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Italy Restaurant Guides (Books)


markk
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Are there any restaurant guides in Italy besides the Gambero Rosso? I assume there must be - I can think of lots for France, but I don't know any for Italy, and would appreciate suggestions.

Also, if anybody knows a book site that will sell and ship them from Italy to the US, that would be most appreciated. Some years ago I learned of www.alapage.fr which is my great source for books in French (takes one minute to order and they arrive in about a week), and I assume there must be a similar Italian bookseller online?

Thanks !!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I have found Osterie d'Italia published by Slow Food Italy excellent-it is in Italian, however.

I have purchased books from www.bol.it  several times.

I concur. It is useful even if you don't speak Italian.

Though perhaps a bit dated, Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler is still likely to be quite useful for the traditional cuisines of Italy.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Though perhaps a bit dated, Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler is still likely to be quite useful for the traditional cuisines of Italy.

Not "perhaps" outdated? Outdated, period, in my opinion. Definitely his selections for Piedmont are now mostly way out of touch (if not thin in the first place). I wonder about other areas. As you know, I've been researching a trip to the Bologna area, and several of his hot-spot places are out of business.

I heard that he was updating the thing. That was welcome news. I loved that book when it first came out, and I used it in several regions, so I do agree that it's an interesting read still. But I think -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- it's definitely getting a little long in the tooth.

Cheers

(EDIT: hmmmm, perhaps that is what you said! So never mind! Cheers.)

Edited by pedalaforte (log)
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Have you used the Gambero Rosso web site? It can be useful for research before you go to Italy. Also Slow Food site. I like the Gambero Rosso Viaggiarbene del Gambero Rosso book. The restaurant reviews are only capsules of basic information and brief reviews of food, etc., but it also includes places to stay.

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The revised edition of Fred Plotkin's book is available in the UK and from Amazon.co.uk.

It will not be released in the US until May, a full year after the Brits bought theirs.

Source: LRK.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I have found Osterie d'Italia published by Slow Food Italy excellent-it is in Italian, however.

I concur. It is useful even if you don't speak Italian.

That's a great suggestion, thanks. I did some googling and found that an English language version is due out this spring, which is good because it's for some friends of mine who don't speak Italian (I do, and wouldn't mind books in Italian for myself).

I was also hoping that there might be guidebooks that give numerical ratings or use symbols, similar to the many, many such books in France, just for the fun of comparing them, such as the Bottin Gourmand, Gault et Millau, Pudlowski, Guide Routard, etc.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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i'll second the suggestion for osterie, but also rise to the defense of my friend fred. i've used his book (in conjunction with faith willinger's) to plan two of my italian trips and turned up absolutely magnificent hidden places doing so. the piedmont is certainly an area that has undergone substantial change in teh last five years and all guidebooks lose their currency eventually. but i have had nothing but good fortune from fred's.

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i'll second the suggestion for osterie, but also rise to the defense of my friend fred. i've used his book (in conjunction with faith willinger's) to plan two of my italian trips and turned up absolutely magnificent hidden places doing so. the piedmont is certainly an area that has undergone substantial change in teh last five years and all guidebooks lose their currency eventually. but i have had nothing but good fortune from fred's.

I wouldn't have recommended the book if I meant to denigrate it, yet I am happy to hear that a revised edition will be released soon..

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Perhaps it was me who could be accused of denigrating Fred's book. I take back any denigration, pleased that there is a new edition. I had heard that the new book would be out last May and checked Amazon regularly for it. So I did like his writing; it just needed updating. It's nice to know the new version will be out this May.

I DID enjoy his book and used it on our trip in 1998. I still refer to it regularly, and I, too, found in some cities that he could point me to great places (Bolzano and Trento, in particular), even as recently as 2004.

So, I, what? Take it back? OK. He deserves it. Good guy.

