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Less expensive in Venice?

It is not a matter of being a food snob but eating decent food. The places with canal side tables off the Rialto Bridge are what I consider 'tourist traps' and I don't usually slam a restaurant. Tourists strictly eat pizza and pasta with undercooked crust and bad mozzarella, spaghetti carbonara which no one on their right mind would eat. And if one order any of their seafood, it will most lightly be frozen and expensive. The loggia off to the right after one crossed the bridge toward the market is different. Bancogiro and Naranzaria are quite good. If one wants to follow his or her nose and sit canal side, a better area is in Cannairegio, along the Fondamenta della Misericordia and beyond. The long fondamenta is lined with eating places for different budgets. Most post their menus outside. Cannairegio also has two of the better budget places: the often recommended Ai Sposi Promessi and Alla Vedova. Need to reserve but the morning is usually fine for that night. Antipasti and primi are around 10 euros and secondi a couple dollars more. Skip the dessert and head out to one of the many gelaterie on the Strada Nuova. including a Grom. Also in the same area is a very good pizzeria with good antipasti: Casa Mia. Don't expect any of these places to approach the level of Alle Testiere.

about 4 hours ago
PBSF in Italy

Less expensive in Venice?

It would be almost impossible to eat at Bancogiro on a budget. The antipasti and primi are between 15 to 19 euros and the secondi are over 20 and approaching 25. Antico Dolo is more of a budget; an antipasto and a secondo would probably be around 25 to 30 euros.

about 4 hours ago
PBSF in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Thank you for correcting my mistake; meant sparkling Prosecco rose.

about 11 hours ago
PBSF in Italy

Affordable seafood in Barcelona?

High quality seafood will never be cheap even at simple places. Affordable is La Paradeta, four locations in Barcelona, same quality. Ambience and location wise, I prefer the El Born outpost.

about 21 hours ago
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Question about coperto and service

The above Katie Parla link applies to Venice. In all our experience eating in Venice for the past 20 years, we have always taken for granted that menu prices always includes service, therefore, never bothered to check the menu or ever leave much extra as service charge. No staff has ever given us a second look or mentioned that we need to leave a tip. We ate at Oliva Nero couple years ago and didn't notice as such and just paid amount stated on the menu. Apparently, more and more restaurants in Venice are printing "service is at your discretion, not included" on their menus. Couple of our visiting guests ate at Al Covo earlier this year and this was the case. They left a 10%. The next time we have guests that want to go to Al Covo. If we get a menu that has 'service is at your discretion...' we'll mention to the staff what's doing with this 'service not included' stuff. As we've done for the past 20 years, won't leave anything extra.
As for coperto, it is perfectly legal and the amount should be written on the menu. Just about every osterie and trattorie in Venice have a coperto. Some will state that there is no coperto if one order the 'tasting menu'. The few places that we frequent often, the coperto is waived.

1 day ago
PBSF in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Venice isn't blessed with places to eat that specialized in a particular type of food. Your best bet to sample salumi, cheeses, wines and grappa of the Veneto and nearby are the various bacari.
La Cantina usually have plates of good cheeses and salume. Not every item will be from that region but it will always have prosciutto di San Danieli and some good sausages, good local cheeses such as montasio, pave, local Taleggio. Mostly wines from the Veneto and Fruili.
La Cantione gia Schiavi has one of the best lists of wines by the glass. They serve mostly panini and crostini, some filled with various salumi and cheeses. You might be able to convince the staff to make a platter, no guarantee if they are busy. Mostly stand up. Wonderful to browse their stock.
Al Prosecco is a tiny wine bar with mostly outside sitting. Their specialty is prosecco and not just the fizzy that gets imported but many still, red and white.
Cavatappi is small enoteca with a small but a good list of wines by the glass.
Bancogiro's outside terrace can't be beat on a nice day. Large selection of mostly wines from the Veneto and Fruili. Simple wines starts at about 2 euro a glass then goes up. Very good selection of cicchetti to go with.
Most good osterie and trattorie such as Al Covo, Osteria San Marco, Osteria Santa Marina will have a good wine list but usually only a few by the glass. Two of the best for wines are Vini da Gigio and Fiaschetteria Toscana. For mostly whites and light reds, Alle Testiere is has a small, always changing well chosen list. And just about all will carry a few grappas. Prosciutto di San Danieli appears in many menus and also a small cheese selection on their pre-dessert section. If you are interested in grappa and have time, a day trip up to Bassano del Grappa is worth the effort.

1 day ago
PBSF in Italy
1

one pick for a 3 michelin star restaurant?

