When preparing to travel to a new city or country for the first time, I begin my research by talking with someone who travels there regularly and has a strong viewpoint on some points of interest.
If Italy is your destination, you’ll benefit from the knowledge of Chef Dave Anoia who uses annual visits to Bel Paese (the beautiful country) as inspiration for his own Italian restaurant, DiAnoia’s Eatery in Pittsburgh.
Anoia is Italian-American and opened his restaurant with business partner, and wife, Aimee in 2016. Prior to that, he worked at Arterra in San Diego before moving to Spoon and BRGR in Pittsburgh. Chef is passionate about Italian cuisine and the inspiration he finds during his annual treks. He takes a few minutes to share his Italian favorites.
Favorite City In Which To Eat?
Modena. The food is so simple and comforting in Modena. Tortellini en brodo is famous in this region and it’s one of my favorite dishes, in addition to bronzino crudo. You can find the best tortellini en brodo in an unassuming small restaurant called Trattoria Aldina.
Best Market Experience?
Mercato Albinelli in Modena is a food lover’s dream. The architecture and lighting in the relatively petite building highlights the freshness of the food.
Top Food Producer?
Modena is also known for its balsamic vinegar and it’s amazing. I recommend visiting a fantastic producer to see how it’s made in the traditional way at Acetaia di Giorgio. While you’re at it, be sure to visit the local parmigiano reggiano producers in the area.
Favorite Michelin-Star Restaurant?
In addition to the superb and simple cuisine in Modena, you also have Osteria Francescana—which is one of the top-rated restaurants in the world from chef Massimo Bottura.
All-Time Favorite Restaurant?
Trattoria Buzzino in Florence has become a favorite of mine and Aimee, my wife and business partner. Not only for the food, but the atmosphere and the owners. We routinely go hours out of our way to eat there. On our last trip, we cancelled our flight to Southern Italy to make a 24-hour train ride to Florence just to have dinner. They have the best Bistecca alla Fiorentina and pappa al pomodoro I’ve ever tasted. Aimee initially found this restaurant while on vacation with her family. We’ve been hooked ever since and send our regulars from DiAnoia’s Eatery there when they travel to Italy.
Best Place For Cocktails?
Luca’s Bar in Stroppari. It’s open from 6:30 a.m. through 2:00 a.m. You go for coffee in the morning, grab a panini for lunch and spend your night playing foosball and drinking with the locals. Again, the owners are absolutely amazing. We try to emulate their style of relaxation and gratitude towards their customers.
Best Bar Scene: Bassano Del Grappa
In the town of Bassano Del Grappa—there is a ton of amazing history in the area when it comes to booze. They invented grappa in Bassano, hence the name Bassano del Grappa. Not only is this area of Italy gorgeous, but you can’t miss stopping for one, or a few Mezzoemezzo cocktails at the Nardini Distillery in the town center.
Ingredient You Can’t Live Without?
Olive oil, it’s liquid Italian gold.
Overall Favorite Dish?
Bronzino crudo with olive oil and lemon.