Imaging looking over a glassy Mediterranean Sea, sipping a bubbly glass of Prosecco and wetting the appetite on prosciutto, smoked parmigiana, pancetta and pecorino, breadsticks, olives and sun-dried tomatoes - this is just the beginning to your luxurious meal. Below we've put together a brief Italy restaurant guide and mentioned a few of the many worthy spots to dine in from a few regional zones of the country. Each geographical region has many amazing local restaurants that offer their unique ambiance, and culinary offering.
When choosing a restaurant, there are a few things to consider. Opening hours are something to have a look at before going out somewhere for dinner. Many decent restaurants have a break in the afternoon. They might be open for brunch, somewhere between 12-3PM and then take a few hours and re-open in the evening. Check online for opening hours and when the afternoon break happens to avoid disappointment.
Looking at the google rating of the restaurants is also a good idea, because it gives you a quick glance of peoples' experience dining there. Anything above the rating of 4 is usually pretty good. Examining the menu, is a worthwhile exercise. You can sometimes tell how elaborate the kitchen is simply by the array of choices and ingredients listed.
Price is definitely a determining factor, a nice dinner for two, with appetizers, main courses, desserts and a bottle of wine should run you somewhere under 100 euro. This will vary of course, but many fairly priced restaurants will not disappoint with quality of the food, portion size and level of service you get. Many restaurant owners take pride in what they do and are looking to build a lasting friendship so you can keep coming back to enjoy their creations.
Phoning ahead to reserve a table is always a good idea. Although, not every place will take a reservation and work on first come first serve basis. A simple phone call earlier-on in the day will not hurt, at least you know if you need to leave earlier to get a seat when the doors open after the mid-day break.
Prom personal experience, arriving earlier to a place that does not accept reservations usually results in getting a great table with a view of choice. You definitely do not want to stand by the door for too long with your sweetheart, all dressed up in going-out wear while waiting for a table. We've all been there, and there's nothing romantic about that. Early bird gets the worm as they say, so plan accordingly.
A typical tip in Italy is surprisingly less than most might expect. On a 20 EURO bill, most people will leave €1, €2 if you really liked the service. The tip is not correspondent to the percentage of the bill, but rather a reasonable amount based on how happy you are when paying that bill. Taxes are included in the prices, and on a 100 EURO meal, a normal tip could range anywhere from €5 to €20. It's really up to you, your budget and how well you enjoyed your food and service.
In the north, Milan is home to Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia which is a Michelin Star, family restaurant known not only for its food but the stunning artwork adorning the walls. There is a feast for the eyes as well as one to nourish the rest of the body here. With intimate tables for two dressed in white linen or sprawling family-style tables best of eatery awaits all parties.
And the mid-country Rome offers Osteria Chianna, really a bistro in style – casual, open and light with a great al fresco option. In character it could be a family kitchen diner but the food, the most important part, changes with the seasons. So, if you like your food to be seasonally fresh, this is the place for you. And even better, if you like traditional Roman fare, Osteria Chianna offers fresh pastas, so many of which are traditionally Roman, along with artichokes and very thin Roman-style pizza and full or not after your main, be sure to try the tiramisu – take it away if you must.
Stay in Rome a little longer and bring your discerning taste for a trip to Atico Arco. Enjoy a 7-course tasting menu here or choose a few Roman classics al a carte. Whatever your choice, enjoy the upscale ambiance and waiters dressed to impress.
Naples represents southern Italy on this Italy restaurant guide and it is known for pizza and Sorbillo is a cozy little spot on a cobblestone street offering an historical ambiance along with some of the best and freshest pizza around. When you travel, you know the best food by the aroma floating out onto the street and by the crowds of locals awaiting a table. Sorbillo does not disappoint.
Follow the locals to this gem and you’ll be glad you did. Pintauro may be just a pastry shop but it is one with more than 300 years of history, and is listed among the best restaurants in Naples. Imagine 300 years of baking sfogliatella, the cream filled, layered pastry native to Naples, and still going so strong that you’re known for being full, and still the loyal locals keep coming. You know it’s worth the trip and the wait!
In the Islands, Polermo, Sicily offers sea views so we end as we began, by the sea. Kursaal Kalhesa blends Arabic and Sicilian traditions with both a bar and a restaurant playing host to various musical guests, art exhibits and a bookstore. Eat, drink, look, listen and read here. Relax with the locals both inside and on the historic stone terrace of this restaurant carved from stone, while dining on Marsala drizzled, stuffed chicken breast or some gnocchi and a lovely pistachio mousse to finish.