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Best Risotto in Venice, Verona?

When it comes to finding a good risotto in Venice, I am not much help. After a few disappointments, I have not ordered it in a couple of years. My experience has been either the rice is underdone with a chalky center or the outer layer of the rice has a a mushiness from absorbing too much liquid before the center is done. I believe the latter is due to "precooking" the rice as allende referred on the above post. As he also pointed out, it is a time and attention consuming dish for most busy trattoria to do properly. Which places cook risotto from start to finish, Osteria da Fiore in San Polo did when I had it way back when, probably still does considering how much they are charging for it; Fiaschetteria Toscana does also. According to Anthony Boudain's show a few years ago, da Romano in Burano which I have never been.
Risotto can be a great dish when made properly or else it is heavy and boring. The last time I had a great version was at Le Calandre in Padua. My advise is to share an order with your wife at a good trattoria; might be pleasantly surprise. Please report back.

Mar 31, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Sid's short(er) list for Venice:

Read your write up. Thank you for sharing your experience. Not surprising that you had an excellent green salad at FT. Venice gets some of the best arugula and mache. You have been visiting Venice way back if you remember Antiche Carampane was a run down bacaro. Although our apartment is a 5 minute walk from La Porte d'Acqua, we have not been there in years. Wasn't memorable then but will give it a try next week.

Mar 30, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Turning away customers when you have unreserved tables; happens in France to unstarred/unhearted/untoqued places?

I am familiar with what you referring to as "league'. Below is the link:
http://www.veneziaristoranti.it/
Venice restaurant scene has changed over the years. One can eat better now than thirty years ago when I first visited. There is a new group of chefs and restauranteurs that are interested in serving good food and a few belong to the 'league' that you referred to. They have a certain integrity and pride in their establishment. For the past 20 years, we've spent about two months in Venice each year. That doesn't qualify us as 'locals' but have come to know the proprietors and staff of a few eating places. These places get a large proportion of tourists. When it comes to food, I never feel that we are served better food. They do make more allowance for us: one course lunch, an item that is not on the menu, a nicer cut of fish, more bantering service. That does not translate to two levels of food.
When I read that there is no good food in Venice or there is a two level of cooking system. I consider it a 'myth' because it is has not been my experience. I am not it ruling out that it exists in a particular eating place but more in a general sense. When someone gives an example, I don't doubt that it did happened to him or her.

Mar 28, 2015
PBSF in France

Turning away customers when you have unreserved tables; happens in France to unstarred/unhearted/untoqued places?

There is a lot of 'myths' regarding to Venice and one of them is for a restaurant to purposely serve locals better food than tourists. Except places in the more outlining areas of the city (eastern Castelo and Cannaireggio), just about all eating places depend on tourists for their survival. That is true even for much touted places such as Antiche Carampane, Al Covo, etc. In all my eating out in Venice and hosting visiting friends and relatives, I have never sense that there exists two levels of food. A particular place either serves good food or bad food.
Another 'myth' is that there is no good food to be found in Venice. There is some very good cooking but what it lack is in diversity and in number of good places relation to the hoards of tourists. When someone comment that they visited Venice and didn't have any good food. My comment to them is that they don't know Venetian cooking or ate at all the wrong places. As for reserve or not needed, lunch and low season, I never bother. For April to October, definitely dinner for places recommended on various food blogs and sites.
An eating place may show indifference to tourists because it has been so overwhelmed by them. The proprietor and staff feel that they have 'lost' the place.
This thread would be great on the Italy board.

Mar 28, 2015
PBSF in France

Heading up to Venice with the family (restos and more)

I think Il Refolo doesn't get much mentioned on this board is that recently, there has been very few posts on pizza in Venice. We went there for pizza when it first opened five or six years ago and haven't been back. The pizza was good but about 3 or 4 euros more than most pizzeria in Venice. Then, the menu listed about 6 pizzas and a few antipasti/salad. From a recent browse of their menu, they've added three or four secondi. I think if one like to dine outside on a somewhat private campo, it would be nice option. Sometimes problematic at lunch as the nearby Coop supermarket uses the campo as a loading dock. The inside has only about 4 or 5 cramped tables. Our go to for pizza are Antico Forno and All'Anfora.

