Many of these restaurants I haven’t been to in a few years and some I have been to repeatedly. The common theme for all of these places has been that they have made me think and contemplate what I do for a living. They all provide great food, but you can get that anywhere. These places gave me a sense of place, a deep understanding of their vision and most importantly great hospitality. They have all essentially made me better. In no particular order…
QUINZI E GABRIELLI
Via delle Coppelle, 5, 00186 Roma
+39 06 687 9389
An amazing fish spot around the corner from the Pantheon. I particularly love their approach to raw fish. Great ambiance and amazing wine list.
portonovo, le marche
Via Porto Novo, 60020 Ancona, Italy
+ 39 07 18 01 422
Moreno Cedroni is a fun, whimsical and very talented Chef. Il Clandestine is a quiet tucked away restaurant that serves Italian Susci (sushi) on the Adriatic. Dining with your toes in the sand and candles flickering all around can't be beat and the menu is delicious and incredibly creative. It’s only open seasonally during the summer months with few tourists. It’s a great place to visit and explore.
Via Portonovo, 171, 60020 Ancona, Italy
+39 07 18 01 384
I love this small family style restaurant. The food is so simple and perfectly executed. It reminds me of what people have come to expect from good Italian restaurants: dependability and goodness. Years ago, I went to work there for a few weeks because I loved it so much.
IL RISTORANTE ALL'ENOTECA
Via Roma 57, Canale 12043
+39 01 73 95 857
A few years ago while traveling through Piedmont with my wife, we went to all’Enoteca for lunch and stayed for hours. It was ambitious and wonderful, soulful and correct. Chef Davide Palluda was a true gentleman and welcomed us with a huge smile and wonderful food.
Mühlen, South Tirol, Italy
Schloss-Schöneck-Str. 11 • I-39030 Pfalzen - Mühlen
+39 04 74 56 55 50
This isn’t your typical “Italian” experience. I love the food here and the warmth of the chef and team. It’s feels like a home and the food is to die for. It speaks to the region of Tirol more than it speaks to Italy as a whole. I love every moment of it.
Santa Monica, California
1810 Ocean Avenue
+1 310 394 5550
I could sit in this dining room, drink wine and let the kitchen cook for me everyday. It’s so pleasant and professional with its laid-back California vibe. Like an Italian bistro by the ocean.
2-12-35 Kitaaoyama, Kojima Bldg. 1F, Minato 107-0061, Tokyo Prefecture
+81 3 5414 3723
All I can say about the Italian food in Japan is that it's on another level. The reverence to food that the Japanese hold is unparalleled. After years of working in Italy, many chefs come home to Japan and open Italian restaurants. Ristorante Honda is among my favorites but is by no means the only one. There are simply too many to name.