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Eating out in Rome

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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 there...next time...

                        1. Someone mention Gusto earlier and that was a good joint.

                          I was glad that we made it to Roscioli for our last meal in Italy. Come to find out when I get home that the restaurant comes in high regards from all the foodie magazines (glad they agreed).

                          1. i live in rome, and therefore eat out quite a bit there; all of the above suggestions are strong. i'd also recommend enoteca ferrara in trastevere. it's a romantic restaurant (reservations may be necessary on friday and saturday nights) with an unbelievable wine list (in fact, it is a wine bar) and great food. this is 'creative cuisine' as the italians would call it. www.enotecaferrara.it/ i'd also recommend some neapolitan pizza (which i prefer to the thinner roman pizza) at a wonderful pizza joint in the center on via di ripetta (near the spanish steps) called pizza re. www.pizzare.it/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ildente

                              Since you live in Rome...is there a restaurant that you can recommend for Christmas Eve? We are staying near the Spanish Steps. We have eaten at LaRampa several times and enjoy it! Any help would be much appreciated. Ciao

                            2. If you are drinkers, you shouldnn't miss il goccetto via dei banchi vecchi 14 between campo dei fiori and the river. Also right across the street is Il Pagliaccio, really good almost fusionly restuarant with the most amazingly pastry chef.

                              I've never eaten or drinken well enough at Ferrara to justify their prices, although it is a pretty restuarant and in Trastevere. Also gusto - high prices, slow service, so so food (but is open on SUNDAY which is a big deal)

                              Wholehartedly agree about Matricinella (although recently has fallen a bit), Sora Margherita, Al Pompiere, Orso 80 and La Rosetta. Also, don't know what days you are traveling, but Sunday most of the good restuarants are closed in Rome as others have noted so organize ahead of time accordingly.

                              I would also add Trattoria near Piazza Rondinelli, small new style rest (pantheon area), Armando al Pantheon (basic tratt cooking but you can always count on them); L'archangelo (prettied up trattoria near piazza cavour in prati) and for splurging Il Convivio and L'altra Mastai.
                              and if you are willing to travel out of the center Guida Ballerino (near cinecitta, nuovo roman) Via Marco Valerio Corvo www.giudaballerino.it - open sunday lunch. Service slow, food good and Sforno Pizzeria (popular with Roman foodies at the moment)in the same area Via Statilio Ottato 06-71546118.

                              Have fun.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KMERC

                                Yep, Armando al Pantheon is really good. Ask them for recommendations and you will get a rally classic Italian meal.

                              2. Thanks everyone, I've printed out all your suggestions and will def. be going to many of these places. I recall it being difficult to find open restaurants in Rome on Sundays, true?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: rpd

                                  yes unfortunately it is true. It is difficult to find a good restuarant open in rome on sunday.

                                  1. re: KMERC

                                    Or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Romans and other Italians traditionally go out for a large, often roast-type family meal Sunday "after church." Because the restaurants do their bigger meal then, they often close for the rest of the day (and sometimes Monday as well). So have your main meal at noon and then settle for a lighter meal later in the day if find somewhere open (there will be enough) or on Saturday buy some bread, cheese, salad stuff if you are renting an apartment.

                                    1. re: DylS

                                      The sunday afternoon meal is tremendously relaxing - I recommend it - if you still have an appetite in the evening, you will find pizzerias open - thats about right.

                                      ps - the Rome central business district is a bad place to find meals on Sunday - I havent researched but would suggest looking in more residential zones for meals on that day.

                                      Sunday is also a great day to go out of town - to one of the hill towns as Romans do, or to walk the Appian Way - there is at least one comfortable lunch place out there.

                                  2. re: rpd

                                    Orso 80 is open and hopping at Sunday lucnhtime, mostly Italian families. Go early or make a resrvation. Then as Jen says, a light dinner at a pizzeria will be all you want that night. There will likely be other types of small local restaurants open near where you are staying, just not the fancy places. I had a very respectable Sunday dinner at Taverna dei Fori Imperiali near my hotel last time I was there on a Sunday -- not a destination place but I had no complaints either.

                                  3. I agree with all of these recommendations. But also, for some amazing pizza, try Pizzeria da Baffetto. The house specialty -- fried egg and all -- is incredible.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: dag556

                                      Too true about sunday, and must be kind of mediteranean. I'm going to athens for the weekend, and pretty much every restauant that been recommended is closed sunday or open only for dinner. In any case -
                                      Yes, getting out of the center is not a bad idea when looking for sunday lunch - depending on what you are looking for -Guida Ballarin is not a bad idea, you can take the metro Way out of the center - for a simple good fish not high price locals place for sunday I highly recommend Mamma Angelina Viale A. Boito 65 06-68608928. You need a cab, reservations probably required, but don't missed the fried baby octopus (moscardini). Closer to the center - Trattoria Monti near piazza vittoria is open for lunch only on sunday, and Ditrambo near campo di fiori 06-6871626 is good and open. Unfortunately (I guess) you will find more foreigners there than Romans, but that speaks more the the Romans simple food taste than the quality of the food.
                                      OUt of town is a great idea if you have a car - San Cesario is like the temple of old classic roman cooking, and Antonio Colonella is a temple to new roman cooking.

                                    2. guida ballerina is pretentious, overpriced, and in the middle of nowhere. no need to trek that far if you only have 4 days! in any case, gusto is open on sundays, and so are a bunch of other restaurants in the center...don't bother going out too far... call first! enjoy roma!

                                      1. I want to second the recommendation for Dar Poeta. Just got back from Rome and we went twice while we were there! The "alta" style is fantastic, and the two best pizzas were the Dar Poeta (cheese, zucchini, and sausage) and the Bufala (tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella).


                                        1. I think GUSTO is terribly overpriced, bad service, and very mediocre food. It's open on sunday, and you can eat outside, and for me that's the only thing its got going for it. To each his own I guess

                                          1. Last Sunday I had the pleasure to be in Rome, roaming the streets with my love, at chance. He picked La Locanda del Pellegrino (http://www.lalocandadelpellegrino.it/) for dinner, and we had an amazing stay on the bamboo terrace, all by ourselves. The food was cooked and presented with love. We also appreciated that the staff knew better English than expected.

                                            The previous night we had a reservation at L'Archangelo, where the staff fell in love with us, it'd seem. Had several free items and they ignored our tip :) We left it on the table, nevertheless. Both places were great; we live to eat, among other things. Between the two, though, we'd pick the one above because the food was less restaurant-like: somehow more real.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: gorgeoux

                                              YOu mean you prefered La Locanda? I'd love to know, since I've seen it and been curious about it. It's always empty but the menu seemed interesting and I pass by it alot. Plus I thought I saw them open on a sunday, an rarity here in Rome.
                                              Archangelo I know well and like very much. They are also terrifically nice people. However, I can see what you mean about "restuaranty"

                                              1. re: KMERC

                                                Yes, we both prefered Locanda for both food and English :) Can't imagine why it was empty, especially on a Sunday. Anyway, can't wait to go back when we make it to Rome again. Would love to hear your thoughts after you try it. BTW, I've more details about food that evening in my Rome post on my blog: http://gorgeoux.blogspot.com/2006/09/....

                                            2. We have only one dinner and need a suggestion out of all of these.

                                              1. A hearty second for Pizza Baffetto. Be sure to order "Il Baffetto."

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Odelay101

                                                  Also, I suggest Monte Carlo on via Savelli between Campo and Navona.
                                                  an La Foccacia on via della Pace (Navona)

                                                2. A little of the beaten path is Trattoria Monti. The best meal I had in Rome for sure. Run by Mama and her two gorgeous sons. I think they take reservations, but if not, it's worth the wait. Truly amazing!

