Saturday, August 30, 2014

Drop the Fries and Grab the Skiis!

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More skiers and snowboarders still choose to head to France than anywhere else. The reason is inescapable: the French Alps offer the best variety of resorts of any country in the world.
However, exorbitant prices – particularly in the big name resorts – continue to test the loyalty of even the most ardent Francophile skiers and snowboarders. Austria and Italy are much cheaper alternatives and there’s a noticeable drift away from the French Alps by the more budget-conscious.
Nevertheless, the main high season dates are fully subscribed. Indeed, if you are planning a half-term break with your family you need to book very well in advance. In 2015, February 14 to 21 is not only the main week for school breaks in England and Wales, but also in two-thirds of France. To add to the congestion on the slopes, the date coincides with holidays in Belgium, Denmark, and The Netherlands.
Christmas, New Year and Easter are also already getting booked up, although tour operators increasingly find it difficult to fill the low season dates in January and March.
Here's our pick of where to go…

Best for beginners: Courchevel
Courchevel, famous for its glitz and multi-million property prices, might at first glance seem an unusual choice for novices, but the resort has many facets. Situated at one end of the giant Trois Vallées ski area that includes Méribel and Val Thorens, its smartest and most expensive village is Courchevel 1850. In more affordable Moriond (also known as 1650), Village (1500), Le Praz and La Tania you will find much cheaper accommodations. Moriond is ideal for beginners, with gentle nursery slopes well away from the inter-resort traffic of the rest of the Trois Vallées. The beginner’s slopes around the Altiport area of 1850 are also extremely good, with mild gradients and easy lifts.
There’s a wide choice of ski and snowboard schools, but learning from a native English speaker is an advantage, and these schools are British run: BASS Courchevel, New Generation and Supreme Ski.
Parents needn't worry about inexperienced small children on chairlifts during classes – special ski school waistcoats equipped with magnets lock on to the chair and are released at the top.

Where to stay:
Le Ski has 21 chalets in Moriond and neighbouring La Tania and 30 years experience in offering holidays here. Bellevue is a contemporary chalet apartment in the new Aspen Lodge complex with views across to 1850; it sleeps four in two bedrooms.

Alternatives: Alpe d'Huez, Morzine,  and Val Cenis are great choices; all have dedicated nursery slopes out of the way of ski traffic.

Best for intermediates: Serre Chevalier
This is the collective name for a dozen villages along the road from the ancient garrison town of Briançon in the southern Alps, sharing a ski area with a respectable 250km of varied but mainly intermediate slopes served by 62 lifts.
Think of Serre Che as the laid-back, country cousin of A-list resorts further north, such as Val d'Isère or Courchevel – a bit smaller and a bit less hi-tech, but also friendlier, more relaxed and with bags more Gallic character. Pick of the main villages is Monêtier Les Bains, a picturesque spa resort that was popular in Victorian times – it’s quieter and altogether more charming than Villeneuve and Chantemerle. If you're stuck on the intermediate plateau, British ski school New Generation can help.

Where to stay:
Chalethotel Charlotte is a former monastery that has been run for years by Ski Miquel. The company has now bought the property and it has undergone a complete makeover.

Les Arcs, La Plagne, Flaine, and Méribel are good choices;  all have extensive blue and red runs that give you a feeling of having gone somewhere each day, rather than repeating the same slopes.

Best for advanced: Val d'Isère
The resort is spread along a high, remote valley and shares the giant Espace Killy ski area with neighbouring Tignes. Val d'Isère divides into a number of sectors, from the central hub at the base of the main Solaise and Bellevarde lifts to the quieter outposts of La Daille, Le Laisinant and Le Fornet.
As in any major holiday destination in the Alps, the vast majority of them of them are intermediates, so you don't have to be advanced to enjoy yourself here. But if you are, you will – particularly if you invest in expert guidance to make the most of the challenging terrain, both on and off piste. Few world-class resorts have such variety.    Progression Ski is a British-run school with the full range of group and private ski and snowboard lessons. Instructors are experts and extremely friendly.

Where to stay: 
Aspen Lodge is a smart apartment block, centrally located on the main street, with suites of various sizes and a full concierge service. It's convenient for the slopes as well as shopping and nightlife.

Alternatives:Chamonix has some of the most demanding terrain in the Alps.