I share the same opinion as Souphie on the above post. If someone presented me with there question "I want to try one 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris, which one would you recommend? My first recommendation would be Guy Savoy.
Each of the 3 star Michelin restaurants offer a unique experience. Although the quality of the food is very important, it isn't just about the style of cooking or what is on the plate. Type of service, the ambience, the style of the dining room all come into play. These are especially important for someone who has had a lot of experience with high-end dining in Paris.
Even if someone say that they are 'vegetable focus', L'Arperge might not be the best choice. The cooking is very austere, the main ingredient maybe a beet or an onion, a monkfish, slowly roasted with plenty of butter and just a couple of other ingredients to compliment it; not much embellishments. The dining room is small and the service can be a little indifferent. If someone is expecting opulence, lots of comfort, doting service, it is not a good choice. Le Meurice is a total opposite, opulence, silver carts, large service staff and cooking more toward classical with lots of luxury ingredients and flourish.
There is a lot of information on various food blogs with in depth descriptions of just about every 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris. My advice is to take a little time and read them and look for the one that fits what you are looking for or at least what to expect. These restaurants are very expensive (dinner for two can easily approach 800 euros for two), therefore, it is not easily brushed off if one has a poor experience. Make your reservation as soon as possible and have a second choice. Don't panic that L'Astrance is booked up as it is the smallest of the 3 star restaurant and has a 'cult' following.

1 day ago
PBSF in France

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

For Venice, are you looking for places to eat/drink or places where you can purchase the food/wine/liqueurs that you are interested in?

2 days ago
PBSF in Italy

Sunday afternoon in Barceloneta?

Most of the places in Barceloneta pretty much have the same menu. There is a difference in the quality of the seafood and some do rice dishes better than others. For simple seafood and arroz, Kaiku. The last time we ate there couple years ago, they had a fideua on the menu. Specializing in rice dishes and more complex seafood preparations is Barraca. We had an excellent Sunday lunch there in May; no fideua on the menu then.

Sep 11, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Venice/Bologna- trip report

For such a short visit, you did hit some very good places. You weren't mistaken, you did find a bit more of the soul of Venice in Cantinone gia Schiavi and Alla Vedova. Despite the hoards of tourist that descend on them (especially on Saturday afternoons), they take pride in their bacari and put out some excellent cicchetti. Besides the food, Gia Schiavi is one of our favorite shop for wines. Eating a take away pizza hot out of the box from al Volo on a bench in Cp Santa Margherita can be a most enjoyable experience.
We visit Bologna frequently as a day trip from Venice. I agree that there is a sameness to the menus at many of the places. The traditional cooking, especially the fresh egg pasta, isn't for me. You must have drank from the bottle wine that is set on every table at Giampi e Ciccio, foul! The generosity of the owners make up for it.
9 more weeks of traveling and eating, wonderful; I admire your stamina. Did you make it to Osteria Francescana? would love to read a report.

Sep 10, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Venice/Bologna- trip report

Thank for the detail write on your experience in Venice and Bologna. As for Venice, true it is not the food capital but it has its own regional cooking that rarely exported to anywhere, at least not to the US. It is a pity that many people brush it off as not worth it and won't want to spend the money to eat at some of the better places. From reading your report, it seems that you didn't eat at any sit down places, mostly bacari/cicchetti and pizza to go. Glad that you enjoyed Osteria San Marco. It is owned by a wonderful brother team that bucked the trend of running a 'serious' osteria so near the Piazza. Did you eat from their menu or just cicchetti and wine? I recommend it occasionally on this forum if someone is looking beyond the 'big five' of Venice. Antico Forno (their deep dish pies are loaded) and Pizzeria a Volo, they serve a purpose if one wants pizza to go. Venice has some good gelaterie but nothing compare to Rome. Nico it is somewhat of an institution because it is mentioned in every guide book due their location on the Zattere. There are better ones in Venice. such as Lo Squero, two doors down from Bottega gia Schiava. And after eating your pizza from Volo on a bench at Campo Santa Margherita, the nearby Gelateria del Doge is good. Like most gelaterie, each do certain flavors better than others.

Sep 09, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Venice in April for 7 nights

You might want to take a look at my earlier post in response to this thread. It pretty much sums up my opinions on OP's list. For casual simple: besides Ai Sposi Promessi and Alle Vedova, might add Da Alberto, Alla Frasca, Al Bacco, Alla Botte, L'Aquasanta. These are osterie, therefore, don't expect a lot of fireworks or expensive seafood. They serve good traditional Venetian cooking. All are run by friendly owners and staff. From our experience, we see many more solo diners at lunch then at dinner. And we've never seen them made unwelcome or rushed to turn a table. If you have chosen specific places and want some feedback, don't hesitate to post.

