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If you had $500 to spend on one meal for 2, where would it be?

EMP-- my first choice, always!

about 10 hours ago
jangita in Manhattan

Venice help needed

Sounds like La Cantina to me.
Does that name ring a bell?

Aug 29, 2015
jangita in Italy

Help plan an 8-day Emilia-Romagna food itinerary (sadly with no car!)

Have you already checked out

I've never been but have heard "good things"

Aug 08, 2015
jangita in Italy

Help plan an 8-day Emilia-Romagna food itinerary (sadly with no car!)

Maybe you could have dinner at Osteria Francescana on the evening of 9/22, in Modena.

At the EXPO, if you are interested in wine, the Italian wine tasting experience is worthwhile. You pay for 3 tastes (10euros) and you get a little taste of prosciutto, too. They have over 1,000 Italian wines arranged by region. We also did a Franciacorta tasting with a rep--very informative. They have their own kiosk separate from the Italian area.

If you do a search for Verona, here, you'll find a mention of a couple of meals I enjoyed there recently.

Aug 07, 2015
jangita in Italy

HOLES IN THE WALL - Bologna, Napoli, Torino!

We had a really good lunch at Drogheria della Rosa in June. We just had pasta (bis on one plate) which were excellent and outstanding desserts. Sorry I have no notes.

Aug 05, 2015
jangita in Italy

Restaurants in Olterarno, Florence

Had a great lunch, June '14, at Trattoria Casalinga. Here are my notes:

Trattoria Casalinga is kind of like New York Deli meets Florentine Trattoria. The service is borderline gruf but still friendly. The wait staff is obviously there long term. The food was really top notch. I had a pasta (ziti) "Ortolana" with vegetables--peas, zucchini, green beans mostly, in a nice simple olive oil based sauce. Right up my alley. Ken ordered "Pici Aglione" and while it wasn't what we think of as pici it was nice fresh pasta with chunks of fresh tomatoes and big chunks of garlic--very tasty. Next we shared the roast pork--YUM!!! and a standard salad. We drank a mezzo carafe of house red which was fine. Our tab was 40 euros including 2 caffe.

And IMHO, Zeb is outstanding (more notes)

For lunch we had 2 superb pasta dishes. One was a simple homemade spaghetti with black truffles (14 euro). It had just enough salt to bring out the truffle flavor and the pasta was cooked to perfection. Also, large "ravioli" were not square--kind of free form--stuffed with ricotta and zucchini flowers, topped with a burrata sauce, zucchini and poppy seeds. You would have to taste it to believe the loveliness of the gentle flavors--(12 euro).
We shared one dessert--a small glass with mixed berries on the bottom, custard above and perfectly crispy puffed pastry on top.

Both of these are in the Oltrarno.

Jul 26, 2015
jangita in Italy

Venice - Input on Restaurant Itinerary Requested

Here are my notes from one dinner at Alla Staffa, from June 2012:

The food was really good, the service--not so much. We shared the clams and mussels in ginger broth for a starter--good thing because it was huge! And delicious; I loved the ginger in there. The mussels were not all perfectly cooked but the broth was fantastic! Ken had the lasagna which we both loved and I had fish. It was 3 different small, baked, whole fish on a platter of salad greens. There was also a shot glass with a foamy lemon sauce. I thought the sauce was funny but the fish were top notch. We each had a glass of Prosecco and then shared a 1/2 liter of the pretty good, white house wine and a tiramisu for dessert. Our bill was 53euros.

Jul 22, 2015
jangita in Italy


Here's my brief report of another highlight for our week in Verona. Locanda Quatro Cuochi: It's located very near Piazza Bra.

We had a really solid lunch, stuffed zucchini flowers, perfectly roasted suckling pig with a lemon and sage gravy and zucchini mash. The stand out dish to me was the "primo" of Arancini (a Sicilian stuffed rice ball). The rice was all green with fresh basil, the little stuffing was smoked mozerella and the tomato sauce was so simple and fresh with a swirl of basil pesto.

The dessert was peach melba with calvados ice cream and I thought the ice cream had no real flavor except vanilla so that was the only miss of the whole meal. We drank a sparking wine from Sicily first and then a Soave with the rest. The bill was 60 euros. We shared everything and they added a few euro onto each dish for plating and adding a bit of extra food. I was completely happy with my choice.

Jul 21, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Sunday -Wed. Eating well the priority.

What a feel-good story! Thanks so much for reporting back. The best partt is that we both got to enjoy the wonderful restaurant!

Buon Appetitto!

