October 2007 Archives

Enoteca Al Brindisi

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:: Ferrara
Enoteca al Brindisi, located in a spot that has been serving up la cucina ferrarese since at least 1435, claims to be l’osteria più antica nell mondo. (Another interesting historical note: Copernicus apparently lived in the upstairs apartment while studying at the local university.) Kevin and I sat right across the table from one another, and, oddly, it was almost as if we were at two totally different restaurants. He ordered one of the fixed price menus, the "tradizionale,” which included a local wine matched to each course; while I ordered a la carte and took a (non-local) wine recommendation from our waiter. My meal was to die for, while Kevin’s meal was...forgettable. Neither of us cared too much for the ferrarese specialty salamina da sugo, essentially salami boiled in water for 5 hours and then served thinly sliced. The waiter told us that one of the local wines Kevin tried “nasce qui e muore qui” – in other words, no one outside of Ferrara drinks it. We thought there was good reason for this. I, on the other hand, enjoyed a totally delightful plate of cappellacci di zucca, little “hats” stuffed with pumpkin and tossed in melted butter and fresh sage, accompanied by a knockout Sicilian white wine, “Bidis” by Valle Dell’Acate (a blend of chardonnay and inzolia grapes). I would definitely go back to Al Brindisi – being sure to stick with la carta and to avoid those very...interesting local wines.

Enoteca Al Brindisi
Via degli Adelardi, 11, Ferrara
Tel. 0532-209-142
www.albrindisi.com

Caffé Concerto

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:: Modena
Lunch buffet = INCREDIBILE!!! Also, here we were very happily introduced to a modenese specialty:  gnoccho fritto. It’s like eating a cloud...a tasty little pocket of heaven. Mmmmmmm.... Open Daily.

Caffé Concerto
Piazza Grande, Modena
Tel. 059-222-232
www.caffeconcertomodena.it

Trattoria Gianni

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:: Bologna
Traditional yet classy, special yet affordable, frequented by foreigners and locals alike, and run by the charming Giorgio, Michele and Barbara. Delicious, delicious, and delicious. I don’t know what else to say. Just go. You will understand. For dinner reservations, be sure to call before 3 p.m. Closed Sunday evening and all day Monday.

Trattoria Gianni
Via Clavature, 18, Bologna
Tel. 051-229-434

Trattoria Da Danio

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:: Bologna
A casual, economical, friendly neighborhood joint where you can eat very well, very reasonably.  Highly recommended. Open Daily.

Trattoria Da Danio
Via San Felice, 50a, Bologna
Tel. 051-555-202

Incrocio Montegrappa

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:: Bologna
A midscale neighborhood restaurant with an extensive menu; however, once we tried the pizzas we were hooked! The “Gustosa” pizza, a house specialty, is comprised of mozzarella, gorgonzola, nuts, and speck, and it is divine (specktacular, if you will). The house wine is a simple Prosecco (well-suited, we thought, to the pizza – though we have learned that Italians never drink wine with pizza, only beer!); there are other wine options by the bottle. If you go the pizza route, you can expect a very reasonable bill for a fantastic meal. If you opt for a multicourse meal, do expect to pay a bit more. Closed Tuesdays.

Incrocio Montegrappa
Via Montegrappa, 7/d, Bologna
Tel. 051-224-871

Il Caffé Bazar

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:: Bologna
This actually isn’t a café at all but an excellent wine and gourmet goodies shop. We found the selection of Italian wines to be outstanding.

Il Caffé Bazar
Via Guerrazzi, 8, Bologna
Tel. 051-228-454

Franco Rossi

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:: Bologna
A bit more upscale than the other Bologna restaurants listed here, but by no means extravagant. A little plate of handmade breads and crackers awaits each guest. A member of the very gracious staff comes immediately to pour your complimentary aperitivo. We enjoyed scrumptious food and an excellent wine recommendation to accompany our meal (Giovanni Puiatti Pinot Grigio 2006). The antipasto plate of culatello and fresh fig was plate-lickingly good (though I did manage to resist committing this brutta figura act!). Their tagliatelle al ragù was my favorite among the three different versions I tried in Bologna. (If you are a John Grisham fan, you might be interested to know that Franco Rossi is mentioned favorably in The Broker.)

