I love food! Everything we ate in Italy was amazing but I will only be talking about the ones that Jarques and I found completely mesmerizing. As I sit and write this post, I find my mind drifting back to those restaurants and tearing up wishing I could pop by there for a quick bite. I hope this blog helps you experience the culinary dream we had in Italy!
Before I start though, I want to give a shout out to Elliott and Tim who gave me so many of these great recommendations. Their recommendations were on point and helped relieve the stress of planning for this trip so much easier.
On our first full day in Rome we had lunch at a very traditional Italian restaurant called Trattoria Monti near Roma Termini. The food is mostly from the region of Le Marche on Italy’s central Adriatic coast, which features many handmade egg-based pastas, small game birds, rabbits, and fish. This was a very cozy, family run restaurant with delicious food.
We both had a pasta dish to start and I had quail while Jarques had a rabbit stew, which more meat than stew but so delicious! I’m so sad I did not take pictures…Shame! I’m pretty certain we were the only tourist at that restaurant because everyone there seemed to be regulars, but that’s exactly how I like it. Reservations are recommended.
This restaurant is on multiple must eat lists and rightfully so. It was delicious. I want to preface that this place is very popular with the tourist so it feels less homey but a must try regardless! I do recommend making reservations and luckily you can do it online! You can make reservations near the deli, bar, restaurant or in the wine cellar. We sat at the bar so we could watch the the chefs prep the salumeria and people watch. 😊
The menu was so extensive I just couldn’t chose what to eat because I wanted it all!!! I asked our waiter to decide for me and I’m glad I did. We had the burrata with sun dried tomatoes, BIS DI MARIOZZO, which are these heavenly small buns filled with pork and anchovies (🤤), cacio e pepe and then Jarques ordered some yummy ravioli filled with pork (sorry forgot the name but the photos says it all). Check out Jarques’ blog post about the wonderful wine we had with our meal.
Thank you Tim and Elliott for this amazing recommendation! You won’t really find this restaurant on the the must eat lists but it should be! They have a very extensive wine list and every dish was amazing. Jarques and I both started with pasta and he had the lovely truffle pasta. I had the suckling pig, which isn’t something I usually order but did because Jarques suggested it. It was a GREAT decision because the skin was so crispy and the pork was so succulent. Jarques had the smaller portion Florentine steak.
You cannot go to Italy and not eat Pizza!! I had not done research about pizza prior to arriving to Italy but with Jarques’ request, I knew I had to fulfill his wish. I had read you could bad pizza in Italy (ek!) but you will not find that at Il Pizzaiuolo! First off, you do not share pizza in Italy and you eat it with a knife and fork. I got the Margherita and Jarques got the Caprese. They were both so delicious. The dough perfectly soft and fluffy with fresh ingredients to top it off. I wish I could go back for more pizza right now.
Enoteca Pitta Gola e Cantina
Thank you Tim and Elliott again for this amazing recommendation! This gem sits right across the street from the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens and is a can’t miss! It’s a small place with a few indoor tables, bar and outdoor seating. The staff are SO knowledgable about the wines of Italy and they LOVE their job! Jarques did the Chianti wine tasting with pasta while I did the lunch tasting with wine pairing. The food was unsuspectingly delicious and just the perfect portions for lunch.
Zino was our wine tour connoisseur and I wish we could have gone back multiple times to learn more about wine from him! Here I felt I could really watch each glass of wine open up after time and change in complexity with each dish. You won’t be disappointed coming here so please do me a huge favor and go!
This place is on every list and is truly a Roman classic gem. I still dream of the food and the flavor explosion. You HAVE to order the butter chicken! I mean who thought of cooking chicken over burning coal and then finish it off with butter? Because that person is a genius! Perfectly cooked chicken, juicy and crispy with perfect seasoning.
Jarques got their Florentine steak rare (the waiter’s recommendation which is also Jarques’ preference) which was also delicious. We had been eating so much that we had not been leaving room for dessert but please do here!! We got the Merengue con Fragoline, a heavenly meringue dessert with wild strawberries.
