culture   //   September 2, 2015

TRAVEL TIPS: MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN ITALY

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If you’re following along with me on Instagram then you know I recently returned from a two-week vacation in Italy. It was a whirlwind of a trip which included visits to Lake Como, Florence, and Rome. I love the planning that goes into trips – doing the research, asking others for suggestions, reading articles. One of the main parts of my planning for this trip (and most trips) were restaurant reservations. There are so many amazing places to eat in Italy. You could live there for 100 years and still not cover them all. I did my best to cover an assortment of spots, and I can definitely say we left well-fed. After receiving several emails from readers (it turns out quite a few of you are planning visits to Italy – lucky you!) asking for restaurant suggestions, I thought I would put together a post detailing a few of my favorites from each city.

If you have favorites, please share in the comments! You never know when I might head back to Italy…

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Gatto Nero – The food is delicious and the setting is even better! It’s located at the very top of the hill, offering one of the very best view of Lake Como. It was one of our favorite dinners of the trip.

La Tirlindana – We ate here for lunch after visiting Bellagio. It’s the most charming little eatery, located right off the water. The fish was amazingly fresh, and we ate some of the very best peach gelato (homemade!) we’ve ever had.

Locanda dell’Isola – This one requires a boat ride – but it’s totally worth it. This was my favorite dinner in Como. The restaurant is perched on a hill, offering a stunning view of the lake. The menu has been the same since the restaurant opened in 1947. It’s traditional Italian cuisine at its best. Every single thing we had was amazing.

Other favorites: The Grill, Pizzeria Giardino, Harry’s Bar

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Trattoria 4 Leoni – After a long day of traveling from Lake Como to Florence, this was the perfect place for dinner. It’s casual and easy-going and offers some amazing pasta dishes along with a delicious beef tagliata. It’s tucked away on one of the most picturesque streets (it looks like an Italian movie set) and happens to be across the street from the cutest little gelato shop.

Fuor d’Acqua – If you don’t like fish, this place isn’t for you. If you love it then this is a must-stop. This was some of the best fish I’ve ever eaten. Everything is fresh and prepared simply. Order the carpaccio and the branzino. I loved the all-white setting of the place, too. It’s a little bit dressier than some of the other spots in Florence, making it perfect for a night on the town.

Il Canniccio – This spot is located way outside of town. We stopped here for lunch after visiting The Mall (the famed shopping outlets that are a must-visit if you’re there). It’s a charming restaurant with delicious bites (order the homemade potato chips for the table!) with one of the most beautiful views of Tuscany.

For gelato… head to Vivoli and La Carraia. We tried many a gelateria while in Florence and these were are top two favorites. Don’t worry if you see a line out the door, it moves fast.

Other favorites: Da Sostanza, Trattoria Garga, and Cibreo

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Maccheroni – This is a great option for lunch or dinner. The restaurant was full of locals (always a good sign!). Order the spaghetti pomodoro, arugula salad, and the petti di pollo. Head to Giolitti right around the corner for gelato afterwards.

Gina – This place is one of the newer spots in Rome and is a good option for lunch. Located right off the Spanish Steps, it has a modern atmosphere and a hip vibe. The menu is more on the “healthy” side of things, offering fresh salads and the like. It was a nice break from all the heavier dishes we had been having.

Piperno – This is an old-school restaurant (it has been open since 1860!) with an amazing menu and a lovely patio.  It also happens to have the world’s best fried artichokes. I’m still thinking about them…

Gusto – I love this place. It’s a restaurant, pizzeria, and wine bar all-in-one. The menu was fantastic. They’re known for their Sunday brunch. The best part? It has an amazing cooking store where you can find everything from the coolest kitchen tools to glassware to cookbooks. Even if you don’t eat here, the store is worth a peek.

Dal Bolognese – We ate here for dinner on our last night in Rome. It was the perfect place to finish up the trip as it is a Roman classic with an old-school ambience. The menu is traditional Italian. If you eat here, you must order the Lasagna Verde. It was the best lasagna I’ve ever had.

For gelatoGiolitti (request fresh whipped cream on top!) and San Crispino.

Other favorites: Da Francesco, Numbs (the cutest wine bar on a picturesque street), and Obika

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