Franco Rossi
Via Goito, 3, Bologna
Tel. 051-238-818

Caffé Zamboni

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:: Bologna
Caffé Zamboni offers a very satisfying self-service “brunch” buffet (a.k.a. tavola fredda) at lunch time. I had their excellent, really creamy gelato no less than three times in one week.

Caffé Zamboni
Via Zamboni, 6, Bologna
Tel. 051-587-7916

Bar Calice

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:: Bologna
Far more than the traditional Italian bar. Many reasonably-priced wines by the glass, a nice selection of salads, friendly staff. The bar itself is tiny; go on a nice day and relax at one of the many outdoor tables on Via Clavature.

Bar Calice
Via Clavature 13a, Bologna

Taverna Trilussa Trastevere

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:: Rome : Trastevere
Our experience here was shockingly bad. I ordered a bottle of Collio Bianco, and the waiter brought out instead a bottle of Tocai Friulano. I like Tocai Friulano, but I had specifically asked for something else, so I pointed this out to the waiter. He informed me that the bottle he had brought was a white wine from Collio. Indeed, I could see that it was a white wine from Collio, I replied, but I had ordered a specific wine, and this was not it! After finally being served the correct wine, we attempted to order some antipasti. The same surly waiter tried to tell us that we could not order what we were asking for, because it was only available as part of the set tasting menu. Incredulous, I pointed out the items we wanted on the a la carte section of the menu. Well, he replied, that may be, but these were old menus, and therefore the prices were incorrect. Why, I asked, were we given "old" menus (they looked brand new), and what was the "new" price??? In the end we did get the antipasti, but not without a level of hassle that I have not experienced in any other restaurant in Italy. By the end of the evening I could say that the food was good and the garden setting lovely, but the service so soured our experience there that we will never go back.

Taverna Trilussa Trastevere    €€

Via del Politeama 23-25 (00153)  Google Map
Tel. 06-581-8918

Da Bucatino

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:: Rome : Aventino-Testaccio
The specialty here is bucatini all’amatriciana – and if you order it you’ll be fitted with a special bib to keep the hearty red sauce off your clothes. Despite this oddly gimicky custom, the dish is incredible, as are the melt-in-your-mouth roast meats. The cold antipasto buffet is also particularly good.

Da Bucatino    €€
Via Luca della Robbia, 84/86 (00153)
Tel. 06-574-6886

Antico Forno Roscioli

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:: Rome : Campo de' Fiori
roscioliwindow_225x188.jpgPerfect for a delicious aperitivo with great wines by the glass and artigianale salume e formaggi. Dinner here is also excellent, and they are usually fully booked starting at 8. Their takes on traditional Roman pasta dishes are outstanding. And they have a whole wall of shelves stocked with tempting artigianale food products to purchase and take home. Closed Sundays.

rosciolisign_100x74.jpgAntico Forno Roscioli   €€
Via dei Giubbonari, 21 (00186)  Google Map
Tel. 06-687-5287
www.anticofornoroscioli.com

Renato e Luisa

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renatoluisa_s200x141.jpg:: Rome : Campo de' Fiori
Just go – you will not be disappointed! The daily specials are always excellent. Peronal favorite antipasto: goat cheese praline. Reservations are mandatory; doors open at 8:30. Closed Mondays.

Renato e Luisa (a.k.a. Quelli della Taverna)    €€
Via dei Barbieri, 25 (00186)
Tel. 06-686-9660
www.renatoeluisa.it

Vivendo

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:: Rome : Quirinale-Trevi
Where to go when you want a really fine, very classy meal. This is the kind of place where the sommelier tastes the wine for you. Be prepared to be showered with exquisite food and wine and pampered like royalty. (Expect a bill of royal proportions to match.)