Best for charm and romance: St Martin-de-Belleville
French resorts major on convenience rather than charm, so attractive villages with large ski areas are notable by their absence. St Martin, the prettiest and quietest destination in the giant Trois Vallées ski area, is an exception.
An old cheese-making centre below better known Les Menuires in the Belleville Valley, St Martin has raised its traditionally sleepy profile in recent years. It offers a radically different experience from neighbouring Trois Vallées resorts and will bore the pants off party animals – but that's how its growing band of fans likes it.
A fast gondola and a chair take you up to the ridge above the Belleville and Les Allues valleys. From there you can head over to Méribel, Les Menuires and the rest of the Trois Vallées, or coast back down the local red and blue runs to St Martin.
In the village, modern architecture respects the old farmhouses and 17th-century church. La Bouitte in the adjoining hamlet of St Marcel has two Michelin stars.

Where to stay:
Abode is an ancient Savoyard farmhouse that has been lovingly converted into a chalet for eight people.


Megève has horse drawn sleighs and an attractive resort centre; little-known in the Maurienne Valley is rural France at its simplest and most delightful.

Best for partying: Méribel

There's no denying that the thousands of international visitors who migrate to the geographical centre of the giant Trois Valleés ski area each winter know how to party in style – along with a few French.
A branch of the fast spreading French on-mountain après experience La Folie Douce, at the mid-station of the main Saulire gondola, gets loud at 3pm with a DJ and tabletop dancing. The clientele tend to migrate after 5pm to The Rond Point, aka The Ronny, just above the main village and the must-visit après venue. It has a 4pm-5pm happy hour, live bands and a fantastic, up-for-it atmosphere. On a good night, you could be crowd surfing by 6pm. Alternatively, Jack’s Bar has comedy and occasional live bands, Le Poste de Secours is one of the smartest bars in town and Barometer has a pleasant English pub atmosphere. Later on, La Taverne and Le Pub are good warm-up spots for the main clubbing action even later at Dick's Tea Bar or Le Loft.
Méribel's local slopes are extensive and mainly intermediate. They give easy access to the rest of the Trois Vallées ski area.
The resort also has an unrivalled selection of good-quality chalets, although wickedly high prices have led to a sharp fall in the overall number visitors in recent years.

Where to stay:There’s a huge choice of accommodation and operators here.


In the country that gave après ski its name there is remarkably little of it. Les Deux Alpes and Chamonix are livelier than most resorts and do their best to redress this with a more extensive range of bars and late-night entertainment.

Best for families: Les Gets
With its village nursery slopes, pedestrian-friendly centre and road train shuttle, this village in the giant 650km Portes du Soleil ski area makes an ideal base for families. There's a huge choice of good accommodation including child-friendly chalets with nannies, and Les Gets itself is a pleasing mixture of old Savoyard chalets and more modern wood-and-stone buildings constructed in keeping with their beautiful Alpine surroundings. The only drawback is its modest 1172m altitude, which means that snow cover is not necessarily reliable at village level throughout the season. However, there are more nursery slopes up the mountain at Chavannes, as well as the American Indian themed Grand Cry fun park. Kindergartens include Les Fripouilles, which caters for children from six months to four years.

Where to stay:

A short walk away from the pistes, Chalet Les Chats Bleus sleeps 13 and has family suites with separate bedrooms and a shared bathroom.


La Tania in the Trois Vallées is car-free, although families with little ones need to be wary of skiers speeding down the main drag towards the gondola. Vaujany is an unspoiled village linking into the Alpe d'Huez ski area with no through traffic and a fine crèche.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Client's Review: Schwarzer Adler

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The hotel has wonderful old world charm; not necessarily THE most convenient for skiing but I would stay there again in a heartbeat! We had a spacious room with nice decor that you expect from a traditional skiing hotel. The hotel is over 100 years old but quite well kept up with modern facilities. The spa (pool and saunas are brand new) and very relaxing after a long day on the slopes; it's also a great spot to meet and chat.
We had breakfast, high tea and dinner included and they were to die for. You have to walk to and from the ski lift since it is not a ski in/out place but you can keep the skies and boots in the facilities right at the lift and I enjoyed walking down Main Street after a long day of skiing. There is no entertainment in the hotel at night but we strolled down Main Street after dinner since it is located in the heart of the village. Right behind the hotel is a village spa/pool/sauna. Also, if you love saunas, you are in for a real treat! Not only are there amazing views BUT ALSO it is coed. Yes! Both members of the opposite sex are in their birthday suits together!
While I personally am not a big fan of this environment, there was no pressure to disrobe. Also, we met the most colorful people in the sauna: a British banker who was an extreme skier and an Australian ski instructor who have been to Russia on a skiing trip and traveled to and forth in a third class train/pats kart.
The experts in our skiing group felt that French Alps were a bit more challenging, it was however, enough for me since I was a beginning skier at the time. The ski school is considered one of the best and I definitely improved my skiing skills there!  
Writing this made me so nostalgic for the Alps again; perhaps I need to go back soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

COMO SE DICE "where's the powder?"

