Italian food is fabulous. No one actually doubts that, but what people know about Italian food around the world can be somehow a little different than what the authentic ‘cucina’ is. Americans, for example are more familiar with a kind of Italian food that is something that has developed its own flavors and traditions and when they visit Italy sometimes they get upset not to find what they are accustomed to. There are many places to visit in such a beautiful country and excellent restaurants are not hard to find. Despite that one has to know where to go.
The best restaurants are not always close to landmarks. Normally those places are expensive and not good and a visitor can easily fall into a tourist trap. We have traveled extensively in Italy and we have had amazing, downright memorable meals. There are great places where we love to go back again and again. Here we are suggesting some destinations altogether with some names of restaurants where eating is more than a necessity, it is actually a ritual for the senses and a feast for the soul.
Rome: everybody wants to visit Rome, but it is easy to get caught in a bad restaurant in the Italian capital. Most of the good places are small, family run and visited mostly by locals. Some of the good places to eat are Abruzzi in Piazza SS Apostoli. Agata e Romeo close to Santa Maria Maggiore, Trattoria Polese in Piazza Sforza Cesarini and if one wants to go splurge and expensive, a must is La Pergola with one of the best food menus and a gorgeous view of the city.
Cortona: This is the kind of town that seems came out from a painting or actually most paintings of Tuscany come from here. It is a beautiful village on top of a mountain. It is an unforgettable place not only for its beauty and friendly people, but because of its excellent food. There are two great places to eat: Osteria del teatro and Preludio.
Tuscany: Yes I know Cortona is part of Tuscany, but we want to emphasize here that this region is not only blessed with amazing wines and cheeses, but with heavenly food as well. Across cities and the countryside there are great restaurants, shops stocked with fresh local ingredients to make your own delicious meals and many cooking schools where you can take priceless skills home with you! Osteria La canonica at the Rosewood hotel is one of our favorite restaurants in Tuscany. It is located at the heart of a UNESCO Heritage site, housed in one of the most beautiful hotels of Italy and surrounded by amazing vineyards.
Modena is North of Rome, a place that combines luxury and traditions. This is the home of super cars such as Ferrari and Masserati. This city is worth a visit and the culinary offerings here are just amazing. If one has deep pockets and wants to enjoy an incredible dinner the place to go is Osteria Francescana, it is a three Michelin stars restaurant. Strada Facendo is another delicious restaurant, located in the outskirts of the city and far from the crowds.
Trento: is in the North of Italy, it is a very modern and efficient city that has a long history. It is famous for its excellent universities and beautiful nature. Its hard to choose in a place that offers such culinary delights, but one cannot go wrong with Osteria a Le Due Spade, this actually is an affordable restaurant with superb service and delicious food, it dates back to the XVIII century. For those who want to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains together with a delightful meal the place to go is Baita La Zondra.
Palermo: to delight in a delicious and hearty meal Sicily is a must go. Food has its own soul here in the same way that its cities and people do. Palermo is the capital, the biggest city and the place to start a visit in this big island. Bellotero is an excellent restaurant and probably the place to eat one of my Sicilian favorites: Pasta alla Norma. Trattoria ai Cascinari is a small, family run restaurant serving some of the best Sicilian dishes in the whole island.