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One blow out honeymoon dinner in Rome

My wife and I recently cellibrated our anniversary with a special dinner at the St Regis Grand hotel's restaurant Vivendi. It is excellent. The food, service and beautiful room was extraordinary. It is expensive so its a special occasion place for most people. I was disapointed with a lot of the trendy Rome restaurants wich seem to pay more attention to the presentation than the taste of the food and preferred the places the locals dine for other meals.

Sep 27, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Florence - Need Recs for 3 Dinners and 3 Lunches

I highly recomend La Giostria which is not far from your hotel. The food, service, wine and atmosphere was terrific. It was one of the best meals my wife and I had in Italy. We asked our waiter to recommend our food and he picked out delicious courses and recommended some outstanding local wine. The kitchen is run by the owner and chef who turns out great meals.

If you want to try a casual lunch like the locals, I recommend you go to the large market a few blocks from the doumo. It's about the size of a football field, lined with various food stalls selling all kinds of food to the locals. There are several small informal restaurants around the inside of the market that sell good traditional food at very reasonable prices. But most of all, the experience of taking in the local "feel" of the market and people is a show unto itself.

Sep 21, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Teatro de Sale in firenze. Lunch or Dinner?

My wife and I dined there for dinner recently and we were very disapointed. The food was below average at best and highly overrated. There is literally no service. The chef announces a course by yelling out in Italian and everyone stampedes to a common table or counter to get a small amount of that course. Often the food was no longer available when we got to the table. The entire desert table was empty when we finally got through the line. At the end of the meal we were still hungry and what we did eat was not impressive.
I would recommend La Giostria in Florence instead. The food, service, atmosphere and wine was terrific. One of the best meals we had in Italy.

Sep 21, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Final help with Venice 4 days.

On a recent trip to Venice my wife and I had a great dinner at Restoranne Il Ridotto in Campo San Filippo e Giacomo. Its only a few blocks from St. Marks and is a relatively small restaurant of about six tables, not "touristy",upscale, very nice atmosphere. The food and service was terrific! The chef owner takes great pride in picking the best fresh seafood and vegtables each day from the market and preparing a new a different menu featuring "specials" that re great. Pasta and seafood are outstanding.

Sep 21, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Rome - 4 casual dinners - thoughts on my list please!

My wife and I enjoyed Antico Arco and think its worth the trip. I would also recommend Tratoria Monti which is mostly locals, excellent food and service.

Sep 21, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Where to dine while staying in Ravello and Sinalunga?

I definately recommend making reservations at Eolo and Antico Arco. These are relatively small and are usually booked in advance. In general, I would ecco that advice for any but the most casual restaurants in Italy as it is customary to make a reservation in advance. Many will not take walk inns. Enjoy!

Sep 21, 2010
jfrao in Italy

5 days in Tuscany - Please critique my current plan - worried it is too ambitious

Sounds great. One suggestion, skip Trattoria Cibereo. It was purhaps the worst dinner my wife and I had in Italy. It is a madhouse with lines, poor service and average food. I think it is living off their past history. I recommend La Giostra if you have one night in Florence. The food is outstanding, wine great, service great and romantic. We had the chef tasting menu with recommended wine and it was one of the best meals I ever had anywhere.

Sep 07, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Where to dine while staying in Ravello and Sinalunga?

In Revello I highly recommend Cumpa Cosimo. Its a family run local place with excellent local Italian food served by a family in a warm restaurant. Not very fancy but welcoming and nice. The pasta, meats and desert are great. Home made wine out of barrels in the back of the restaurant. Grandma comes out of the kitchen and gives you the best Tiramisu you ever tasted on the house for desert. If you go to the town of Amalfi I highly recommend Eolo for a romantic and wonderful meal. Small 6 table upscale resturant overlooking the Almafi harbor (ask for a table under the arches with a view) with great food, winelist and service. One of my favorate restaurants in Italy. We had the chief tasting menu which was great! Also good in Amalfi is da Gemma a seafood restaurant with good food service and outdoor patio to dine in if the weather's nice.
Tuscany is big with lots of choices. I enjoyed stopping at the Cassanova di Neri winery just outside the town of Montelcino. The wines are world class, the people at the winery very friendly and will poor you some great tasting of their wines. I purchased two cases that they shpped back to the U.S. In terms of restaurants I would recommend La Grotta in Montipulciano. It is very good, warm friendly, excellent service and great wines. If you go to Florence, my favorate is La Giostra where I suggest aking for the chef's suggestions and get ready for a memorable experience of great food, wine and atmosphire. One of my favorate restaurants in Itay. It's a romantic restaurant with candles, small lights and interesting music. In Rome, Antico Arco is excellent. Its very local with no tourists and great food.
General advise is stay away from the tourist spots and seek to dine in the local restaurants to get the best food and a true Italian experience. I hope you have a great trip.

Sep 07, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Recommended wineries to visit in or near Montepulciano?

That sounds good. I will visit on my trip in May. Thank you!

Feb 24, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Recommended wineries to visit in or near Montepulciano?

Looking for good wine, asking and available food.

Feb 23, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Visiting wineries in Italy

My wife and I are vacationing in Italy in May and are interested in visiting some wineries in Tuscany. We will be driving from Florence to Montepucliano and we thought of driving the "Chianti road" and stopping along the way at some wineries. We greatly enjoy visiting npa and doing this. We heard that in Italy you can't just stop by a winery and sample the wines that instead you needed a reservation and a tour. Is this true?
We are also interested in visiting some wineries near Montepulciano, do you have any recommendations? I heard some offer both wine tasting a lunch or dinner.

Feb 20, 2010
jfrao in Italy

Dining in Italy

My wife and I are planning a special trip to Italy to celibrate our 25th wedding anniversary. This is our first time visiting Italy. We would greatly appreciate recommendations for restaurants. We will be visiting Venice, Florence, Montepulciano, Almalfi and Rome.

Feb 20, 2010
jfrao in Italy