Dining on Our Own

Hi, We will be doing the Bridges tour on June 10th with two granddaughters. I see that we have two free nights to dine on our own, one in Rome and one in Florence, I know the TD will have a list of suggested restaurants, but I like to book in advance online. I would appreciate any suggestions if you enjoyed an exceptional meal in either city that you would want to redo on another visit. TIA, Sandman.

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  • We did Classic Italy in 2017, so it's been awhile, but we had a great meal in Florence at Ristorante “II Profeta.” It was one of the restaurants recommended by our tour director. We enjoyed it so much that we went back for dinner a second night. I did find a website so you could check it out. This is my husband with the owner.

  • Thanks, CVC, I will check it out. Your husband looks like he enjoyed his meal!!

  • In Rome we have eaten at
    Vladimiro
    RISTORANTE MARCELLO
    Via Aurora, 37 - (Via Veneto) 00187 Roma
    Tel. 06 481.94.67 - Fax 06 489.05.907
    Each time we traveled with our children or grandchildren. We have also recommended it to numerous people who all loved it.
    Though in a touristy area it is filled with locals (always a good sign).
    Hope it works for you.

  • We also ate at “Il profeta” with our grandson on our first Bridges tour and he still speaks about it as his favorite meal in Italy.
    A very good recommendation.

  • Thanks, CVC and Jowell. I followed up with CVC's recommendation and booked online for our free night in Florence, I got back a confirmation email this morning so we are booked. In looking at the restaurant's reviews for Il Profeta, I found several from past Tauck guests who all raved about this place. Looking forward to it. As far as Rome goes, I will look up Jowell's suggestion. Is Vladimiro and Ristorante Marcello the same place? Thanks again for the suggestions. Sandman.

  • You really need to look hard to find a bad restaurant in Italy.

    In Venice a group of us had a fabulous meal at Ristorante Antico Martini on Calle del Caffettier located on a tiny piazza adjacent to La Teatro Fenice (Venice Opera House/Theater a focus of the book "City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt, best selling author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil about Savannah). By the way, though there is a lot of name dropping, it is a good read to get a sense of the history and people of Venice, especially in the late 20th century.

  • edited April 18

    Googling Ristorante Marcello I found 3 other places in Rome with that name, but thanks to jowell including the address, yes, Vladimiro and Marcello are the same. The full name is Vladimiro Ristorante Marcello! This will not be the only time you will find Italy confusing. Isn't Italy where businesses and residences on the same block use independent numbering systems?

  • Sandman,

    If you have an interest in or enjoy exploring Jewish heritage sites, Rome has an area called The Jewish Ghetto. It supposedly is one of the oldest Jewish sections in all of Europe. There is a restaurant called Nonna Betta that we very much enjoyed. I checked the internet to ensure it still exists. Their signature appetizer is fried artichoke and it is delicious! Reservations are recommended for dinner.

    Also, if interested, there is a beautiful synagogue (The Great Synagogue) with an absolutely stunning interior.

  • Our first Tauck trip in 2006 I put together a group of 8 to go toxthe Jewish section in Rome. However it was a Saturday and guess what? Nothing was open. It was tough to even find cabs in the arena to take us back to the hotel. Genius huh?

  • edited April 18

    Oh, no! That's terrible, but it is funny.

    By the way, Chag Sameach to those who celebrate and observe their Jewish faith. Notice my very observant dog in the picture.

  • Thanks all for your thoughts and suggestions. AlanS, unfortunately with the Bridges tour Tauck provides for dinners the two nights we are in Venice, the 2nd night being the big Farwell dinner, Appreciate the update on the Rome location. As far as the Jewish Ghetto, we have visited this area on several private trips to Rome and the Temple is indeed special. I was almost arrested by the private guards as they saw me on their closed-circuit monitors taking a picture inside the temple. A bigger no-no than showing up on Shabbat. I am going to try and book Marcello and appreciate MarketArt resolving my confusion. So looking forward to this trip with the last Bas Mitzah in our family, Have done this with our 7 other grandkids, and my wife and I are looking forward to a glorious end to our family Bar/Bas Mitzvah trip tradition.

  • edited April 18

    In Florence, the Mercato Centrale has restaurants and a food court upstairs. No reservations required. Good for lunch or dinner. Also, we liked La Grotta di Leo, near Santa Maria Novella. Casual, friendly pizza and pasta restaurant with a mix of tourists and locals. Website link below. Gelateria Edoardo has the best (IMHO) gelato in Florence (best I've had anywhere). Small batch (made on the premises), organic and delicious. The dark chocolate is to die for. Flavors change depending on what's in season. It's near the southeast corner of the Duomo, but it's a small shop and easy to walk right past it. Check Google maps for the location.

    https://lagrottadileo.it/?act=home&l=en

  • Thanks, Ken! Gelato is my secret passion! Will try Edoardo for sure!

