It's funny to me how travelers are disinclined to walk just 5 minutes away from the tourist zone to find a restaurant filled with locals (not tourists) that offers double the joy, taste, and memories. (At Antica Trattoria da Tito in Florence you pay about $10 per plate, and I splurged about $40 for a corposo bottle of Brunello di Montalcino -- from the Altesino Winery, which we filmed last week.) When researching, I spend my days working on sight listings and my evenings sussing out the restaurant scene for my guidebook. And at the end of the evening, my treat: I eat at my favorite place. But before I sit down, I always take a moment to walk through the restaurant just to feel the vibe, assess the clientele, and look at the food being served. During my little spin here, I bumped into Bobo, the chef and owner. He took the words right out of my mouth: "Good energy!" Tip: To dine in a high-energy place like this, come early for more sanity...late for less sanity.
This is Day 22 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Find more at blog.ricksteves.com.