Cheers

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not so much for restaurants (although they do list some) but for those of us who don't speak italian I really like the "Eating & Drinking in Italy: Italian Menu Translator and Restaurant Guide", Fourth Edition (Open Road Travel Guides)

I've used these in France and Spain also

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I DID enjoy his book and used it on our trip in 1998. I still refer to it regularly, and I, too, found in some cities that he could point me to great places (Bolzano and Trento, in particular), even as recently as 2004.

did you stay at that hotel he raves about in trento? my god. that was one of the best places i've ever been ... and it was like $85 a night (dollar was stronger). i can't find my copy right now. it was in the hills above town and it was a re-made monastery/convent.

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I DID enjoy his book and used it on our trip in 1998. I still refer to it regularly, and I, too, found in some cities that he could point me to great places (Bolzano and Trento, in particular), even as recently as 2004.

did you stay at that hotel he raves about in trento? my god. that was one of the best places i've ever been ... and it was like $85 a night (dollar was stronger). i can't find my copy right now. it was in the hills above town and it was a re-made monastery/convent.

No, we stopped there the first time inadvertently, and we were looking for anything. We had been cycling up north and were getting rained out, so we left Canazei a day early and decided to spend that extra day in Trento. Odd as it sounds, we found rooms in Trento at the Hotel America! It was actually a great place, just outside the walls. I had brought copied pages from Trento "just in case" we decided to stop there. I don't have my notes with me here, but we ate at two places he recommended, one a breakfast place and the other something, maybe, called Due Torre? "Due" something. It was a casual place but had great food.

In Bolzano, we ate dinner at whatever the place he recommends that has two floors and is "student hangout." It was not a low-budget student hangout, but the food was fantastic and the atmosphere also was great. I had exactly what he said was grreat -- and it was great. I remember horseradish soup and stinco maille with canaderli and sauerkraut. Gooooood stuff. Great regional wines. Moderate prices.

Cheers

Edited by pedalaforte (log)
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that was making me nuts and i couldn't find the book. finally tracked it down. it was the hotel villa madruzzo in cognola. and not far away is maso cantanghel, a great farmhouse restaurant.

I'll keep that in mind because we are going back in June '08 on another cycling trip. We plan to spend five nights in Trento this time. Great hills around that town.

Cheers

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I've not seen mention of it yet on this thread, but I used the (bright orange) 'I ristoranti d'Italia 2006 (Le Guide de L'Espresso)' on a series of trips in the last year or two. It served me for about four weeks of dining out in different cities throughout Italy, and I found it reliable, informative and easy to use. It's also callibrated precisely: with a 40 point rating scale, and offers succint but sufficient descriptions of the restaurants, their settings and a few signature dishes.

The places the guide took me to were always good and virtually always full of locals -even on midweek evenings- which was a good sign. It often took me to interesting, small (but high quality) places down the back alleys and in the residential areas that one's less likely to find on your own. Some were grittily authentic in food and decor (two were like stepping back into a neo-Realist interior from the 1950s). Others were pushing the boundaries of Italian cuisine (usually very) gently - so if you're looking for the big, bold flavours and atmosphere of a traditional Trattoria, some of the smaller, quieter, more serious places in this guide may not be the best for you. Conversely, if you're interested in a range of good places with interesting, quality food, this guide may help.

As far as I know it's only available in Italian.

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I've not seen mention of it yet on this thread, but I used the (bright orange) 'I ristoranti d'Italia 2006 (Le Guide de L'Espresso)' on a series of trips in the last year or two. 

Thank You !!!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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For those that have a working knowledge of Italian food terms (or at least can decipher numeric or symbolic ratings schemes!), add to L'Espresso the following: Veronelli, Piccinardi and Massobrio's two Guida Criticas for Piemonte and Lombardia, respectively. Along with Michelin's Red Guide, Gambero Rosso, Osterie d' Italia, Plotkin and Willinger, that is pretty much the reliable critical universe on Italian ristoranti, and all that you could possibly need or want. Great to hear that a new edition of Fred Plotkin's guide is on its way. His cookbooks are killer stuff also...

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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The revised edition of Fred Plotkin's book is available in the UK and from Amazon.co.uk.

It will not be released in the US until May, a full year after the Brits bought theirs.