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 If low prices, good food, and a fabulous ambience is more important to you than ski-in/ski-out convenience, snow sure resorts and cutting-edge instruction, then Italy is the place for you.
As a destination it's much more laid back than its rivals in France, Switzerland and Austria, with the holiday emphasis on fun and relaxation rather than sporting excellence. As a result, the enjoyment factor is all the higher. Families with young children are welcomed even in the most chic hotels and restaurants.
The in-resort cost of holidays in Italy is markedly lower than in any of its mainstream rivals. Forget Eastern Europe and even Andorra - as a budget destination the range and variety of slopes, coupled with outstanding scenery puts Italy in a league of its own.
Italy is also blessed with a number of giant ski areas. For beautiful scenery and variety of terrain, none of them rival the central core of the Dolomites. The Dolomiti Superski lift pass covers 12 ski areas and a mighty 1220km of pistes linked by 450 lifts, plus the occasional bus ride. Included on this pass is the famous Sella Ronda – a circular network of lifts and pistes around the Gruppo del Sella, a majestic limestone massif, taking in several resorts.
During the 2013/14 seasons, Italy also attracted some of the best snow in Europe. In January, when cover in the Tirol was what the Austrians call “mouse-ankle deep”, the Italian Sudtirol just 80km from Innsbruck was wallowing in three meters of the stuff.
It must be stated that over the past decades, cover hasn't been as reliable as the Italians would have liked. However, their snowmaking is some of the best in Europe and, even in the driest winter, conditions on piste have still been good

Best for beginners: Passo Tonale

            This compact, value-for-money village lies at 1880m, with lifts going up to 3088m. It's one of the few Italian resorts to be snow sure from late October to early May, which is why Italian national teams train here. The marked runs are mainly suited to beginners and intermediates, and Passo Tonale is also linked by lift to the slopes of Ponte di Legno, which offer advanced riders more challenges. Both areas are covered on the Adamello lift pass.

            However, the overriding reason for a visit is the gentle open slopes that form a near-perfect nursery area for learning to snow plough and gaining confidence, without the threat of more accomplished slope users whizzing scarily by. There are two ski and snowboard schools and Tonale Presena has friendly, English-speaking instructors and the standard of teaching is high.

            The resort was developed mainly to service the slopes, with a road running through the middle, and features predominantly chalet-style buildings. It's generally quiet during the week, but comes to life during the Italian holidays and at weekends.

            Be sure to have a meal at La Mirandola hotel, situated just above the main resort. It dates back to the 12th century, and the restaurant has a vaulted stone ceiling, oodles of atmosphere and can be reached in the evening by snowmobile.
Where to stay: for a warm welcome and friendly service, the three-star, family-run Hotel Adamello is hard to beat; good food, including a Trentino-themed gala buffet, is served and there's also a children's games room.

Bardonecchia and Madesimo are both non-commercial resorts much loved by Italians. Each has easy, uncrowded slopes that are ideal for learning.

Best for intermediates: Corvara

The lively and family-friendly village of Corvara, along with neighboring San Cassiano, which is smaller and quieter, is situated at the crossroads of two huge intermediate playgrounds. The local Alta Badia ski area gives easy access to the Sella Ronda circuit, and both are rich in cruisy, confidence-boosting red runs that are usually well groomed. They're also home to some delightful mountain restaurants.
Each day you can venture as far afield as you dare before turning for home and ensuring you have time to catch the last lift. At sunset, the cliffs and crags of the Dolomites turn an extraordinarily vibrant shade of pink. The panorama is so enchanting that your eyes are perpetually drawn to the skyline, and sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on the snow at your feet. 

There is a clutch of highly regarded luxury hotels here. The four-star La Perla in Corvara offers superb food and service in a relaxed atmosphere and features a spectacular, extensive wine cellar, while the four-star Posta Zirm is famed for its fine cuisine and feng shui-inspired spa. Meanwhile, in San Cassiano, the five-star Rosa Alpina has individually designed rooms and boasts two top-class restaurants, including the two Michelin-star St Hubertus.

