Thanks everyone! Looks like we are going to go to Costanza - seems like a good venue / interesting atmosphere in addition to the menu - for 8 people . And yes, Elizabeth's Eat Rome app is VERY usefull!
Hey folks -
Seeking a restaurant (dinner) recommendation walking distance (15 mins or less) to the Christmas Market at Piazza Navona. We'll have a party of 8 (6 adults + 2 pre-teens).
Good, honest food - good wine. Fabulous pastas - selection of meats (seafood lower priority). Prefer traditional versus nouveau). Good service. Also, we're OK with restaurants that can lead the way sans menu.
Two options I've seen on Chowhound:
Couple of thoughts here - in fact, I'll be back in a few weeks to these very places...
Osteria alle Testiere is a Chowhound favorite and I visited earlier this year. Small trattoria setting - the kitchen is very noteworthy. Service is very homey and friendly.
Il Ridotto -another chowhound favorite. Setting is slightly more modern - fabulous meat and seafood selections with wine pairings. Chef Bonaccorsi just knocks it out of the park here.
I published a post on these places along with some other Venice finds including the Rialto Fish Market (for fresh seafood from vendors) + Bacari (local one-bite delicacies - many right from the lagoon + wine)
Sounds like you have nearly nailed your itinerary! I hope you find Il Ridotto as culineraliy mesmerizing as we (my wife and I) did. Given that you have your meals nearly lined up – I’ll submit to you a couple of Venice finds I posted on this earlier this year – do take note specifically to the bacari (wine bars that serve single portion (cicheti) locally prepared specialties for a couple bucks each) – if that interests you. I found it to present a gastronomic adventure to all things “Venice” – even if you don’t think you’re a big seafood fan. The complete post (go to bottom of post for Venice) is at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/837865.
As well, note there is a wine bar immediately across from Il Ridotto called Aciugheta. It features one of the more memorable wine by the glass selections I encountered. I only sampled selections of the cicheti on several occasions and found the wine and bites of food just fabulous. And, it was closer to our hotel then the bacari over by the Railto Fish Market (my favorite area for these). Service is definitely a bit brusque so be sure and throw ‘em a big smile and you’ll get the attention you deserve.
Interesting - I had identified that place off-line but thought maybe it was a bit far. Actually, it appears to be about an hour and a half from where we are staying. Any suggestion on anything to see/do (after the lunch) between (1) Gubbio and Perugia (besides Perugia itself) and (2) Perugia and theA1/E35 route? Thanks!
Thanks for the Zaira tip (and being within the centro). I've actually seen numerous 'suspect' reviews of La Solita Zuppa so would appreciate a chowhound voice on this. Anyone?
And, thanks for the Pitigliano suggestion, exactly the sort of recommendation I was seeking - hadn't seen a whole lot of review on it as a destination but agree might be more practical than Montemerano.
Finally, we will have a full kitchen in Piegaro and anticipate some/ or all of us may chose to stay in for dinner. Any fabulous butchers, sulamiaria, or other that you recommend? (will be December BTW)... thanks!
Thank you much!
We'll be staying (w/ car) in Piegaro as a home base for day trips (26 miles southeast from Montepulciano and 22 miles southwest of Perugia). We'd like to plan our day trips around a restaurant destination - whether it be for lunch after an am tour or even dinner. Would prefer to dine (for dinner) not too far from home base - but lunches in (or on the way home from) neighboring hill towns would be delightful. We'll be coming from just having spent 4 days in Rome - and will be headed to Venice for another 4 days after this destination. (I'll post spearately for recommendations in those locales).
We had the pleasure of going to Dal Pescatore earlier this year - and thought it was fabulous, expensive, but worth every penny. However, this fall we'll have (older) children and family totaling 8 so we're thinking of limiting the most extravagant of options to 1 or 2 selections - and the remaining being less formal. We'll be there 8 days - any suggestions prioritizing or otherwise recommending an outstanding addition to the list below is welcome (these are largely from past chowhound searches, Plotkin and/or Michelin - but could be dated).
This initial list is for those that (appear) less than 1 hour from where we are staying.
I Salotti / Chiusi
Il Postale / Perugia
La Parolina / Trevinano
Il Falconiere / San Martino
La Frateria di Padre Eligio (in a monestary served by ex drug users?) / Cetona
Al Coccio / Magione
Hostaria la Bucaccia / Cortona
Hostaria il Buco / Chianciano Terme
La Taverna di San Giuseppe / Siena
Hotel Relais Borgo San Felice / Borgo San Felicia
Ristorante della Fattoira di Pukino / Montepulciano
Enoteca dell/Antico Frantoio / Montemerano
La Volpe e L'Uva / Orvieto
Ristorante Pallotta / Assisi
- I've found so much success using this board in the past, I'm looking forward to your help!
Looks like our total bill was 450 Euro (that included a small [ <10%] gratuity which isn't essential since service is included). As well, the wine/aperitif portion of the bill was about E100. So, the food portion was about 300E give or take for two people. We had both tasting menus (there are two - same price). You can order off the standard a la carte menu as well and probably comes out a little less (with less variety of course).
