Hello, we are going to be on our honeymoon in Italy this June. We arrive in Venice ~2pm on a Monday and depart from Rome 13 days later ~7am on a Sunday. This is our first real trip to Italy (we took a snowboarding trip in Austria with some friends a few years ago and took a day trip just over the boarder to Bolzano). This is obviously a long post, but I aimed to provide a good amount of relevant information in order to get best possible advice. Hopefully the length does not push away the most knowledgeable posters, but instead will inspire you guys to help as you can see I am serious about this. Thanks very much for all the info I've already gathered on this site. I plan to write up some reviews once I return, and to start frequenting the Manhattan boards to help out (and learn).
A little about us: We live in NYC. We like food. That is a big reason we chose Italy. For those of you familiar with both the New York dining scene and the cities we will be visiting, I thought it might help to let you know that we prefer places like Lupa or Frankies Spuntino over Del Posto; Pearl Oyster Bar over Oceana, Itzocan over Dos Caminos; Hell's Kitchen Thai places over Ruby Foo's. In other words, little holes in the wall with flavor are great. Don't want to pay more for the fancy décor if the food is no better. We do appreciate nice decor if the price is the same or the food makes the place worthwhile. In terms of adventurousness, we'll try most anything, but don't have much love for the organs that I've tried, so we are not specifically seeking anything like that. We'd like to eat the local specialties. We'd like to average no more than 55-60 Euros total per person per day for all meals including house wine and tip plus occasional snacks/gelato (some of our breakfasts are included with lodging, and when they aren't we'll eat breakfast cheaply). Ideally no single meal would be over ~155 Euros (including a bottle of house wine and tip).
These are the cities we are staying in, as well as the rough location:
Venice - 4 minute walk Northeast of the Rialto Bridge
Florence - 2 minute walk east of the Duomo
Monterosso al Mare
Santa Margherita Ligure - near the train station
Siena - 15 minute walk north of the Duomo
Rome - west of the train station, north of the Coliseum, very close to Piazza Venezia
Below is a food itinerary that I've put together mostly from what I've read on Chowhound. I've tried to gather info on prices, restaurant/regional specialties, but would love more input there, as well as any help people can offer regarding the restaurants I've chosen (if they are closed that day; if I put them down for lunch but they are only open for dinner; pricing; restaurants that are very similar; if you think I'm making a mistake with one I've chosen etc.). We will not have a car and only speak English fluently (fiance has a minor in Spanish, but that was 6 years ago and she doesn't use it often). We do not mind walking 1 to 1.5 miles one way to get to a restaurant and would prefer doing that to taking a cab to another restaurant farther away (of close closer restaurants are great too). We're used to walking around Manhattan after dark and feel very comfortable doing it here, if it's not a good idea in any of these cities though please let us know. I Googled most of the locations in relation to where we are staying and they seem close enough to walk except for some in Rome - let me know if you disagree. I'm not set on any of these being specifically for lunch or dinner, just put them in where they seemed to fit with my limited knowledge. Unless I am told otherwise, I'll assume reservations are not needed for lunch, but are for dinner.
Monday Venice lunch - getting in ~2pm, grab something quick near hotel
Monday Venice dinner - Al Covo - seafood okay here on a Monday? (www.ristorantealcovo.com known for fritto misto, risotto; ~55 Euro per person w/o wine; closed Wed and Thurs)
Tuesday Venice lunch - Al Fontego dei Pescatori (www.alfontego.com; cost?; closed Monday)
Tuesday Venice drink - Da Fiore (she wants to check it out)
Tuesday Venice dinner - Il Ridotto (~155 Euro for 2; www.ilridotto.com; closed Wed and Thurs for lunch)
Wednesday Venice lunch - Da Remigio (cost?; Sestiere Castello, 3416)
Wednesday Florence dinner - Sostanza (cost? get the bistecca fiorentina and pollo en burro; Via della Porcellana, 25)
Thursday Florence lunch - will be sight seeing: Duomo, Accademia, Uffizi Gallery - Cibreo Tratorria (cost?; no reservations - will this be a problem for lunch?) Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8/r; http://www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibre...
Thursday Florence dinner - Teatro del Sale (20 Euros for lunch / 30 for dinner, plus 5 membership fee includes wine; dinner includes entertainment, but what type? Music?; seems to be owned by same people as Cibreo - will these be very similar?) http://www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibre...