This is a great lunch spot located in the Central Market of Florence. Go for breakfast and lunch while you’re at it We had their boiled beef sandwich with both green and red sauce (get both) for breakfast and then porchetta and roast beef sandwich for lunch another day. All the sandwiches were delicious and so cheap! After you’re done eating walk explore the market and enjoy people watching!
Ok real talk. Week 1 of vacay was eating. Week 2 was 🍷 so sorry if the list here is shorter.
San Martino 26
We came to San Martino 26 at Tim and Elliott’s recommendation and reservation! Ardit is the chef at San Martino 26 and he is a culinary genius! His food is beautifullyl crafted and phenomenal tasting. We started with two lovely appetizers of peas nestled on a bed of crispy goodness and then fried cod. Next we had a dish of fresh salmon paired with cucumbers and soup that just brought us back to Japan. It was a very unexpected and flavorful dish that I could keep eating.
Following that lovely dish we had a tomato and cucumber soup (Italian tomatoes are really something to marvel at), ravioli with a side of rose lard, chicken with spinach surrounded by lovely sauces and finally dessert. I licked all my plates…minus the lard only because I can’t really do lard. Ardit’s staff were so kind and attentive they also made our meal memorable. This place is a gem and also incredibly priced for the quality of food!
We absolutely fell in love with this place. Off the main road of San Gimignano, this small restaurant was a go to for us. Da I’Mariani is a small cozy restaurant with only 6 seats at the two counters. The owner speaks very little English but you can immediately tell he loves what he does and he only serves the best meats and cheeses. Jarques refers to him as our Mafia Grandpa (he’s a teddy bear but looks like he could secretly run the Mafia). ❤️
The first time we went he made us a beautiful plate of meat and cheese with truffle honey and marinated eggplant and tomatoes paired with Vernaccia, the white wine of San Gimignano. It’s a simple dish but the love and effort he puts into cutting each slice of meat and cheese for you is all you need in life. We went back a second time for the same plate and Jarques was a bit sad he didn’t recognize us. But by the third and fourth time though he did. The last few times we went we had panini and it was out of this world.
I’m pretty sure he made me a special off the menu panini of mortadella with pecorino and a mushroom truffle smear. It was so good I convinced Jarques to have it the next time. The last few times we went our Mafia grandfather remembered our order which made Jarques beam with joy!
Antinori Restaurant Rinuccio 1180 and Enoteca San Guido
Go for the wine tasting and lunch pairing at both places! The wines here are to die for. They are some of the best super Tuscans you could possibly have in the world. In addition, the food pairing is just phenomenal as well as the impeccable service. All the food is made only from the freshest ingredients and showcase what makes Italy such an amazing place to visit and dream of.
Italy you have been so kind to us. We miss you and can’t wait to come back for more!
List of places we ate:
- Trattoria Monti, Via di S. Vito, 13, 00185 Roma RM, Italy
- Tonnarello, Trastevere, Via della Paglia, 1, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
- Roscioli, Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
- Trattoria Da Enzo, Via dei Vascellari, 29, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
- All’antico vinaio panini, Via dei Neri, 74 R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
- Il Guscio, Via dell’Orto, 49, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
- Trattoria Sostanza, Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
- Trattoria Casalinga, Via dei Michelozzi, 9/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
- Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, Piazza de’ Pitti, 16, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
- Il Pizzaiuolo, Via dei Macci, 113r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
- Nerbone, Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
- San Martino 26, Via S. Martino, 26, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
- Osteria Del Carcere, Via del Castello, 13, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
- Da I’Marini, Via di Quercecchio, 19, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
- Antinori Restaurant Rinuccio 1180, Via Cassia per Siena, 133, 50026 Localita’ Bargino, San Casciano Val di Pesa FI, Italy
- Enoteca San Guido, Località S. Guido, 50, 57022 Bolgheri LI, Italy
- Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco,Località Castiglion del Bosco, 53024 Montalcino (Siena), Italy
Some words of advice, make reservations when you can. The one thing I would change is to make the reservations much later than normal. I thought after a day of walking we would be hungry at 7pm but damn was I wrong. We were often still full, next time I’ll be make reservations after 9pm!