spots (La Grotta in Montepulciano, La Cantinetta di Rignana outside of Greve) as well as shop during the day as we explore various towns and bring our goodies home to prepare dinners in our small home. SO many amazing places to see, and delicous things to taste! Your explanation about seafood in landlocked Tuscany makes perfect sense-- we'll focus on the vegetables and lovely pastas! Grazie.

              1. re: lakesidegirl

                fish tends to be very high quality and a splurge item in Italy. In some of the inland wealthy towns (Milan, Bergamo, even Parma) there are some very pricy and good seafood restaurants. I think I have seem recommendations here for Il Divo in Siena, which also serves fish. But thats pretty uncommon in tuscany.

                Il Tre Bicchieri, where you are trying to reserve, seems to be operated by Neapolitans and serve a neapolitan seafood cuisine rather than tuscan . Now is pretty early to seek a reservation - if you continue to be interested - you might try texting their cell number (in italian, google translate is great for this) or emailing or connecting using their website later in the month.

                Just be careful relying on Tripadvisor - there is a ton of shilling on that site even though it is claimed that there is not and it can be very unreliable.

                When we rented in this region quite a number of years ago, we really enjoyed bringing home the sheep cheeses, salamis, porchetta, not to mention fruit and wine for our evening meals. We liked the tuscan breads with the salty meats and cheeses and to dip in soups.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  HI Jen,
                  So nice to hear your take on fish and seafood... and I appreciate your advice about snagging a reservation @ IlTre Bicchierri a bit closer to our trip--we depart in early June! I have been using Google Translate endlessly--how did we plan trips without that amazing app? (My last Italy trip was 13 years ago!)Trip Advisor is only a source that one needs to validate before reserving-- it seems to cater to many travelers who are not very discriminating in their choices about food and drink-- though not to insult those reviewers that are. But too many cities have their #1, 2 and 3 rankings as pizza and gelato spots... REALLY-- What about fine (not necessarily expensive) dining? I have been reading so many blogs, CH of course, books, food & travel magazine websites... just looking for the places that appeal to us and hoping to have reservations for dinners in the cities we visit and a list of places for lunches depending on our mood and appetite and driving adventure of that day. I appreciate your experience of bringing home the goodies--our plan for the week in Cortona. This is a dream trip of our lifetime (at least for now) and I am grateful for your kindness in helping to make it so wonderful!

                  1. re: lakesidegirl

                    if you havent looked yet, Slowfood and Gambero Rosso guides (including the inexpensive and small/cheap GR mangiar bene lowcost guide) are also good sources for information about good eating and drinking, especially for trattorias in country areas and smaller cities and towns which dont get as much coverage in the press. These guides have detailed descriptions of the dishes available - even in italian it will help you get an idea of what types of items are on offer as well as helping acclimate you to the italian you will see on menus, There are also a lot of reviews for Tuscany on the Slowtrav site. And do do a search for each of your day trip destinations as DaveT suggests -theres a lot of data to mine in past posts here.

                    collect enough info about restaurants (attending to their weekly closing days) so that you will be prepared to be flexible as you go along and make changes in plans. Some info especially info about the types of food

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Great advice-- thanks again... I am so glad that I have some time to do this extensive research because I know it will be worthwhile in providing us with great opportunities each day. You're such a smart traveler-- so glad to receive your help!

        2. lakesidegirl: Because you and yours are fisheaters, consider in your future travel plans: Venice, Sorrento, and Apulia. Rome also has some fine fish restaurants. If I can ever find time in my busy schedule I'll post my review of Pierluigi, in Rome.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sidcundiff

            Thanks SId-- We will be in Venice (on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and have reservations at Alle Testiere, Ristorante Al Covo, and Ostaria Boccadoro. I had planned to go to Antiche Carampane and had a reservation for an earlier trip (we'd be in Cortona right now!) that we had to delay to a family member's serious illness. Antiche is closed Sunday and Monday and I already had Alle Testiere for Saturday night, so:-(
            I have countless names of restaurants for Venice and we hope to do some cichetti spots for lunch.

            My last visit to Sorrento was 13 years ago-- I loved it!-- and have never been to Apulia but we hope to visit southern Italy including SIcily on another trip.

            What do you recommend for fish and seafood in Rome?

            Thanks for your suggestions...

            1. re: lakesidegirl

              You have made good choices in Venice, although I've never eaten at Boccadoro. Please post here on Chowhound your review. For Alle Testiere, are you eating "dinner" (What Yankees call "lunch") or supper? if supper, what seating, 7:30 or 9:30?

              At Al Covo I doubt it Cesare and Dianne will remember me, yet go ahead and tell tell them that "Sidney from North Carolina" recommended them. When I was there in February last, the young man who was the waiter wasn't sure about the wine match, so he went and got Cesare, who found me a splendid Amarone and found the perfect match.

              In Rome on Easter Sunday I ate at Pierluigi and had very fine fish, the sea beam, grilled (you can have it baked as well, and several other preparations). I was absolutely fresh and very, very flavorable. It came to my table fileted and ready to eat; In some places I've had to do the fileting myself. Two men at the next table had the same kind of fish, so they go Russian Service: The fish was fileted at their table. For my appetizer I had the octopus cooked in wine, pressed flat like thin cuts of sausage. Very tasty, in an unusual way.

              When in Italy, and eating fish, try the wonderful white wines of Friuli, which in my parts of Gringoland aren't to be found. My wine at Pierluigi, at the waiter's recommendation, was a Savignon Blanc, "Livio Felluge"; heavenly, with a slight taste of Granny Smith apples.

              Where else in Rome for fish? Certainly my favorite restaurant Il Convivio. One Chowhounder recommended Il San Lorenzo, but it was closed Easter Monday; I otherwise have not yet been there.


              Reservations essential at these places, which you can make on line.

              1. re: sidcundiff

                Hello Sid,

                We have a 9:00 reservation at Alle Testiere... I chose Boccadoro because we wanted another seafood restaurant in Venice on a Sunday evening. Are there other places you would recommend that are open on Sunday?

                In Rome, we are dining at Agata e Romeo, Temakinho
                (to quote their website "Temakinho is a place where the Japanese culinary tradition swings with the tastes and aromas of Brazil to the rhythms of Samba and Bossa Nova" --IN ROME?? sounded like fun-- No? I can't remember how I found it... ) and Ristorante Crab, which was highly rated on ZAGAT-Rome. Pierluigi looks wonderful-- I can still make a change, but we are not looking to spend a fortune every night. Is Pierluigi very pricey? Il Convivio is...

                How in the world did we make reservations and read menus without Google translate?? I LOVE the ability to read almost anything, anywhere with this amazing app!

                Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to hearing your further ideas!

          2. you might find this useful, in particular the remarks of divinacucina


            1 Reply
            1. re: barberinibee

              Thanks very much barberinibee-- I will check these places out!