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Oct 9, 2006 04:09 AM

Kid friendly in Rome

My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy with our two children, 3 and 5 years old. (Yikes!) My husband visited Rome when he was young, and the kids and I have never been.

As with all vacations, we start by researching food. We would love suggestions for restaurants in Rome that are kid friendly, have good food and aren't major tourist traps. I would love to get a taste of local life in Rome, instead of eating with a bunch of tourists.

Did I mention kid friendly?

Any help is appreciated.

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  1. You didnt say what area of Rome you are staying in - when our kids were in Rome ages 5 and 2, we put the kids in a "daycare" place for most days and ate dinner at our hotel - on our balcony, with takeout stuff. The relaxed flow of mediterranean dining just isnt geared too well for kids, but I think lunch would be a better time to experience it - pizza places would be good in the evening (there are not many pizza places that serve in the daytime btw, the isola below being one of the exceptions), or the aforementioned takeout.Consider arranging for a babysitter at your hotel if you are yearning for a dressy relaxed evening out.

    Here are some suggestions, which Ive copied out of old posts:

    In the Prati district, convenient to the Vatican - Osteria dell' Angelo, Via G. Bettola 24 - a Slowfood spot - offer a very good fixed price lunch deal limited choices, roman food - they have an oven they fire up in the evenning but we were there at noon on Christmas Eve - patrons mostly local, groups of guys, families with strollers, all sorts - servers of character - supposedly ex-rugby players and looked it. Friendly and real.

    Ditto L'Isola della Pizza at Via degli Scipioni, 43-47. Pizza (also in Prati near the Vatican) at lunch is not all that common in Rome - this place offers fine wood oven pizzas along with a fine antipasti spread and I am sure other good things - Convivial good humored atmosphere, patrons from local business people to students - their pizzas were excellent. The owner/guy in front of the huge oven is reputed to be an avid hunter and game is featured in season - on a non-food note, funny sanitizing toilet is worth seeing - a new thing in Rome.

    trattoria armando al pantheon, which is listed in the slowfood guide,and is located on a side street (Via Cresenzi) heading toward the Tiber from the pantheon, is a terrific, friendly Roman restaurant and reasonable in price. Ive posted about it in detail earlier this year, but our group of five explored the menu fairly thoroughly in two visits and had many excellent dishes. Their scottadito was the very best we had in Rome, and their special guinea fowl and duck dishes (cooked with fruit purportedly in the style of Apicius) were both succulent. Pastas (an excellent carbonara for example)vegetables and fruit desserts were all very good.
    Plus there can be good people watching of a sort. We watched a leisurely lunch involving an elderly important guy (two bodyguards evident, earphones and all), with family and colleagues/friends. But along with well-turned out Romans one sees families, a few tourists., its a real traditional tratt, well burnished and hospitable not sceny.

    volpetti piu, on the side street next to the volpetti store on via marmorata, in the testaccio neighborhood - this is a cafeteria line-like tavola calda, I guess, where you point to what you want from a great multitude of foccacia/pizza by the slice, hot dishes, meats, salads and vegetables of various kinds, desserts and drinks, put them on a tray and carry them to your table. Very informal, reasonable, delicious, some people sit down for a relaxed meal but it basically a quick-turnover place. My kids (and I) just love the trams - if you want to take one, Testaccio is a good destination. There's a great public market, bakeries, as well as the great volpetti store in this neighborhood, whic is near the Tiber, the Aventine and a short hop from the Colosseum.

    Tell us where you are staying - maybe we can give more targetted suggestions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      I'm intrigued by your suggestion of daycare. This September we're going to Italy for 3 weeks with our 3-year-old (and my parents - taking them back to Italy for the first time since their parents emigrated from there). I am definitely interested in the daycare option for part of the time. Any leads you can give me on reputable places?

      1. re: spot90

        My kids are all over 21 now! at the time I think we found a book on travelling europe with kids that has some leads. since people have become much more oriented in recent years toward taking kids everywhere, there must be info. I suggest asking your hotel (if you have one), looking for books or doing a web search. a web search of child care rome italy or day care or babysitting rome italy turned up a number of items.

    2. Except at the extremely grand places in Rome (and in Italy as a whole), kids are always welcome. Even the stuffiest places are great about whipping up a marinara sauce for a little one. My little girl is so in love with Al Moro's version of spaghetti carbonara that we have gone there as many as five days in a row - it happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in Italy, which makes it not such a burden - although it has a reputation, mostly well-deserved, for brusqueness.

      More specifically kid-friendly, perhaps, are Gusto in Augosto Imperatore (the restaurant as well as the pizzeria), Remo in Testaccio (my favorite pizza in Rome), any of the famous Ghetto restaurants, e.g. Da Giggetto (kids love getting an entire meal of deep-fried tidbits), Sora Lella (the staff is especially friendly to shorties, although it isn't cheap), etc. Wine bars are good for a quick in-out and snacky, kid-friendly food - Cavour 313, Cul de Sac, etc. And the best of the caffes are always a good bet at lunch: simple food, not terribly crowded, quick service, good people watching - even the trendy ones like Rosati, Bar della Pace near Navona or Gran Caffe la Caffeteria on Margutta. Kids love the ghost -shaped pizza at Acchiappafantasmi, which isn't bad and is served at lunch

      1. Ditto on that - most restuarants here are pretty friendly to kids, almost always willing to put together something simple for them it eat. Just use some common sense - don't go trendy on a friday night for example, (I'm sure your kids are pretty much well behaved,) and you should have no trouble.
        Did you say what neighborhood you are in?

        1. We're going to Tuscany and Rome this summer with our 4 and 5yo. They eat out often enough that they are relatively well-behaved. Would love to hear how your trip with the kids went - and where to go and where to avoid with them! Thanks.

          We took our son once before when he was 10months old, and he went everywhere with us (except one fancy dinner out) ande enjoyed the bread, past, mozarrella and whatever other morsels he was offered by us or the "bambino"-loving Italians. Hoping for a similar experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Love to Eat

            We had dinner at Baby with our nearly 3-year-old last August. Granted we were staying at the Aldrovandi Palace where the restaurant is located, but they were extremely gracious and accommodating, although we never have to order "kid friendly" meals for her because she eats what's on the menu. As a side note, we wrapped up our trip at the Villa d'Este and when we asked about getting a babysitter so we could have dinner at the main restaurant, they told us we were welcome to bring her with us. So we did and were made to feel that our little principessa was the most important guest that night. I'm not sure we would have felt as comfortable dining in these places with her had the service not been al fresco, but we certainly felt very welcome everywhere we went.