Vivendo    €€€
St. Regis Grand Hotel
Via Vittorio Orlando, 3 (00185)
Tel. 06-47091

Il Gelato di San Crispino

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:: Rome : Quirinale-Trevi
This very famous gelateria has long been considered by many to be the best in Rome, and by some the best in the world. In addition to such traditional Italian flavors as stracciatella (chocolate chip), pistacchio, and nocciola (hazelnut), they have some unique concoctions of their own, including liquirizia (licorice), zenzero e cannella (ginger and cinnamon), passito (a type of Italian dessert wine), and sorbettos such as pera (pear) and arancia selvatica (blood orange). Only pure, natural, highest quality ingredients are used, and for this reason cones – generally factory made from inferior ingredients – are not offered at all.

Il Gelato di San Crispino   
Via della Panetteria, 42 (00187)
Tel. 06-679-3924

F.I.S.H.

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:: Rome : Quirinale-Trevi
Exceptional sushi and other seafood, primarily (but not exclusively) raw. Closed Mondays.

F.I.S.H.    €€ / €€€
Via dei Serpenti, 16 (00184)
Tel. 06-4782-4962
f-i-s-h.it

Trattoria

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trattoria_153x200.jpg  :: Rome : Navona-Pantheon

UPDATE:  It's not the same since Filippo La Mantia left.  Our last visit was a big disappointment.  Sadly, I'm removing it from the Favorites category.

(ORIGINAL REVIEW:  Just incredible. Trust your waiter’s suggestions and be prepared to be swept away to food and wine paradise. If I had to choose one upscale dinner in Rome, this would be it, without a doubt.)

Trattoria    €€ / €€€
Via del Pozzo delle Cornacchie, 25 (00186)
Tel. 06-6830-1427

Gelateria Della Palma

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dellapalma_200x149.jpg:: Rome : Navona-Pantheon
This expansive gelateria and candy shop is really something to behold. They boast 100 flavors of ice cream, including several in a unique frozen mousse style. Very popular and often somewhat crowded – but worth the wait.

Gelateria Della Palma   
Via della Maddalena, 20 (00186)
Tel. 06-6880-6752

Ristorante 34

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al34_150x200.jpg  :: Rome : Piazza di Spagna
The waitstaff may be less than charming, but the food more than makes up for it – especially if you order the lipsmacking linguine ai frutti di mare. As with many restaurants in the very touristy centro storico, expect to see this one packed with foreigners from 7:30 to 9:30, then filled with Italians thereafter. Closed Mondays.

Ristorante 34    €€
Via Mario de Fiori, 34 (00187)
Tel. 06-679-5091
www.webeco.it/al34

GiNa

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gina3_157x200.jpg:: Rome : Piazza di Spagna
This place is just too cute for words. An excellent spot to rejuvenate with a light lunch and a good glass of wine.

Gina   
Via San Sebastianello, 7/A (00187)
Tel. 06-678-0251
www.ginaroma.com

Piccolo Abruzzo

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:: Rome : Via Veneto
Ready for a dinner where they just keep bringing you food, food, and more glorious food? This is the place – go hungry!

Piccolo Abruzzo    €€
Via Sicilia, 237 (00187)
Tel. 06-4282-0716

Moma

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:: Rome : Via Veneto
A little piece of heaven right across the street from the embassy! Very thoughtfully prepared food and beverages for various occasions:  a quick bite or caffé in the bar downstairs, a couple of small lunch plates in the little “box” upstairs, or a full-on sit-down meal with great wine at the tables upstairs.  Wonderful staff, creative fresh food.  My favorite place for classic Roman-style artichokes (upstairs, in season).

Moma    € / €€
Via San Basilio, 42 (00187)
Tel. 06-4201-1798, 06-4782-1058