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ROME RESTAURANTS

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We will be in Rome for two weeks at the end of this year. We have been there several times now & tried many restaurants, but found Rome food to be spotty, from great to mediocre or worse. There are many places I have on my list to try, and before someone posts the requisite, “Do a search of this board”, comment, I have indeed done exhaustive research on this board and elsewhere to compile my list. I am looking for up to date commentary on my choices from those who may have visited any in the past year or two. Please also comment on any places not on the list that are also good, but my basic guidelines are that we do not like formal restaurants (no La Terraza dell Eden, Agata e Romeo), do not eat fish (no La Rosetta, Quinze e Gabrielli), and do not eat offal (no Checchino). While money is not the factor, it is that we prefer trattorias with authentic atmosphere (we especially love low lighting & romantic rustic places, which are hard to find in Rome) and traditional food over any modern style places & cuisine when in Italy.

Here are a list of some places we have been and will probably not return:

Osteria dell’Ingegno: Food is decent, but prices doubled in last year & not worth it
Gusto: (Upstairs Fine Dining room) Fabulous room, happening buzz, but awful food (Mgmt actually argued with me that my carbonara was supposed to be ice cold!) & bad service. However, people love the downstairs pizzeria & there is also some other restaurant on the back side (?) so may have to try those
Hostaria Nerone: Unremarkable food & tourist thronged
Enoteca Taverna Caprinica: Very poor service, food not great
Ferrara: Wonderful ambiance, but absolutely lousy food, service & attitude
Bramante: Hip, lively & very romantic, but food bland & underseasoned
Al Bric: Great wine list, food leans a bit French & is not great for $, scattered service
Antico Arco: Lovely restaurant, good food, but far too similar to many US restaurants
Vineria Il Chianti: Nice place, good food, terrible service, waited 1 hour+ btwn courses
Matricianella: Lively, my food was so-so, my husband’s great, maybe we will try again
Girarrosto Fiorentina: Brightly lit with passable food American tourist mill
Enoteca Antica di Via Della Croce: Very nice ancient atmosphere full of romans, food not so good, however

Here are some places we love:

Ditirambo: Our favorite at the moment, everything is so fresh & made in house, great wine list
Colline Emilliane: Unbelievably good Bolognese food in a bright sterile setting
Cavour 313: Great wine bar for snacks or light lunch near Forums
Il Bacaro: Romantic, cozy room with fabulous food and great friendly service
Tavernetta 48: Cheap little trattoria where we ate more tasty food (5 courses!) than any human should and washed it down with Brunello & the tab only comes to around 85 euros for 2
Giolitti: Love the chocolate here, if there is better chocolate elsewhere, tell me!
Cul de Sac: Great food, service & extensive wine list, open late

Here is a list of some places we want to try & this is where we need input:

Al Moro
Il Ciak
Trattoria Monte
Da Mario
Maccheroni
Da Pietro
Da Vittorio
Dal Cavalier Gino
Il Buco
Da Sergio
Armando al Pantheon
Osteria al Galetto
Il Sanpietrino
Girarrosto dal Toscano
Checco er Carettiere
L’Orso 80
Al Fontanone di Trastevere
Al Ceppo
Sora Lella
Da Giggetto
Da Lucia
Nino
Sora Margherita
Enoteca Corsi
Costanza
Dal Cordaro
Trattoria Lilli
La Buca di Ripetta
Pizza: Recommendation for Naples style pizza (not paper thin roman)

Thanks in advance for any assistance & I will be sure to post a detailed review on all places when I return!

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  1. We had appetizers and a bottle of wine at Costanza. Great fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheese and anchovies. Also had the bresaola which was great...paper thin dried beef with peppery arugala and shaved pecorino romano.

    The dining room itself is really interesting. I remember reading that it was part of an ancient theater.

    1. The best trattoria I've found in Rome is DA LUIGI, which I believe is across the street from the Chiesa Nuova (the one with the tomb of San Filippo Neri). Da Luigi has great atmosphere and service, and very reasonable prices for excellent food. A bit like Rome's answer to a Parisian brasserie.

      For sweets, get Granita di Caffe at Tazzo d'Oro in front of the Pantheon (crushed iced espresso with sweet cream), gelato at La Palma (near Piazza Navona), and tartuffo (ice cream in dark chocolate crust) at Tre Scalini on Piazza Navona, but order it for take out, as it costs half the price, and you can sit in the piazza by the Bernini fountain.

      For very good and inexpensive pizza, try the inauspiciously-named Pizza Art on Via Arenula.

      Question: I will be living in Trastevere. What are the good inexpensive restaurants in that neighborhood?

      Enjoy!

      1. Here are 2 I always recommend and note that Giarrosta del Toscano is on your list. I also greatly enjoyed Da Robertino, but you are apparently not interested in seafood.

        1. Best recommendation for quality, quantity, price, and ambience is Marcello at Via Aurora 37 between Ludovisi and Lombardo, 2 blocks in from the Via Veneto where the large hotels are. Recommended is a set meal they may suggest (if they don’t, ask your waiter for it): antipasti misti (5-6 vegetarian appetizers in large bowls from which you take what and how much you wish), primo is a platter of 3 different pastas in 3 different sauces, secundo is a large chunk of roast veal with potatoes and other items (veal is excellent, it will be enough for two; if you have a good deal left over, ask waiter to wrap it up and take it with you – might be enough for next day’s meal). House wine is good and can be had in ½ or full liter pitchers, in white or red. This meal for 2 with 1 liter of wine was 60 Euros in December 2003.
        2. Giarrosto Dal Toscano at Via Germanica 56, near the Vatican Museum. Huge fireplace/grill for steaks, other meats, and slabs of meat on hooks. Try the Pasta Giulio Caesaro or pasta with boar sauce (cinghale) or rabbit/hare sauce (coniglie). Great grilled meats. Try for lunch when you are near the Vatican Museum.

        1. You may have seen this elsewhere, but it's worth repeating: L'Orso 80 is a very enjoyable site for a Sunday brunch of antipasti. When we were there last March, we were surrounded largely by Italian families all having plate after plate of antipasto brought to their tables. The antipasti themselves were simple and occasionally hit-or-miss, but the overall experience was unique, and at about 15 euro it is quite a reasonable meal.

          Also, you might want to give Bric another try. I found it to be one of the more innovative Roman restaurants at that price point, and their pasta with guanciale and chestnuts (hardly French!) was one of the highlights of our trip.

          Enjoy, and I'm glad you like Cul de Sac and Cavour, two of my favorite spots for a light, inexpensive meal.

          1. I'm an american who's been living in rome for 10 years. here's my input on a few of those places you mentioned:
            Il Ciak is great, a meat-eater's paradise, there are also several non-meat options. very rustic, simple, but food is wonderful. make sure to reserve, they're always very booked.
            Checco er Carettiere- I'd avoid that place. mediocre food at ridiculous prices. not worth it at all.
            Trattoria Lilli- VERY good. simple trattoria with tasty dishes. prices are decent also. two thumbs up.
            Sor Margherita- food is good, worth the trip just to see the place. it's only open for lunch. it feels like you're in some random elderly woman's home. the place is SUPER simple, prices are low, good basic dishes.
            Da Gigetto- ridiculously high prices for what they offer. their "thing" is the fried artichoke, but you can get that even at Sor Margherita's for half the price. it's a tourist trap.