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Chefs + Restaurants

Colman Andrews’s Favorite Restaurants in Italy

January 2007
Tuscan restaurant Gambero Rosso, featured in Gourmet's January issue, may be contributing editor Colman Andrews's latest find, but when it comes to Italian restaurants, he has a long list of favorites. Here are his top five.

Ristorante del Cambio (Piazza Carignano 2, Turin 011- 546-690) This historic restaurant (it was founded as a caffé in 1757) is simply beautiful, with its antique chandeliers, frescoed walls, and tall, arched mirrors. And the cooking—classic with contemporary accents—is immensely satisfying, from risotto with Barolo and agnolotti moistened with meat juices to sweetbreads with porcini and "gran fritto misto alla piemontese," a mix of fried meats, offal, and vegetables.

Harry's Bar (Calle Vallaresso, San Marco 1323, Venice; 0415-285-777) Sure, it's expensive and full of attitude, and sure, the food is uneven—though the carpaccio (invented here), the tagliolini gratinati, and the torta alla zabaione never disappoint—but it's Harry's, like no place else in the world.

Paolo & Barbara (Via Roma 47, Sanremo; 0184-531-653) With its superb modern Ligurian cuisine, imaginative but rooted in tradition, based on extraordinary seafood (the shrimp of Sanremo are especially famous), vegetables from the owners' own garden, wild game from the backcountry, and other impeccable products, it's one of the best restaurants in Italy by any reckoning.

Parizzi (Strada della Repubblica 71, Parma; 0521-285-952) The traditional local cooking served in this pleasant dining room is spectacular (herb-filled tortelli, stuffed rabbit Parma-style) and there are always innovations (basil-flecked pasta with ragł of John Dory), but the real attractions here are the selection of cured meats, including a tasting plate of flawless prosciutto of three different ages, and the assortment of Parmigiano-Reggianos from different regions and of different ages.

Sabatini (Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere 13, Rome; 065-812-026) Perfect bruschetta, spaghetti with clams, grilled scampi, and oxtail stewed Roman-style, among many other dishes, with urbane service and an intimate view of the goings-on in one of Europe's liveliest and prettiest squares—Sabatini is Rome.