Pizza last night and an overdose of cigarette smoke

Da Francesco, Piazza del Fico, 29 (just past Caffe della Pace), open for lunch and dinner (closed Tuesday lunch), get there at 7pm for dinner, no reservations taken (expect to wait)

This is another famous pizza place in the historic center. We have been to Da Baffetto several times and love it, but thought we would try this other one (not listed in the DK guide but higly recommended in the TimeOut guide – “accept no imitations: Da Francesco is the original Centro Storico pizzeria”). We arrived on a Saturday night at 8pm. There was a moderate sized group of people waiting. We tracked down the main guy and got our name on a list. He said “20 minutes to half an hour”. It turned out to be 1 hour and 20 minutes standing outside in an increasing crowd in the freezing cold. There were five of us.

We finally got inside. Our waiter was perhaps Sylvester Stallone’s son – he was the spitting image of Stallone from the first Rocky movie. The restaurant is one room packed with tables and one very small room off to the side. We were in the main room. Steve’s generously took the seat out in the aisle so was constantly being bumped against by waiters and people walking around. I got the self serve antipasto and it was excellent. You go over to an antipasto bar, get a plate and select from about 15 cooked vegetables and another 15 pickled ones. The potatoes, zuchinni, radicchio, porcini, and baked onions were wonderful. Everyone else at the table got bruschetta which was also good.

I got a pizza with cheese, mushrooms, one small artichoke and half a hard boiled egg on it. It had a special name and Steph said that it is a common type. The menu had the name of the pizza, but the ingredients were listed in English and German. I asked Steph why they were not listed in Italian and she said everyone would know what was on that type of pizza. Three of us had pizza; Steve and Cesare had pasta. The food was great. Colleen and I shared a half bottle of red wine which was called “Montepulciano” but turned out to be from Abruzzo! I guess Montepulciano is now a type of wine.

So, too long of a wait but a good meal. BUT the smoke and the noise!! The table of four young guys beside us never stopped smoking. Clouds of smoke drifted from them to our table. It wasn’t just them – everyone seemed to be smoking. We all woke up the next day with sore throats and clothes that stunk. Because of this, I can only recommend this restaurant if you are a smoker and even then be sure to get there early.

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.