In August, I took a 3 week trip to Italy with a brief detour to Barcelona and Nice. For the first week of my trip, I spent time in my father’s hometown, a small seaside resort town on the Adriatic. The second week involved a cruise to Genoa, Nice, Barcelona, Majorca, and Sardinia). I then spent a week in Rome.
I ate a lot of food. Good food made with fresh ingredients. Despite all of this eating, my flying-home jeans were loose at the end of this extravaganza. We walked about 5 hours/day and I realized that lots of things I wanted to see are at the top of very large hills. So if you’re ready to walk, you can eat like Phelps. Also, I didn’t eat anything that came out of a package. Take note – the potato chip aisle in Italy is only 2 bags wide.
Here’s my top 10 in no particular order.
1. Quadrifoglio, Porto San Giorgio – this is one of many restaurants that are adjacent to the beach in this little resort town, my dad’s hometown. Nobody eats on the beach (hence no pesky seagulls!). You can spend the day on the beach, walk 20 feet to the restaurant for lunch and then return to the glorious shade of your beautiful beach umbrella and comfy chairs. (I’m not a tanner)
2.Vela, Porto San Giorgio – Another beach resto. You may notice it’s seafood again. Basically, every restaurant has the same menu. Some do it better than others. Vela is among the best.
frittura mista, Vela, Porto San Giorgio
3. Can’t remember the name of this resto, I swear. We had a 3-course meal on a park bench (which was probably very gauche). This was the dessert.
4. Bar del Pla, Barcelona – Cod fritters are like little fishy pillows of joy. We grazed on tapas throughout the city. The food, staff, and atmosphere here was nice. The menu, like most things in Barcelona was well-designed.
cod fritters tapas, Bar del Pla, Barcelona
5. Nice, Porto San Giorgio, Rome – I ate these donut shaped peaches everywhere I could find them. They’re sweet and white inside and too expensive in North America (when you can find them).
Saturn / Donut peaches, Rome
6. Filletti di Baccala, Rome – This restaurant does one thing, fried cod fillets. As a general tip, it’s a good idea to eat at restaurant that serves only one main dish especially if the name of the dish is also the name of the restaurant and the sign for the resto looks older than you. Lotsa locals eating here.
fried cod, Filetti di Baccala, Rome
7. Sora Marguerita, Rome – This was my third fried artichoke in 3 days and it was the best. The outside petals are crunchy like potato chips and the inside is soft.
fried artichokes, Sora Margherita, Rome
8. Bakery in Nice, can’t rember the name of it. These little cookie sandwiches are so flavourful that you only need one. I will try anything bergamot flavoured. If the best Earl Grey tea in the world were a cookie, this would be it.
bergamotte maccaron, Nice
9. Costanza, Rome – This gnocchi, mozzarella, basil dish was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect it to be so casserole-ish. Not the ideal dish for 30 C weather in Rome but so good I ate the whole thing (and then probably walked up a hill somewhere).
gnocchi, Costanza, Rome
10. Roscioli, Rome – If you’re gonna have a plate of charcuterie or sample some regional or international cheeses, this is the place to do it. Don’t expect the service to be good, however.
mixed salami and cheese plates, Roscioli, Rome
That’s it for this eating adventure. Eating in Italy really helped me understand my parent’s attitudes towards food. Attitudes that I have internalized. This trip has been in the works for a long time. Now I have to figure out how long it will be before I can get back there. I come away from this trip with a few thoughts. Most things you want to see in Europe are at the top of a hill. Walk up. Eat fresh and you will not gain weight – even if it’s deep fried. Use good ingredients – always. Eating or drinking while walking or commuting = bad ideas. Italians don’t do it and nor should you. Sit down and enjoy your meal with friends, family, and loved ones. I’m lucky and thankful.
And now for the librarian segment – A restaurant I didn’t eat at in Rome. The Library.
The Library restaurant in Rome