Jul 04, 2015
jangita in Italy

Venice - Input on Restaurant Itinerary Requested

I had an extended lunch at Testiere in June 2014 and it was very good! there were 4 of us and everyone loved their fresh flavors.
Here's a cut and paste from my blog:

I had a big bowl of assorted mollusks–a few kinds of clams, razor clams, scallops and mussels–all steamed in the shells with a bit of olive oil and some shards of fresh ginger. Of course, I ended up with a big bowl of shells but the tastes were so clear and fresh. If I hadn’t ordered another course I would have eaten all the broth with the bread but I didn’t. Ken started with spaghetti with clams. Next I had gnocchetti with porcini and shrimp–I loved this dish too. The sweetness of the shrimp and the earthiness of the porcini with the ever so slightly salty, tiny gnocchi and a simple sauce–just a perfect balance. Ken had a plate of grilled scampi–big shrimp with claws cut in half the long way and grilled to perfection. (Bill and Martin loved their dishes too. Their mixed grilled platter looked fabulous!) I had a couple of glasses of a bright Sicilian house white which worked perfectly with the food.
The desserts were sensational too. Perfect peach tart, creme caramel with coffee, and Ken had to try the chocolate pudding which was like a little cool souffle with wonderful dark chocolate

I also ate there in 2010 with similar impressions.

Jun 29, 2015
jangita in Italy

A few Venice questions

Just spent 10 days in Venice eating out and in.
Avoid Trattoria alla Rampa on Via Garibaldi. Perfectly awful!

Best meals of this trip: Estro, especially if you like crudo but the focaccia with lardo hit it out of the park. And Promessi Sposi.


Jun 26, 2015
jangita in Italy


We'll be here for a week. Had a great (seafood and pasta, great service not touristy) at Bocondivino on via Sottoriva. There are lots of restaurant on that street to browse.

Any more suggestions?
Also looking for a wine shop in the center near Porta Borsari.

Grazie tutti

Jun 24, 2015
jangita in Italy

Trentino Alto Adige trip report 2011 -- San Cassiano, Bolzano, Trento and Verona (in the Veneto) -- VERY long

Is there any more recent news about Bolzano or Verona.
We're heading to Castelrotto for 3 days, tomorrow and then will be a week in Verona. Would love some updates.

Jun 20, 2015
jangita in Italy


We went to Righetti last year. Here's a copy/paste from my blog:

What a fun place! It's self service and we were a little lost but the locals really helped us out and the whole experience was so worth the 20euros for the meal. I had a fabulous grilled vegetable plate with a chunk of fresh ricotta in the center. Ken had fusilli with ragu bianco (meat sauce without tomatoes) I had 2 glasses of wine, Ken had a beer and a big roasted pear for dessert. Lots of really good food!

So, it's far from fine dining but a great experience with good solid, fresh and delicious food.

Jun 19, 2015
jangita in Italy

One lunch in Bologna next week (6/12)

We went to Drogheria della Rossa.
Enjoyed it very much.
At 1:00 it was pretty empty on a rainy Wed. but we had reservations anyway. Started with complimentary bright, light non bubbly white wine and an amuse of a slic of salami, a small wedge of wonderful cheese a doughy thing ( I have to apologize--I was really distracted by conversation with the friends we met there).
We all, 4, had a "bis" of round pasta stuffed with squaquerone and maybe another cheese topped with many small zucchini flowers and ravioli stuffed with eggplant in a fresh tomato sauce. We also had one plate of tagliatelle al ragu--yummy and totally Bolognese. We ordered a bottle of recommended Sangiovese and we all had desserts and coffee. I loved the desserts--mine was semifreddo with tiny bits of candied orange peel on the side and something crunchy in it. (again, I wasn't doing my best scrutinizing of the food) and my husband had a chocolate flan that was something like really good chocolate pudding. the check was 135 euros--including one more person who ate roast beef and salad.
The restaurant is very homey and unfancy but with white table cloths and officious service.
Hope this helps someone out someday.

Jun 17, 2015
jangita in Italy

One lunch in Bologna next week (6/12)

Well, I think we will go to Drogheria della Rossa unless someone here thinks it's a bad idea???

Jun 16, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Expo

All true, Elizabeth. But I didn't want to discuss the "non food related" stuff here on CH. I always thought that was a big issue with the moderators. And we ate Italian because of personal preferences, too.
The Japanese and Kazakstan exhibits, themselves, were really worth the $$--without the food.
And the Japanese lunch was, although nothing special real food, well prepared. But maybe not worth the 20euros we paid for it. We were thinking that at home we would probably pay about $15 for the same dishes.

Jun 12, 2015
jangita in Italy

One lunch in Bologna next week (6/12)

In a similar situation: Planning to be in Bologna to meet friends from Florence for lunch, next week. Looking for a quiet place where we can hang out and talk before, during and after a fabulous meal. I would say 20 euros per person without wine would be about right. Easy walk from the train station would be a big plus.

Any input?