                                                  1. I went to La Matricianella and Orso 80 as a result of advice on the boards. La Matricianella was fun and delicoius, particularly the artichoke and pasta with mushrooms - as well as the desserts. Orso 80 was disappointing. Although the antipasto had a nice selection, nothing tasted as special as I wanted it to, even the meatballs.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: tsiblis

                                                      Antica Taverna was very good! We ate there last night getting lost looking for Pizza Baffetto. Prices are reasonable and service was good. Lasagna, Risotta, and roasted vegetables were all very nice.

                                                    2. Brand new to Chowhound.

                                                      My qualifications: 55 years old, 7 visits to Rome since 1998, and my next visit 2-12 Jan 2007, staying in Trastevere, and welcoming suggestions for eating there.

                                                      My recommendations:
                                                      I. For fine dining:

                                                      Il Convivio-Troiani : outstanding food, superior location (just north of Piazza Navonna), superior service, good surroundings, and a very wise wine steward. I've been eating here since 1998, it being close to my favorite hotel.

                                                      Agata e Romeo, near S.Maria Maggiore. I ate here 2003, without any regrets.

                                                      II. Not the Himalayian heights of fine dining eating, but good all the same:

                                                      Enoteca Capranica. up the street from the Pantheon.

                                                      Il Simposio-di Costantini. esp. the wine

                                                      Trimani Via Cernaia 37b, esp. the wine

                                                      L'Archeologia Via Appia Antica 139, across from San Sebastiano and down from the masoleum of Caecila. Out almost in the countryside in a lovely setting, with a fireplace in winter.

                                                      Da Pipero via Monte de Cenci 9. Not kosher, but still Jewish-Roman.

                                                      Les Etoiles, 14 Les Etoiles, Hotel Atlantic Star, via dei Bastioni 1. On the top floor. Ask to be seated to see the floodlit dome of S. Pietro.

                                                      III. Middle priced:

                                                      La Campana, reputed to be Rome's oldest. You might complain about the lack of English and the stiff (but not rude) service; you can't complain about the food.

                                                      La Taverna da Giovanni, via Banco di Santo Spirito 58

                                                      Armando al Pantheon, Salita de Crescenzi, near Pantheon

                                                      La Taverna del Ghetto via del Portico d'Ottavia, 8: 100% Kosher Roman Jewish, so no cheese, no pork, and soy milk for your coffee. Kosher wine as well. Articokes anyone?

                                                      Ostaria da Nerone, Via delle Terme di Tito 96. The only place near the Forum Romanum where I've had a good meal, save for Papok (and it was overpriced. Get the house pasta, fetuccine alla Nerone.

                                                      Trattoria Da “Oio” a Casa Mia Via Galvani, 43-45. In Testaccio. The Spaghetti Carbonara is excellent. For tripe, try the Coratella Veneta. And enjoy the unceasing background dialogue of the owner's wife who defines the word "brassy"

                                                      IV. Quasi-budget (at least for a big city)

                                                      Da Francesco Piazza Del Fico at Via della Fossa (near Piazza Navonna), esp. the antipasti table

                                                      Sora Margherita Piazza della Cinque Scole 30. No sign outside. Fine Roman-Jewish. If there in the spring: Articokes.

                                                      Antica Birreria Peroni. Via di San Marcello 19. You'll fight the crowds, and you'll soon know why they're there. Best beer in Rome, and fine sausage.

                                                      L’Archetto. Via dell Archetto 26. More crowds. Only serious offering is spaghetti (no other pastAs) with 105 sauces to choose from.

                                                      Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara, aka Filetti di Baccalà. Largo dei Library 88. Only one serious dish: the fried cod. open only 17:30-23:00

                                                      Carbonari, Campo di Fiori. Eat their signature dish, spaghetti carbonara (if your cardiologist will allow you) al fresco.

                                                      Dagnino. Galleria Esedra, Via V. E. Orlando 75. hot food cafeteria, fine coffee. 12-22hrs continuous service.

                                                      And my favorite place for dinner ("lunch" to you Yankees): Enoteca Corsi, via dei Gesu 87, lunch only closed Sa Su.

                                                      V. And the best al fresco:

                                                      Locations that come into to question come: 1, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, 2.Piazza Navonna, 3. Campo Fiori, 4. Piazza Farnese, and 5. Piazza della Rotonda. In the first I haven't found a good restaurant. The Second is just too big. The third really isn't for enjoying the sight as for shopping.

                                                      I go to the 5th: Di Rienzo Piazza del Pantheon 8/9. Ask to be seated on the edge to gaze in awe at the world's 3rd greatest building Especially mystical at night, watching them close the world's oldest doors, when the lit building seems a vision. At night also, the street life is particularly fine. The food is not the very best, but good, and the service if fine. It's al fresco even in January, even in the rain.

                                                      in the 4th, there is a fine dining restaurant Camponeschi: Piazza Farnese 50, but al fresco not available in the winter. Otherwise insist on being seated al fresco. Fish here is good.

                                                      VI. Don't forget coffee at:
                                                      Caffe Sant’Eustachio, Piazza di S. Eustachio (try the Grand Caffe, and you must ask them to hold the sugar)

                                                      Camillioni di Sant’Eustachio,Piazza di S. Eustachio 54 (next door to the former and for regular espresso, cheaper and just as good)

                                                      Caffe Farnese, via dei Baulari 106. enjoy the view of the Palazzo Farnese.

                                                      Antico Caffe della Pace, at Piazza S Maria della pace (more of a Parisian sit down place)

                                                      Bar Canova Piazza del Popolo 16/17. also more for sitdown. try the ice cream also

                                                      Caffe Greco: Via del Condotti 86. also more sitdown. Worthy of its fame.

                                                      Vatican Caffe San Pietro also a cafeteria, and the only place that I've found in the Vatican area worth eating in.

                                                      my 2nd favorite: Caffe Ciampini: Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 29. Not far from my favorite hotel, I go here in the morning for my cappacino

                                                      and The Holy Grail of espresso: Tassa d’Oro, Piazza della Rotonda

                                                      VII. For pastry: the Italians aren't as good at this as the Austrians: La Dolceroma (Via del Portico d'Ottavia 20) is Jewish-Austrian.

                                                      VIII.The Italians Are the best for ice cream, and the best of the best in Italy, outside of Sicily: Giolotti, Via Uffici del Vicario 40

                                                      IX SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT

                                                      Antico Bottaro, via Passeggiata di Ripetta 15
                                                      Hosteria dell'Orso di Guaitiero Marchesi Mario
                                                      Checchino dal 1887
                                                      Tre Archi da Loreto. Via dei Coronari 233.
                                                      Trattoria Da Gino e Pietro. Via del Governo & Vicolo Savelli
                                                      Da Gino, Vìcolo Rosini 4
                                                      Trattoria da Tonino, Via del Governo Veccio 16/19.
                                                      Osteria del Pegno, Vicolo di Montevecchio, 8
                                                      Ristorante Montevecchio, Piazza Montevecchio, 22a
                                                      Maccheroni, Piazza delle Coppelle, 44
                                                      Al Vicario, Via degli Uffici del Vicario
                                                      Ristorante Trattoria, Via delle Cornachie, 2
                                                      Romilo, Via di Campo Marzio, 13
                                                      Fraterna Domus, Via dell Cancello 6.
                                                      Trattoria, Via dei Banchi Nuovi 8
                                                      Vecchia Locanda vicolo Sinibladi 2
                                                      Antica Taverna. Via Monte Giordano 12.
                                                      Trattoria Filippo La Mantia, Via Pozzo delle Cornacchie 25
                                                      L'Angoletto, Piazza Rondanini 55
                                                      Cul de Sac Piazza Pasquino 73
                                                      La Fontanella, Largo della Fontanella Borghese 86
                                                      Il Pagliaccio. Via Banchi Vecchi 129.
                                                      Papa Giovanni. Via dei Sediari 4.
                                                      Al Pompiere, via Santa Maria dei Calderari 38
                                                      Sergio alla Grotta, Via delle Grotte 27
                                                      Ostaria Ar Galletto. Vicolo del Gallo 1, at Piazza Farnese
                                                      Bucatino. Via Luca della Robbia 84/86.
                                                      Sora Lella, insola Tiber
                                                      Il Matriciano. Via dei Gracchi 55.
                                                      Dal Toscano. Via Germanico 58/60.

