The HeartRome 50 dining highlights of 2016

This was one of the hardest pieces I’ve had to put together all year. How does one wrap up a year of dining experiences when it seems that whether it’s been for work or pleasure, food has been the one constant! 

From Michelin stars in Paris, Rome, Capri, San Sebastián, Modena, Bilbao and Verona to trattorias, pizzerias, cafes, street food carts, pubs and gelaterias, here are the 50 highlights of my 2016 in plates! In no particular order, I might add. 

L’Epicure, Paris 

Because: This is where the Michelin Guide began and eating at a 3 star establishment in Paris doesn’t happen every day! (Read more about my experience here)Semilla, Paris 

Because: The degustation was simple, tasty and inexpensive! Cafe de Flor, Paris 

Because: Writers, poets and even revolutionaries have eaten at this historic cafè! Stazione di Posta, Rome 

Because: Molecular dining in Rome on the site that was once the largest slaughterhouse in Europe has never looked this good. La Tavernaccia Da Bruno, Rome 

Because: You’re made to feel right at home in this hearty Roman Trattoria with a touch of gourmet. (Read more hereCrudo DOP, Rome 

Because: The fish is so fresh you may as well have caught it yourself! Sushi Samba, London

Beacause: Carrie Bradshaw did. Ai Marmi, Rome 

Because: There’s nothing more Roman than lining up on Viale Trastevere and waiting for a table to eat here! (Check out my list of fave pizzas in RomeIl Baretto, Baglioni Carlton, Milan 

Because: The food is divine and the place is a touch of old world class. (I found a different kind of Milan this year, one that’s cooler than everMarzapane, Roma

Because: The setting is sleek and the food is to die for. (My Marzapane restaurant review) Irene, Hotel Savoy, Florence 

Because: You’d be hard-pressed to find a meal as good as this right behind the touristy duomo! (Clcik here for my review of Irene restaurantTrippaio di San Freddiano, Florence  

Because: It was my first ever lampredotto! This panino filled with tripe is the Florentine’s fave street food snack. (Here are my 8 things to do in FlorenceIl Carro, Pratola Peligna, Abruzzo

Because: Year after year, this family run place doesn’t disappoint with the best arrosticini!!Narru, San Sebastián 

Because: This pork dish was one of the best of my life! This place is no fuss, typically good and clean basque cuisine. La Vina, San Sebastián

Because: This cheesecake changed my life. That’s all. (And you can read more about my San Sebastián food trip hereIl Desco, Verona 

Because: Verona is so pretty and romantic that it’s made for fancy dinners like this! (Read more here)  Flavio al Velavevodetto, Rome 

Because: I think it’s still hands down, one of the best trattorias in Rome. Da Enzo, Rome 

Because: I eat burrata every time I step foot in the door. My fave go to in Rome and it never lets me down! (For more places to eat in Trastevere, click herePasticceria Lullo, Guardiagrele, Abruzzo

Because: They have this pastry called “Nun’s Tits”! It’s delicious by the way!! (If you want to read about this sweet and Abruzzo click hereNerua, Bilbao 

Because: I don’t mind a spot of refined dining in a world famous museum (Guggenheim). (Read more hereAkellare, San Sebastián 

Because: San Sebastián has more Michelin starred restaurants per capital than Paris or Tokyo and I had to try one! It was pretty phenomenal. Zuma, Rome 

Because: I love modern Japanese fusion cuisine. And it’s in one of the most stunning locations – atop the Fendi store and new Fendi Suites. (Read all about why I think Zuma belongs in RomeTrapetto di Caprafico, Chieti Province, Abruzzo 

Because: You can never beat a home cooked meal in Abruzzo – especially at a family run winery!  Colonnades at the Signet Library, Edinburgh 

Because:  I’m a sucker for high tea and when it’s a surprise organised by special friends in a library, it’s all the better!  (Read more about Edinburgh here) Antica Focacceria Sapori Siciliani, Cefalù, Sicily 

Because: This Sicilian style focaccia (sfincione) blew my mind! Osteria Francescana, Modena 

Because: It’s currently the number #1 restaurant in the world and I got to interview chef Massimo Bottura.  (Read more here)Franceschetta 58, Modena 

Beacause: Bottura’s casual outpost is not a poor man’s Francescana but perfect in its own way.Trattoria Bianca, Modena 

Because: Real home style Modenese cuisine doesn’t get much better than this. (And if you can’t get a booking at Osteria Francescana check out this list)Gaijin, Helsinki 

Because: I love contemporary Asian fusion and plate after plate I was impressed. Ravintola Savoy, Helsinki 

Because: While it’s apparently not as good as it used to be, it’s still the most famous and longstanding restaurant in Helsinki. And the dessert was fantastic!Festingen Restautant, Oslo 

Because: It simply blew me away. The wine, the food, the view, the service! Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin, Oslo

Because: Everything was so simple, tasty and fresh! And the setting on Oslo’s waterfront is way too pretty! (My quick guide to Oslo here) Osteria der Belli, Rome 

Because: They make the best spaghetti alle vongole in Rome. And because they treat me like family! Pianostrada, Rome

Because:  These four women cook up an absolute storm – one of the best in Rome (and now in swanky cool new premises) Sbanco, Roma 

Because: Stefano Callegari is a pizza genius and he’s don’t it again with Sbanco. (Full review of Sbanco here)Molo 10, Rome 

Because: I felt like I was dining at the bench in the heart of Rome. (Quick link to my Molo 10 review here)Tordomatto, at Taste of Rome Festival

Because: In a sea of Michelin starred dishes, this coda alla vaccinara crumbed ball was the highlight of my day!!Ristorante Michel’Angelo, Capri 

Because: I love Holly and Gianluca and because the ravioli caprese are the best you’ll find on the island! (I wrote about my Capri experience hereIl Riccio, Capri 

Because: Michelin star dining doesn’t get more casual! The freshest quality seafood at a beach club – yes please! Trattoria le Zia, Lecce, Puglia 

Because: I felt like I’d walked into my own Zia’s house. And the food was just as good! (The whole story is hereMlinar Bakery, Rovinj, Croatia 

Because: I can’t live without buttery and flaky burek! (My guide to RovinjCortile Pepe, Cefalù, Sicily 

Because: Nothing beats stumbling upon contemporary Sicilian dining down backstreet alley ways. (Here’s my Cefalù guideRistorante Consorzio, Torino 

Because: It’s twice now and it doesn’t disappoint. A four course quality lunch for under €40! (For more tips here’s my Turin guide)Noma, Copenhagen 

Because: Need I explain? It’s not every day you fly into Copenhagen for less than 24 hours to dine at one of the worlds most famous dining establishments. (Read more hereAroma, Roma 

Because: The view says it all. Probably the best dining view in Rome. (For other restaurant options near the Colosseum, read my post about where to eat near Rome’s monumentsRetrobottega, Roma 

Because: I love checking out new openings and when they feed me steamed buns, all the better! Hot Cross Buns in Rome, Latteria Studio pop up Easter bakery 

Because: A little taste of Australia in Rome made me smile this Easter. Nonna Ciana Cooking Class, Siena, Tuscany 

Because: Cooking with a Tuscan nonna in Siena was loads more fun than I expected! (Read all about my Siena trip here!) Abitudini e Follie, Roma 

Because: I’ll never forget this box of surprises – a bread and savoury bake box!  Glass Hostaria, Roma 

Because: Cristina Bowerman and her innovations rarely disappoint! 

Happy new year to you all and I hope your 2017 is full of adventure and lots of food! 

Signing off from Melbourne, 

Baci Maria 

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