We are going to Rome in Feb. but will be staying in what appears to be a remote hostel near Frascati. One site said that for a change of pace, Romans will drive out there to eat in the restaurants. Another said the specialty of the area is porchetta and of course the wine. OK, now I’m not feeling so bad about staying so far out. So, which of these places that Romans go to should I not miss? I am interested in a place for a group of between 4-8, and perhaps a romantic place for the 2 of us. High or low rent is fine. Also, is any porchetta vendor or winery better than another?
I can second the Cacciani recommendation. Terrific food with nice views overlooking Rome in the distance. Probably on the pricier end of the Frascati range. The Bar degli Specchi around the corner has nice coffee and cornetti in the morning.
Other good places include Zaraza, on Viale Regina Margerita, and Sapore di Casa, on Via Cavour. The latter is the kind of place where you pay 25 euros per person for a multiple course menu of the day. Simple but high quality stuff, in a very friendly atmosphere. I found it through a recommendation on this board. There is also a cantina type place nearby that is recommended by the Slow Food guide. We had a nice lunch there one day.
The porchetta/wine experience is a magic thing. The drill is to go to the market square, where there are numerous shops and stalls selling porchetta, prosciutto, salami, cheese, fruits, vegatables, and bread. (For my money, the best bread can be found at Ceralli, a bakery with a brick oven in a small square near the market square). Buy what you like, and then wander to one of the wine cellars on the street at the edge of the hill (this is the street on which Zaraza is located). They sell Frascati by the carafe, and supply picnic benches where you can consume your purchases. I've done this in spring and summer - not sure how well it will work in February. If you get a nice day, possibly.
There are three excellent places in Grotaferrata, the next town over. Il Tuscolo and Il Fico Vecchio are old classics, and both quite romantic. I haven't been to La Briciola di Adriana, but it gets raves both from the Slow Food guide and from my friends who live in that town. They caution that service can be quite slow, however.
Terrific. That is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Thank you both so much. Will of course report back.