Aug 31, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Venice in April for 7 nights

Just about all eating places in Venice are welcome for solo traveler. Dressed neat and casual is the way to go. Bacari are informal and many standup and everyone, however dressed, solo or not are welcome. For lack of better comparison, they are wine bars serving tapas. If you are referring to bar/counter seating that serves food from a regular menu (very popular in the US even for groups), this scene does not exist in Venice. Some osterie/trattorie have a small front bar serving cicchetti/glasses of wine, similar to a bacaro. One can make a meal from from this but it is generally standup and better for early evenings. In compiling the list, the OP has his/her own criteria that may or may not fit yours. It is sort of hodgepodge list for Venice, from informal to high end to grand hotel dining. Other than being a solo diner, if you can be more specific (food, ambience, budget, area, etc) on what you are looking for, you'll get some good recommendation. Or better yet, start your own post with your own set of criteria. Otherwise, hope this general reply is helpful.

Aug 31, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Where to grab breakfast in Barcelona/Madrid/Sevilla/Granada?

I am the one that got confused. No Forn de Maure on Ferran. It is Forns del Pi on c/Ferran. I edit the post.

Aug 30, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Where to grab breakfast in Barcelona/Madrid/Sevilla/Granada?

Sorry, I got my forns confused. Forno de Maure is in Venice. Should be Forns del Pi in the Gotic, on Carrer de Ferran, between La Ramblas and Carrer d'Avinyo.

Aug 30, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Where to grab breakfast in Barcelona/Madrid/Sevilla/Granada?

On my above post, sorry to left out that Chocolateria San Gines and La Mallorquina are in Madrid.

Aug 29, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Where to grab breakfast in Barcelona/Madrid/Sevilla/Granada?

Like the previous posts, breakfast is not a big deal in Spain and nobody goes out of a way to look for this or that; convenience is the number one criteria therefore, just look for an inviting place where you are staying.
Barcelona has several cafes on c/de Petritxol serving churros and hot chocolate. I've never had much luck getting it fresh out the fryer; always fried ahead of time and kept warm. Couple of times, I got lucky and got it hot out of the fry at a small store on via Laietana off c/de Princesa; both times at around 3pm. As for tortilla patata, go to the Boqueria or any mercat around the city. If you like churros, might want to try a Catalan pastry call XUXO; great versions at Forn de Sant Jaume and Forn de Maure.
Chocolatier San Gines just off the Puerta del Sol is the classic place for churros. From my limited experience, it is so so. La Mallorquina on the Puerta is much better for simple breakfast. Standup bar on the street level and tables upstair. No churros.
Seville: I had good churros at several mobil trucks in the Arenal district, parked between the bullring and the cathedral. Sorry I can't remember the streets. They are there only in the mornings. Unlike the common version, it is thinner without ridges, fried fresh when ordered, served in paper cones and dusted with cinnamon sugar. They were the only times that I thought churros were worth eating.

Aug 28, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona/La Rioja/San Sebastian Trip Report – August 2014

Unlike San Sebastian, tapas and pintxos eating in Barcelona is relatively recent, popular from the early 90's. It's pintxos scene is simple compared to San Sebastian. Most just serve items from the counter, very little ordering. Even the better places such as Taktika Berri, simple hot items come out periodically on big platters and set on the counter. It is a stampede for them. No menu, no ordering, no racions. It is strictly a bar/counter stand up eating. Barcelona tapas scene has much more variety.

Aug 27, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona/La Rioja/San Sebastian Trip Report – August 2014

Thank you for the excellent post. There is no off season in Barcelona. The summers are the most crowded because it has become the starting and ending port for the big cruise ships. Also August draws loads of visitors from rest of Europe. Everyone descend on the old quarters and the lower Eixample. The Boqueria become unbearable and not a place to shop, mostly browsers buying cut up fruit and juices. Once out of the tourist areas, it is still a very civilize city.

Aug 27, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Jamonisimo/La Tomiza question

From my friends in Barcelona: La Tomiza will be a re-incarnation of Jamonisimo. The owner, Pedro Hernandez, is a producer of jamon Iberico marketed under the name of Martin-Raventos-Unico, therefore, I am sure it will feature his product. The opening date on the website is September so if your trip is after that, give it a try. I know that Carles Gaig uses his product in his restaurants. So does Lasarte. Years ago, I bought some at Charcuteria Semon which has a restaurant in the back of the shop. Might check there or other charcuterias such as Casa Pepe, Tivoli, both in the Eixample.

