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RS “best of Italy” day off restaurant recommends

Hi everyone-
We loved our recent RS “Best of Italy” tour. Just got home last night. It was beyond what we expected and we loved it! So so incredible! Anyone gearing up for the trip- be prepared to be busy. Magnificent!
I have used this website prior to trip so much, so wanted to share the info for a couple of very very good (and quite expensive restaurants -100-200 euros per couple depending on what you order) we loved. I made reservations well in advance. I suggest you do as well. We actually had someone offer us money for our reservation at Michelin starred restaurants in Siena and Cinque Terre, so please make reservations if you want to get into one of these spots.
My husband and I were frequently with another couple and we always asked ahead of time to split the bill and they always did. If we didn’t ask ahead, it was sometimes difficult.
Next, my husband and I always ordered at least 3 courses and we usually split EVERYTHING. Sometimes ordered our own pasta course then shared other courses. In Italy- menus are usually split into 4 courses- appetizer, first course (usually pasta or risotto) second course (usually meat) and dessert or cheese finish. Most of the time, it’s too much to order it all for yourself. All places were fine with us splitting courses, and we got a taste of everything. Just make sure to mention that you are splitting. Most places divided into plates for our split meals. We got tastes of everything and no waitstaff seemed like that was unusual request. Order what you like from the wine menu and in these expensive restaurants- don’t be bullied into ordering wine more expensive than your entire meal. Unless you are a wine aficionado and that is part of your dining experience! With a sense of humor and grace- be careful about ordering wine. For us- even the inexpensive wine on the menu was quite delicious- you are in Italy, after all!

We found that using our “tourist” Italian speaking skills always got a smile and appreciation. If you are fluent in Italian, more power to you! We had such good experiences at each of these restaurants- exquisite food, delicious food and friendly and delightful waitstaff added to the positive experience.
Last- here are our favorite meals. Very good, you may want to pick one!
By the way- group dinners are sooo good! We loved them just as much as the dinners I planned.
Here are my off night dinners I reserved-

In Varenna- delicious
Reserve outdoor seating if the weather is good…

https://www.albergomilanovarenna.com/ristorante-la-vista/

https://www.albergodulac.com/en-GB/ristorante-du-lac-varenna-lago-di-como

Cinque Terre - have to call to get reservation

https://www.ristorantetortuga.it/en-gb/home

Florence-

https://labuchetta.com/

Siena - call for reservation

https://www.tavernasangiuseppe.it/

I hope if you reserve- your experience is as great as ours was! Happy, safe, and inspired travels
Lisa

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Thank you so much! Good to have a few more expensive restaurant ideas. About the wine selection - My Italian relatives taught me to order "vino della casa", (house wine) and unlike in the US, it doesn't mean the cheapest necessarily, but what the restaurant recommends as a good wine at a decent price point. My H & I have always been happy with it in simple pizzerias as well as slightly more expensive places.