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Just back from Rome -- Report

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Thanks to all for great restaurant recommendations for our anniversary trip to Rome. Thought Sora Margherita was great for simple, traditional Roman food and I absolutely loved hanging out in Testaccio -- away from the madding crowds! I was underwhelmed with Matricianella, perhaps we didn't order well -- the tiramisu saved the day however, it was brilliant. Orso 80 was def. the best, great antipasti de la casa, great everything! We enjoyed Enoteca Ferrara but more for the location and atmosphere, the food was a little to California/fusion-y for me, though my husband did love his squid pasta. I far preferred the wine bar at the Enoteca which is intimate and feels neighborhoody and has great small plates that you can have with your wine. The sommelier at Enoteca is extremely knowledgeable and he hooked us up to some of the best wine shops we have been to in Italy. Our favorite was on Piazza Cavour (it's huge, you can't miss it, also has a wine bar and is directly on the piazza) where they have a cellar stocked with important Italian regional wines, we came back to the States and couldn't believe the bargains we got bottle for bottle. Also, we went to Pizzeria Baffeto which we had been to on a previous trip to Rome, I thought the pizzas with the egg cracked on top were excellent and though that place is annoyingly touristy (as we were also tourists!), I thought the pizza was very good, def. better than Pizzare which I didn't like. Lastly, we enjoyed a glass of wine in the wine bar at Cul De Sac, that whole street is really cool, with great shops and places to sit and I very much liked the selection and atmosphere inside Cul de Sac which I read somewhere is the Rome's "first" wine bar. Gusto -- don't bother! Thanks again to everyone for all of your great input.

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  1. Sounds like a terrific trip, thanks so much for posting back! Glad that Orso 80 was so good, I can't wait to get back there.

    1. Thanks very much for posting. I'm leaving for a 10-day stay in Rome at the end of the month and this is very helpful.

      1. We also just got back from a (mostly) Italy trip, which started in Rome. Cul de Sac was indeed very good -- we went twice. Once just for wine, and the second time for lunch where we enjoyed a very interesting wild boar agrodolce pate -- with a bit of dark chocolate in the center. The number of pates, salumi, cheeses offered were outstanding, along with a small number of hot dishes.

        We also went to Da Baffetto for pizza, which I thought good.

        1. Couldn't agree more with your evaluations - especially about Gusto and Baffetto, The enoteca on Piazza Cavour is Costantini, it's a good one. For a nice smaller enoteca, next trip check out Il Goccetto on Via dei Banchi Vecchi.
          Always nice to see somebody's feedback after a trip.

          1. i'm absolutely baffled by the positive buzz on orso 80. as I detailed in another post, it was by far the worst meal i've eaten on my three week vacation, perhaps in the past few years. the ingredients were not fresh, the decor is horrible, the service stinks. feel free to ask about particlars. or, if you really disagree, i'd love to know why. rubbery mozarella? cold pizza with canned tomato paste? mealy white beans?

            1 Reply
            1. re: danjgoldstein

              sounds like you had a bad experience for sure. It would be great to hear about some of the places you enjoyed.

            2. I don't dispute your experience, I can only say that mine was the opposite in every way: the food was perfect in every detail and the service was warm and solicitous. Your mention of pizza makes me wonder if we are talking about the same place as I do not recall that pizza was on the menu when I was there, but I don't pretend to have perfect recall of the menu. I do join Jen in wanting to hear about some of the places that you did enjoy.

              1. Her original post is pretty detailed in where she went, what she liked, what not. Although I've not been to Orso 80, for the rest of it, I thought that her opinions/experiences were pretty much spot on. Matricanella, which has long been one of my favorite restuarants, unfortunately has been on a slow downhill slide from a couple of years ago. Still the best pasta all'amtriciana, and and the plates of the day are always a good bet, but the fritti can be greasy now, and I've come away from them a couple of times less thrilled than I used to be. A victim of their own sucess maybe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KMERC

                  With Orso 80, I think the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You go there for the antipasti and the experience and to be overwhelmed by the variety of the offerings. Clearly, some of the dishes are hit and miss, and not all, when we were there, were of the highest quality or freshness, altho some were also quite good. I think the quality of individual dishes would vary depending on what's available in the market, what was freshly made or a holdover from several hours before, and the number of patrons at the time. Was there any particular dish that I haven't had better elsewhere? No. Would I go back? You bet, particularly on a Sunday afternoon when this kind of meal is fairly traditional for Italian families (and increasingly difficult to find throughout the peninsula).

                2. I, too, was disappointed at Orso, where I went for dinner. The antipasto selection is impressive but I found nothing particularly tasty or memorable. I didn't mind the setting, which is informal and comfortable. I adored La Matricianella, particularly the artichoke and pasta with mushrooms, and found the place very upbeat and warm.