I always tell my ‘Together in Rome’ customers on food walking tours to be aware of tourist traps. In Rome we have had tourism – starting with religious pilgrimages – since the VII century after Christ. And the Papal Jubilees every 25 years attract mass Catholic pilgrimages to their sacred city.
So the Romans know how to “squeeze the loving life” from a tourist, if you know what I mean 🙂
Also with a pasta and pizza joint virtually on every corner, how do you go about finding excellence?
Well, a few rules to follow are these:
1) When someone “smooth talks you” into entering their establishment – just don’t go! Their smooth talk actually does you a favour. Why? Because real Italian restaurants just don’t need to do that … they don’t send their employees out to recruit people off the street!
2) Stay away from checker table cloths and food displayed in colourful arrangements, (often on a wine barrel). Those are used to attract foreign tourists. We Italians don’t need to see pasta and pizza displayed outside a restaurant. We know what it looks like; they have fed it to us since we were 2 years old! 🙂
3) TripAdvisor Reviews are great to find good places, but I suggest that you read those comments written by Italian folks. With all due respect to what a foreigner may consider delicious, it is not always from the same perspective as the Italian locals.
What I mean is that we do have very high standard in food out there, so if you follow the locals you can’t go wrong. And this rule applies everywhere.
I try to point out to my customers the logo of a respected Italian Cuisine-Ratings Company that publishes rankings of food and wine establishments. Their name is Gambero Rosso and the logo displays a red shrimp. Anyway, every place that receives a Gambero Rosso logo red sticker is ‘finger lickin’ good’, according to Italian standards; therefore keep your eyes open and … follow the red shrimp!
On our ‘Together in Rome’ Wine and Food Walking Tours we do go to Red Shrimp-awarded establishments and our selections are so outstanding that even the Italian locals love them!