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Seeking Sunday Seafood Lunch in Genoa

We would be taking the train down from Torino. Da Rina sounds like it may fit the bill--though there is something to be said for those little seaside shacks that put out great, simple food in basic surroundings.

Feb 15, 2013
GeraldI in Italy

Seeking Sunday Seafood Lunch in Genoa

We have enjoyed wonderful seaside Sunday lunches all over Italy and are thinking of heading over to Genoa (Genova) in a couple weeks to try to do the same there. Any recommendations for that quintessential seaside seafood restaurant that is light on fancy and long on fresh, simple seafood?

Feb 12, 2013
GeraldI in Italy

Porto Ercole...

Il Pelicano is raved about (I am headed there for the first time next week). There are also some nice places in nearby Capalbio; as well as Caino being within driving distance.

Aug 22, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Wineries & Restaurants in the Montalcino & Siena areas

Osteria Osticcio is definitely the best of your selections; great food, great wine options, olive oil tastings, and genuinely nice hosts--all with an incredible view of the Tuscan landscape.

Aug 05, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

one week ouside Montepulciano

We totally agree with the La Porta recommendation.

May 23, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Train from Rome to Naples - What about lunch?

Definitely eat in Naples. Da Michele pizzeria is a ten minute walk from the train station.

May 23, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Rome, Montalcino, Florence restaurants

Sorry; my bad. I confused the two towns. I can't remember anyplace in Buonconvento.

Apr 23, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Rome, Montalcino, Florence restaurants

We use a GPS at times, but the map available of the wineries is pretty easy to follow. Again, Tullio at Osteria Osticcio can help with directions too. Sesta di Sopra is a real fun experience--winetasting at their dining room table. Enjoy.

Apr 10, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Rome, Montalcino, Florence restaurants

Try to go see Sesti di Sopra. An older couple own and run it and it is a wonderful experience (and they are virtually invisible in the States). Tullio Scrivani at Osteria Osticcio set us up with them.

Apr 09, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Naples - Pizza at Sorbillo's HUGE disappointment

I don't remember an upstairs either; but my wife and I were similarly disappointed. It was the only 'average" pizza we had out of four pizzerias in 24 hours.

Apr 09, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Rome, Montalcino, Florence restaurants

As a winery owner I travel extensively, eat at some of the best restaurants in the world, and live part of each year in Rome; but maybe you are right and I just don't know what I am talking about. As I have said myself, everyone's palates are different. If you want to know what truly inventive food tastes like that is well executed, try Piazza Duomo in Alba. I know some people enjoy Pagliaccio; but I did not and I don't believe the failing was my poor undereducated palate. But, I could be wrong. Oh, and their wine list while extensive, was, in my (undereducated) opinion, ridiculously priced.

Apr 06, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Gelato in Florence

We lived there for six weeks one year and "researched" extensively. For our taste buds the hands-down favorite was Neri

Apr 01, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Rome, Montalcino, Florence restaurants

Pipero is definitely a better choice than Pagliaccio--who we think tries too hard to be edgy with their food and sometimes then fall flat. In Montalcino, Osteria Osticcio is a must. The. Food is simple, but great quality and if you like wine, there is nobody more knowledgable or generous with info then the owner Tullio. Wineries Banfi and Poggio Antico both have terrific, though pricey, restaurants. In Buonconvento, go to La Bottega al 30. Tullio at Osticcio recommended it to us and we have had three fabulous meals there.

Apr 01, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Restaurant picks for upcoming trip to Naples & Amalfi...help!

If you search by my name you will find a recent post called Naples Report with a pizzaria study. While Da Michele remains our favorite after many, many visits to Naples, La Notizia is someplace where you can enjoy a meal, rather than just a quick pizza. Also, we have had terrific pasta at Hosteria Toledo.

Apr 01, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Naples Report

The Gay-Odin store on Benedetto Croce

Apr 01, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Authentic Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence

One that is not spoken about much, because it is off the beaten path, is Alla Vecchia Bettola. It is what Il Latini was like before every guidebook discovered it.

Mar 19, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Trip Report March 2012: Northern Italy (Mantova, Florence, and Venice)

Great report; thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. it's easier to post a question then to report afterwards.

Mar 09, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Naples Report

The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to family and friends regarding our recent voyage in search of perfect pizza. It was accompanied by pictures and is not written in Chowhound style, but I'm unwilling to do a new one and figure the info is there, despite it being a bit more personal than usual. So, enjoy (I hope).

Despite losing my wallet in Naples last year, it remains one of our favorite places. So as our time in Rome wound down Sandy became ever more desperate to get there--the siren's cry of pizza is particularly loud for Sandy, it is the equivalent of what most woman feel around their mid-thirties if they have not had children, but for Sandy, her biological clock screams mozzarella.