  • During Classic Italy several years ago, I did "a flavor a day" sometimes two! Towards the end of the tour, I sampled some unique flavors.

  • I love food, but on Tauck tours, I sometimes am grateful to skip meals when they are not included or just buy a quick snack and continue exploring. I spend weeks trying to lose the Tauck gained weight. I try to have a very small breakfast like at home. After that, the desserts I don’t usually have at home unless it is fresh fruit, I just can’t resist them.

  • My son and his wife were in Rome a few months ago and enjoyed their meals in the Jewish quarter the best they ate anywhere in Rome (and this included them going to a Michelin restaurant!).

  • During our trip with 2 of our granddaughters a few years ago we were in Venice on Shabbat. We were able to go to services (my husband sitting separate from us females) and the chabad rabbi by us arranged reservations for us to eat in the well known kosher restaurant
    ( though I cannot recall the name now).. You must have reservations because it is always filled. Your table is set up for you to do your own service and the meal is preset. You cannot even pay as it is Shabbat.
    Needless to say it is something none of us will ever forget.

  • edited April 19

    British, I always enjoy your posts, but have to disagree with you on food. Why would you go to foreign and exotic places and not want to sample the food that Denny's doesn't serve? I think this a both a fun and memorable part of any trip and I would not pass it up. Alan, I am with you and tryi all the gelato I can get hold of. This is a vice that I allow to come out when traveling, especially when in Italy.

  • edited April 19

    kfnknfzk, love the yarmulke! and Happy Passover.

  • Jowell, do you recall where you ate? I’m in Rome next month on a free Sunday and plan to see the museum and Synagogue. I’d love to know where you went. I see that there are many good restaurants. Also, did you buy tickets ahead? I’m reluctant to do that as The Vatican keeps changing our date and time to see the Sistine Chapel. I’m on the Classic Italy beginning May 4th. Thanks!

  • Make sure you have the fried artichokes in the Jewish quarter in Rome. It is the specialty of that area.

  • Hi franlovestravel. I will try and find out where it was but it was Venice not Rome.

  • edited April 29

    For my husband and me, part of the enjoyment of travel is to immerse ourselves in the culture, history and the food of the places we are visiting. We try our best to eat in "mom and pop" establishments serving local, farm- to- table dishes whenever we can.

    MarketArt - Thank you very much for the kind sentiment.

  • We never eat at Dennys, McD’s or even eat pizza very much. We do like to try local foods, but there comes a point on Tauck tours where I am fed up of all the food and my stomach needs a rest. We like to cook at home. When we eat out, which compared to the average American is not often, we are extremely adventurous. But to just try local food when we are not hungry and instead of more site seeing, for us it just doesn’t make sense.
    Generally we have found on the tours that when food is included on the tour, it has to be ‘safe choice’s’ because the majority of people don’t want to eat unusual food, plus all the vegetarians, gluten free people, kosher diets etc etc it must be a nightmare to please everyone.

  • For wherever I am I like to eat at the local restaurants and I use the “Yelp” app for that. You can even search within walking distance from wherever you staying. For instance I have 3 days before my Tauck tour starts and I intend to patronize restaurants serving real local dishes away from the hotel. Same at the end of the tour. I remember a tourbus driver in Hawaii saying that he cannot understand people coming there and wanting to go eat at KFC, McD etc.

  • RGM2,

    I agree. It sickens me to see the proliferation of American junk food places in Europe. To each their own, however.

  • I research the local specialties where ever we travel and hope to try them. But I'm also a bit fascinated by the items they add to the menu that our fast food chains don't offer here. In the Zurich train station, at the end of our Switzerland tour, our group was tired, hungry and not in the mood to struggle with figuring our where to eat. So we went into a Burger King and had an excellent burger with gruyere cheese. Wish we had those here.

  • Enjoying all the POVs re food. I love the (pre-covid) buffet breakfasts, am amused when all people want are OJ, eggs and bacon. I agree Tauck overfeeds us; on my own, I do 2 meals and gelato is lunch; rarely use a Tauck lunch break to eat. (I remember Natl Geo kept handing out yen lunch money; I never had to find an ATM that trip!). What I don't care for are the big welcome dinners when jet lagged (I know many arrive early); on my own, I go to sleep early that first night & skip dinner. I've become a huge fan of the hotel fridge for snacks and leftovers (hate those electronic minibars).

  • To a point agree with you “Claudia Sails” sometimes the old familiar in a pinch. Example in Germany and Fiji you can get a beer with your McD or BK. Once on a tour in China the tour-guide paid for a quick lunch at the airport and my travel partners decided on Starbucks. A croissant wasn’t my lunch idea. Next day same situation and my choice, I chose McD. It was familiar to me and satisfied my hunger.

  • Hi Sandman. Starting to book our dinners and was wondering what time you made your reservation for in Florence?
    Thank you.

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