Mar 21, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Sid's short(er) list for Venice:

Just add to the above. Unless there is a big group to share, rarely anybody order a typical four course meal (antipasto, primo, second and dolce) anymore. For Venice, antipasti tend to cost almost as much as the secondi, therefore, sharing that is never a problem. For the day's main meal, a common practice for two of us with a moderate appetite is to share an antipasto, each a secondo and either share a dessert or skip it altogether. Two adults sharing a secondo is rare. It is common now a days to order a prime as the main plate, especially for tourists. There are a few restaurants that serve good desserts but for many, it is mostly an after thought. In lieu of dessert, there gelaterie all over Venice and most open until 10 or 10:30 pm.
As for a five year old, some restaurants will prepare a something simple if the child does not want to share what the adult is eating. Never need to order a full plate for her; share what everyone eating with her. Despite Venice reputation for fleecing tourists, most good restaurants are very accommodating to family with children as long as one shows some respect for the establishment. Your family will have a great time.

Mar 18, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Heading up to Venice with the family (restos and more)

Couple of comments on jen kalb's post. Alla Zucca does not serve any seafood. Al Prosecco is a small bacaro specializing in prosecco, still and frizzy. It has no connection with the Martin family that owns da Fiore. That family runs the practically next door pizzeria, Il Refolo.
I agree that if someone is looking for special food to take back home would be disappointed at Drogheria Mascari. It is a shop for everyday food stuff: dried fruit, nuts, spices, honey, jam, vinegar, porcini, candy, bottled condiments. It has a good selection of aperitif and liqueur and of course, their wine department. Venice use to have numbers of these types of stores but only this one survived. Worth a browse.
I am not one to look too far for a simple breakfast of coffee and brioche. If one is familiar with the neighborhood, Tonolo is an easy 10 minute walk from your apartment. Very good morning pastries and always packed in the morning. Good place to observe Venetian in the morning. It is standup only, no seating. Do pick up one of their foccaccia di Venezia to take back for breakfast or afternoon coffee. It is tall round egg yeast bread topped with a crunchy almond sugar crust. They make one of the best version and available Thursday through the weekend or until they sell out.

Mar 18, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Sid's short(er) list for Venice:

Take your children out to eat; any restaurants mentioned on this board welcome them.

Mar 18, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Heading up to Venice with the family (restos and more)

Food shopping: the Rialto is the best for one stop food shopping and also proximity wise to your apartment; great seafood at the Pescheria, good produce at the numerous stalls, several excellent butchers nearby, Casa Parmigiano for cheeses and cured meat, another excellent cheese vender on the corner of Ruga dei Spezieri and Ruga V. S. Giovanni, Forno Canton on Ruga dei Spezieri for excellent bread, especially their crusty rolls, etc., etc, etc. Nothing else comes close for great food shopping. Near your apartment are two supermarkets: a Coop on Campo di San Giacomo dall'Orio and a Billa nearby on Fond Garzotti. Small corner food stores have pretty much disappeared from Venice. Generally, skip the bread from most of the small corner forni, just terrible. For a change and an easy walk over the Grand Canal to corner of Canale di Cannaireggio where there is a good fish vendor, kosher butcher and produce stands along Rio Terra. That whole stretch from the train station to Strada Nuove is lined with shops including the best deli in Venice, Rizzo Pane.
For wine (would drop the bio/natural stuff while in Venice), check out an earlier post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793941
Breakfast (coffee and pastry) near your apartment: one of my favorite pasticceria Vio Gilda, aka Pasticerria Rio Marin is on the same Fondamenta Rio Marin. It has a few small tables along the Rio. On one end of Campo di San Giacomo dall'Orio (one of the most pleasant campo in Venice) is a branch of Majer which also has decent bread and gelato. Gelateria Alaska is nearby and so is Gelateria San Stae; both have quirky hours. My other favorites are del Doge, Lo Squero, Mela Verde and Paolin (for their lemon). Venice has three high-end gelaterie: three branches of Grom, a Venchi (great chocolate as expected) and a Suso. Their gelato cost twice as much those mentioned earlier.
Aperitivo with a terrace: my favorites are Al Proscecco on Cp di SG dall'Orio, Bancogiro on loggia of Cp San Giacometto near the Rialto market. In fact, there are no shortage of wonderful campi in Venice to have aperitivo. Stroll and you will no problem finding them.
Restaurants: none on your lists I would consider fun in a partying sense. Except for Il Ridotto and Da Ivo, all are more or less trattorie.
Alle Testiere and Antiche Carampane are seafood only, NO other options.
Al Covo usually has a few non-seafood choices and better desserts than most trattorie. It would be my choice for a family celebration. L'Orto de Mori is one of my favorite trattoria in Venice: very good cooking, great staff, a warm non cluttered dining room. Vino de Gigio probably has the best selection of meat choices and is more sedate. Skip Da Ivo for the group; it is very expensive; instead dress up and go with your girlfriend and order the bistecca at around 120 euros for two. Acqua Pazza has so so food but one of the most pleasant terrace on a warm night. al Canton dei Artisti is also so so but true that it is near your apartment. All of the above are toward the expensive end (around 50 euro for 3 courses before wine, etc). Da Luca e Fred seems like a lonely child on your list, a simple bare bone no-frill short menu including a 12e three course set lunch; osteria would be a generous label. Your own cooking would be much tastier. For a simple night out, stroll down to Strada Nuove to Ai Sposi Promessi, La Cantina or Alle Vedova. Il Ridotto I have not been.

