Foodie Guide to Italy
As much as it’s an incredible place to travel, there’s another reason why we love Italy so much – FOOD! Pizza, Pasta, Risotto, Breads, Antipasti, gelato, tiramisu, panna cotta – the list of delicious, mouth-watering goodies to come out of Italy is literally endless. When you go to Italy, you don’t just see it – you taste it! Follow our Foodie Guide from Contiki, for the ultimate Italian culinary adventure…
For old school Roman dining at its best, Hostaria Costanza is the place to go. Built from the ruins of Pompey’s Theatre in a gloriously candlelit basement, Hostaria Contanza has nooks and crannies galore and is overflowing with Italian atmosphere even before you’ve had a bite of the food! And oh the food! Fried artichokes with cheese stuffed zucchini flowers, crepes with funghi e tartufo (mushroom and truffle), perfect ravioli di carciofi (ravioli with artichokes) and a mouth-watering fillet of beef with Barolo wine sauce. All washed down with a glass of the house red, naturally. Unsurprisingly, bookings are essential, but well worth it.
AKA, the birth place of pizza. Coming to Naples and not eating pizza is like going to Sydney and not seeing the Opera House – IT’S A MUST. Coming from a family of no less than 21 pizza making siblings, it’s no surprise Gino Sorbillo’s something of a pizza master. Gigantic, tasty, and turned out in around 5 minutes, Gino’s is fast food at its best. Queues are likely unless you book in advance, but at prices of under €5 for the best pizza you’ve ever eaten, who really cares?!
If you’ve been picturing a quaint, local Italian eatery with genuine seaside vibes, look no further than Trattoria da Emilia. Set in an old boathouse overlooking Marina Grande, Emilia’s is the place to head for the freshest seafood in town (you can literally watch the fishing boat’s 50m away unloading their catch for the restaurant!). The mussels with lemon, spaghetti with clams, calamari, grilled sea bass, literally all the dishes are completely divine and really reasonably priced. In three words – casual, atmospheric, delicious.
In need of a slight reprieve from food? Why not go for a liquid lunch option instead! Tucked away amongst the many leather boutiques of the St Lorenzo street market, Gianni Migliorini’s wine bar Casa del Vino has one of the best selections of Tuscan wine in town. Inevitably, this is Italy, so accompanying nibbles are mandatory (at least we think so). Choose from a selection of hams, sausages, cheeses, anchovies, sardines, and a whole roast suckling pig. Apart from a rickety wooden bench there’s not much sitting room, so be prepared to practice your best conversational Italian!
There’s one imperative rule to eating in the city of love – eat local. Avoid the touristy restaurants with menus in six languages and pictures of pizza and instead head into the backstreets to discover the bacari – small bars where locals pop in for wine and snacks. One of the best of these is undoubtedly Ca’ d’Oro Alla Vedova on Strada Nuova. Here, the polpette (pork rissoles) are hot property, and it’s no surprise why – the delicious balls of salty, finely minced pork are like little tastes of heaven. Wash down with a bottle of Veneto red and settle in for the evening.
In a city of wealth, luxury and opulence, why wouldn’t you eat at Dolce and Gabbana’s aptly named Gold restaurant? OK, so in reality most of us would never be able to afford this place, but let’s entertain the notion for a minute. Eating off mirror topped tables, the menu is actually surprisingly local, with dishes such as crispy cannelloni with buffalo ricotta, pumpkin and coffee ravioli or roasted veal mignon. Obviously well out of our price range, but we can dream!
February 16, 2015