Source: LRK.

I'm due to go to Italy in a couple of weeks and am curious if anyone knows if Plotkin's book (which I loved and trusted) is available now in France or Italy; and are the 2007 GR and Osterie books out yet. I'll do plan to buy what I can at the Italian book store in Paris tmrw. Thanks. John

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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The revised edition of Fred Plotkin's book is available in the UK and from Amazon.co.uk.

It will not be released in the US until May, a full year after the Brits bought theirs.

Source: LRK.

I'm due to go to Italy in a couple of weeks and am curious if anyone knows if Plotkin's book (which I loved and trusted) is available now in France or Italy; and are the 2007 GR and Osterie books out yet. I'll do plan to buy what I can at the Italian book store in Paris tmrw. Thanks. John

The 2007 GR and Osterie books have been out for several months.

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I'm due to go to Italy in a couple of weeks and am curious if anyone knows if Plotkin's book (which I loved and trusted) is available now in France or Italy; and are the 2007 GR and Osterie books out yet.  I'll do plan to buy what I can at the Italian book store in Paris tmrw. Thanks.  John

Slightly off thread:

I will be in Paris in mid May. Where is the Italian Bootkstore there?

Thanks

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for anyone who is interested, i contacted fred to ask about the us revision of "gourmet traveller." here is his response. actually, a good little peek into the world of publishing:

Greetings to all visitors to eGullet....This is Fred Plotkin writing. My friend Russ Parsons mentioned that there was some discussion about the state of Italy for the Gourmet Traveller. I thank you for your kind comments about the book and want to give you the latest news: The book was published in the US in 1996 by Little, Brown. It was then published in the UK by Kyle Cathie, an excellent publisher. I did an updated edition in the UK in 2000 and another in 2003. These were not printed in an American edition because Little, Brown preferred to keep selling the original. I did a very substantial revision for Kyle Cathie that was published in 2006. I did add to Piemonte, I took out many dated listings throughout the country, and I addressed changes in the way people eat, the new anti-smoking laws, and many other topics. There are some few places where the word lire was not corrected to reflect the Euro value, but I use a word scale of inexpensive, moderately inexpensive, moderate, and so forth, so please don't get too exercised if you see the word lire here and there. I completely revised the dining suggestions in Rome, Florence, Venice, Trieste, Bologna and Milan, keeping places I still enjoy and tossing out ones that do not make it for me. I have tried where possible to reflect other changes I have perceived in Italy. I continue to travel there a great deal and will be in about ten regions in 2007, including Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Lombardia, Trentino, Alto Adige, Marche, Toscana, Lazio, Puglia, Calabria and Sicilia. So I keep taking notes.

The new 2006 edition, called Italy for the Gourmet Traveller, has a red and tan cover with a motor scooter on it. If I may immodestly say, it got sensational reviews in the UK, made many "Best of Year" lists and has sold very well. People in America, France, Italy and elsewhere were able to purchase it at www.amazon.co.uk. Because it has sold well, I know that supplies ran low. A second printing is happening and there is the intention to bring it into America. The main obstacle has been my old American publisher, but we hope that will be resolved by early spring. So, if you wish to own it, I suggest you pre-order at the British Amazon site, and I hope you will get it very soon. If you have suggestions, comments, corrections, etc for the book or inspired by your own travels, send them to fspinnyc@hotmail.com, which is specially set up for that purpose. I don't see this account all the time, but get to it enough to respond when possible. Ciao, e buon viaggio a tutti! Fred

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I will be in Paris in mid May. Where is the Italian Bootkstore there?

There are two; the bigger one with more cooking/food guides etc is La Libreria – 89, rue du Faubourg Poissonnière 75009 Paris (tél. 01 40 22 06 94). They did not have, however, the new Gambero Rosso or Osterie guides.

The second is called the Tour de Babel – an Italian bookstore and is at 10 rue du Roi de Sicile 75004 Paris (tel. 01 42 77 32 40).

Edited by John Talbott to add second bookstore.

Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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