Aug 25, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Guy Savoy Lunch Menu

To paraphrase the website: the restaurant set aside one table for per lunch shift. When reserving via their website, one must request the 110 euro lunch. I don't know if it is possible to reserve by phone. In reality, I think they set aside more than one table per lunch shift because we have never been turned away when we requested the 110 euro lunch. They have plenty of seats as It is probably the largest 3 star Michelin in Paris.

Aug 24, 2014
PBSF in France

Best restaurants open on Sunday and Monday in Venice? Cicchetti possible those days?

Though most of the better all-seafood restaurants are closed Sundays and Mondays, one doesn't have to go to one those to eat good seafood in Venice. There are number of good restaurants opened on those days. Add to those mentioned above, L'Orto dei Mori and Al Paradiso are opened both Sundays and Mondays; Vini da Gigio and Bancogiro are opened Sundays; Osteria Santa Marina and Osteria San Marco are opened Mondays.
As for ciccchetti, most of the bacari around the Rialto market are closed Sundays but open Mondays. But the pescheria is closed Mondays, therefore, if you plan to visit the market, Tuesday is your best day. As for those around the Strada Nuova, a few are closed Sundays and most are opened Mondays.
The best times to go for cicchetti: those around the Rialto is midday; those around the Strada Nuova are midday and late afternoon/early evenings when locals get off to work and before commuting back to the mainland. Any later, the selection gets skimpy. Keep in mind that La Cantina does not serve small bites, only simple composed platter to share. One of our favorite that never gets mentioned is El Sbarlefo on Salizada del Pistor, just off Campo Santi Apostali near the Strada Nuova. Opened just a few years ago, it has a good selections of wine by the glass with excellent small assortment of traditional cicchetti. They also have larger branch near Campo San Pantalon in Dorsoduro.
Haven't eaten in Burano is years.

Aug 24, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Barcelona Report

El Celler de Can Roca is opened for lunch. They are closed Sundays and Mondays. Since they were awarded their third Michelin star and named the 'Best Restaurant' this and that, it has been a very difficult to get a table. If you are interested, I would email them as soon and possible. There have been several earlier threads on this board on this topic. Regardless, Girona is worth a day trip if there is time away from Barcelona, easy to get to by frequent commuter trains (fast train takes about 40 minutes). The same train ends at Figueres.

Aug 21, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

House champagne at Guy Savoy

We haven't looked at their wine list in years. And have never been charged less then 20euro for a glass. They've always poured from newly opened bottles, mostly excellent Burgundies. Not bad at 300 euros for two excellent lunches

Aug 20, 2014
PBSF in France

Barcelona Report

Will you have a car? If not, nearby must visit is Montserrat but not much for eating, so pack a lunch and avoid the weekend crowd even in May. Girona, a well preserved medieval city, is worth a trip even if one is not going to El Celler de Can Roca. Almost as good is Massana. Further up is Figueres, a beautiful town with decent restaurants. A few years ago, we ate and stayed at Mas Pau just outside the city. All the above are easy by public transport.
We haven't done much driving in the past few years. In past, we've visited the Pinedes wine area and the wonderful town of Vilafranca del Penedes. The cobblestoned center of the small town is lined with wine bars, informal eating places and cafes and Saturday market. A must is a visit to the Codorniu Winery, not necessarily for the cava but the Modernista architecture.
One of our favorite restaurant in Catalonia is Can Jubany, outside the town of Calldetenes. The drive and area around the town is quite beautiful. To bad that the restaurant does not have rooms. There are hotels in town.
If you are looking for more informal eating places outside in the countryside, I am not much of help. For us, one of the primary reason to get out of Barcelona is to eat at some of the destination restaurants in Catalonia. Most of these restaurants have a open air leisure feel that is very different from urban Barcelona.

Aug 20, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Report

I am not familiar with Shoreditch in London but we had an apartment in the the 3e in Paris until about 5 years ago where we spent a couple of months a year. Even before the recent influx of patisseries/boulangeries, (Jacques Genin, RDT134, Poilane), third wave coffee kiosks and restaurant and wine bars, we love the neighborhood for the food, liveliness, it's tiny narrow streets as well as the convenience of being in central Paris. There isn't a comparable neighborhood in Barcelona that have those attributes. Most of old Barcelona front the harbor and beyond that, the city is mainly laid out on a grid. These neighborhood lacked the charm of the tiny streets of Barcelona Ciutat Vella or central Paris.
If I were to look for an alternative to El Born, I would choose Gracia around c/Gran de Gracia between the Diagonal and metro stop Fontana and west of that. It has lots of food shops, the nearby Mercat de La Llibertat and Mercat de l'Abaceria Central, and loaded with informal tapas bars, everyday eating places and very good traditional restaurants. It is lively day and night, has very few tourist yet quite near to many tourists sights as well as easy metro to the old quarters. What it lack are the charm of El Born/Ribera, its old medieval architecture, atmospheric shops and tight lively partying atmosphere.
When we visit Barcelona, we usually stay with friends in Sarria. It is a charming somewhat quiet neighborhood that wakes up in the evenings. There is good neighborhood shopping and eating around c/major de Sarria. We love the local aspect of this neighborhood because we've seen just about all of Barcelona main sights multiple times.

