Italians pick their country's best restaurants

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Last week, Christopher Winner, the Rome-based editor of The American magazine, answered more than 100 reader questions about Italy in one of Budget Travel's weekly live chats. (Read the informative transcript by clicking here.)

Winner's publication recently picked the best dining spots in top Italian cities. I trust this list partly because it's written by English-speaking Italians and American ex-pats and is intended for use by English-speaking visitors to Italy. I also trust this list because...

... I've sampled a few of the top restaurant picks myself, and I know they're fantastic choices. One of the picks is Da Abele in Milan, which serves the best risotto I've ever eaten in a restaurant. (Its creaminess and toasted nuttiness are the stuff of dreams.)

Winner's list includes restaurants that are located outside of the main tourist districts. Da Abele, for one, is located several subway stops away from Milan's pedestrianized tourist zone. Visiting a restaurant like Da Abele offers a chance to truly eat like a local, instead of dining at one of the usual suspects listed in a guidebook. During my visit to Da Abele last fall, I was seated in a room with four tables. Seated around me were a family celebrating a father's milestone birthday, a set of three fashionably-dressed friends having a girl's night out, and a pair of middle-aged lovers. No tourists were in earshot.

If you've tried any of the restaurants on 1">the list, we hope you'll post your comments below.

For a glossary of Italian terms to help you find your way around Italian dining, click here.

You'll find free recipes that emphasize Bolognese cuisine by clicking here.

The recipes come from The Silver Spoon, which is "Italy's answer to the Joy of Cooking."

For Budget Travel's advice on renting an apartment in Venice, click here.

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