                                                      19 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                        "VII. For pastry: the Italians aren't as good at this as the Austrians: La Dolceroma (Via del Portico d'Ottavia 20) is Jewish-Austrian."

                                                        Not in Rome, no. You have to go south, Naples and beyond, for rich, creamy, decadently sweet pastries, marzipan, chocolate, or north to Tuscany for more restrained, less dairy-centred cakes and biscuits.

                                                        1. re: DylS

                                                          La DolceRoma was excellent; I had a mozart cake (like the mozart ball marzipan candy, sponge cake, choc mousse, all covered in a thin layer of marzipan & dusted w/cocoa) and a yogurt cake w/currants--both were excellent.

                                                        2. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                          Maccheroni is good and simple food. Great atmosphere, famous faces occasionally (if you like that sort of thing) and you can see through to the kitchens. Really mice staff - let you party and eat all night if you like and order for you if you can't choose. I lived in Rome for a year and this became like a second home.

                                                          1. re: Abi

                                                            Thanks! 2 Jan and 10 Jan I'll be staying in my favorite hotel near by. I'll consider Maccheroi for one of those days.

                                                          2. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                            I can tell you about Bucatino, located in Testaccio, where we went a few nights ago. Very disappointing. Big portions of mediocre food. Had roast pork, wife had veal, both came in same gloppy Franco-American gravy. House wine was equiv. of Gallo Hearty Burgundy. Service bordered on hostile--we discovered when it was too late that there were blackboard specials and some sort of salad bar that our waiter never bothered to inform us about. This was our most negative dining experience of our vacation in Italy.

                                                            However, 2 or 3 blocks away is a nice self-serve budget option. On Via Marmorata is the wonderful (and stratospherically expensive) Vopetti, with a mind-boggling array of cheeses, meats, etc. Just behind it on the side street is a takeout shop with a few tables that has their name in it, so my guess is that they own it. We were feeling a bit fooded out after one big dinner after another, and we wandered in, grabbed two cafeteria trays, and had really great gnocci in a light tomato sauce, and roast chicken with some braised zucchini on the side. It is definitely worth knowing about if you are in the Testaccio neighborhood.


                                                            1. re: albinoni

                                                              Thanks, Charlie! re: Bucatoni: another to cross off m list. The Volpetti in the Via della Scofa, close to my favorite hotel, is well know to me, and I can endorse it's quality. I'm glad it has a store in Testaccio as well.

                                                              1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                Ive never been clear whether there is a connection between the two Volpetti's, but if you have never been to the one on Via Marmorata, GO. Volpetti Piu, next door (on the side street) is indeed part of their enterprise - a great place to get an informal meal and try lots of different dishes while you are about it.

                                                                1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                  The two Volpettis are NOT related...the one on Via della Scrofa is an okay upscale food store but the one on Via Marmorata in Testaccio is the important food destination.

                                                              2. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                Angelotto a very good fish restaurant and Maccheroni tremendous atmosphere, good food, pretty ok service and a real buzz. Also look out for the little restaurant which is diagonally opposite can't remember the name but was very impressed. Merlorancio up near Piazza del Popolo is also excellent and Buca di Ripetta. Orso 80 used to love but distinctly sad as of last year.

                                                                1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                  hi there im going to rome in 5 days and saw your posting about il convivio. what is the price range there also, im hoping to have a dress up dinner with my boyfriend, can we dress up and not look too stupid? i want to wear my nice black dress not too fancy like shiny prom dress or anything. him a suit or collar shirt and slacks.

                                                                  1. re: awilda79

                                                                    Here's a generalization: You can wear a black dress anywhere and not look stupid in any restaurant. Of course, I'm assuming said black dress has fairly simple lines. Wear that dress with no jewelry and thin-strapped, flat sandals and you can eat in any restaurant from an casual trattoria all the way to Il Convivio. Of course, if you wish to have a dress up evening at Il Convivio, simply take the same black dress and add a bit of jewelry or scarf/dressy shawl and appropriate shoes.

                                                                    I'm a bit confused by your range of possibilities for your boyfriend. It strkes me that there's a big spread between the two options of a Collar shirt and slacks outfit and a suit. MBFant has already reassured you that the shirt/slacks route will be fine for Il Convivio. However, if you truly crave a dressier evening, why not consider packing a sport jacket for your boyfriend to wear with the shirt & slacks option. (No tie.) I also see younger males wearing slacks, a black crew-neck tee shirt and a black sports jacket appropriately at a wide variety of restaurants.

                                                                    Most of all relax about your clothes. Enjoy the culture of Italy. Enjoy the shared experience with your boyfriend. Enjoy the food and wine.

                                                                    1. re: awilda79

                                                                      I'd say suit and tie for him -- but I'm antediluvian and a Southern Gent.

                                                                      Such fun ain't cheap. Expect to pay at least 200 Euro for two, depending on your wine. And be sure to ask the wine steward for his counsel. He's part owner, with his brothers, and really knows his stuff

                                                                      1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                        From what I'm seeing on the "fancier" Roman menus, $200 is a bargain for a top-flight meal.

                                                                    2. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                      I don't see any reply to your request for information about Il Matriciano. We first ate there in 1995 and have returned at least once every year we have gone to Rome.
                                                                      The food is very good, not trendy, just typical white tablecloth Roman neighborhood. We send friends there as often as we are asked and they always report that they have the best meals there. Alberto, nicknamed Baffo, has been a friend and our waiter since the first visit and he has enough English (and willingness) to help with any item. We are not gourmands just folks who like to eat and drink.

                                                                      We just hand our menus back to Alberto and tell him to bring what is good. Never fails.

                                                                      We also have been going to Al Moro for years at the recommendation of a nearby hotel. The food and service slipped very badly the last time and I doubt that we will return in October. It is a shame since last fall was the first time there was any English on the menu. Adventures in eating can really be adventures when you are not sure what you ordered.

                                                                      1. re: Galway1

                                                                        I agree with you about Amatriciana, the food is delicious and the service is as if you were a regular customer when in fact it was our first visit. We went for lunch after a Vatican visit and returned the next night for dinner. Our waiter was Guiseppe and he treated us like gold. Definitely go there if you want solid Roman food not trendy food.

                                                                        1. re: mpatrissy

                                                                          Do you think this is open on Sunday noon or evening?? What street is this restaurant on?? We are going to be there next week. I guess I am confused between the restaurants: Matricianella, Via del Leone 24 ... and Il Matriciana .via dei Gracchi .. which one did you go to?? Anyone else can advise on the quality of these two places?? Thanks in advance. PeggyD

                                                                        2. re: Galway1

                                                                          I've been eating at Il Matriciano since the '90s, too. I can't recommend it enough.

                                                                        3. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                          I second that you should go south for pastries. I live in Naples and I've had to tear myself away from the stuff. Absolutely phenomenal.