Friday Florence lunch - Il Pizzaiola (can't find this via google, is it Pizzaiulo, Via de'Macci, 113-red near Cibreo? Is this thin-crust pizza like I'll get in Rome (if so how does it compare quality wise to that)? Might replace this with non-pizza)
Friday Monterosso dinner - Miky (http://www.ristorantemiky.it/page1-en...; cost?; can you reserve a table with a view here?)
Saturday Cinque Terre lunch - hiking the trail
Saturday Monterosso dinner - Il Ciliegio - in Beo, in the hills above Monterosso, the restaurant will send a shuttle to pick you up and drop you off, correct? Is there a view here? 20 euro per person? Not open monday
Sunday Santa Margherita lunch - Da U Batti (get the Gavi house wine, lasagna pesto, scampi and then berries for dessert; cost? View? Would it be better to swap the SML lunch and dinner places?)
Sunday Portofino drink - doing the hike - get drinks at the outdoor bar/terrace of the Hotel Splendido
Sunday Santa Margherita dinner - Trattoria Cesarina, huge prix-fixe dinner of seafood, no choices (60E pp w/ wine; view?; closed Tues)
Monday Santa Margherita breakfast - Pestarino's
Monday Pisa lunch - will probably make a pitstop here on our way to Siena from Santa Margherita. In doing so will probably grab lunch at Osteria dei Cavalierei (http://www.osteriacavalieri.pisa.it/e...; avoid seafood since Monday?). Does the train/bus station have places you can safely lock up your bags?
Monday Siena dinner - Hosteria il Carroccio (cost? avoid seafood since Monday?)
Tuesday Siena lunch - L'Osteria, via dei Rossi (cost?)
Tuesday Siena dinner - cooking class
Wednesday Siena lunch - wine tour
Wednesday Siena dinner - Ristorante Grotta Santa Caterina (http://www.bagoga.it/index.htm; cost?)
Thursday Orvieto lunch - considering making a pitstop here on the way to Rome, again can we store bags at the station? Possibilities: La Palomba, Trattoria Etrusca (near duomo), I Sette Consoli, L'Asino d'Oro, La Pergola, Trattoria La Grotta, La Volpe e l’Uva, Trattoria dell’Orso
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Rome dinners - need help narrowing down, would like at least one meal in Trastavere, probably one pizza if we can't easily get good Roman pizza for lunch one day with our plans, and would like to be able to walk there if possible - Antico Arco (www.anticoarco.it; sort of modern, interesting place; €40 per person); Checchino dal 1887 (www.checchino-dal-1887.com; not walking distance); Trattoria Monti (is this the right address? Via di San Vito, 13), Paris (45 Euro per person before wine; http://www.ristoranteparis.com/mainen...), Pizzeria Da Remo (15 Euro per person; Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44) or Ivo (Via San Francesco a Ripa 158)
Friday Rome lunch - sightseeing Colesseum, Pantheon, etc - Armando A Pantheon (open to suggestions)
Saturday Rome lunch - sightseeing Vatican - Da Cesare (open to suggestions)
If you made it this far I feel like you deserve a prize, will you settle for some good karma?
For what it's worth, and maybe this will help someone else planning a similar trip, here are some other restaurant's that were considered:
Venice: Il Refolo (pizza around 10-12E, antipasti and primi 15E, secondi around 20E)
Light lunch: San Marco: da Asciugheta (same owner as Il Ridotto); Cannaregio: al Bomba, alla Vedova, La Cantina all near the busy Strada Nova; Santa Croce: al Proscecco with outdoor seating at the beautiful Campo San Giacomo d’Orio; Dorsoduro: ai Feri, Cantine Del Vino Gia Schiavi
For moderate price seafood dinner: Cannaregio: alla Frasca; San Polo: Antico Dolo; Dorosoduro: Dona Onesta
Florence: Il Latini (communial dining, caters more to tourists), Acqua Al Due (touristy, reasonable prices, http://www.acquaal2.it/ ), Vecchia Bettola (mostly locals, communal dining), Ristorante La Giosta, Vini e Vecchi Sapori (authentic), Trattoria il Contadinno, Baldini; Quick lunch places: Nerbone, Vini del Chianti, 'Ino, Borgo Antico
Santa Margerhita: Trattoria Baicin - pasta lunch
Siena: il Canto, Antica Osteria da Divo - dinner, Enoteca I Terzi, Divo, Antica Osteria da, Le Logge Due (fine dining), Al Mangia (seating outside on the Campo, decent food), Morbidi (good value buffet type lunch downstairs; €12, with a glass of wine @€1.50), Mugolene (Best evening meal, very near to the Campo)