Request -- restaurant suggestions?

My wife and I will be in Italy the last half of May 2016 → specifically in Como, Piedmonte (Alba), Florence (Firenze), and Venice. She hasn’t been to Italy in 20 years, and I haven’t been since 1957! Needless to say, personal information/experience is a bit out-of-date.

All recommendations welcome and gratefully accepted! :smile:

I recommend Omero in Florence for bistecca alla fiorentina. They use chianina beef. Sostanza was all tourists. Pretty good steak but Omero was a cut above.

Also, my favorite since I first discovered it by accident over 10 years ago…the famous panino bollito misto at Nerbone. Ask to have them dip the sandwich into the juices. Go before 11-1130 though. It has turned into a monster tourist destination.

For Piedmont, an excellent reviewer named Allende posts on Chowhound. For Venice, PBSF posts on Chowhound also excellent.

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Of course, this means I’ll have to go back to Chowhound – something I’m loathe to do at this point, as I really hate to assist them by increasing their number of “hits,” but I’ll do it . . . I’ve stopped posting there completely, but admit to an occasional “lurk.”

I suggest staying in the wine country proper rather than in the city of Alba. Other than that I’m out of date.

Try a bottle of Brezza 2014 Grignolino if you come across it.

I have never been to piedmont and I spent only one day in Venice. I had an excellent meal at Fiaschetteria Toscano in Venice but have been following Italy for a while. Chowhound

We are, Robert. We’re actually staying in a B&B/agriturismo in La Mora. As for the Grignolino, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for it . . .

Places I have loved in Rome (seafood heavy)
Ristorante Eleonora D’Arborea
Asunta Madre
Il Tempio di Isidi
La Gensola

I’m going next May and this list was all based on CH feedback. I’ve never been so still in the process of gathering info.

Piazza del Mercato Centrale – breakfast, beef sandwiches at Da Nerbone
Trattoria Sostanza – pasta al sugo, butter chicken (make reservations)
Salumeria Verdi – Pino’s Sandwiches(Uffizi Gallery)
Eataly Firenze – 3 min walk from Duomo
La Cucina del Garga – north of Duomo
Gelateria Edoardo – best gelato on Florence (Duomo)
Trattoria Due G – pappa al pomodoro, bisteak Florentine, fried artichokes (train station)
Il Santo Bevitore – higher end meal (across river 5 min walk from hotel)
Gelateria la Carraia - (next to Il Santo Bevitore)
Da Ruggero (Trattoria Ruggero) - Spaghetti Carrettiera, pappardelle, pork chop with beans closed Tues and Wed -
make reservations (across river)
Alla Vecchia Bettola - Penne alla Bettola, fried squash blossoms (across the river)
Santa Trinita – best gelato in Florence (across the river)

Just back from Italy, ate very well, mostly

Firenze on the Duomo side of the river is all touristic, even in places where the food quality has been kept up any real atmosphere is absent.

In the last couple years they’ve done over the market and the upper level (1st floor in European parlance) has been converted into a “food court” (If you’ve been to the Mercato San Miguel in Madrid they are trying to copy that, less successfully) and the ground floor market is a pale shadow of what it once was, that said Nerbone is still there and worth a visit for a sandwich (order the Lamprodotto sandwich, just trust me) but yes it is utterly swarmed with other tourists [when I was there a couple years ago there was an Italian trying to jump the queue and beaking off to the staff about why they were serving all these foreigners ahead of him, a real Italian].

Trattoria Mario is another one of the famous places and while it’s swarmed with tourists too they are holding on tooth and claw to as much of the tradition as they can, hand written daily menu, hearty Tuscan home-style dishes, get the peposa if it’s on.

Other than that head for the other side of the river, Trattoria La Casalinga comes highly recommended by my Florentine insider friend although it’s in all the guidebooks so it will get ruined soon enough I guess.


Also swarmed with tourists of course and has been on some level since the 14th century but there are some gems

For lunch take a vaporetto ride to Burano and go to Da Romano (or if you are there on the day they are closed, Al Gatto Nero), this trip we just did a day trip into the city and instead of regular meals just grazed the chicetti at a selection of bacari (Cantina Do Mori is mandatory, it’s been there since sometime in the 15th century and feels like it) there are a bunch of good ones in the Rialto area, Cantino Do Spade, All’Arco, and more. I also like Gia Schiavi in the Desodoro area.

Agree - that sandwich is one of the best in the world.

The lampredotto stand recommended in Rick Steve’s book is also pretty good. In a little square not too far from the market.

Prob the same as we are talking about

Negative. The sign at Nerbone is green and it’s a much larger stand with multiple people helping you through the various options.

I still maintain the panini bollito is the way to go there. Heck, it’s on their sign.

Yes - I realized after I wrote that the Sgee was referring to another place.

My personal favourite is the guy in the truck at the Porta Romana, but that’s a bit of a hike from anywhere. He was featured in Saveur magazine about 20 years ago (in one of their earliest issues) and he’s still there.

I’m not sure what this site thinks about links to CH threads but there’s one from a couple of years ago that I did during/after our stay in Florence for a month that I think I should share here. Too much info. to re-do & I think it may be helpful to Jason & js76wisco for their upcoming trips next year. Robert: feel free to remove or take whatever action you see fit with this if you don’t want such links – I’m fine with it.

At any rate, just a couple of additional comments. Although I agree with “kingofthenerds” general feeling that most of the Duomo side of the Arno is filled with tourist places, I don’t think its totally accurate as stated. Basically, its the area directly over the Arno around the city’s center that is filled with tourist stuff (with some exceptions) and, since this is a small city, a 15 minute walk will get you good places on this side of the river as well. The Santa Croce area extends back, away from the city center ( 5 minutes or less, “behind” places like Cibreo), reasonably far and there are quite a few local places that are not trendy like the Oltr’arno area but just solid mom & pop type places. Additionally, Casalinga has been in the tour books for more than the 15 years that I’ve been going to Florence &, although there are clearly quite a few tourists in the place (& on line to get in - make a reservation) at all times, they don’t seem overly concerned with being a tourist destination and keep churning out the type of food required by the large #s of regulars that keep coming as well. Still worth a visit I think.

Link away. We all still own what we said on Chowhound.

By the way (for those going to cities like Florence, Rome or Venice – I find Elizabeth Minchilli’s website/blog and her restaurant apps very helpful. I’d also recommend Katie Parla & Maureen Fant for additional takes on Rome places. Katie is someone who seems to favor the newer style, while Maureen is very traditional old skool. Both are very knowledgable.


I’ve already downloaded Elizabeth Minchill’s app and check out her website. Not going anywhere near Rome this trip, but I’ll keep an eye out for the future . . .