                                                                        4. Great post Sid. Lots of places for me to check out. Will be in Rome this winter. I would appreciate a recommendation for New Years Eve dinner - it's a Sunday night this year - for a family style restaurant. Nothing too fancy. Mid- price range. Thanks in advance.

                                                                          1. For New Years suggestions in midprice, try Campana, mentioned in #III. At least it's open on Sunday. Any of my suggestions for ## I and II if open on Su would do, though they are expensive. The view of the dome of S. Pietro from Les Etoiles, if you can get a table by the window, might be lovely. Camponeschi in #V is fine, but will not be al fresco 31 Dec; and it's expensive. If you want al fresco, see my other suggestion in #V, Di Rienzo, where the natural gas heaters will keep you warm, and the the street life in the square for the new year's occasion might be even more interesting than it normally is. I pray this helps.

                                                                            Sid Cundiff

                                                                            1. Thanks Sid. This is quite helpful.

                                                                              1. I will really reccomend a restaurant called "Maccheroni" close to the pantheon.
                                                                                Its' an old dely transformed in restaurant and even if it's in the center, it seemed to be frequented from a lot of locals and this always means good food. Not very expensive a great ambiance. Buona Fortuna

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: massimino

                                                                                  Thanks, Massimino. Maccheroni is close to my hotel, and I'll give it a try.

                                                                                2. Les Etoiles, near the Vatican. Call ahead, ask for a table by the window, and you won't be disappointed.

                                                                                  1. An absolute can't-miss is the San Crispino gelato shop near the Trevi fountain. As you face the fountain on the back street, do a right face and go two blocks and turn left. The gelato is made without artificial ingredients--they serve it only in cups (choice of three kinds) because most cones have some sort of artificial flavors. The seasonal fruits are sublime and the lemon sorbetto worth the journey. I had to have two.
                                                                                    Another can't-miss is the pizza bianca at the Antico Forno at one of the corners in the Campo di Fiori. Look for the fountain and it is to the left. The pizza bianca is sort of a cross between a pizza dough and a foccacia, about a 1/4-inch thick and simply adorned with olive oil and salt. Ask the counterman for "un etto" which is 100 grams ("due etti" for two). He just whacks off a piece, wraps it in paper, and you take it to the cash register to pay. Everyone (merchants, cab drivers, and locals) just munch away outside. Why can't all fast food be this good?
                                                                                    Lastly, you must try the pasta con cacio e pepe, served everywhere. It is three ingredients: pasta (and a little of its water), pecorino cheese, and black pepper. Mysterious how they get the cheese to emulsify without butter or oil and not clump. Again, worth the trip.

                                                                                    1. San Crispino has received a lot of favorable reviews by Gringos in recent years. I went there 2003 or 4, and found it full of Gringos exclusively. Giolitti (mispelled in my original post) I find preferable to my taste -- rude service notwithstanding. Also more variety. Yet as they say "de gustibus ....."

                                                                                      And Thanks so much for the suggestion for pizza bianca. And your so right about pasta con cacio e pepe.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                                        Last year I found the items we tasted at San Crispino absolutely exquisite - I suspect it may be a little more expensive, but it is hardly a gringo place - do quite like Giolitti as well.

                                                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                          I adore San Crispino....if you are there in the summer, we once had a plum (susine) gelato that tasted more like plums than plums do. The cinnamon and ginger (canella and zenzero) flavor is out of this world.

                                                                                      2. I am in Rome for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - has anyone a recommendation for a restaurant open on these days for a meal to remember with my parents. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: campbf

                                                                                          Did you find a restaurant for Christmas Eve? We will be there then and looking for a special restaurant if possible. Thank you.

                                                                                          1. re: tapdancer

                                                                                            We booked Giggetto for lunch - took a lot of calls to find restaurants with good reviews open in the Christmas period so I went with this. I think il Pagliaccio said they were open Christmas Eve too though , Via dei Banchi Vecchi

                                                                                        2. Has anyone ate in il Pagliaccio Via dei banchi Vecchi ?

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: campbf

                                                                                            I've been eating there since they opened several years ago, and eat there pretty regularly, so yeah I like it a lot, although it is not even remotely a typical roman restuarant. Be warned that service can be slow, and the wine list is not up to the caliber of the food, but the food, and the desserts in particular are very good. I also stop in at the wine bar across the street for an aperivo first.

                                                                                            1. re: KMERC

                                                                                              Thanks very much I have booked for Christmas Day and was a little nervous about what to expect - they were very lovely on the phone so
                                                                                              I am sure we'll have a great time - also are Tullio and Ninos worth going to ? - the reviews seem mixed ?

                                                                                              1. re: campbf

                                                                                                Have a nice time, they also just picked up their first michelin star. Just don't expect typical roman dishes(ex all'amatricana, cacio pepe, abbacio al forno etc)and be sure to save room for dessert.
                                                                                                Didn't know there was negative input about tullio and nino - I think they are great for what they are. Classic old time resturants (not trattorie)- simple local cooking prepared very well. Neither is a classic Roman tratt - Tullio for example is tuscan. Nino is pretty much the only resturant near the spanish steps where I eat. Old waiters, classic dishes, great osso buco with purè etc. Also Tullio, one of the few decent places to eat in the piazza barberini/via veneto area - good tuscan meat, v good fish simpley prepared. They're not cheap (so don't expect a super inexpensive meal here ), but I've never met anyone who's complained about them, knowing that. Obviously they are nothing like Pagliccio, but sometimes good,classic and simple is good too.
                                                                                                Also to recommend (on this post and elsewhere) Armando al Pantheon - classic roman, L'Archeangelo (near Piazza Cavour) roman cooking semirevisited, Trattoria Monti - Abruzzese near Piazza Vittoria.
                                                                                                have a nice trip

                                                                                                1. re: KMERC

                                                                                                  >>Trattoria Monti<<

                                                                                                  Excellent choice but I believe that the cooking is from Le Marche, not Abruzzo.

                                                                                          2. As a follow to these numerous posts, I used a small book in Rome called "City Secrets: Rome" which is a compendium of opinions of "the world's foremost artists, writers, architects, archaeologists, and historians [who] reveal their favorite discoveries in the ultimate insider's guide." Good and interesting comments, including, but not limited to, restaurants.

                                                                                            Danny Meyer of the NY's Union Square Cafe (the place I consider the most "California" of all the NY restaurants), recommends La Taverna da Giovanni, via Banco di Santa Spirito 58, directly across the bridge from Castel Sant'Angelo. He says, "Here is the family-run trattoria where I learned about the simple wonders of the Italian table. Giovanni has sadly passed away, but his son Mimmo proudly holds court. La Taverna's clientele is a cross section of loyal locals and an occasional tourbus-load of Germans. But the honest kitchen run by Caludio is the reason to dine here. Just ask Mimmo to take care of you. Savor Roman antipasti, pasta (ask for bombolotti "al modo mio") and the best roast lamb and pork (maialino). Finish with a swig of potent centerbe--the house digestivo infused with "a hundred herbs." Good, honest place.

                                                                                            1. Have any of you with extensive Rome experience eaten at the Wine Academy that's affiliated with the Hassler and apparently near the Spanish Steps?

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: JmVikmanis

                                                                                                I go regularly to their tastings, but haven't made it to the resturant. If you go, please post what you think.

                                                                                              2. First thanks to all of you who provided such great information. Thanks also to Frank Bruni, Mimi Sheraton and Danielle Pargament for their invaluable recent articles.