Where to stay: 
with a strong reputation for good food and a homely atmosphere, Corvara’s three-star Hotel La Plaza is a sound choice, and great value for money. This family-run hotel has attractive rooms, as well as a small spa.

Kronplatz in the Sudtirol has an extraordinarily high proportion of gondolas among its 32 lifts, with 21 in total. These give access to 116km of mainly intermediate slopes, with plenty of wide-open red and blue runs. La Thuile in the Aosta Valley offers a wealth of gentle reds and blues, and is linked to La Rosière in France, where more challenging reds await.

Best for advanced: Alagna 

This picturesque little village – complete with stone churches and attractive old wooden farmhouses – in the giant Monterosa ski area has a cult following among powder hounds. Away from the limited local pistes, glorious snowfields provide endless entertainment and tough challenges for experts; In fact, some claim the backcountry terrain here rivals that of Chamonix, in France.

            It’s not a place for beginners though, or anyone interested in any form of nightlife – lights out comes almost directly after dinner. But if you're going to make the most of the off piste, you’ll need all the sleep you can get.
Alagna itself has only 15km of pistes, but it's linked to the more intermediate-minded resorts of Gressoney and Champoluc – all covered on the Monterosa Ski lift pass and offering 73km of runs. However, it's best to stay in Alagna if you've come for the off piste.

            The village is situated at 1,212m from where lifts take you up to a heady 3,275m, starting point for some dramatic free riding. You’ll need expert help, and should hire the services of a mountain guide to explore this terrain.

Where to stay: Zimmer Casa Prati is a beautifully restored farmhouse in a prime location just uphill from the main lift. It offers friendly hospitality and comfortable rooms featuring traditional wood and stone.

Arabba is on the mainly intermediate Sella Ronda circuit, but is also a convenient base from which to explore the most challenging slopes, accessed by the Passo Pordoi cable car CK. The pistes here are some of the steepest in the Dolomites and include some spectacular off-piste routes. Cortina d’Ampezzo also has some challenging black runs, tough couloirs and serious off-piste runs.
Best for charm and romance: Cortina d’Ampezzo

            Italy’s chicest destination is an ancient mountain town in the Dolomites surrounded by soaring cathedrals of sandstone. A green and white bell tower and a glittering confection of grand 19th century mansions dominate the centre. 

Despite being variously occupied over the centuries by foreign invaders, including Austria and even the Americans in 1945, Cortina has stubbornly maintained a spiritual independence of its own. While the residents of surrounding towns and villages primarily speak Italian or German, native Cortinese clings to their ancient Ladin language to converse among themselves.

            Cortina's 115km of marked slopes (covered on the local lift pass) are divided into separate areas, and best suit intermediates and experts. There is a handful of tricky black runs, plus countless off-piste opportunities in good snow conditions. It's connected via a bus ride into Sella Ronda circuit (all covered on the Dolomiti Superski pass). The free bus takes you to Passo Falzarego and the cable car up to the 2,788m summit of Lagazuoi. From here you head down the Hidden Valley to the hamlet of Armentarola and on to San Cassiano and the rest of the circuit.
In Cortina itself, the business of skiing and snowboarding plays second fiddle to the social sport of seeing and being seen outside and inside the elegant boutiques and antique shops lining the Corso Italia, the pedestrianised main street.
Encroaching twilight is the signal for Cortina to come out and play. A colony of voluminous fur coats and designer ski wear gathers noisily in the Piazza Venezia at the start of the evening passeggiata. Much later, the party atmosphere is transferred to intimate wine bars, expensive restaurants, and a smattering of softly lit nightclubs.

Where to stay: 
the four-star Hotel Ancora, with its traditional wooden balconies and painted frescoes, has been in the same family for four generations, and is in a superb location in the heart of the pedestrian area. It serves some of the finest cuisine in town, while the rooms are tastefully decorated and filled with fine antiques.

Alternatives: the market town of Ortisei in the Val Gardena is packed with charming buildings and churches and is surrounded my majestic peaks. Its local slopes offer lots of relaxed cruising. The small, quiet village of San Cassiano in Alta Badia is set in an attractive, tree-lined valley and has a traditional atmosphere. It's linked to the extensive Sella Ronda circuit.

