We were first introduced to traveling with our friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. The first time (without kids but pregnant with our first) we celebrated in a 400 year old restaurant in Vienna with a delicious meal with our friends.
We definitely had the bug and traveling over Thanksgiving can be incredibly economical so we decided to do it a few more times. My favorite European Thanksgiving is the night we spent at Il Latini in Florence. One of Jeremy’s clients had told us we HAD to go there so we thought, why not make it our Thanksgiving spot to celebrate. I am so glad we did but we weren’t thinking and didn’t find it before the day of Thanksgiving nor did we make a reservation. We definitely didn’t expect a huge crowd on a Thursday night.
Luckily our friends B&L who had joined us for the last few days of their honeymoon had an unlimited data plan on their phone and were able to lead us to the restaurant using their map app. I don’t know that we would have found it otherwise. We finally saw the street – hooray! – and as we turned the corner we were shocked by the number of people in the alley way. The doors to the restaurant were still closed, we thought getting there at opening time would assure us a table, but the crowd went from one end of the alley to the other.
Jon made his way towards the front of the crowd as they began letting various groups into the restaurant – all with reservations or already on a waiting list – and the alley way slowly cleared out. There were still several groups outside with us and Jon was at the front!! We were a group of 7, so after watching all those other people in we weren’t sure there would be room and then – Jon was waving us in. We rushed to the door lest someone change their mind and were seated at the very last table available in the entire restaurant right at the front!! They even had a child’s chair that hung from the table for Holden.
My back was to the window, our table was just inside the entrance and the front of the restaurant including the giant door was all glass, but I turned around to see why I saw wait staff going in and out of the front door – I knew there weren’t tables outside and couldn’t imagine what they were doing. Not 30 minutes into our dinner, after they practically cleared the alley, it was filled again and the waiters were serving the people wine and cheese while they waited. We were so blessed to have made it in so quickly!
The waiter came up and immediately brought us a bottle of wine and kept it coming. He didn’t bring us any menus but instead asked if we were interested in trying a few courses with food typical of the area. We were in! What an experience. We had a salad course, soup course, pasta course, meat course and dessert course. The food was incredible and we had so much fun eating, drinking and enjoying the company of our friends at this amazing restaurant celebrating all we had to be thankful for that Thanksgiving night.
The Owner came over to see how we were doing, spent some time chatting with us and then he verified the bill with the waiter. We never saw any pricing or menus so we weren’t sure what to expect – especially after all of the food and wine. They conferred and we received the bill, simple as that – no menu or posted pricing. For as much food and drink as we had during the three plus hour meal, we were completely flabbergasted at how affordable the dinner was per couple and how stuffed we were! After the bill came, they gave us each a drink of lemoncello, another round of desserts and two bottles of wine to go!! We even got to take a picture with the Owner.
Once we were outside we took several squishies – this was the best one that mostly got all 7 of us in, you’ll have to trust that Holden is in the stroller and we weren’t just posing around it but this long Italian dinner wore him out!!
It was one of the most amazing Thanksgiving experiences and I am so glad we were able to have it. Don’t shy away from traveling and having these experiences just because it’s tradition to stay home. I’m not saying you have to travel on a holiday but don’t rule it out, you never know what you might encounter.