                                                                                                My wife and I just returned from a week in Rome. Our goal food-wise was to experience cucina tipica Romana to whatever extent possible. Most of the following recommendations met that criteria and are family owned and operated places with simple and simply marvelous food.

                                                                                                Our favorite restaurants:
                                                                                                Pierluigi - near Piazza Navona - dinner - spaghetti w/zucchini flowers and ravioli w/swordfish & eggplant.

                                                                                                Cul-de-Sac - near Piazza Navona - fabulous caprese, fussili w/brocolli & pecorino and bombolotti al'amatraciana

                                                                                                Taverna Romana - in Monti - rigatoni cacio e pepe and penna all'arrabbiata - fabulous! I wish we could have spent more time in Monti - it is a very intersting neighborhood.

                                                                                                Matricianella - near the Spanish Steps - perfect frito misto, bacalla (salt cod) and rigatoni al carbonara

                                                                                                Polese - near Corso Vittoria Emanuele II - pizza - margharita and quatro formaggio

                                                                                                Taverna da Giovanni - across bridge from Castel Sant'Angelo - plate of 3 different bruchettas - tuna, tomatoes and and eggplant - pizza w/mushrooms

                                                                                                Gusto - next to Mausoleo Augusto - fabulous lunch buffet with lots of veggies, fish and pasta

                                                                                                Tratorria - very near the Pantheon - a very upscale "new" Sicilian that was 5 star service and quality and inventiveness of food. The pasta alla Norma was simply the best meal I had in Rome.

                                                                                                Our Least favorite restaurant: Maccheroni - near the Pantheon -very bad is all I will say. Skip it.

                                                                                                Closed restaurant: Da Baffetto - this highly recommended pizzaria was closed tighter than a drum when we were in Rome. Anybody know what the story is?

                                                                                                Except for Trattoria where we ordered a bottle of Syrah from Sicily, we drank vino della casa, both whites and reds, at all the other places. Half litres were always available for whites, full litres were the norm for reds.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: livetotravel

                                                                                                  great report!

                                                                                                  Lots of places close over the holiday period - they may or may not put out a sign - and when these places pull down their gates, it can sure look permanent - so hopefully someone else will report that its nothing more.

                                                                                                2. >Closed restaurant: Da Baffetto - this highly recommended pizzaria was closed tighter than a drum when we were in Rome. Anybody know what the story is?

                                                                                                  If I remember correctly, they open at 6:30PM, and are closed a couple of days a week (Sunday & Monday maybe?)

                                                                                                  1. If there is one thing you have to eat --it is pizza bianca!
                                                                                                    Get it at the Antico Forno on the Piazza Campo di Fiori, just get it!!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Sophia Liberty

                                                                                                      I totally agree. While we can get most everything in the way of ingredients they have in Italy here in the states, there are certain things that are the sum of their parts that are well worth the journey. Pizza bianca is one of those items, along with the gelato at San Crispino, a good pasta con caccio e pepe, and some of the wood-fired pizzas. I made a rough approximation of a pizza bianca using the recipe from the September issue of Gourmet magazine on Rome and the refirgerated fresh pizza dough from Trader Joes. Emphasize the rough approximation. Jeffrey Steingarten, in his book, "It Must Have Been Something I Ate", has a nice description of trying to find the secret of the Antico Forno pizza bianca that will rekindle your taste buds all over again.

                                                                                                    2. We're just back from a week in Rome and ate amazingly well at many of the places mentioned here (one big disappointment: Trattoria Monti was closed through the entire week). I have to say, Roscioli isn't mentioned nearly enough in this thread (though I think that their bakery is the Antico Forno mentioned above -- pizza bianca will be my downfall). we had a fantastic meal there and talked extensively to one of the waitstaff, Tegan (a Canadian woman), who has great respect for the brothers.

                                                                                                      Another place not mentioned was Un e Bino up in San Lorenzo. It was a big splurge meal, very new-style Roman tasting menu, seven courses, including a lovely piece of mackerel with bufala mozzarella on a thin cracker -- sounds terribly weird but it worked. Everything was very well prepared. And excellent wine advice.

                                                                                                      Other highlights were Enoteca Ferrara -- both for the wine bar and for dinner (another splurge -- it's vacation!), Cavour 313, a raucous little pizza place in Testaccio called Acqua e Farina (I think). Another great wine bar in the ghetto (can't remember the name...). Who said you can't get good food in Rome?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: davina

                                                                                                        Re your mentioning that Trattoria Monti was closed all week. I have had trouble finding it open on multiple occasions, but wife and I went there for lunch one afternoon (Wed 12/6/06 or Thurs 12/7/06) and found it open. Sorry to say I was disappointed. Wife had a risotto which was nothing out of the ordinary. Specialty of the day was grilled stuffed pigeon (grilled stuffed rabbit is on the regular menu) and I ordered it. Bird was overcooked and dry, stuffing was very dry and nothing to write home about. This is all we had (except bottle of water) and it cost 29 euros. Not worth the price and I wouldn't go there again.

                                                                                                      2. Ah, that's some consolation, CJT. Perhaps we didn't miss anything after all!

                                                                                                        1. Being the good son, I am taking my parents to rome at the end of March. Thank you all for keeping this thread going. I have a list prepared based on this board.

                                                                                                          My dad and I both eat everything, so we have to find some offal. I know tripe will be easy to find!

                                                                                                          1. Not just tripe -- heart, lung, liver. Roman cuisine is heavy on the offal. Pajata, i think, is the name of the pasta sauce made from the intestines of calves that still have milk in them. It's in many trattorias. Not my thing, but many people like it...

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: davina

                                                                                                              Pajata, wow. I have to find out if it is my thing, I guess.

                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Conlin

                                                                                                                go to the places in testaccio to see.

                                                                                                              2. re: davina

                                                                                                                I just got back from Rome and had the pajata for the first time (at Da Nerone; other than for the terrific pajata, I would not rush to return here). Even thought Nerone would not be the traditional place to try this dish (we did not get to Testaccio this time) I thought it was excellent, as did my rather squeamish dining partner. If you did not know that it was lamb intestines (I think they are lamb, not veal, due to the mad cow issue) you never would guess. The texture is delicate, as is the flavor. As my grandma might have said, "Try it, you'll like it...." It is on menus all over the city; on one menu we saw it listed as "veal bowwells!"

                                                                                                              3. I was in Rome the 1-12 Jan 2007. A report:

                                                                                                                On the Campus Martius, Dal Cavalier Gino, Vicolo Rosini 4, at the corner of Piazza del Parlamento, is good -- even borderline very good -- and especially good for the money. Everyone else knows this too, especially the locals, so one must make reservation. Tel. 06 687 34 34. I was there for lunch, was shoe-horned into a table, and had nothing but good service, good hospitality, and good food. Open lunch and supper, closed Sunday

                                                                                                                In the Ghetto: Al Pompiere, Via Santa Maria dei Calderari. Though the waiter forgot part of my order, still the food was good, especially the artichokes. So I’d go back. Mid-range for price. Fine, even elegant, atmosphere. I was there for lunch. Open lunch and supper, closed Sunday. In the area, right down the street, for bargain prices is Sora Margherita, Piazza della Cinque Scole 30. There’s no sign on the door; just the street number. Get there early to avoid the crowds. For real Kosher, try La Taverna del Ghetto, via del Portico d'Ottavia, 8 Tel 06 68 80 97 71 Closed Friday Night and Saturday at lunch. Midrange prices.