Best for partying: Sauze d’Oulx

            Sauze had a reputation in the 1970s and 1980s as a sort of Magaluf with moguls, where pub was more important than piste, and many of its strong British youth following never made it on to the snow before midday. These days it has cleaned up its act. The charming Italian village that it once was is now back on form, but fortunately the party atmosphere never went away.
The village has an attractive, cobbled centre, but most of the resort is made up of modern, block-like buildings. Out of the centre, there are quieter, more secluded areas.
Sauze has some of Italy’s best pistes, with undulating terrain linking to the resorts of Sansicario, Sestriere, and across the French border to Montgenèvre and the rest of the Milky Way – a vast, linked area with 400km of pistes served by 66 lifts (covered on the Via Lattea Internazionale lift pass). The local slopes are spread out across a wooded mountainside. At the heart of these runs is Sportinia – a mid-mountain collection of restaurants, hotels and a nursery area.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on eating out and entertainment here – the prices are roughly a third of those in the premier French resorts of Courchevel and Val d’Isère. Après begins with live music at Capanna Mollino in the Sportinia area, and moves on to the Village café-bar on the home run into the resort. Other lively places to try include Ghost bar and Paddy McGinty’s pub.
If you fancy a quieter drink, try Caffe della Seggiovia or Enoteca Il Lampione, wine bars that are both popular with locals and visitors. Later on, the action moves to Moncrons bar and then to Osteria dei Vagabondi, where there's often live music, followed by Bandito nightclub. The Cotton Club attracts an older crowd and hosts jazz nights.

Where to stay: 
most village accommodations aren’t memorable, but the three-star Chalet Faure – a rustic mountain home that has been transformed into a boutique hotel with lots of character – in the old centre is an appealing choice. It has a small spa and in-house wine bar.

Madonna di Campiglio and Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites offer more sophisticated – and expensive – nightlife.
Best for families: Champoluc

The 200km Monterosa ski area is one of the most underrated in the Alps and Champoluc is a charming village, with a typically Italian laid-back atmosphere and some decent bars. The scenery is beautiful, there’s a general lack of crowds in the area, traffic is slight, and it has a British ski school.
From the village a gondola takes you up to Crest, where the beginner slopes are situated. From the nearby hamlet of Frachey, reached by free shuttle bus, a funicular gives more direct access towards Gressoney, Alagna and the rest of the Monterosa area.
Childcare is extremely limited in Italy because Italian families tend to bring along granny and grandpa to look after the little ones. Therefore, if you are travelling with small children it makes sense to choose a destination where a British tour operator provides all the necessary childcare.
A big plus point in Champoluc is the presence of a ski school run for the guests of tour operator Ski2. Instructors are a mix of British and English-speaking locals and teach children from four years old. The company also runs its own nursery with British nannies. The Italian ski school Scuola Sci Champoluc has a good reputation for teaching both adults and children too.

Where to stay: the four-star Relais des Glaciers has a pleasant spa and is located just off the main square, a seven-minute walk from the gondola or reachable by a free shuttle bus. It has a large outdoor hot tub and friendly staff who provide an early children’s dinner.

Alternatives: Esprit Ski offers childcare with British nannies at its chalet hotel neighboring Gressoney as well as in its four chalets in Selva; both resorts are family friendly.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pizza! Pizza!! Pizza!!!

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Did you know Naples is home of the pizza? Wherever you are in the city, you are not too far from an oven, crackling wood and an amazing aroma of freshly baked pizza. The city takes this food SO seriously that in 2004, the ministry of agriculture issued regulations outlining how a real Neapolitan pizza should be made! Now those are some SERIOUS pizza lovers! See our list below for the yummies places to grab a pie (as well as some other dishes to fancy) as you stroll this amazing city and take in all it has to offer.

Chiaia Area

Trattoria Da Ettore (Via Santa Lucia 56): simple Neapolitan food; great pizza and amazing fried appetizers. Many seafood based pasta dishes like spaghetti with clam sauce are a must to try!

Ristorante Umberto (Via Alabarieri 30): Varied menu in a cozy setting, located in the heart of Chiaia. After dinner, nearby lounges and cocktail bars help to elongate the Italian evening.

Da Dora (Via Ferdinando Palasciano 28): Bustling , popular and TINY! For fish, Dora routinely gets top honors from Chowhound devotees.

