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Aug 30, 2006 01:26 AM

Eating out in Rome

My husband and I are headed to Rome for an anniversary getaway: 4 days and 4 nights. Food and walking around the city will be the main focus of the trip! Would love recommendations from you all on restaurants: would like to do a blend of the top restaurants and the more "humble" bistros and smaller places. We are not sure exactly where we will be staying but are pretty adventurous and willing to travel for good food. Many thanks for your views.

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  1. See the post on the board from Brian Lindauer--I want to say, echoing his recent post:
    Go to Matricianella. I went twice my last visit.

    If you don't mind traveling to what many Americans will consider shadier parts of the city--I don't as my wife is basically Roman and makes this easier for us when we travel there--go to Testaccio for very rustic Roman dishes, but also one of the most wonderful places: Checchino dal 1887.

    I love the Jewish Ghetto: Sora Margherita, Da Giggetto, Al Pompiere, etc.

    I love also Roman wine bars, I'm forgetting the quite fancy one in Trastevere just across the Tiber, run by two sisters?

    7 Replies
    1. re: George

      Its true Testaccio is the old slaughterhouse quarter but it is hardly shady - its just roman, not touristic, not particularly historic (if you count out the pyramid, cemetary, etc), but definitely worth a visit for food. Im thinking specially of the daily market and surrounding area including Volpetti, fine wine stores, bakeries and many restaurants serving characteristic Roman dishes. Easy to get to via a tram, metro or walking down next to the Aventine from the Colosseum. check out slow food or other guides to find other places to eat there. Go early in the day if you want to check out the market.

      1. re: George

        Thanks, I do have the info from Brian's post noted. By the way, would love recos on wine bars as well: we are big drink as well as eat people! Many thanks.

        1. re: rpd

          One thing I didn't say about Matricianella: You definitely need to RESERVE. They have an endless line of people they have to send away every night it seems.

          1. re: rpd

            Cul de Sac is our favorite wine bar in Rome, a wonderful place to go if you're looking for a light meal as well. It's near Piazza Navona, and tho small and tight, they have seating outside (if you get there early enough.)

            My second preferred enoteca is on via Cavour just up from the Colosseum, which, unfortunately, I haven't visited for several years. (I think it's called Cavour 32, but I might be wrong about the number, which is their address.) They also have excellent salumi and formaggi plates, along with a huge selection of wines.

            1. re: jbw

              It's Cavour 313, I think, and I second it: really great and unusual salumi and cheeses, etc. Don't miss Pizzeria Leonina around the corner, via Leonina 84, pizza by the slice, I grabbed two at lunchtime and only then went to Cavour 313 (for more lunch).

              In my first posted response, I mentioned another wine bar in Trastevere: that is Enoteca Ferrara. It is actually a quite fancy restaurant at night, I've been both during the day and at night.

              'Gusto is also a good place to know, near the Ara Pacis.

              1. re: George

                I really enjoyed Cavour 313. Cannelloni w/chicory & zucchini flowers, lamb marinated in vin santo, assorted salumi....all were great, pics attached.

              2. re: jbw

                I agree about Cul de Sac, Amazing food and wine. we have sent people there and have only heard raves. Rome's oldest wine bar

          2. These are wonderful responses, thanks so much and keep 'em coming!

            1. I second the Ghetto suggestions. Then there is Orso 80 (on via Orso over near the Umberto Bridge) which has become a favorite based on a recommendation here. The thing to get is the house special antipasto, which has about 8 different salads, the most heavenly meatballs, gorgeous mozzarella -- yum! If you add a plate of San Daniele (prosciutto) you have the best meal imaginable. I can never get beyond the antipasto to order a secondo but they don't seem to mind. Sunday lunch there is a blast, full of Roman families -- go early or make a reservation. (Orso 80 looks like nothing on the outside but ignore that. Closed Mondays.)

              7 Replies
              1. re: GretchenS

                I looked in on Orso 80 last time -- it looked good. Wish I had gone.

                1. re: George

                  I wish you had too! Everyone I've sent there (well, both families) loved it.

                2. re: GretchenS

                  am in rome for a few days and, based on this post, dined at orso 80 last night. the antipasto plate was less than mediocre. the mozzerella was not fresh, but rather the rubbery kind common in american supermarkets. the white beans were mealy. it only got worse. the pizza was horrendous. cold hard crust covered with canned tomato paste. the pasta was equally terrible--rubbery overcooked noodles swimming in what must have been a mixture of margarine and olive oil. the decor, well, theres the loud humm of flourescent lights and a dining room thats almost empty, aside from some frumpy german tourists (and signed headshots from 80 celebrities). perhaps this restaurant was good in the 80, but now, its by far the worst restaurant ive eaten at in over three weeks in italy. stick with the other suggestions on this post. were you all thinking of the pricey Hosteria dell Orso around the corner?

                  1. re: danjgoldstein

                    Not at all, it's Orso 80 that I raved about. I couldn't be more surprised to hear your description. I will be devastated if this formerly wonderful place has gone downhill.

                    1. re: danjgoldstein

                      I have had amazing meals at Hosteria del Orso - really intelligent cooking,
                      although eating it is sometimes like working a crossword puzzle
                      if you know what I mean. On the other hand, I've never liked Orso
                      80, whose reknowned antipasto table has always struck me as gimmicky and banal -
                      as you imply, a wasted meal.

                      1. re: condiment

                        I do not suggest Osteria del Orso-- it is nouvelle cuisine with the snobbiest waiters.

                      2. re: danjgoldstein

                        Because the Orso 80 is near my favorite hotel, since 2001 I've eaten here, and ate here last March 2006. However pleased I had been in the past with the antipasti misti, I was less than pleased the last time.

                    2. We had a nice meal at

                      La bruschetta e...
                      Via Sardegna 39/41

                      It's a block off the Via Veneto. It's a casual place with both outdoor and indoor seating. The owner was very friendly, the food great and the setting very pleasant. We loved the foccacia. It was very different from the foccacia we get in the states. It was very thin with sauce and spices. It was almost crispy when it was done. Quite delicious. The pastas were good. The veal was nice. I would recommend this place. We didn't have a reservation and just wondered in and were very pleased to have a nice, low key meal. And, by the way, they make their own desserts. We loved the apple tort!!!!!!! Enjoy your trip, we loved Italy.

                      1. La Rosetta near the Pantheon (on v. Rosetta) is fantastic for seafood. We arrived without reservations & they were happy to seat us only after they ascertained that we didn't mind the seafood-only orientation of the place. Expensive to super-expensive.

                        on a much more budget side of things, try Dar Poeta in Trastevere for pizza (dinner only). The hectic Da Baffetto is also great...but we much preferred the equally crowded, but more relaxed vibe at Dar Poeta. (on Vicolo del Bologna (an alley) opposite/near Santa Maria della Scala).

                        Heard great things about the above-mentioned Orso80, but didn't make it time...