                                                                                                                Behind Sant’Andrea in Valle, Ristorante del Pallaro, Largo del Pallaro 15; tel. 06 68 80 14 88, is another bargain with good food. A fixed-price menu; you eat what they serve, so picky eaters (who didn’t abandon this bad habit with childhood) are warned. Offered is an antipasto, a pasta, a meat, a sweet, and a carafe of wine -- all at 22 Euro – or so my experience on Sunday, 7 Jan. This place will now be my Sunday lunch restaurant in Rome.

                                                                                                                In Trastevere: Al Fontanone in Trastevere, Piazza Trilussa 46, Tel. 06 58 17 312, came recommended for midrange, and the recommendation was deserved. Good food, good hospitality.

                                                                                                                Also in Trastevere: Checco e Carettiere, Via Benedetta 10. This place has a fine dining restaurant and next door with the same kitchen an Osteria with midrange price . I ate a lunch in the Osteria. I wasn’t disappointed.

                                                                                                                Near Termini: Dagnino, Galleria Esedra, Via V. E. Orlando 75. On Epiphany, a public holiday, with many restaurants closed, in a bad part of town for food, after Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore, desperate for something to eat, I recalled this place. My mid-range lunch was fine with very helpful service. One can choose the cafeteria or sit-down. Try the Sicilian specialties. Outstanding espresso.

                                                                                                                Fine Dining: Checchino dal 1887, Via Monte Testaccio. 30. 06 57 46 318. closed SU, MO. This place comes rightly with high recommendations. I was adventuresome and tried the tripe. The headcheese for the antipasto and the rigatoni with intestines were, well, unique I should have tried the more standard fare (which says more about me than the restaurant). So let me report again when I’m back in Rome. The service was excellent, and especially recommendable is the wine: a vast variety of choices and at very reasonable prices for a fine dining restaurant! I had a Taurasi: Vigna Abaccia dei Goti, Cantine Antonio Cagiano.

                                                                                                                Fine Dining: since 1998 yearly for fine dining, I go to Il Convivio- Troiani, Vicolo dei Soldati 31 Tel 06 68 69 432 (Cl SU and MO lunch). Every year the wine steward recommends an outstanding wine to accompany outstanding food. This year he chose for me the best Sangenovese that I’ve ever drunk: Le Bergole Torte: dry as a bone with a mineral taste. The service is outstanding; the bread waiter never neglects your plate. The guest is offered a choice in mineral water. When I asked for a grappa afterwards, the waiter brought a trolley of different grappas, and made recommendations. Still the best fine dining that I’ve experienced in Rome, its one Michelin star well deserved.

                                                                                                                Finally, also in the Campius Martius, is La Campana, an old favorite. I’m pleased to report that the service, or at least my waiter, has gotten much friendly, with a bit of English. The food was a bit saltier than I like.

                                                                                                                Your own reports and additions welcome.

                                                                                                                -- Sid Cundiff

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                                                                  fyi I think you might mean Le Pergole Torte, and yeah it can be really great. Do you recall the year? I love the '96 and '97.
                                                                                                                  Didn't know that Da Pallaro was open on sunday lunch, thats good news, thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                  1. re: KMERC

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the correction! And the year was 1997. Nice that we share tastes.
                                                                                                                    -- Sid Cundiff

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                                                                      and 97 was my favorite, at least the last time i could get my hands on a bottle! thanks for the report

                                                                                                                  2. re: Sid Cundiff

                                                                                                                    Hi Sid,

                                                                                                                    Do you think Checco er Carattiere would be okay for lunch on a Sunday for a group of 6-8 adults? Can you give me an idea of the price range for both the restaurant and the osteria? Are both venues air conditioned?

                                                                                                                    Unfortunately we'll be in Rome in August when a lot of places are closed so we don't have a lot of options at this point.

                                                                                                                    Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                                  3. goin to rome end of march for my 40th birthday with my husband staying at hotel de la minerve,got any restaurant recomendations nearby?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: bella

                                                                                                                      Very close by is Ristorante La Pigna in the Piazza La Pigna. Very consistent good food, but nothing fancy. I always enjoyed eating there.

                                                                                                                    2. Close to the Hotel Minerva is Armando al Pantheon, a very good, tiny place. I ate here twice last month. Recommended dishes would be their artichoke alla Romana; the farro dish; the grilled scamorza; the oxtail; any of the pastas. You must reserve ahead. I am not sure it is special enough for the anniversary dinner, though, but it is certainly convenient to your hotel. A SlowFood member.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: erica

                                                                                                                        re Armando, their scottadito and another similar lamb dish were the best we had on our last rome visit; if you like garlic their chicory is great - Id hardly say it was tiny though - its quite a bit bigger than the standard 12-table trattoria size. we liked their duck and guinea hen dishes. tho someone has posted a negative on the guinea hen recently (which tends to be dry).

                                                                                                                      2. I highly recommend Antico Arco on Piazzale Aurelio 7. we where there in October and had a wonderful experience. the staff could not have been nicer, great wine list, and really innovative Italian food. I had the lamb that night. some of the best I've ever have. we ate up in the third floor and it was a beautiful room. they have a wine bar on the first floor as you walk in. so you could go early and have a drink first. I will go back there next time I'm in town! we also ate at La Rosetta close to the Pantheon. again the staff was great, great room, loud with everyone having fun. the meal was good, but what I have to say the part I remember most was the bill. the cost for what you get is not worth it. so if your looking for a 'good' meal and enjoy sticker shock at the end as your digestivo, be sure and make a reservation. there is a small restaurant by the Piazza Venezia on V. Ceasare Battisti call Abruzzo. it is a great place for lunch and close to the Forum and museums around there. I've eaten there several times and have never been disappointed. moderate price, great friendly service and good house wine. the street is tucked back in there and you might have to hunt for it, but you'll like it.

                                                                                                                        1. Nino is my favorite restaurant in Rome, then Bolognese, Gusto and all of the places mentioned by others in the Ghetto. Jewish fried artichokes are incredible.

                                                                                                                          1. I was in Rome Feb. 18-22. Here's the report...

                                                                                                                            Vecchia Roma Enoteca, via d. Madonna d. Monti: ate lunch here on Saturday, very small neighborhood place, full of Italians, trippa alla Romana was outstanding, as was zuppa di verdure, hearty vegetable soup. Bruschette also good.

                                                                                                                            Colline Emiliane: dinner Saturday. Brightly lit, small restaurant, seems they were turning people away all night so we were glad we made reservations. Tagliatelle bolognese were delectable. A mushroom pasta was also nice. Desserts nothing special.

                                                                                                                            Gina, via di San Sebastianello, right near Spanish steps. Enjoyed a great lunch here, fresh mozzerella and tomato sandwich, salad, amazing apple tart dessert was out of this world, recommended by one of the very friendly waitresses. Not cheap.

                                                                                                                            Margutta Vegetariano, north end of via Margutta. Our original plans for dinner fell through, so we went here on the recommendation of the girl working at our hotel. Since my mother is vegetarian, I agreed, and was so glad! This is a lovely restaurant, spread out and quiet unlike most Italian places, lovely atmosphere. Everything was delicious, very carefully prepared, and something like 75% of their food is organic. It was very un-crowded, didn't need a reservation, but the food was really exceptional.

                                                                                                                            Matricianella: dinner Monday. Went here with a group - everything we had was delicious. Excellent prices, traditional food cooked perfectly....yum.

                                                                                                                            Gelato: Old Bridge Gelateria, across the street from the line for the Vatican Museums. If you're bored waiting to get in, go across and eat humonguous portions of delicious gelato. The 2 euro cup is gigantic!!! Or go after the museum, and eat across the street in the Piazza d. Risorgimento.

                                                                                                                            Bakery/cafe: Panella, via Merulana south a few blocks from Santa Maria Maggiore. Delectable pastries, breads, coffee (tables to stand at) and a gourmet food shop. Go for breakfast, get a jam filled croissant. Excellent hot chocolate.

