5@5 - Chef Matthew Accarrino
July 16th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

At San Francisco's SPQR, chef Matthew Accarrino gives Northern Californian ingredients a little Italian flair.

Accarrino has worked under industry heavyweights Rick Moonen, Todd English, Charlie Palmer and Tom Colicchio. He was also notably recruited in 2004 as opening sous chef of Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred Per Se.

Seeing as summer is the time to pack up the ol' station wagon and hit the road, Accarrino offers up his obligatory pit-stops on the ultimate culinary road trip through Italy. Not exactly Wally World, but it'll most certainly do.

5 Must-Eats on an Italian Road Trip: Matthew Accarrino

1.Uliassi, in Senigallia
"Adriatic seafood using local & seasonal cooking by Mauro Uliassi. Modern but soulful cooking - incredible, concentrated brodetto (fish stew), cuttlefish tagliatelle, smoked pasta with clams and tomatoes (look for that idea getting used at SPQR sometime soon). Beautiful kitchen with lots of modern equipment and super polished service."

2. Kurbishof, in Anterivo
"Husband and wife team who worked in top restaurants throughout Europe and returned home: he serves, she cooks. Sophisticated and traditional cooking from the area near Trento - a total mix of Austrian, Swiss and Italian style. Great salumi, garden and foraged vegetables. You go back into the kitchen and realize one person is prepping, cooking and cleaning for the whole place. Humbling."

3. La Subida, in Cormons
"Family run restaurant and agriturismo. The food here was rustic and full of regional character, but also had tons of attention to detail. A slow roasted veal shank was carved tableside. Smoked eel tortellini. Spinach dumplings stuffed with Montasio cheese and venison ragu. Bean soup served alongside a squash blossom salad. The detail in presentation here is amazing."

4. La Frasca, in Lauzacco
"Casual roadside restaurant by Valter Scarbolo, who also doubles as a winemaker. Baked white asparagus pasta with egg cream, tagliatelle with poppy seeds and prosciutto. Valter speaks excellent English and walked us through our meal and his wines, of which there are many. His Pinot Grigio Ramato was a standout, not what people have come to expect from this grape: a copper colored wine with lots of fruit, body and spice."

5. Agli Amici, in Udine
"The Scarello family has run this restaurant since 1887. It is listed in the slow food guide as a simple trattoria serving rustic, regional cuisine. Actually the son, Emanuele and the daughter, Michela, primarily run the restaurant these days, which has been updated. Squid 'Carbonara,' 'pasta in a dirty bowl,' potatoes baked in clay with salumi aïoli and a modernized Tiramisu. Once I got past thinking this meal was going to be one way, I settled in for what was a dinner full of surprises. [It] Was great to see that he still works with his mother in the kitchen - something I cannot imagine."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. jsandburg

    One of my favorites is Acqua Al 2 in Florence. Order the Fileno al Mirtilio for a special treat.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  2. Franco Pietro

    I love Italian food but the best food I tasted was actually in Spain. Just brilliant cuisine and more diversed than the staples found on pastas dishes of Italia. Even Anthony Bourdain says so.

    July 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  3. nonesuch

    Thanks for the suggestions. I can't wait to go back to Italy.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  4. decredico

    Blonde, brunette, redhead, balck haired, and Auburn.

    July 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  5. J

    Spaghetti alla vongole (white) at Gianni's in Vernazza. To Die For!

    July 16, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  6. nonesuch

    I'm sure these are great recommendations and I'd love to try them. It would be helpful, though, to have some recommendations of 'hidden gems' in some of the places more people tend to travel: Florence, Venice, the small towns in Umbria and Tuscany. Even though they're already popular, it's not always easy for a tourist to find really outstanding food in those places.

    July 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Christy

      Try Ristorante Giovanni in Florence. It is the best food ever!! Also, Da Nello in Bologna was fantastic. It isn't a fancy restaurant, but it is delicious.

      July 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
      • Christy


        It's actually Osteria di Giovanni. Check it out!!

        July 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
      • lynda digioia

        Al Pozzo ristorante in cinque terra (monterosso)

        July 19, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Dave

      Angels in Florence (easy find on google) lobster ravoil is really good, and the wine selection is amazing

      July 16, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
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