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courtesy PChen
Mid-day break
Home can be tasty
A Roman Dinner
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Pu's Sunday Lunch
Pu's evening alone
Our brief stop to visit our relatives in Avellino netted us some unexpected culinary delights of the sweet kind. My cousin and his wife run a pastry-shop-factory in the town, and we were invited on a tour. This included generous samplings of what pastries they had on offer.
Racks of Pastries
Pastries for sale
Paolo's wedding pics
courtesy JInnes
Pu and his Cappucino
Rome street-eating
As we started to head back north from Rome, we sampled several excellent eateries in various cities along the way. In Pisa, for example, we stumbled upon a great little spot called Il Nuraghe. I can't remember what called us to it - the menu, or perhaps the low brick vaulted ceiling at the entrance. In any case, we decided to eat here.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Il Nuraghe
Waiting for appetizers
Minestrone at Il Nuraghe
It wasn't particularly busy, but the place seemed no-too-touristy, which we liked (of course, I guess we ourselves were spoiling that, no?). The menus came in Italian (without english), so some translations by me were required. There seemed to be an emphasis on seafood dishes (much to Pu and Jenn's delight).

Even better was the jovial man that came to take our orders - the chef himself, as it turned out! Ordering directly from him was fun - we were able to ask specific questions about preparation; he gave us suggestions and recommendations as we went along; and he was more than happy to agree to little customizations, such as sauce type and the like.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Octopus Salad
Prosciutto e Melone
Ravioli at Il Nuraghe
I don't remember everything we had, but for starters I had a minestrone soup, Jenn had an interesting-looking octopus salad, and Pu had a very classic Italian antipasto: prosciutto e melone. Jenn continued her sea-themed dinner with a plate of Ravioli alla sarda, which I believe is fish-filled ravioli (and with the Ravioli itself being made from dark-colored seaweed). Pu again went classical with a more plain-looking dish of ravioli or agnolotti.
courtesy PChen
Speaking with the Chef
Afterwards, we had more pleasant interactions with the chef (from whom I get the impression that this restaurant has pretty much been his whole life for many decades). And then, a nearly-completely illegible bill (which made it a bit difficult to split up the costs, but at least the final amount was readable!). Il Nuraghe is definitely a truly enjoyable little spot with much character!
courtesy PChen
Jenn, Chef, and Pu
As we continued north, I had been formulating an idea based on some comments from our 'homefood' event from the week before. If you recall from my 'homefood' meal description above, we had met a family from San Francisco; they had been very focused on the Italian culinary experience during their travels, and I recall them talking about the city of Bologna and it's rich and delicious food history. Even more specifically, they had dropped the names of a few especially good restaurants they had visited. Well, I thought to myself, Bologna is one the way from Pisa to the Dolomites, maybe we could stop in Bologna and sample one of these restaurants. I ran these ideas past Pu and Jenn, and they were keen to do it. So, off to Bologna we went!

The recommeded restaurant is called Trattoria Serghei, and it is tiny little restaurant whose fame has apparently spread quite far. It serves traditional Bolognese items and has been run by the same family for decades upon decades. We were anxious to try it.

We wandered the narrow side-streets of old Bologna to the address of the restaurant, and found that it was closed. Looking at the door, we saw that the restaurant is only open for a few hours at lunch, and two hours for dinner in the evening (from 7 to 9pm). We were ok with that, though - we'd come back for dinner.
courtesy PChen
Trattoria Serghei
Entrance Vestibule, Serghei
Dining Area, Serghei
We returned back to the restaurant shortly after 7pm. We had neglected to call ahead to reserve (figuring we'd be there soon after opening, so we could probably squeeze in), and this turned out to be a risky but ultimately lucky thing for us. In short, they were fully-booked for the evening. If we had called over the phone, they would have said so and that would have been that. However, in being there in person right at opening time (and perhaps they could see genuine disappointment growing on our faces), we must have struck them the right way, and after a bit of rapid-fire Italian to a room in the back, the waiter at the door said that he could squeeze us in before the reservation-holding people all showed up.
courtesy PChen
Serghei Place-setting
A bit of Bologna
Dining Area, Serghei
We had a thoroughly enjoyable meal here. The menus were in Italian (ok for me, a bit harder for Pu and Jenn), but I helped them, and all was ok on that front. I had a delicious filet of steak and side dish of very nicely-prepared spinach; Jenn had a serving of Roast Rabbit, and I believe Pu chose the tagliatelle with tomato and meat sauce - a very traditional Bolognese entree.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Pu's tagliatelle
Roast Rabbit
Dining Area, Serghei
Our dinner at Serghei was a little pricier than some other places we had recently sampled, but the food had been great, and the atmosphere fantastic as well. That made two family-run authentic restaurants in two nights in two different cities!

I had also heard of a must-have gelato place in Bologna (again, from our acquaintainces at the 'homefood' dinner) that, according to my GPS, wasn't a very far walk away. So, with a warm evening now upon us, we decided to saunter down to this gelato bar (called Venchi) and get the scoop on it, as it were. We all found the gelato to be superb, but Jenn's experience was a bit marred by a somewhat surly server.
Venchi Gelato Bar
We stayed in several rifugios during our stay. Most offered very substantial and hearty dinner meals, often including pasta dishes, soups, meat plates, and polentas.
Rifugio Dining
Pasta in Brodo
Bar, Passo Falzarego
Thus concludes my short treatise on the gastronomic highlights of our trip!
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[ Europe 2010 home page | Introduction | Wedding | Heading to Riva | Wine Tour | Cima Carega Climb | Cima Carega Descent | Cima SAT Climb | Homefood Dinner | Riva Cycle Ride | Rome I | Rome II | Rome III | Rome IV | Pisa | Pisa & Bologna | Dolomites - Lagazuoi | Dolomites - Ferrata Tomaselli | Return Home | Supplemental - Asmir's Bachelor Party | Supplemental - Avellino | Supplemental - Food | GPS Data ]

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