Hi, again! We are (sadly) back in the States. I'm already mourning Italian wine, gelato, and cappuccino. I look around our local restaurants and I'm pretty sure nothing can compare to what we loved in Italy.
In any case..
As with Rome, my meal plans continued to go totally off the rails. When I emailed da Divo (in Siena) to reserve, the chef very nicely informed me they would be closed for 10 days starting on Feb 18, but we could come on Feb 17. After no small amount of deliberation, we changed our plans. That wound up changing a lot of our Florence plans.
Trattoria Mario: We tried to go here on the Saturday we arrived in Florence. They were open, but swamped. At 13:00, there was a 90-minute wait. We--and most other people trying Mario--made the mistake of going next door to Trattoria Za-Za (meal not worth reviewing, but wine and two pastas was €29.50).
We went back on the following Monday and arrived when they opened at noon. They very quickly were packed both with tourists and locals. We ordered water, the house red, ravioli, chickpea soup, and 1 kg of bistecca fiorentina. Our bill was €51.50.
All the food was good, and the wine was actually great. But for us, I don't think it's a place I'd choose again. Not because it was bad, but only because there are more places to try.
We went to a handful of gelato places including Perche No. We loved them all.
In Siena, we went to Antica Osteria Da Divo. We ordered water, the house red, risotto, gnocchi, wild boar, and the citrus pastry for dessert. It was, in short, our best meal in Italy. Even the bread was five-star. The risotto was incredible.
There were quite a few tourists. But a lot of them Italian, so maybe that helps. We had reservations--as mentioned, I emailed them a couple weeks ahead of time, and got a very nice reply from the executive chef. I don't think I would try to go, even at lunch, without a reservation.
Our bill was €69.50, and to be honest, I think even my very frugal husband would have happily handed them twice that for our food.
After Florence, we took a train to Venice--our last stop--for two nights. We ended up only having two sit down meals, and both were in Dorsoduro. Next time, if we stay longer, I would like to get up to Cannaregio and try more of the places recommended to us.
Enoteca Ai Artisti: We ordered water, two glasses of the house white wine, pumpkin ravioli, pasta with artichokes and prawns, and veal scallopini. Our bill was €64.
It was all very good, though I think we enjoyed the pasta more than the veal. The prawns in the pasta were the highlight of the meal. The veal was good, but the portion was pretty small for the €20 it cost.
Ristorante La Bitta: We ordered water, red house wine (which they deliver in a bottle and charge you only for what you drink--we drank a shade over half, and they charged us for half), pasta caruso, bean soup, stewed rabbit, panna cotta, and tiramisu. The bill was €66.
We had a reservation, but there were enough empty tables that I think it probably wasn't required.
Everything we ordered was very good. The sauce on their pasta caruso had both cinnamon and cloves, and I liked that we ended up with something that had shades of Venice's eastern influence.
We were surrounded by other tourists--Brits and French mostly.
We also gave up gelato in Venice. It was just too darn cold. We did go to Grom (as we did in Rome, Florence, and Siena) and got hot chocolate.
I think that's everything! Now I'm planning Disneyworld later this year with our kiddos as well as Iceland in 2015. Planning the next trip is part of my grieving process. =)