Just returned from our first trip to Venice, Emilia Romagna, Cinque Terre and Tuscany. Had many great meals and many many gelatos during our two weeks. Thanks to all the contributors to Chowhound who helped immensely with the meal planning.
Happy Pizza - Maybe it was the jet lag but after a long plane ride, a fresh pizza slice at Happy Pizza near St. Mark’s Square really hit the spot.
Do Spade – we arrived later than anticipated and so the fried cicchetti was not quite fresh. Still had some tasty items and the atmosphere was cozy and fun.
All’Arco – our favourite bacari. Had a delicious lunch here.
Rosa Salva and Marchini Time – both great breakfast stops for cappuccinos and pastries.
Alle Testiere – great fresh seafood. Crudo of local scampi was a highlight.
La Boutique del Gelato – just around the corner from Alle Testiere and the best gelato we had in Venice.
Gatto Nero – the Risotto “Burano style” was fine. Not our favourite preparation of risotto but it was a nice lunch stop in Burano.
Anice Stellato – our favourite meal in Venice. We got both the seafood and the meat tasting menus and both were delicious. Solid cooking techniques with great ingredients.
Osteria Francescana (Modena) – our most anticipated meal of the trip and did not disappoint. We got the “Everything Menu” which included many of their most famous dishes and took more than 3 hours to consume. My partner got the wine pairing. Perhaps we are lightweights but I thought it was a lot of alcohol for one person. Everything was tasty, whimsical and fun. Favourites were insalata di mare (a wedge of lettuce filled with seaweed, squid, ikura), autumn in New York (a simple-looking but intensely flavourful soup), five ages of Parmesan, crunchy part of lasagna (amazing ragu), and foie gras popsicle (crunchy chocolate and nut coating and balsamic vinegar filling).
Osteria Bottega (Bologna) – our other favourite meal of the trip. Raw sausage balls, mortadella to die for, perfect tortellini en brodo, and best pigeon of the trip. Wish we could try everything on the menu.
Gelateria Gianni (Bologna) – great gelato with many creative flavours.
Hombre Farm (Modena) – toured their picturesque farm and organic parmesan factory. Very friendly and informative tour. Side benefit is a visit to their on-site vintage car museum.
Acetaia di Giorgio (Modena) – personal and informative tour of their charming house and balsamic vinegar cellars.
Antica Corte Pallavicina – did not have time for a meal there but took a quick tour of their beautiful property and their culatello cellars.
Trattoria La Buca (Zibello) – culatello and memorable beef tongue dish washed down with tasty Lambrusco. We stayed in their inn across the street which had nicely renovated rooms.
Da Ivan – Sunday lunch was countryside eating at its best. More culatello, lard spread on polenta, the best traditional lasagna and tripe.
Il Pescato (Riomaggiore) – takeout cones of freshly fried seafood
Rio Bistrot (Riomaggiore) – solid seafood tasting menu and good value too.
Ripa del Sole (Riomaggiore) – another solid meal with a memorable pesto pasta and rabbit main.
Nessun Dorma (Manarola) – definitely caters to the cool Instagram crowd but worth tolerating the loud music and indifferent service for the unbeatable views over cocktails and snacks.
Gelateria Stalin (Vernazza) – very tasty gelato. My favourites were the ones made with local honey and lemon.
Acquacheta (Montepulciano) – crowded, loud and fun. Definitely make a reservation. Florentine steak was the star of the evening along with a decadent dessert of mascarpone cream topped with generous truffle slices. Surprisingly good value.
La Botte Piena (Montefollonico) – a Slow Food pick. Delicious pastas and suckling pig main.
Gelateria Dondoli (San Gimignano) – worthy of the hype and lineups.
Trattoria Sostanza (Florence) – butter chicken and strawberry meringue cake did not disappoint. A bit on the pricey side.
Nerbone, Mercato Centrale (Florence) – tasty beef sandwich
Buca dell’Orafo (Florence) – solid meal of traditional Florentine favourites.
Gelateria La Carraia (Florence) – our favourite gelato of Florence. Generous scoops and creative flavours.
Da Ruggero (Florence) – a bit of a hike but worth it for Sunday lunch with the locals. Delicious pasta and hearty mains.