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Italy's best restaurants

Italy’s restaurants are some of the world’s finest; there is a venue to suit any taste, from traditional Italian fare to something more exotic. Verity Hogan dines out at a selection of the best

City Guide
Verity Hogan,

Combining innovative Japanese cuisine with contemporary Italian design, Zero is one of the city’s most popular restaurants. The open kitchen provides endless entertainment, with the 18-seater sushi bar offering the best seats in the house from which to watch head chef Hide Shinohara and his team at work. Dishes are experimental and make the most of intriguing flavours; truffles, caviar, foie gras and fennel all feature on the menu. Classic dishes, including miso soup and seared tuna steaks, are offered alongside more innovative creations; burnt sushi and fish fillets wrapped around Turin breadsticks have both spurred imitations across Europe.

Zero, Corso Magenta 87, 20123 Milan, +39 02 4547 4733


Tuna has long been a well-kept secret among locals, but with a vast, seafood-only menu and exquisite interior it is more than deserving of wider attention. The seafood selection ranges from crayfish to sea truffles and urchins, all caught fresh from the Mediterranean and simply prepared to ensure natural flavours come to the fore. The simplest dishes are some of the most effective; spaghetti with sea-urchin pulp, calamari with a guacamole sauce and sliced swordfish with capers all come highly recommended. The restaurant interior embodies Rome’s romantic side; its all-white décor looks at its best by candlelight.

Tuna, Via Vittorio Veneto 11, 00187 Rome, +39 06 4201 6531


Il Pagliaccio
This charming Rome restaurant has flourished thanks to the experimental flair of chef Anthony Genovese. His twists on classic Italian cuisine range from cheese and mushroom ravioli served with a black tea consommé to a Moroccan-influenced spiced lamb with chickpeas and apricots. The décor similarly combines tradition with more contemporary design touches; tiled flooring and arched doorways nod to the area’s heritage, while modern art installations add a futuristic feel. Be sure to stay for dessert; French pastry chef Marion Lichtle is internationally renowned for her unusual sweet creations.

Il Pagliaccio, Via dei Banchi Vecchi 129A, 00186 Rome, +39 06 6880 9595


Bistrot de Venice
Bistrot de Venise has seen a number of exciting developments since it first opened in 1993, including a Michelin recommendation and a growing body of research into rare wines and historical Venetian cuisine. The result is a carefully thought-out menu of ancient and modern plates and a wine list that draws on local and regional favourites, plus there are eight varieties of grappa to choose from.

Bistrot de Venise, Calle dei Fabbri, San Marco 4685, 30124 Venice, +39 041 523 6651



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