Aug 18, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

If you are 'somewhat go with the flow folks', you'll have a great time eating in Barcelona. Just stay from places in certain tourist areas: around at the Pg de Gracia in the Eixample, the Ramblas and around c/Ferran in the Gotic, on Pg Joan de Borbo in Barceloneta. You'll know they are no good by just glancing at them.
Except for foreign visitors who are willing to jump loops to get a reservation at Tickets, there are no restaurants in Barcelona that requires booking months in advance. We've never had problem reserving for the same week if we are somewhat flexible. And that is only for higher end modern places such as Moments, Alkimia, Cinc Sentits and a few others that get frequent mentioning in the blogs. Locals almost never reserve for places such as Llamber or Suculents unless it is a larger group. To them, reserving just to eat tapas is totally foreign and mostly American. Barcelona is loaded with eating places, especially in the tourist areas of Eixample, Gotic, El Born/Ribera, Barceloneta and now the newly gentrified El Raval.

Aug 17, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

Like everything in the is world, there is no one answer to your questionL to reserve or not. Barcelona is has a variety of 'hole in the wall comfort food' place’, but none you mentioned would I consider to be in that category, maybe if you mean Bodega La Palma. It depends on many factors: day of the week, cruise ship dockings, big soccer match, the brightness of the moon, etc. It also depends on the individual's mindset, i.e. importance of not getting in at a particular place, having to wait, seating at the counter, able just wing it.
In general: if you plan to spend most of the evening at Suculent or Llamber or some other, why not make a reservation or the risk of being turned away and having to look for an alternative. On a busy night, one might have to wait some even if one reserve; that is just the nature of the type of eating places; difficult to predict how long people stay. I don’t believe Bodega La Palma take reservations. How far in advance? couple of days should be enough for most, especially if one is flexible on the time.
As for local eating hours, informal tapas/pintxos places start early in the evening (around 8pm as many locals get off work) and it gets more packed as the evening goes. One doesn't have to go at 10:00pm to experience the scene unless it is a more formal sit down restaurant.
Never been to Pakta.

Aug 16, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal
1

No-knead bread... problem with 2nd rise...help!

I use the Bittman-Lahey recipe. I found the following method work well:
After the first rise and scraping the dough into somewhat of a ball. Line a aluminum pie plate (a light weigh plate or wide shallow container makes it easy to flip later) with a towel and dust it well with cornmeal.
Use a pastry scraper to turn the dough into the towel lined pie plate.
Dust the top of the dough with more cornmeal/flour mixture.
Fold the towel loosely over the dough and let it rise the second time.
When ready to bake, unfold the towel, tuck it under the pie plate and holding the plate and towel, flip the dough into the pot. Make sure to grab hold of the towel and pie plate.
I have never experienced the dough sticking to the towel. Even if the dough is not exactly centered into the bottom of the pot, don't mess with it. The finished bread will look fine.

Aug 13, 2014
PBSF in Home Cooking

Barcelona Report

Since PLA, the restaurantt is more or less a full evening dinner place, I would reserve. I believe Bar del PLA also take reservations. We never do because we are generally more or less on a tapas/pintxos crawl, therefore, we just drop by and always able to squeeze in at the bar. If you plan to sit down and have leisurely time, reserve, maybe early around 8pm. Even sitting at the tables, you are not obligated to order any set amount. That will leave you with plenty of time to hit other places. At prime time, even with reservation, one will probably have to wait some. The others mentioned do not take reservations. Most tapas places, and just about all pintxos places do not take them. Most are too simple and informal. Exception are the barn like pintxos places on Pg de Gracia, around the Ramblas and c/Ferran both probably best to avoid.
El Born/Ribera is full of informal drop in places to eat, never have to wander far. It has a lively fun atmosphere, much more so than the Gotic which as the above poster mentioned, getting 'tire' and in my opinion, worst, especially at night.

Aug 13, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal