I'm so grateful for all of the advice I get on this board and I hope I can repay the favor with a food report from our latest trip. I'm not including specific dishes because menus change.
Saturday (Milan) -
Afternoon gelato at Tre Gazelle
My husband has had a soft spot for this place for years. I don't think it's particularly wonderful, but it's in a great location near the Duomo and has tables outside for people watching.
We were exhausted and just wanted an early dinner. Most places, as you may know, start serving at 7:30 or 8, but we needed more flexible hours. This place is totally fine - friendly, pretty space, solid food - but not worth a special trip.
Then Biano Latte for more gelato. I loved this place. The gelato is very light and fluffy, almost like flavored whipped cream.
Sunday (Mantova) -
Fragoletto for lunch. Unpretentious doesn't begin to describe this place. Slow, friendly, casual, filled with Italians. Lots of local wines for 10 euro/bottle. Delicious.
Loggetta for gelato. Crazy flavors like sachertorte and melon with cinnamon.
Osteria ai Ranari for dinner. Like Fragoletto, has a casual vibe and a very reasonable wine list. This restaurant has a little more charm but, beyond that, I don't know why one would pick one restaurant over the other. Friendly staff, solid service.
Mastercream for more gelato. This felt like NYC-quality gelato, pretty generic.
Light snack at 'Zzino, which I don't really recommend. It's like Pret-a-Manger on spongy white bread.
Dinner at La Buca. Special thanks to Allende for encouraging us to go here. Totally worth the trip. We stayed overnight in their little inn across the street. I was surprised by how laid-back and totally unpretentious this place is, given its reputation. Staff was friendly and accommodating and the pasta is like nothing I've had before.
Tuesday (Parma) -
Lunch at Sorelle Pichi. It appears that this place is related to Salumeria Rosi in NYC, but it's better. Service was slow but friendly. Nice locaton on a charming street, flexible hours, but nothing mind-blowing.
More gelato at Ciacco. Extremely rich and creamy. Many of the choices are sorbets, so the gelato offerings are more limited.
Trattoria dei corrieri - Large, friendly place but, again, nothing mind-blowing. Large menu.
Emilia Cremeria - The best gelato of our trip by a landslide. Creamy and light, interesting flavors that weren't too sweet, great selection. This is the first place I'll go if I find myself in Parma again.
Wednesday (Rivalta/Gazzola and Milan) -
Lunch at Antica Locanda del Falco
Truly spectacular. I think I liked this place even better than La Buca, but it's a tough call. This restaurant is set in a tiny little village (just a few houses, really) that is one of the most charming places I've ever seen. If you plan your trip to Rivalta better than we did, you can visit the castle and explore the town a bit, plus there is a hotel. The only downside: This was the one bad cup of coffee I had on my entire trip.
Then back to Milan, where we had dinner at Cafe Trussardi. I wasn't expecting much. We were wiped out and just wanted to eat near the hotel. This place was surprisingly good, plus has a decent cocktail selection. I don't know that I would make a special trip, but it's a good option if you want a bite near La Scala.