                                                                                                                            1. Just back from Rome this month

                                                                                                                              Matricianella was great, but not excellent. They make an excellent fried artichoke, and I also enjoyed their fresh pasta. The only minus was that they drowned it in tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                              In the Jewish Ghetto, there is a restaurant named [something] Trilussa, which our ex-pat friend took us to. Romans-only, excellent fresh pasta, which they serve to you fresh in a pan, wonderful cheeses, rice balls, and prosciutto--we would have gone back had it not been for the fact that they totally ripped us off when the check came, charging something like 5 euros per rice ball, and 9 for our (outstanding) tiramisu. Perhaps they were trying to keep their lovely establishment under wraps and the americani out?

                                                                                                                              We ducked into Cavour 313 for dessert one night, and it seemed quite nice. I liked the ambience a lot. . . it should be known that is definitely more of a "fancy snack" type place than a restaurant where you can have a traditional meal.

                                                                                                                              We took the Michelin guide's rec of Mamma Angelina, and it was well worth the 20 minute cab ride into I don't know where of the Roman suburbs. On a rainy Wednesday night it was packed with Italians relishing the excellent seafood and delicious antipasti bar.

                                                                                                                              I've already devoted a separate (scathing) entry to Sora Lella, where I felt we got the worst food, treatment, and deal.

                                                                                                                              I can only say that even if you go wrong, you still win because you are in Rome! I did my research before we went on various internet sources, and I want to say a big thank you to everyone here! But a word of caution about Mario Batali's recs: we used a few of his and every single one of them was disappointing. I think they are a bit out of date.

                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: cassata_gal

                                                                                                                                Good on you for going out to mamma angelina, its a decent price (in rome) for good seafood, a great local restuarant fairly undiscoverd by tourists (until now?). Also unless they have changed something, another great thing about them is that they are open on sunday!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: KMERC

                                                                                                                                  Thanks to many of you have advised me on an upcoming Roman holiday. Here's how it looks now for three nights in late July in Rome: Lunch at Dal Bolognese, Dinner at Le Jardin De Russie, Breakfast at Campo dei Fiori TBA, lunch TBA after Vatican tour, Dinner at De Rienzo Michele at Piazza della Rotunda, Breakfast TBA on the way to Colosseum and Forum, Lunch TBA shopping, Dinner at Sabatini in Trastevere. Trevi fountain and Gelato tba. One last cafe. Next I'm working on three more days in Florence. Any help shaping this up is greatly appreciated.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EATTV

                                                                                                                                    I'm going to be in Rome for 2 days/nights in late September. I'll be a single woman, dining alone. I'm staying at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve. Any recommendations for me for dinner? I'm looking for safe walking destinations for me. Nothing fancy, just good local food and wine. I'm going to be just walking/sightseeing during the day, so I'll take my chances with what I've seen on the board so far for lunches.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: scabbardgirl

                                                                                                                                      EATTV started a thread called "Pantheon" on May 25, 2007 which will answer your question quite well.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                        Thanks. I'll look at that one. Still, if anyone has recs for a single woman, I'd appreciate it!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: scabbardgirl

                                                                                                                                          Rome is very civilized and, Id say generally not at all unsafe for a single woman. The area you are staying in is in the business and government heart of the city - its well policed and, Id say quite safe - there are also and there are a lot of quality eateries which as a tourist Ive barely begun to sample. If you want to go to a very high quality traditional Roman trattoria, that caters to a diverse crowd (from high government officials to backpackers) Id recommend Armando al Pantheon, where I think you could sit peacefully and enjoy an excellent meal in pleasant surroundings (not pricy either). Their pastas, meats veg and desserts are all very good. Had a great lardo app. there too, but thats probably too much and rich for one. There are several wine bars nearby also if you want a different sort of atmosphere. If you want ot eat outdoors, Id stay away from the touristy cafes in Piazza Navona and near the Pantheon - there are some reccs pro and con on this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/412724

                                                                                                                                          1. re: scabbardgirl

                                                                                                                                            Since I made a number of the recommendations in that thread, I know mine will all be appropriate for a single woman.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                              Thanks all. I'm used to travelling solo in the US and Canada, but this is my first trip by myself to Europe. I've been to Italy, France, Germany, and The Netherlands before, but with others. I just wanted to be sure that I had a place or two that I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in. I wanted to know about the area, just for peace of mind. Heck, there were areas that I stayed in Washington, DC, that I didn't want to walk around by myself at night :-) I've spent a bunch of money on this trip, so I have to economize a little on my meals. I still wanted Chow-worthy places, since I really don't like to eat with the tourist herd.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: scabbardgirl

                                                                                                                                                I'm a single woman and I live in Rome, and since sometimes I do eat out by myself when I can't persuade my local friends to dine out, and I've never had trouble, in fact usually they go out of way to be nice. In terms of walking around at night - Rome is safer generally than many american cities, but it is still a big city. Keep your eyes open and use your common sense, and you'll be fine.

                                                                                                                                2. I go every year and a must stop for me is Porto di Repetta - small , family run, they have farm outside town for produce. English speaking Maitre D and very friendly.

                                                                                                                                  1. I've spent much time in Rome. Ive been to La Rosetta once but had the best seafood meal of my life there. Don't go there if you don't want to eat delicious fruits of the sea....or if you want a bargain meal.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: johnkent3

                                                                                                                                      "Tratorria - very near the Pantheon - a very upscale "new" Sicilian that was 5 star service and quality and inventiveness of food. The pasta alla Norma was simply the best meal I had in Rome."

                                                                                                                                      Going to Rome this weekend and would like to try this place out, but finding it difficult to locate via Google or otherwise. Any other info available?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: stuartJ

                                                                                                                                        It would seem that the name *is* Trattoria. Have a look here:


                                                                                                                                        1. re: zerlina

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for that! I suppose they couldn't come up with a more inventive name??

                                                                                                                                          Anyway, already booked - I hope the pasta alla norma is as reported (maybe my favourite Italian dish) and will post reactions later...

                                                                                                                                        2. re: stuartJ

                                                                                                                                          It is called Trattoria, on via delle Cornacchie, http://www.ristorantetrattoria.it/
                                                                                                                                          my boyfriend just ate there yesterday and loved it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: stuartJ

                                                                                                                                            La Trattoria
                                                                                                                                            Via del Pozzo delle Cornacchie 25
                                                                                                                                            Tel. 06.68301427
                                                                                                                                            Closed on Sunday
                                                                                                                                            Everage cost Euro 60 per person

                                                                                                                                            This is a very trendy place at the moment. Chef Filippo LaMantia is great with PR and you read often about his restaurant on magazine and newspapers.
                                                                                                                                            It is located on a little tiny street not far from the Pantheon, just around the corner from Piazza Rondanini.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: antoniob