Mar 17, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Best value 3* or 2* lunch in Paris

Relais Louis XIII no longer has 2 stars. You are correct that it is toward old style Escoffier. My lunch there few years ago was just decent. I would go to Michel Rostang and order his 'Classics'.

Mar 15, 2015
PBSF in France

Restaurant Roulette in Paris

There is really not much right around the hotel. Your best bet as suggested is to stroll over to rue Daguerre, the commercial street of that part of the 14e. Le Dome is not a tourist place as it gets many locals. The menu is all seafood, quite good but expensive. It is big enough and on weeknights, probably can just walk in. Its nearby offshoot, Le Bistro du Dome, is much better value. Cross the Blvd to Rotonde for better food and better people watching. For something easy and simple, might consider one of the creperies on rue du Montparnasse. Josselin is probably the best of the many lining that street. If it is full, the quality of it's many neighbors doesn't fall off much.

Mar 12, 2015
PBSF in France

Recommended Restaurants for Osso Buco in Venice

Ossobuco is on the menu at Vini da Gigio and ai Gondolieri. Since I have never had it in a restaurant in Venice, can't comment on how good it is. I have eaten at Vini da Gigio many times and would recommend the restaurant. My last dinner at ai Gondolieri was a few years ago. It was excellent but more expensive and they don't serve seafood at all. Neither restaurant serves it with risotto Milanese. It has also appeared on the menu at La Bitta but they change their menu frequently. Won't find many others that offer it.

Mar 12, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Restaurant Roulette in Paris

To reserve or restaurant roulette depends on how a person like to travel. I have friends who never make reservations, reason being similar to yours. When it is time to eat, they may have couple of places in mind and check them out. If they the place is complet, it is no big deal to them; just find something nearby not too gross and they are happy. Others have a different mindset; their eating itinerary is completely planned out. Their day or evening is ruin if they can't get into a particular restaurant.
From reading your posts, I get the impression that you are little bit of the latter but wish to have both. Difficult in Paris if you are checking out the more popular restaurants on this board. Exception might be if one shows up right before the restaurant opens for lunch. Much afterward, it is mostly hopeless as table turnover is not rapid. A restaurant may say that they are open for lunch until 2:30, it is more of a 'fantom time' as most decent place will not seat anyone past 2pm unless one has a reservation. If you are in charge of finding places to eat for your group, I strongly recommend making some reservations. It will save you a lot of grieve from having to feel bad that your whole party is tire and hungry and have to search for a decent place in a neighborhood that you are unfamiliar with. One might get an impression that there are millions of places to eat in St. Germain des Pres or the Marais; but on a Friday/Saturday night, it seems that everyone of them is full. That is true in just about every central part of Paris.
As everyone has stated, Paris is a compact city with a great public transport system, infinitely better then my home city of San Francisco. And being a first time visitor, Paris is a wonderful walking city with very little boring stretches. One can stroll from Sacre Coeur to Montparnass and be constantly amazed; that can't be said for San Francisco.

Mar 11, 2015
PBSF in France
1

Padova on a Sunday/Monday?

There is 'such a thing as cichetti caldo'. Most bars will use the microwave or a small countertop oven to reheat or a steam counter to keep items warm. Some bars have a deep fryer for certain items. In Venice, many bacari do not serve 'cicchetti caldo'.

Mar 04, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Eight thoughts for food-crawling with children in Rome and Venice

Thank you for reporting back on your holiday in Venice and Rome. Glad that your trip went so well. Your kids are wonderful travelers. I've observed so many kids that are either bored to death in Venice or so pre-occupied with their mobile devices to look up.
Renting an apartment and eating in some of the time give everyone a chance to sit back and relax. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out day after day is tiring. Finding Antiche Carampane can be an adventure, a wrong turn and another dead. The area was once a notorious red light district, now mostly occupied by plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, eerily quiet at night.

