Note: don’t go looking for spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, lasagna or grilled chicken breasts. Expect the unexpected. Donkey ragù, tiny snails, entrails, tiny piquant sausages in a fiery broth, raw things from the sea (not just fish) and that’s just for starters. You should be adventurous. And not be looking for the best hits from Italy. This is how Italians eat. I love it. If you are lucky enough to find these places, you might find you will too.
Bar e Caffé Gallina Luigi in Valdobbiadene, Veneto
Paolo Bressan, a young wine importer, took me here. No sign. #8 (not #10). Luigi is the stuff of legends. Seasonal, simple, wonderful. More pictures here.
Cesare al Casaletto in Rome
Thanks to Katie Parla and Hande and Theodor Leimer for this tip. Locals place, very simple, great wine list, lots of natural wine.More pictures here, towards the end of the post.
Da Vittorio in Porto Palo di Menfi in Sicily
One of the best meals I have had this year. Seafood. Little hotel attached. The menu is the sea, right outside the window. Great Sicilian wine list. More pictures here.
L’Aquila d’Oro in Ciro, Calabria
Try and find this one. Paolo LIbrandi took me here and we had an amazing meal. Four tables, seating 18 people.
Osteria Giulietta e Romeo in Verona
My go-to spot when I am in Verona and have a free lunch time. Not touristic. Simple. Wonderful. Get the Bigoli al torchio con ragù d’Asino.
Puerto Baloo in San Benedetto del Tronto, Marche
On the water. Amazing crudo and any number of dishes come from the days haul. Pasta to die for. Local wines (as they should be) from Marche and Abruzzo.
Ristorante Bar Sport in Cisano Sul Neva in Savona
Fausto de Andreis of Le Rocche del Gatto took us to his sister's Bar Sport for real Liguria home cooking. Great with his Pigato. Again, nothing fancy, but unforgettable food, especially those sausages in the broth, and a real trofie al pesto.
Ristorante Bovio in La Morra, Alba
My fancy place in Piedmont. Not the only one, but had a great meal there last year. From the folks who used to run Ristorante Belvedere. Great wine list, classic food. Worth every centime.
Trattoria Vecchia Sorni in Sorni di Lavis, Trentino
Again, small trattoria serving local fare. Worth a trip to Trento, although there is lots to do. So why not go anyway? Again, simple food. Great desserts, too.
Villa Maiella in Guardiagrele, in the Abruzzo mountains, the Maiella.
The Tinari family has a little hotel with a restaurant and a deep wine cellar. Some of the best pasta I have ever had in my life. And access to great meats, seafood and produce. 2 ½ hour drive from Rome. Country fancy, but really another world.
|Dino Illuminati at his winery private dining room, La Luperia|
written and photographed (with the exception of the bigoli from Osteria Giulietta e Romeo) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
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