                                                                                                                                              Yeah, maybe in the end it was a wee bit too trendy for me...one of those swish designer vaguely Japanese-style places that could be anywhere from Melbourne to Montreal: so I guess the name is actually ironic, since it would be harder to imagine anything further from the idea of an Italian trattoria. The food is similarly "exquisite", my pasta alla norma was perhaps more truly Sicilian than the one I normally eat, with ricotta rather than mozzarella, but it arrived scaldingly hot and I was still waiting for it to cool when everyone else had finished. My mother-in-law cooks it so that the aubergine chunks remain crisp and whole whereas here they had blended with the tomato into a pasty mix. Tasty, eventually, but I'll stick with the suocera's. I had tattie croquettes to start with, nice but nothing special. My wife enjoyed her lamb stuffed with potatoes and artichoke but felt the meat was a little underdone. The wine was fabulous, a dense, full-bodied Sicilian Sant Agostino. Service excellent. But I much preferred Armando's the previous evening, which of course really looks like a Roman trattoria, and where there are fewer monied posers. Had a wonderful chick-pea and pasta soup, thick and creamy, then the vegetarian barley balls in gorgonzola sauce (apparently created by the chef for his vegetarian daughter, who was also our waitress). Washed down with a reliable Greco di Tufo. My wife enjoyed her spaghetti cacio & pepe and like me would be happy to go back tomorrow. Sunday lunch was at the Angoletto in Piazza Rondanini, where we've eaten at least once a year since we got married and this time took some friends. It's a reliable, cheerful place, usually with a good mix of locals and tourists, and we've always enjoyed our meals there, and this time too - but the bill was out by over 30 euros, and I could see my friends thinking "Aha! Typical attempt to fleece the tourists!" Well, I hope it was an honest mistake - they were certainly suitably stricken with embarrassment. We also liked the Enoteca Antica in Via dell Croce where we had a light snack for lunch, just a salad along with a nice fruity Traminer: but it's a nice interior, the service was brisk and friendly, and we'll certainly go back to try something heavier next time. Oh yes, I had a slice of carrot cake too - the pastry chef is American, apparently - and it was really delicious: light and moist.

                                                                                                                                        3. Hi i live in Rome and eat in Rome, and write a lot about the Eternal City. And I love reading posts from visitors. Orso 80(navona) is a great suggestion for an anniversary dinner, great fish. For more formal, I suggest Dal Bolognese (popolo). For something humble-- Il Conte Tacchia (trastevere). And for romantic, i suggest La Bacala-- very foodie and gourmet as well.

                                                                                                                                          1. ate dinner last night at restaraunt "Baby" Its managed by the Don Alfonso group. Don alfonso is a famous celeb chef from Sorrento. If in Sorrento you must go to Don Alfonso the restaraunt. It is in the top 5 meals of my life. Baby is probably in the top 10. Amazing place as well.

                                                                                                                                            1. We go to Rome with some regularity, and like to take our clients out to simple, comfortable places, as they're simple comfortable people, briar pipe makers. Struggling for a place to eat on our last visit we found Mamma Angelina's. I felt I'd like it the moment we walked in, and was right. Our Roman guests (6) liked it very much, too. I'd say fish was the focus, but everything was very good, and the 10 of us felt free to sample from the plates of others at the table. The negative aspect is its location, which is I-don't-know-where in Rome, but it can't be more than 10 min. north of Naples. If you're interested in a strictly local joint (near a lot of high rise ap'ts....I can tell you that...but we walked a lot and it seemed quite safe) and like to explore it's on viale Arrigo Boito 65. e-mail is: mammangelina@libero.it Can't be too far from some form of public transport.
                                                                                                                                              However, I wrote because my partner wants to know if there truly is a House of 1000 Beers in Rome, and where it might be. Thanks

                                                                                                                                              1. Hello everyone! WoW, alot of time has passed since the original post & alot of great ideas! I am traveling to Rome from 24-30 December with my husband and three kids (ages 16, 13, and 8). We are staying near the Spanish Steps. I would love some specific recommendations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals (I assume the Christmas Eve meal is in the evening and the Christmas Day meal is in the afternoon--is that correct?). Doesn't have to be right next door, however since I assume public transportation slows down on those days, it should be somewhat convenient. I am having problems finding restaurants with decent reviews that are open for the holidays. I would also appreciate your advice regarding the "must-have" foods of the region/city we should definetely try while we are there. I've seen mention of pizza bianca and artichokes and pasta con cacio e pepe--are these local specialties? Other than that, any recommendations for inexpensive (I'm experiencing some sticker shock for our visit to Rome!), warm & friendly, good food, and preferably not touristy restaurants/trattorias. Thanks tons. Gail

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. We are traveling to Rome in April with our two children -- ages 1 and 3. We have rented an apartment near Piazza Navona and, because of the kids, will probably not get to eat out every night. I looked through many of the recommendations listed, but none really specified take out (course...why would anyone eat in when in Rome!). How common is it that restaurants offer take out? Can anyone recommend take out places near Piazza Navona or restaurants that are family friendly?

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I've lived in Rome for almost 4 years on and off and have enjoyed eating at a lot of places you mention. I look forward to trying the new places. Although I would never consider myself a food expert, I'd like to contribute a few places, all with primi under 10 because I have always been on a tight budget here. I don't think they have been mentioned yet (or at least I hope not). As you can probably tell based on this list, I lived near the Vatican so a lot are located there.

                                                                                                                                                    Osteria del'Angelo near the Vatican is a good Roman trattoria with reasonable prices. At dinner, you either eat or don't eat (or so they write in Roman dialect on the menu); you pay 25 euro for a full dinner, antipasto, primo, secondo, biscotti and sweet wine. Gnocchi, meatballs and the chicory are delicious. I think their Roman fare is a bit more carefully prepared and tasty than other places in that price range.

                                                                                                                                                    For a nice night out, I also like Il desiderio preso per la coda near Navona (off Via del'orso). They usually have excellent risotto that changes according to season. Last time I went however, my friends' pasta was excessively salted. The atmosphere is "California chic" so it seems a bit more pricey on the surface but now since almost all places are

                                                                                                                                                    Another good neighborhood Trattoria - a bit off the beaten track, near the Metro Cipro, off a street called Via Marziale - is Sagra del vino.

                                                                                                                                                    By the way, has anyone had bad experiences at Baffetto recently...excessively burned and gloppy cheese? I now eat pizza locally at il peperoncino dispettoso on viale delle medaglie d'oro (akin to Dar Poeta in height although it is supposed to be authentically Napoletana....but that is, of course, just not possible ;) Hands down the best Roman pizza I have had in Rome (and I have tried all the "best") is Pizzeria Remo in Testaccio. Fritti are superb as well.
                                                                                                                                                    I had a good experience at Taverna Angelica near the Vatican - the pasta was an interesting change. My friends thought their meat was too fatty, however, I have found European meat to be a little on the fatty side.

                                                                                                                                                    1. We have just returned from a week in Rome, and the best meal we enjoyed was a one day cooking class with Daniella/Context Rome. She took us to the Testeccio market for shopping then returned to her beautiful flat where we prepared the lunch. The food, with several coarses, was totally fabulous, and as I say the best meal we had in Rome. Daniella was a wonderful hostess with excellent English language skills. This experience comes highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: eatermom

                                                                                                                                                          Too late, and the original post is a few years old, but here it is:


                                                                                                                                                        2. During our trip to Italy this past winter, we found that the unplanned and unexpected was the most fun and satisfying. Maybe because of low expectations. For instance and this could be anywhere in Rome, we found ourselves at the Testaccio Market after noon and it was closing. It was a Monday and the local notable restaurants were closed. Desparate, we went into a place that was advertised just as pizza by the slice. Pizza Taglio - right? At about 2pm there were few people there but we found a very inviting case of fresh food. We ordered vegetable lasagna,canneloni, roman artichokes and some of the best meat balls we had every had. With bread and water it was about $25. While we were there it became filled with locals and it was like an improptu party. This was a great experience that probably could be had all around Rome. In general during our trip to Italy, we were disappointed by the food at the more notable places. Maybe our expectations were too high. I am not in any way trying to divert from the famous and notable restaurants. Others will probably have different expectations and appreciations of what is offered than us. What I am saying is when traveling, take a chance at the simple, easily passed by local place. You might have a great experience..