Radici (Via Riviera di Chiaia 68): Italian foodie expert, Gambero Rosso, labels Radici “modern and innovative but with Neapolitan soul”. The expansive menu spans both seafood and meat dishes, adhering to Slow Food principles.

L’Ebbrezza Di Noe (Vicolo Vetriera 80100): a trendy little spot with an extensive wine list from the Campania region of Italy.

Spaccanapoli/Port Area

Antica Osteria Pisano (Piazzetta Crocelle ai Mannesi 1): one could feast on the house appetizers alone- and with delectable Neapolitan delicacies like fried eggplants stuffed with provolone cheese and prosciutto, octopus salad, marinated anchovies and roasted friarelli peppers, who has room for pasta?

Pizzeria Friggitoria I Decumani (Via Tribunali 58,60,61): one of the world’s BEST spots for pizza; the sphere of fresh mozzarella di buffalo that crowns every pie is pure heaven. Excellent location on bustling via dei Tribunali.

La Chiaccierata (Piazzetta Matilde Serao 37): La Chiaccierata, literally the chatterbox, is a reference to the cook/owner who serves up fresh daily specials based on local seasonal ingredients. Try simple staples like pesci del golfo or polipetti affogati. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gondolas and Grumbling Bellies

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Riding all of those gondolas and shopping for beautiful masks sure can build up an appetite! Read below for our picks of Venice's top stops for calming those grumbling bellies!

Impronta Café (Dorsoduro 3815/3817): this quaint spot serves lunches and dinners made to pair with their excellent selection of wines.

Torrefazione Marchi (Cannaregio 1337): a little coffee shop which serves specialty blends; make sure to try their most popular, the Il Caffe della Sposa, which is made up of EIGHT different coffee’s in one.

Ristorante Alle Corone (Castello Campo della Fava 5527): delicious seafood and pastas with a romantic atmosphere.

All’Arco (San Polo 436): a tiny snack bar, perfect for a mid afternoon snack or pre-dinneraperitivo, paired with some of the best cicheti in town.

La Bitta (Dorsoduro 2753a): seasonal, fish-free (novel for Venice) menu that changes almost daily. Many ingredients, like the IGP-protected radicchio, are brought in daily from Treviso.

Osteria alla Testiere (Castello 5801): excellent, prepared seafood; reservations highly recommended.

Vino Vero (Cannaregio, Fondamenta Misericordia): a wine bar that has an interesting selection of wines and original cicchetti; not overly large, but cozy and quaint with a few tables.

L’Osteria Santa Marina (Castello 5911, Campo Santa Marina): this tiny, elegant restaurant in the Castello neighborhood has a prix-fixed menus of both meat and fish, both presented with magnificent, but not pretentious, presentation. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Foodies in Firenze

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Our culinary Italian tour continues with delicious Florence…

Coquinarius (Via delle Oche 15r): Ths spot is perfect for a light, quick lunch in the center of town. Crostani,, salads, and seasonal pastas are the stalwars of this conventiently located and price friendly restuaruant that is one of the feq places in town that is open ALL DAY!

Cibreo Teatro del Sale (Via dei Macci 111r): perfect spot for a casual dinner at one of the most well regarded restaurants in Florcence. Cibreo is part of the Fabio Picci empire; you’ll find no pastas here, only soups and vegetable dishes. Oh and heavenly chocolate mousse.

Il Rifrullo (Via di San Niccolo 55r): for breakfast, lunch and wine- this is the place to enjoy on a beautiful spring or summer day. The restuaruant has a beautiful terrace and is located in the picturesque San Niccolo neighborhood and is a perfect stop after braving the hike up to Pizzale Michaelangelo. Breakfast is a classic Italian cornetti and lunch is standard pastas and light salads.

Trattoria Mario (Via Rosina 2r): are you looking for Tuscan classics in a rustic setting? This is your place; located next to the San Lorenzo market, Mario takes pride in its original offerings- ribollita, bistecca fiorentina and tagliatelle al ragu.

Café degli Artigiani (Via dello Sprine 16): a quaint country house planted in the middle of Florence with extremely sensible prices; fresh salads and sandwhiches flanked by Tuscan specialities such as pappa al pomodoro.

La Casalinga (Via de Michelozzi 9r): located right next to Piazza Santo Spirito, this homey and boisterous trattoria has a varied menu to fit all tastes. We highly recommend the roast chicken and whatever fresh dessert is on the daily menu.