Feb 24, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Best value 3* or 2* lunch in Paris

There are no 2 or 3 star in Paris that cook the classic cuisine if one is referring to Escoffier/before nouvelle cuisine. A few dishes at Michel Rostang might fall into that category. As for modern, just about all others can be classified as that. If your preference is very modern/molecular, then Thiery Marx at Sur Mesure would be it. Some might consider Pierre Gagnaire molecular but not in my opinion.

Feb 23, 2015
PBSF in France

Not to Miss Eateries in Rome

Jen Kalb is always polite and diplomatic. This is the Italy board, not the France board. Still, the same 'best' gets ask frequently.

Feb 20, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Why is "the best" so important

Not everyone can parse out language as well as many posters on this board. I can understand why some guidebooks use the word 'best': to give a sense that their contributions are insiders that 'knows' so to sell their guides. But for many posters, it is one of those innocent words that is common and they might not think of Webster's meaning when they use it. When people are asking for suggestions and recommendations and they use the word 'best', they may not be necessarily looking for the gold medal, the number one. They may be looking for a category of excellence which the adjective 'some' preceding the word might lessen the irritation to some posters on this board. When I use the word, better or best, it is not necessarily a competition but as a comparison. There is nothing wrong with stating that Boulangerie A makes a better croissant then Boulangerie B or Boulangerie A makes the best croissant among the half of dozen that I've tried.
For those who live in Paris and those have visited dozens of times, it is understandable that the literal use of the word has little meaning. Not many people who ask for recommendations and suggestions on this board are as sophisticated eaters or the use of language as you who can use metaphors and references so readily. For first time visitors who are a bit clueless, it might be that they are looking for places that are merely excellent and has misused the word 'best'. I am sure that are a few that only the 'best' will suffice and good luck to them in their search.

Feb 17, 2015
PBSF in France
1

Venice on my own

Sorry that there were couple of spelling errors on my above post.
da Aberto should be da Alberto
Anice Stelleta should be Anice Stellato

Feb 16, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Green beans with Potato - Spanish recipe

The beans in the photo are not snow peas, look more like cut Spanish musica beans or Romano beans.

Feb 16, 2015
PBSF in Home Cooking

Venice on my own

Since the Cipriani is in the Giudecca, there aren't many options. Besides, you would probably like to explore Venice a bit during your free evenings. It is true that some restaurants are not welcoming to single diners. Most often, being comfortable eating solo much depends on the individual. For less high end (assume you mean less expensive than Al Covo or Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane. etc. as none are 'high end in terms of service and ambience, and definitely less than the Cipriani), might consider alle Vedova, Ai Promessi Sposi, La Cantina, Osteria al Diavolo e L'Aquasanta, al Sacro e Profano, della Bottega, da Aberto, Anice Stelleta, alla Frasca(seafood only). Don't expect a lots of 'wows' from them.. All are more or less osterie serving good traditional Venetian cooking with friendly staff. Depends on how ambitious you are in the evening, except for Anice Stellato and Alla Frasca, all are near a vaporetto stop. Anice Stellato (the best of the group) and Alla Frasca requires a bit of a walk. The Ciprani water taxi will transport you to and back from San Marco. Too bad not much to recommend around there.

Feb 15, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Fiftieth Birthday Dinner in Venice

"Romantic and befitting a milestone birthday" is difficult in Venice, especially if one is looking for great food. If cost is no object and ok with non traditional Venetian cooking, I would choose Da Pisis in the Hotel Bauer. The cooking is an inventive take on Venetian recipes and one of the few grand hotel terrace that actually feel special and not just a series of outdoor tables packed together.
A truly special traditional Venetian restaurant is Da Ivo; the romantic aspect is not the great view (none) but the small intimate dining room with beautiful lighting and the smart service. It is very expensive and no Italian spoken in such intimate space can put off some but that is the nature of Venice.
The above mentioned Al Covo serves very good Venetian food in two comfortable dining rooms. The staff is friendly and accommodating and there are a few outside tables on a small non-descript campo. If being in Venice is romantic enough, it is a good choice without being over the top expensive. Two similar restaurants that I like are Osteria Santa Marina and L'Orto dei Mori; both should be open Monday nights. In terms of food, all three are better than Bancogiro.

