Looking for the most upscale restaurants in Rome, Florence, and Venice? With our authentic, expert-approved places to try, we've got your Italy trip covered. You'll find our favorites are soon to be yours in our below curated list.
Dining in Italy: 13 Fine Restaurants in Rome, Florence, and Venice
Dining in Italy is an experience in itself, and each city you visit will offer its own unique flavors and specialties. If you're looking for a fine dining experience while traveling, we give you an insight into 13 of our favorites! Here's a glimpse into what you can expect in Rome, Florence, and Venice for one major dinner splurge!
Upscale Restaurants in the Big 3: Top 13 list from our Top Italy Experts
Antico Arco Romantic Restaurant in Rome
Situated in a small 18th century palace on the Janiculum Hill not far from Trastevere, this elegant restaurant is open only for dinner. Specialties include onion flan with Parmesan cheese, guinea fowl in truffle sauce and roast duck in bitter orange sauce accompanied by a sesame-flavored chutney. Don't miss the chocolate cake and the homemade Sicilian cassata for dessert. Reservations recommended.
Il Convivio Troiani Michelin-starred Restaurant in Rome
Il Convivio is probably the best combination of interesting food and elegant premises in the historic center of Rome. The superb food of the three Troiani brothers shows plenty of fantasy: a recent autumn menu included dishes like pumpkin dumplings with white quail ragout and porcini mushrooms or roast rabbit with herbs, savoy cabbage, dried tomatoes, olives, mussels and white wine sauce. Gianduia ice cream accompanied by a small grilled sliced pear provided an elegant finish. The wine list is extraordinary, with some offerings by the glass.
Il Pagliaccio Michelin-starred Restaurant in Rome
Anthony Genovese is an award-winning Calabrese French chef whose Il Pagliaccio restaurant near Piazza Navona offers one of the best-value gourmet dinners in Rome. Genovese's risk-taking approach is clearly illustrated in an antipasto of small fried fish served with tomato and basil ice cream and coriander-flavored cucumber jelly; creations like this earned him a second Michelin star in 2008. But his skill is equally evident in less flashy dishes like gnocchi with lamb and two varieties of wild mushrooms. Leave room for pastry chef Marion Lichtle's excellent desserts.
La Pergola Michelin-starred Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel in Rome
One of the top establishments in Rome where you'll find excellent Italian cuisine prepared by a world-famous chef in an elegant setting with a breathtaking view of Rome. Reservations are essential at this upscale place but then tasting Chef Heinz Beck's beef carpaccio on green tea and licorice gelatin with cauliflower and caviar is not an every-day experience! It's dishes like these that have earned Beck three Michelin stars. Open for dinner only; reservations necessary.
Quinzi e Gabrieli Fish & Seafood Restaurant in Rome
In an ancient 16th century palace on a small street near the Pantheon, this is one of Rome's most celebrated fish and seafood restaurants. All the food is cooked in open kitchens right in front of the clients; the secret of the two partners, Alberto Quinzi and Enrico Gabrieli, is to have only the best-quality fish cooked in the simplest way.
Buca Lapi Traditional Restaurant in Florence
This hidden gem is located in the ancient cellars of Palazzo Antinori and is one of the the oldest restaurants in Florence. A cave-like environment opens up to vaulted ceilings covered in travel posters from all over the globe. Only the freshest local ingredients are used to create authentic Tuscan dishes like fried artichokes, ribollita (a Tuscan bread and vegetable stew), fresh pappardelle with wild boar sauce and bistecca alla fiorentina. The wine list is excellent; open for dinner only.
Cibreo High-end Ristorante in Florence
The food at Cibreo is fantastic, from the creamy crostini di fegatini (a savory chicken-liver spread) to the melt-in-your-mouth desserts. If you thought you'd never try tripe - let alone like it - their delicious cold tripe salad with parsley and garlic will change your mind. Chef Fabio Picchi's unsolicited advice on what to order is a sign of his enthusiasm for cooking. Reservations are essential.
Enoteca Pinchiorri Michelin-starred Restaurant in Florence
Pinchiorri has often been described as Italy's finest restaurant (and one of the most expensive). It boasts what many have called the greatest wine cellar in Europe with over 80,000 French and Italian vintages. The setting, the ground floor of a Renaissance palace, is matched by the excellence of Annie Feolde's award-winning cooking, a mixture of Tuscan and French inspired cucina nuova. The set-price menu' degustazione includes glasses of wine appropriate to each course; this allows you to sample the cellar without having to buy whole bottles. Not everyone will be comfortable with the ceremony and seriousness that is attached to eating and drinking at Pinchiorri. Reservations required.
La Giostra Cozy Restaurant in Florence
The Hapsburg prince Dimitri d'Asburgo Lorena, owner and chef of La Giostra, passed away in March 2008 but the restaurant's tradition of hospitality is being ably continued by his son, Soldano. A complimentary antipasto platter and a flute of spumante is offered before you plunge into the tasty and creative menu which includes delicious homemade pasta and a wiener schnitzel so big it hangs off the sides of the plate! Don't leave without sampling the sinfully rich Viennese Sachertorte, made from an old Hapsburg family recipe. Reservations recommended.
Al Covo Classic Restaurant in Venice
Chef and owner Cesare Benelli and his friendly Texan wife, Diane Rankin, serve only the freshest seafood creations in their lovely little restaurant off the Riva degli Schiavoni. Some of the delicious dishes are baked pasta with fish filling, tempura-style Dublin bay prawns, soft-shell crabs or monkfish with vegetables. Popular with American food writers, Al Covo shows up on the short list of every food-loving American tourist - a must for those who appreciate fine food and wine served in a comfortable atmosphere! Reservations strongly recommended.
Cip's Club Restaurant in Venice with City View
The restaurant of the Hotel Cipriani provides one of the most evocative views in the world: St. Mark's basin and the Piazza as seen from the hotel's magical floating terrace that is decorated in the style of the deck of a private yacht. Here are served classic Venetian dishes, as well as pizzas, calzoni and bruschette prepared in a wood-fired oven built by Neapolitan craftsmen who came to Venice especially for this job.
Al Graspo de Ua Classic Restaurant in Venice
Longtime Harry's Bar manager Lucio Zanon brought glamour and great food back to this former celebrity stomping ground with a stunning restoration in 2000. The menu includes innovations (grilled Tomino cheese with nuts) and classics (delicate fish stew); the witty, wine-centric quotes on the 19th-century rafters have also been preserved. Reservations recommended.
Da Fiore Traditional Restaurant in Venice
You need to reserve far in advance at Da Fiore, one of Venice's finest restaurants. The modest exterior of what was originally a simple wine shop gives no hint of the superb cuisine that awaits you within. All varieties of seafood are prepared in the most creative ways by the mother-son pair Mara and Damiano Martin, chefs and owners; everything is delicious in this fine restaurant that has become a Venetian classic.
- Make reservations in advance.This is especially important during peak season.
- Be prepared for a leisurely dining experience. Italians typically take their time over meals, so don't expect to be rushed.
- Learn a few basic Italian phrases. This will go a long way with the locals and help you have a more enjoyable experience.
- Enjoy the experience! Italian food is meant to be savored, so relax and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings.
- Don't be afraid to try something new! Italian cuisine is full of delicious surprises.
I hope this helps you plan your dining adventures in these upscale Italian restaurants in Rome, Florence, and Venice!