Rome: Two Hits and a miss
In our recent stay in Rome we had three noteworthy meals, but one place is to be avoided as a tourist TRAP.
The two we recommend are near the Vatican Museum; the one to avoid is in Tivoli.
Antico Falcone, Via Trionfale 60-62. This is a small neighborhood restaurant. We were the only foreigners in the place. The restaurant is old and picturesque, the one waitress spoke pretty good English and the service was efficient considering that she was on her own. For antipasto we had Carciofi ala Guida, Arancino di Riso, and Fiore di Zucca. During the course of the evning we noticed that almost everyone ordered these same three things, although many had Carciofi ala Romana, which I think would have been the better choice. The fried artichoke (carciofa) was very tasty but a bit salty. The aranchino was a baked rice ball with cheese and tomatoey filling --excellent. Fiore was a zuccini flower stuffed with mozzarella and deep fried. It was very good, but the batter was a bit too heavy. We followed with an excellent Spaghetti con Vongole and Saltimbocca ala Romana which was also quite good with a whole sprig of fresh sage in the middle.
Dino and Toni, Via Leone IV 60.
This place was a lot of fun. The food was good, not great. There was one American couple there when we arrived. They warned us what to expect, namely lots and lots of food without too much input from us. We noticed the locals got treated pretty much the same as we did, altough they did seem to have a little more input. It was a friendly place and we became quite friendly with the Italian family at the next table before the evening was over. When we sat down Dino came over and asked us if we wanted some antipasto and what kind of wine and water we wanted. That was it. There is no menu. Pretty soon the table was covered with dishes of food. We had fried mozzarella, fried stuffed olives, fried custard, spinach calzone, cheese puffs, pizza 1/2 brocoli, 1/2 cheese, salami and prosciutto, and a cheese stiffed pastry.
Then came Gnocchi in a meat sauce which was very good, and perfectly al dente Penne with a pancetta and spicy tomato sauce which was delicious. Then came Pork ribs in Tomato Sauce with carcioffi ala guida. We begged for mercy on the desserts because we noticed the other Americans had gotten 5. WE got a coffee granita and assorted cookies. When the bill for 55 euros came it was accompanied by two glasses and a bottle of a cordial. After we had paid the bill we given another glass of a licorice cordial.
Our sour note was a tourist trap called Sibilla in Tivoli. The view was very good and the food was good also. The clentele were almost 100% tourists. No Menu. When the waiter set the bill down he said "this doesn't include service" In our three weeks in Italy, that was the only time we were told that. The bill for four people for lunch came to 280 euros, not including service of course.
Sorry you did not like Sibilla especially as I used to recommend it as a special experience, though my last visit was back in 2003. In Italy´s restaurants without menu it can pricewise be very dangerous to completely rely on the staff without asking for the price in advance. And you should not be too shy to do so!
I am glad you at least enjoyed food and location, which is considerable part of the bill.