Feb 10, 2015
PBSF in Italy

resaurants in san sebastian

For better or worst, I think Arzak has changed over the years. Although it still has the feeling of a big old house with its 'rustic family' elements: the first floor bar and lounge, the uniform of the serving staff, the country decor of one of the dining rooms and the creaky stairs, lots have changed over the years. Elena Arzak is now in charge of the the kitchen taking over from her father, Juan Mari, the redone of the second dining room a few years ago and the food even before the change has always evolved, from the simpler Juan Mari classic Basque cooking of the 70's to the current almost entirely molecular technique. It might not 'surprise' to those that have been around the Michelin 3 star circuit. Personally, the big old house, the non-starched waitstaff uniform and less of an 'international' feel have an emotional appeal. This is not to take anything alway from Azumendi, the current favorite of the Michelin 3 star.

Jan 25, 2015
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

resaurants in san sebastian

"read in many places that it is not necessary 'to try' every 3 star restaurant in San Sebastian": don't go to a Michelin 3 star to try but to treat yourself.
Arzak is the only one actually in San Sebastian. All others require a car or an expensive taxi/driver service. There have been many previous posts on all of them. Just type in the names on the upper right 'search function' box and you'll have reading material for days.

Jan 15, 2015
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Venice - June - When to make dinner reservations?

In general term, dinner, even the tiny 24 seat Alle Testiere, one month in advance should be sufficient even for weekends. For Al Covo and just about all others frequently mentioned on this board, couple of weeks should be fine. For weekdays days, I never had a problem just a couple days ahead. It also depends on how flexible one is in terms of the day and how fixated one is on a particular place. If one is in Venice for only Friday and Saturday night in June and is set on a certain place, the more lead time. No place will deal with reservations months ahead.

Jan 14, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Venice at Christmas

Thank you for the write up on your holiday in Venice. This board gets tons of inquiries but very few posters report back their experiences. Great that so many good places were opened. You dined at 'Restaurant da Fiore'; was it Osteria da Fiore in San Polo or Trattoria da Fiore near Campo Santa Stefano?

Dec 30, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

For New Year Day in Venice,
There might be a couple exceptions but most of the bacari and osterie/trattorie with front cecchetti bars mentioned on this board will be closed. Places that are opened are mostly around the tourist/high traffic areas: San Marco, Strada Nuova, Campo Santa Margherita/San Pantelon, Campo Bella Viena near the Rialto market. My advice is just to find a place opened where you will be strolling; can't be too picky. In the meantime, give a short list to your hotel desk and ask them to check what is open that day. Nothing is firm when it comes to Venice.
Popular cicchetti eating will be on New Years Eve, therefore, if you have dinner plan that night, do the crawl during midday. Those around the Rialto market will be great and the market itself will be mob before it close for business at noon.

Dec 16, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

Foods unique to France to buy in Paris?

For Bonne Maman preserve, we bring back rhubarb and mirabelle from their inexpensive regular line. We prefer our jam on the sweet side. If you are flying, preserves and jam are not allowed in carry-on bags.

Dec 16, 2014
PBSF in France

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

For Venice: finding a good trattoria/osteria open on New Year's Day will be difficult. It is a day that only visitors eat out. If you have the patience, you might just as well email or telephone what is on your list to check for sure. Better if you are staying in a hotel, give the list to the front desk ahead and ask them to telephone for you. My advice is just make that it a 'no reservation day' and eat simply. There will be places open around the main tourist areas: San Marco (Aciugheta is always open and reliable, Florian is open for midday, Quadri, operated by the Le Calandre group will have a bar menu); around Campo Santa Stefano and Strada Nuova are also good areas. This might be a good time to see what Harry's Bar is all about: order a Bellini, carpaccio and munch on grissini on the ground floor bar/table. I wouldn't eat their upstair dining rooms. Since there is always an afternoon performance at La Fenice on New Year's Day, the nearby Vino Vino is probably open. To get the lively vibe for that day, eat early or it will probably be deserted later on the evening.
Since you have reservation for Antiche Carampane, finding a place to eat for your other day shouldn't be a problem. Many good suggestions on this thread as well others earlier posts on this board. If you are looking for traditional Venetian cooking, my choice would be Vini da Gigio or Fiaschetteria Toscana. The former is more of a trattoria, latter borders on 'fine dining. FT has a great selection of seafood antipasti and Vini has more non-seafood choices, especially good non-seafood secondi. Just a comment on an earlier post for Anice Stellato, it is not 'fine dining' but a very good simple trattoria.

Dec 05, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

What's up with Acme? [San Francisco]

I've never inquired about their ingredients for their pain de mie. Most recipes for that bread has sugar to to make it slightly sweet. I do taste sweetnest in their pain de mie.

Nov 27, 2014
PBSF in San Francisco Bay Area