Soooo, on the Friday before our departure (which was early Sunday), we took the fast train to Naples and the adventure began. We arrived shortly after 11:00 AM and took the requisite long-way-around cab ride to the hotel to drop off our stuff. From there, we walked nearly all the way back to the train station (50 minute power walk) to hit our first Pizzeria--Di Matteo (it was where Bill Clinton had lunch when he visited Naples as President). We were both quite hungry so we had a hard time waiting for the pizzas to arrive. I eventually started chanting quietly "pizza, pizza, pizza"; but as when I was a child and would chant "here fishy, fishy, fishy" when I was fishing, it didn't seem to work. But finally, at around 1:20 we bit into the first of our pizzas--you will notice a chunk was missing before I remembered to snap a picture. The pizza was sublime--nearly as good as our favorite spot Da Michele. The restaurant is actually quite large, on two levels with several rooms, but from the street, all you see is a glass display case with a few items and in the rear of the small room, the pizza makers huddled around the oven.

Move forward a few pictures, or in our case about thirty feet down the road, and at 2:00 we were tucking into our second set of pizzas, this time at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo. These were the only disappointing pizzas of the trip; though we both acknowledged that if we were served the same pizzas in the US we would have raved about them--but in the end it's all about the competition, and in Naples pizza competition is fierce. At this point, we had been in Naples for about three hours, hit two pizzerias and were ready for dessert, so we hit our favorite gelateria which is actually a branch of a Naples chocolatier's that has homemade gelato. Okay, we were officially now full, so we wound our way back towards our hotel stopping along the way to shop--Naples is really a good place to shop--sport coats for me, shoes (gee, go figure) for Sandy.

But we were not done; not by a long shot. At 8:45 we climbed into a cab and headed up to Pizzaria La Notizia owned and run by the very effervescent Enzo Coccia--where our cab driver noted with obvious concern for us, there was a line out the door and down the street. But, lucky for us, Sandy had called and for some reason he decided to accept a reservation from us, even though they don't take reservations. Maybe it was because his wife's maiden name is essentially the Italian version of ours. So we walked up past the line of people who assumed we were adding our name to the list, but instead were told to wait there at the front and we would be seated. Well besides the fact that Enzo took a clear liking to us, the experience was fantastic gastronomically. Unlike the other pizzerias, this was a place for a meal. So, good sports that we are, we ordered accordingly. We started with a Rottolino--essentially like a strudel in shape, but made of pizza dough filled with fresh ricotta and mozzarella, and a very large calzone filled with a giant salad, a little fresh mozzarella, and some anchovies (Jen we definitely thought of you). After that, we each ordered a pizza and they were as good as Da Michelle (or so close that nobody could pick a clear winner). Now most people would have quit by then, but we are not most people and we were doing research, so we then ordered two small calzones, one filled with liquid dark chocolate, and one filled with nutella--not the remnants on Sandy's face. All in all it was an incredible meal and we were stuffed like calzones ourselves by the time we were taken out front by Enzo--who grabbed someone who was waiting in line (yes, still a line after 11:00) and told the guy to take our picture.

We slept late the next morning since our train didn't leave until noon, but in case you are wondering why there are pictures of pizza following the parting shot at La Notizia, the answer is, of course, we had to stop at Da Michelle for one last pizza before we left. As always it was amazing and by the time we hit the train, we were in a virtual pizza coma.

Final score 3 great pizzerias, one average one. Total of 8 pizzas, one rottolino, one giant calzone, and two dessert calzones--that is more bread than we normally eat in a year.

Mar 09, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Can you help me narrow the following list of 11 restaurants down to 8?

I'd agree that Pagliaccio is not for every one (we felt they tried to hard to come up with wierd interpretations of classics--something that can be fantastic or just weird). Also, I'd agree with Pipero al Rex as a must. I also think Da Felice is not to be missed (though be prepared for gruff service) and don't go unless you want to have their Cacio al pepe; which is the best in town. Finally, I'd skip Colline Emiliane. First of all, I think it is just okay--though plenty of people like it. Secondly, if you want food from that region, I recommend eating it in that region, where it is, frankly, better.

Mar 03, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

emilia romana advice for a foodie

Although not directly responsive, there are some companies in that area that will take you to see parmigiano reggiano being made (and stored) as well as to see how balsamic vinegar is produced and how parma ham is prepared. We have actually done all three, including a lunch focusing on those items in a single day--though it was a marathon. I highly recommend the experience--especially the cheese. The company we originally used was called (I think) Parma Galosa.

Mar 03, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Question: Anniversary dinner in Rome - which restaurant?

Correct, Katie, 80 euros. BTW, my wife and I spent 36 hours in Naples and hit four pizzerias (we are committed to food and wine). Da Michele remains our favorite, but La Notizia and its owner Enzo are terrific. I'll do a write up soon.

Mar 03, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Question: Anniversary dinner in Rome - which restaurant?

Having recently gone to Pipero, and planning to return this Sat. I have no qualms saying that it will wow you. On top of that, it is a beautiful, romantic space and Alessandro Pipero makes a charming (English speaking--though he spoke to us in Italian as soon as he realized we were comfortable with it) host.

