Hey everyone! It’s safe to say that we ate some pretty amazing food during our time in Italy. I knew that I wanted to write a post about everything we tried during our time there, and I did my best to keep track of the different places we ate at. I’m going to share some of the great restaurants we discovered while visiting Rome, Florence and Venice!
Overview: Our first meal in Italy was at Sugo d’oro, a nice restaurant located on the same street as our hotel. We were able to get seats outside near heat lamps and the waiter was very friendly towards us. (Funny story: he showed us how to eat the giant prawn because we had no idea).
Recommend: Gnocchi, Seafood Risotto
Overview: This is the perfect place to grab a light lunch after you finish visiting the Colosseum. (It is less than a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum, on the opposite side from the entrance). We were able to grab a small table outside. Since the small cafe is located on a backstreet, it is quiet. (Yet you can still see the Colosseum from outside!)
Recommended: Pizza, Create your own Sandwiches
Overview: Apparently there are a few of these restaurants in Rome, so it is not a small Mom & Pop place. However, the food is decently priced and the atmosphere is nice. It was perfect for us to grab a table after our tired legs had explored Vatican City.
Recommended: Pasta with garlic/red pepper, Pasta Alfredo
Overview: Hands down the BEST gelato we got in Italy. First you order your size and pay by the cash register near the entrance, then you get a receipt before heading over to the busy counter. You can pick out a few flavors (2 for a small and 3 for a medium or large). This place was so good we came back the following day for another cone before we left Rome!
Recommended: Baccio (hazelnut & chocolate), Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Coffee, and Stracciatella (chocolate chip)
Osteria Spirito Santo
Overview: We came to this restaurant for my Mother’s birthday after getting two recommendations from friends. Although the service was very slow, the food was good. It has seating inside and out, but we recommend having your hotel call and make a reservation for you, because it is very popular. I think this place can be hit or miss with the service, but they do have great meals.
Recommended: Walnut Ravioli, Gnocchi with truffle sauce
Osteria De’ Peccatori
Overview: We randomly chose this restaurant while walking towards Ponte Vecchio. We had just climbed to the top of the Duomo and visited the Galleria del’ Accademia and needed a place to sit down and relax. The restaurant was very popular and the waitstaff were very friendly. This was one of the few places where we ordered dessert (and we were not disappointed!) They also have great gluten free options on the menu as well!
Recommended: Vegetarian Lasagna, Chicken Alfredo, Tiramisu, Cheesecake
Overview: We visited the Gallery with a few friends we knew who were studying abroad in Florence. Between 7-10pm, a lot of Italian bars and restaurants in Florence offer “Aperitivo”. This means that you pay 8-12 euros for a cocktail or drink, and then are free to help yourself to the buffet of food available. The Gallery had a wide selection of food (not only Italian but some other vegetable and salad dishes as well). It costs 8 euros for your drink and access to the buffet. We ended up making this our dinner, although most Italians will eat a dinner afterwards. I highly recommend going out for Aperitivo and the Gallery is a great spot to try!
Recommended: Spritz Cocktail (and all the food!!!)
Al Sportivi Ristorante
Overview: Desperate for food after a long day walking around, we stumbled upon this place while in the Santa Margherita District. It seems like a fairly new restaurant and although the food was nothing to rush there for, it was a good meal for a decent price! (Sometimes in Italy, that’s all you need!)
Recommended: Pizza, Vegetarian Pasta Dish
Overview: We only stopped at this bar for a drink, but it was a cute place off the beaten path. My favorite area in Venice was the Santa Margherita District because it was less touristy. There were also a lot of bars and restaurants there as well. We tried our first bellini here, a drink that was invented in Venice! (It is made with Prosecco wine and peach nectar!) The bartender was very nice here too!
Recommended: A bellini, duh!
Overview: Our hotel recommended this place to us after we inquired about dessert. It is a famous chain in Italy and a little on the expensive side, but well worth at least one visit. They also have really great chocolates as well!
Recommended: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Coffee
Trattoria Al Corallo
Overview: We stopped here for coffee and lunch while visiting the island of Murano for the day. It is along the main canal (where you will be doing most of your shopping) and offers some seating outside. They have a deal for lunch, with a set menu (10-13 euros a person) you get two courses and a glass of wine. We opted for this and enjoyed our meal outside. The restaurant was one of the more authentic Italian places we dined at, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Murano for the day.
Recommended: Fish, Pork
We only had one bad experience dining in Italy, at a place called La Gondola in Venice. (The food was expensive and bad). But you are bound to have those experiences while on vacation anywhere!
If you are planning on visiting Italy here are a few tips when it comes to food!
- Stray away from the large tourists areas! Restaurants are usually more expensive, and less authentic. Any place that has pictures on the menu probably isn’t your best option!
- If you want an American style coffee, we found that a Cafe Latte is similar (coffee with milk).
- Don’t order pizza for lunch. Most pizza chefs are not in the restaurants until dinner time, so for the best pizza, wait until later!
- Definitely try bruschetta with fresh motzorella as a starter!
- Also try truffle oil…it’s amazing!!
- You can never go wrong with the house wine! It’s usually very good and always pretty cheap!
- Be aware of “il coperto” which is the cover charge to sit down at a restaurant. It should never be more than 1-2 euros a person and it’s good to be aware so you are not surprised when your bill comes!
- Sometimes, restaurants will give their guests a shot of lemonchello after their meal to cleanse the pallet! Take the shot, it’s delicious!!
- If you visit a smaller (family owned) restaurant, be aware that they may not accept credit cards. It is good to always have cash on you in case this happens.
- Tipping is not necessary but if the service and food are good, it is nice to leave the change or a few coins!
- Look up on Trip Advisor restaurants near your hotel (read reviews and check out the menu in advance). It saves time wandering the streets trying to find a place and you can always end your night with a nice dinner near your hotel.
I hope this post didn’t make you too hungry!