Jun 11, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Expo

OK. We went yesterday and concurred with the above but today was much much better.
Yesterday we ate a really good sausage sandwich with greens--it seemed like maybe cichoria/chicory but it was called fariella. We whizzed by Eataly just to look. Really enjoyed the Franciacorta tasting--20euros for 5 very generous pours. We did a lot of wandering and looking, never made it to the end.
Today we had a plan. We headed straight towards the end stopping at the USA. Being a sucker for Obama saying we need to feed everyone, I liked it OK.
After that we went to Japan which was really well done--seemed like they really invested in their exhibition and it really made me want Japanese food which we had for lunch. It was surprisingly good. The tempura was fried there in a big open kitchen. They had a self ordering system on tablets and it was quick. The soba noodle broth was delicious. We marveled at the gardens at Slow Food. At the Italy wine pavilion they have 1,300 wines on a ticket system. 3 tastes for 10euros. We chose to taste 3 Barolos from 3 different years--2009, 10 and 11. There was a sommelier talking with us about the wines.
Kazakstan was a really good show--they were tasting horse milk at the end and we passed on that. Somehow, we lucked into a free sample of nice French country lentils with cheese cubes and sesame seeds. Just walking by at the perfect moment.
We bought our tix online and saved some money that was--also buying a 2 day pass was cheaper.
So, we left with a much better impression after today. Hope this helps out some future Expo goers.

Jun 10, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Sunday -Wed. Eating well the priority.

Yes, I would have to agree. It's a beautiful restaurant but more "neighborhoody" than special occasion. It does have white table clothes, nice linen and an open kitchen. But for your situation...keep looking.

Jun 09, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Sunday -Wed. Eating well the priority.

Just FWIW,
We had a fabulous dinner tonight at Mes Amis, no it's not French but totally local Milanese.
We ate 2 huge apps: gilled vegetable with grilled chhes and mixed salumi.
Share a pasta--with bits of sausage cooked in a parmigiano wheel--really yummy with little bits of the almost crunchy parmigiano and a bit of cram.
And a perfect scaloppa de Vitallo Milanese--fried to perfection with a bit of arugula and fresh tomatoes.
with wine it was 82 euros. A real bargain. It's a bit out of town a via G. da Procida 27, angolo via Domodossola 23.

Jun 08, 2015
jangita in Italy

Milan Expo

Oh well, I hope we have a better experience than that. We'll be there Tues and Wed. this coming week. Already bought the tix, too.
Will report back.

Jun 07, 2015
jangita in Italy

Madrid Locals Tips

JuanDoe, I just want you to know that we went to La Cesta last night at about 9:00. It was totally empty but we had an amazingly wonderful light supper there.

For the 2 of us we had stuffed mussels, ravioli stuffed with "pork throat??" in a light broth. (It was just 2 large ravioli in a
very thin pasta--lovely.
And, of all things, barbqued pork ribs. Just couldn't releist ordering them after the waiter recommended them. They were 2 perfectly cook, large ribs with a damn good sauce.
We also had 2 desserts--fabulous saffron creme brulee and a cheesecake--both very large portions. We had a glass of beer, a glasss of cava, a glass of Ribera del Duero red which was outstanding and a glass of dessert wine--Ananyas, maybe. The check was around 50 euros.

So thanks!

Jun 05, 2015
jangita in Spain/Portugal

Need a lookup in the Fred Plotkin book

Another grateful voice. I have so enjoyed the Fred Plotkin books and own both of them. That being said:

Fred, do you have anything to say about the EXPO--I am headed there in about a week, for just 2 days. I have read somewhere else that Eataly is "the" place to eat but would love your insights.
Thanks so much

Jun 01, 2015
jangita in Italy

Raw seafood plate in Venice

Also La Cantina has a lovely plate.

May 27, 2015
jangita in Italy

Seeking tiny producer olive oil and/or cheese that's worth traveling for just to bring home a bottle or wheel

While it doesn't involve a day trip, there are great products for sale (maybe at premium prices) at Peck in Milan, not far from the duomo.
I have bought olive oil there from Lake Garda that was one of the best I ever had. Marcella Hazan said that the Garda oil is the best in Italy.
Peck also has a huge cheese selection and lots of other foodie treats.
I just love looking in their windows!

May 26, 2015
jangita in Italy

Osterie d'Italia 2007 (English) or 2015 (Italian)?

If you spring for the books, you can always tear out the pages from the areas where you'll be traveling. Makes the books a whole lot easier to carry.

May 23, 2015
jangita in Italy

Looking for Soft shell crabs (moleche) in Venice

Last year they were available at Vini da Gigio in early June. Some years back, I, too had them at Antiche Carampane.
While you're ordering, don't miss the razor clams!

May 05, 2015
jangita in Italy

What are your favorite dishes in Florence, Venice and Miklan

In Venice--The "Frittura", traditional mixed fried seafood and veggies, at Vecchio Fritolin, served in a paper cone. Can't miss.

May 03, 2015
jangita in Italy

Recommendations for Le Marche this fall

We had a fabulous lunch in Urbino, right in front of the Ducal Palace (great people watching) at an outside table. The place is called Kilometro Zero, Km 0, which means, I believe, super local. We had a huge plate of mixed pork and cheese with a basket of the local house made flat bread called crescia.
They also have a nice selection of local beer and wine.

Apr 29, 2015
jangita in Italy