Feb 29, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

One last try at Rome itinerary

I'm sure you will get plenty of comments suggesting you consider an alternative to Giggetto--it's okay, but nothing special. If it were me, I'd go to Pipero al Rex.

As to Gusto--that would be a waste. Not sure about opening on Sunday night, but I'd look at Cafe Universale, Casa Bleve, Cul de Sac, or Roscioli.

Feb 23, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Need help whittling down the Rome restaurant list for our March honeymoon

Take a look at the post I just did under Splurge Restaurant in Rome--Pipero al Rex would be where I would go as #1 on my list. For homestyle, I would go to Armando al Pantheon where I was taken today by a restauranteur and a waiter today and where I have been taken previously by a Gambero Rosso reviewer who lives in Rome.

Feb 13, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

splurge restaurant in Rome

My wife and I tried Pipero al Rex for the first time last night and It would be hard to imagine a place fitting your requirements better. It was elegant, romantic (only about eight tables in a very small room), with impeccable service and a really excellent tasting menu (one of the items, a single large raviolo, stuffed with lamb and mint and topped with a light sauce of pecorino cheese, and assembled in the kitchen just before serving, was for both my wife and I a "top ten of our lives" dish). Each dish was beautifully plated, presented with an full explanation of what was being served (for example, a housemade foccacia with lemon essence was served with the explanation to sniff it before eating it), and flat out delicious--not a single item was even as bad as "well that was okay". We had the 80 euro tasting menu, a bottle of the 06 Avignonesi Grande Annate (60 euro), and a terrific sherry to finish with. Total bill was 250 euro and worth it.

Our background is that we live/work a month or two each year in Rome and travel largely to food-interesting places when on vacation. We are hard core foodies who also own a winery, so we are always impressed by a good wine list--Pipero's was terrific.

Lastly, a nod to Katie Parla. I often have found that places I love she is lukewarm about and places she loves leave me only mildly interested; but yesterday we tried 8 different pizzas (with Roman friends) at Pizzarium and then dined at Pipero--both of which Katie is a huge proponent--and both were really exceptional.

-----
Pipero al Rex
Via Torino, Roma, Lazio 00184, IT

Feb 12, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Anything new in Rome

Thanks for the input. I'll report back in March.

Jan 31, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Anything new in Rome

Next week my wife and I will head over for our annual month-plus stay in Rome. For constant readers of this board, there is much of the same old thing post after post. For a city with hundreds and hundreds of restaurants, it is disappointing that the same 50 or less get recycled constantly on this board. Soooooo, my question for those who live or (like us) live part time in Rome is what's new?

Jan 28, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Best espresso Rome

As a part time resident of Rome I will put my money for best coffee on Al Banchi Vecchi on the street of the same name near Campo di Fiori. My wife and I will frequently walk 45 minutes in the morning to have our coffee there.

Jan 04, 2012
GeraldI in Italy

Valencia report

I am a regular contributor on the Italy board (I spend 5 weeks a year there with my wife), but have never contributed on this board other than to ask a question; but my experience in Valencia was so tremendous, I need to share. Having been to Spain 4 other times, we were not expecting much from the food other than lots of Pulpo and Jamon. Other than San Sebastian, we have generally found the food in Spain to be lacking on the freshness front. This trip though--one week, just Valencia--was a real eye-opener. We had consistently good meals with lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of fruits and vegetables--not the normal diet of protien plus veggies cooked until gray.

With that introduction, however, I need to say that by far the shining star was Joaquin Schmidt. Book a flight, take a train, whatever it takes, add Valencia and Schmidt to your itinerary if you are anywhere on the Iberian Peninsula. Besides the fact that the owner/chef also handles waiter and presumably dishwashing duties (there was nobody helping him); the food and the overall experience if you are a foodie was over the top outstanding, creative, delicious, attractive...did I say delicious.

You get only three choices (other than wine)--four courses, five, or six. You do not know what you are eating until AFTER you have eaten each item. It challenges you to really taste the food to try to figure out the puzzle (and each dish is a puzzle of flavors and concepts) you have been provided. We ordered the five course option and half-way through the meal we changed to the six course; not because we needed more food (there were plenty of extra items in addition to the five we ordered); but because we wanted to prolong the pleasure. And three-quarters of the way through the meal we were so swept away by both the food, the experience, and the man that we booked a table for the next night and it was equally sublime (and completely different--not a single repeat) the second time around.

I truly hope that those of you who are truly food nuts have the opportunity to go there. Our meals, including two bottles of wine each night (and dessert wine) ran about 110 euros a person--not cheap, but when compared to all of the overpriced meals we have had in Europe and the US over the years, it was really a bargain.

P.S. on top of it all there was blessedly not a speck of foam on any dish

Jan 04, 2012
GeraldI in Spain/Portugal

Valencia Restaurant for Christmas

Thanks; good suggestion.

Dec 13, 2011
GeraldI in Spain/Portugal