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Friuli Venezia Giulia


David Dowell
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I just searched the Italy: Dining forum for Friuli, Udine, San Danieli, & Trieste and... nothing!

Surely Egullet must have had some visitors to this area which features great wine & food.

We will be there for 10 days in September and I'm starting to plan.

Any suggestions most welcome!

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Hi, I used to live there, what would you like to know?

You can't go wrong with wines in this area. Really good. Gnocchi and risotti are the thing to eat here as well as some local specialities. If you're into truffles then pop over to slovenia for some of the cheapest, best truffle dishes ever - also excellent seafood. So close we used to go there for gas. Also sorbetti are my favourite things in this region - melon or lemon ice cream with vodka - a sort of a drink but super yummy and only here are they called this otherwise you get normal 'sorbet'. Trieste is also the home of Illy cafe (he used to be the mayor maybe still is), so you will get very good coffee and specialty illy cups (every year they do a special design). You'll also get some of the local hungarian/austrian cuisine combos - I can't remember what they're called but they'll tell you. If you can book early enough there is a guy - in udine i think- who does dinner out of his home 3 or 4 months of the year - it's booked way ahead of time but super. Sorry I can't remember the names of these places as my ex who was a super wine and food snob and very wealthy used to take me to all these places - we would even drive to venice for dinner - so eating out so much has all become a blur now. I do remember the champagne risotto at the elefante bianco in trieste though. we used to go so often they would open wine for us in the afternoon for when we arrived in the evening. I'll try to remember more. Let me know if there's anything specific.

Edited by kermie (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

We spent a week in the area in 2001 - admittedly a while ago. We loved being there. Started in Udine which is a delightful town. I'll dig out my notes and see what info I could pass on to you. Our favorite restaurant of the trip was this one: http://www.ristorantelatorre.net/index.html, in Spilimbergo. We were 4 traveling together and had lunch here. The waiter suggested we could have a meal of whatever the chef suggested (all 4 of us) and it was knockout. I keep hoping to get back there and return to La Torre.

Are you familiar with Fred Plotkin's cookbook, La Terra Fortunata, the Splendid Food and Wine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy's Great Undiscovered Region? It's a nice introduction to the region with all sorts of information beyond recipes. I recommend taking a look at it!

(I feel certain that I posted about this trip before, but I can't find any posts. Do they get deleted after a certain length of time?)

Edited by MMerrill (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I just came from a culinary event there, so I cannot say what these restaurants are like in normal life. However La Subida in Cormóns, both the formal restaurant and the osteria, are worth a visit, even a stay in their lovely rooms. The family is passionate about preserving and improving local foodways, even creating a high-end vinegar. My husband is still dreaming about the freshly laid eggs the owner casually fried for him on an open fire. The food has a touch of Slovenia, where the family originated.

We also had an absolutely wonderful fisherman's soup with beans, salted sardines, and fat eels grilled on rosemary at Tavernetta All'Androna in Grado, made even more wonderful by a magnum of one of Josko Gravner's amphora-aged wines. If you find any of his wines on the list, by all means try it.

The rose-shaped radicchio of Gorizia is a local specialty and very expensive, but it may not be in season when you go in September. It is left to freeze three times, which gives it an unusually sweet taste.

Edited by Culinista (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was working in Trieste two weeks ago. I've always found it a particularly striking and compelling city given its setting sprawled across the hills between the limestone plateau and the sea; its evident literary and public-intellectual culture; and the striking architecture that makes this Mitteleuropa on the Mediterranean. I'm always surprised that so few appreciate this often neglected corner of Italy.

Aside from the great coffee and cafes, though, I've never regarded it as an especially great eating city. The fusion of central European and Slavic cuisine with Italian staples is, of course, interesting (especially at the Buffets)- but the standard restaurants don't match the levels of Rome, Bologna, Milan or many other town and cities for example (although admittedly, my longest time in the city was on a student budget back in the Twentieth-century...).

But for any other visitors I can recommend:

Al Nuovo Antico Pavone - Riva Gramuda - this consistent place serves very fresh and reliable seafood in an old-fashioned but pleasant and calming room with a gracious and hospitable host. They only serve what's available from the market, and complement this with very decent wines from Eastern Friuli. Very good value.

Nothing else really stood out on this trip, although:

Pizzaria Copacabana (on Via del Teatro Romano) is solid. I always visit them as, having grown up in 1970s-80s England, I consider this to be the place where I first tasted tomatoes properly. It is a decent Pizzaria and popular with the locals, but had improved quite a bit since my last visit. It is handy for the main square too, and open seven days a week.

There's also a Bier hall down the Riva Sauro which I discovered and that is vastly popular with the locals (also serving Pizzas).

Also, I had a quick lunch of Goulash and Gnocchi in basic trattoria - Ristoriant Pizzeria O'Scugnizzo (Via 30 Ottobre, I think) that was surprisingly good.

I was also impressed by Cafe Torinese which I'd overlooked on previous visits: it has a beautiful interior and friendly service. There are also a few more lively bars in the Borgo Teresiana these days, and some serving snacks after work also - as this trend reaches Trieste too...

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  • 2 months later...
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