Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9, Campo Marzio
It's hard to differentiate some of the eateries in this city given that there's so many gems, but 'Gusto stands apart for its ingenuity. More of a market-osteria-restaurant-bar hybrid, this warehouse, industrial-style space boasts some of the best provisions in the city, all under one roof. Owners Alessandra Marino and her husband, Alessandro Tudini, founded the space in the late 1990s, to offer patrons a place to grab a drink, a meal, a quick pizza, or some kitchen essentials. Since 'Gusto has grown to become sort of a culinary emporium. Do not come here expecting good service, but rather a bustling environment and exceptional dishes.
Via del Porcellana, Santa Maria Novella
Despite being a few minutes from Piazza Santa Maria Novella and a stone’s throw from Florence’s most popular hotels, 13 Gobbi feels like a local secret. The chatter that fills the room is mostly Italian, the old wooden chairs and tables, black-and-white photographs on the brick walls, and generally laid-back, rustic air is distinctly Tuscan. The food even more so—grilled steak Florentine served medium rare and room temperature (as it’s meant to be), white beans and spinach, and the most perfect plates of homemade spaghetti al pomodoro. Take a seat in the leafy courtyard and order all of the above plus a caprese salad and a bottle of the vino rosso della casa.
Via di Ripetta, 43, Campo Marzio
With its fresh, al dente pasta, robust wine cellar, and romantic interiors, this restaurant is classic Rome. Pasta is made in house, while seafood is brought in daily–and with almost every dish, the truffle reigns. We particularly love how the waitstaff is so patient and friendly, always willing to help you pair the best wine for your meal. You'll inevitably leave full, so take a stroll through the city's center after.
Vicolo delle Bollette, 13, Trevi
Tucked into a narrow street just steps from the Trevi Fountain, Al Moro is a completely non-touristy respite nearby. With fresh ingredients collected from local markets each morning, the menu is two-page combination of the classics, seasonal fare (think: snails in an anchovy, chile, and mint sauce, available around the Feast of Saint John the Baptist in June), plus some inventive, off-the-beaten path dishes created over the course of the restaurant’s nearly century-long history. The dining room is fairly formal; definitely make a reservation in advance if you can. There are a few tables outdoors on the narrow patio, and a space to host a private dinner if you need.
Piazza 25 Aprile, Porta Nuova
If you can score a terrace table here, you’re in for one of the most romantic evenings in Milan, with a view overlooking the Piazza XXV Aprile (especially fetching at sunset). But even if you don’t, it’s well worth a visit. The restaurant has a Michelin star, thanks to chef Viviana Varese’s super creative entrées (mussels with acidic nut butter in a light cream of almond and tarragon extract; langoustines marinated in yuzu, tapioca, langoustine gel, apple broth, and yuzu granita) and sommelier Sandra Ciciriello, who curates one of the city’s best wine lists.
Alla Collina Pistoiese
Via Amedei, 1, Centro Storico
The best Tuscan food outside of Tuscany—that’s the idea at Alla Collina Pistoiese. And it delivers. The restaurant has been around since 1938 and is still run by the same family. It’s rightly famous for its steak Florentine and tagliatelle al tartufo, and the local Lombardy wines are a treat. The charming dining room is decorated with vintage, decades-old photographs and potted palms, with high, wood-beamed ceilings and dark wood floors.
Alla Vecchia Bettola
Viale Vasco Pratolini, 3/5/7, Santo Spirito
With its floor-to-ceiling tiles, hanging cured meats, rustic wood tables dotted with carafes of house red, and bottles of oil and vinegar—to be liberally doused on salads—Alla Vecchia Bettola is the essence of Florence. Open since the late ’70s, the restaurant’s staying power is rooted in its solid, no-fuss menu of tender steak Florentine, desserts of fresh fruit and tiramisu, and of course, pasta. Long, communal tables mean guests often sit with people they don’t know, filling the restaurant with the convivial buzz and friendly chatter of strangers.
Via Garibaldi, 18, Trastevere
The humble entrance on Via Garibaldi doesn’t exactly give it away, but this semi-fine dining restaurant has a solid reputation for being something of a hotspot. Specifically, it’s the private open-air terrace—particularly romantic at sunset— that draws locals and in-the-know tourists for return visits; inside, the walls are almost entirely covered in works by local artists. Food-wise, expect to find a lot of Roman classics (cacio e pepe, tripe, carpaccio), plus the occasional culinary curveball.
Antica Trattoria della Pesa
Viale Pasubio, 10, Porta Nuova
Since 1880, Antica Trattoria della Pesa has served regional classics like osso bucco, riso al salto, and a rich, saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese. But the other reason to come here is the setting. Full of antique furniture, paintings, and decorative plates, the atmosphere gives off such an old-world, nineteenth-century vibe that you’ll forget what century it is.
Via Borgospesso 12, Quadrilatero della moda
Off of Via Montenapoleone, the city’s high-end shopping street, Bice is the style world’s cantina during fashion week. A block from the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, it’s our go-to for old-school, perfectly executed Tuscan dishes (ribollita, pasta e fagioli, risotto, you name it). It also has a martini that would make James Bond proud.
You may also like