The only very close hotel is 9 muse (www.9muse.it) - it is a fabulous B&B very close to Dal Pascatore. Proprietors Caterina and Alberto are excellent hosts. Alberto used to work in the kitchen at Dal Pascatore which comes in handy for breakfast!. The rooms are < 80Euro - are big, w/ tile floors, large bathroom etc. Some have a balcony. As well, they'll shuttle you back and forth from the restaurant for about 25 Euro round-trip - which can ease any tensions with driving late at night after such a grand experience (wine included)...
There is a grocery store about 2 blocks from Muse 9 that had the most expansive selection of salumis that I saw on the trip (and a fraction of the price I found in other touristy markets in say, Florence). With my iPhone translator in hand , I basically had the person behind the deli counter cut me up a smorgasbord of various tastes of salumi for about 10 Euro (if that interests you).
Featured: (Dal Pescatore, Trattoria dell’Alba, Trattoria Mario, Il Profeta, Osteria alle Testiere, Il Ridotto)
It all began with a Quest: where is the best region in Italy for food(ies)? Invariably, all roads pointed to Emelia-Romagna- Italy's breadbasket of cured meats and cheeses. After that, pragmatic tourist planning and a watchful eye over the best places for a gastronome were set in full motion. And, thanks to everyone on this board for sharing their experiences as they shaped our planning and choices throughout the trip. Here's what we found!
Just a quick pre- amble, we planned the starting point of this trip around a specific destination, Dal Pescatore (near Mantova) and then sought out a variety of recommendations within Florence and Venice, respectively.
Trattoria dell'Alba, Piadena
With each course, Omar would land the next bottle of wine on the table with a brief explanation and remove the partially consumed prior bottle. All in all, we tasted and enjoyed about 5 different wines. And, finally, he shared a special pour from his homemade brandy- right out of the shiner bottle. What's interesting is that the wine portion of our bill totaled $30 Euros for two people! Some guests ( from our hotel) traveling from northern Europe were also dining at the same time- they discovered this place on a Dal Pescatore visit years ago and routinely return here, to Trattoria dell'Alba, to dine and purchase (takeaway) several cases of wine. Apparently, Omar has a unique selection of small-lot , hard to find treasures in his cellar for quite a steal!
Dal Pescatore- Canneto Sul'Oglio
Shortly after arrival and enjoyment of an aperitif, the sommelier greeted us with a wine list. Perhaps he was expecting another trophy-wine purchasing foreigner. No such luck, I was going to put him to work. With no published wine pairing and a list of (somewhat) vaguely familiar 750 ml bottles all well out of my budget - I took a step back to reconnoiter 'the ask'. After all, it is his job to tap his knowledge, maintain a broad and varied wine list - and simplify its attributes to those of paying good money to enjoy the overall experience. So here was "the ask": "we're each going to have about 5 glasses of wine ( one with each course). We're having both tasting menus and you have up to $150 Euro to work with." Incidentally, we're both adventurous wine connoisseurs (in fact, we own a boutique winery in Napa Valley) but are admittedly inexperienced with the smaller producers in Italy and the nuisances of what traditional Italian varietals can produce on the palate . So, I offered, " you can divide up the wine budget however you see fit - between large bottles, half bottles , or whatever else you can invest in" (sommeliers will often open a bottle of wine and charge you for what you consumer knowing that they can sell the remaining by the glass...). "But, respect the budget and show me something that isn't necessarily on Robert Parker's or similar rating. Our sommelier expertly conducted a symphony - the soft prelude was a sauv blanc followed by a more heady white from Lugano Superiore DOC. This was followed up by a light spicy red, and the grand finale was a more pronounced Macarico from southern Italy. FYI, before we get into the courses -the wine portion of the bill came in well under budget and we additionally had grappa and desert wine in the parlor immediately following supper.
Both tasting menus we're fabulous. One of the highlights was a terrine of lobster and caviar that I had. Three bites of bliss- the sweetness and brininess nearly "popped" through my ears when splashed with the white wine on the palate. I've been thinking about that dish ever since. We also had one of the most flavor packed yet delicate tortellini’s I’ve had in recent memory. Formed more in a dumpling shape, the soft pocket of pasta was filled with a pumpkin “mostarda” – which is a true Northern Italian technique of creating ‘fruit conserves”. Soft and voluptuous and heightened by the light bodied red wine. Other highlights included a Risotto I had, touched with hints of saffron and white balsamic.
What’s more is that proprietors Antonio, Nadia and entire family are on site – delivering the experience day in and day out – which is much more than many other “Michelin” counterparts commit to across the pond. And it shows.
Nerbone, San Lorenzo Market - Florence
Il Profeta, Florence
Trattoria Mario, Florence
The Rialto Fish Market, Venice
Pronto Pesce at the Rialto Fish Market, Venice
Rialto Fish Market Continued…
As well, there are a handful of bacari within a stone’s throw of the market (wine bars that sell freshly made brushetta’s and homemade two-bite dishes – many freshly acquired from the lagoon) that seemed to be my favorite’s of Venice just based on the variety and originality of some of the mouth-watering finds. They were (Cantina Do Mori, Do Spade, and Ostaria Ai Stortie) to name a few.
Osteria alle Testiere, Venice
Il Ridotto, Venice
Happy Eats and thanks for all the reviews and commentary that helped us have a great Food Wagon adventure in Italy!