Il Santo Bevitore (Via di Santo Sprito 64r): this cozy, wine-centric eatery with a menu of traditional meets modern Tuscan dishes is known for their amazing soups and desserts.

Osteria Pepo (Via Rosina 6r): just steps from the Accademia Gallery, this neo-rustic restaurant serves Florentine classics like ribollita, followed by meat direct from the San Lorenzo market.

It Ristoro dei Perditempo (Borgo San Jacopo 48r): ideal for a quick lunch; great selection of cheeses and cured meats, the food quality is fantastic, and with a view right across from the Ponte Vecchio, this spot is a must for foodies. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

When in Rome...

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We had such an overwhelming response to our blog regarding Parisian dining, we decided to expand to Italy. Join us every day this week as we spotlight the yummiest places to dine in Italy's top cities. Today we start with Roma and all the delicious tidbits it offers.... 

Piazze di Spagna

Enoteca Antica (Via Della Croce 76): a friendly and old-fashioned wine bar, in the heart of the historic center, which offers a daily rotation of quality wines by the glass. There is an excellent choice of hot and cold dishes including lighter snacks such as salads and antipasto.

Ristorante Matricianella Roma (Via del Leone 3-4): this classic Roman trattoria, located on a smaller street off of Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina, serves a wonderful selection of traditional dishes such as bucanti all’amatriciana and abbachio, a scottadito. There is also a thoughtful and fairly priced wine lists. Reservations are highly recommended (+39066832100).

Pinsera Roma (Via Flavia 98): this pizzeria serves classic “pinsa”, a traditional oval shaped pizza and is a favorite amongst tourists and locals.

Enoteca Buccone (Via Ripetta 19): simple wines and great food, no fuss.


Duecentogradi (Piazza Risorgimento 3): over 30 types of Panini served, made with bread onsite in the middle of bustling Piazza Risorgimento.

Ar-Lu (Borgo Pio 135): Moderately priced trattoria in the Borgo neighborhood, just north of St. Peter’s. Pan Italian dishes and several varieties of entrée salads are amongst the most popular.

Osteria dell’Angelo (Via Giovanni Bettola 24): close enough to the Vatican that it’s an easy walk; off the beaten path enough that the food is great and the prices reasonable.

Pizzarium (Via della Meloria 43): naturally leavened bread with unique toppings- all a stone’s throw from the entrance to the Vatican Museums.


Pizzeria ai Marmi (Viale Trastevere 53): a true local favorite, one of the favorite dishes includes the antipasti fritti include suppli, zucchini stuffed with mozzarella and cod fillets. The restaurant is also known for their cannellini beans cooked with savory sausage.

Pizzeria “Dar Poeta” (Vicolo del Bologna 45): this pizzeria serves unique wood-fired pizzas and is frequented by Romans and tourists alike. A must try is known as the Buffalo, a pizza with fresh local buffalo mozzarella cheese.

La Boccaccia (Via di Santa Dorotea 2): a focaccia pizzeria, great for a quick lunch on the go.

Monti, Colosseum and Testaccio

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (Via della Madonna dei Monti): a family run, cozy trattoria. Don’t bother with the printed menu- always ask for the specials of the day.

Da Flavio “Veloavevodetto” (Via di Monte Testaccio 97/99): traditional Roman cuisine, locally sourced and simply presented in a relaxed atmosphere. Terrific seafood and pizza served in a great outdoor space.

Enoteco Provincia Romano (Largo del Foro Traiano 82/84): a food and wine shop, which sells products specifically from the province of Roma.


Armando al Pantheon (Salita Dei Crescenzi, 31 Roma): a classic Roman trattoria, owned the by the Gargiolo family since 1961, just around the corner from the Pantheon. Highly recommended by Slow Food Italy.

Campo de’ Fiori/Jewish Quarters

Nonna Betta (Via del Portio d’Ottavia 16): this Kosher restaurant is famous for its artichokes alla giudia style. A wonderful place to enjoy Jewish cuisine in the heart of Rome.

Roscioli (Via dei Giubbonari 21): the Roscioli family is well known in Rome for the amazing food; their restaurant is a great place for a special meal; including classic Italian dishes with fusion twists.

Cul de Sac (Piazza Pasquino 73): a quintessential Roman wine bar, boasting over 1400 wine labels and excellent pates, cheeses, crostini and regional salami.

Enoteca Trimani (Via Goito 20): in Rome since 1821, this historic wine bar close to Termini station is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak dining area of the city.