Best place for a private dinner in Rome - with some outside space
I am having a rehearsal dinner for my guests - mostly all from SF and east coast - on Aug 31. I am having a heck of a time finding the "perfect" place. I want to pay about 60 euro total per person and want something very simple - nothing extravagant. A simple trattoria would be so nice. Maybe with an outdoor patio b/c it will be hot. Any suggestions? My problem is that many of the restaurants don't hold enough people. I think we will be about 80. Grazie!
Trattoria Lilli, on the Lungotevere near Piazza Navona, would be big enough and has a little outside space, but it's very very simple and I've never heard of anyone having a party there. The better restaurants and trattorias rarely seat more than 45, as you've discovered. You also have the problem of your date. There are all those places around the Appia Antica and via Latina, but they tend to be overpriced and not very good. Would you consider something outside the center? Castello di Lunghezza could be an idea. I think they've simplified their menu lately, and the place is magic. And there are lots of places in the Castelli, e.g. Antico Ristorante Pagnanelli, in Castelgandolfo, where they are very nice and organized, right on Lago di Albano. Or else ask a caterer about private venues and say you want a romanesco menu with pasta e fagioli.
I am thinking of having my rehearsal dinner - with about 40 - at Romolo nel Giardino della Fornarina - they have a gorgeous outdoor garden in the back. We went there for lunch a few months and it was almost totally empty, so we chatted with the waiter a bit about private parties and he said they can arrange a menu at almost any price. Don't know if the back could hold *80* though.
MBFant, I'd love your opinion on Romolo nel Giardino... we haven't booked yet
Via di Porta Settimiana 8 - trastevere near the ponte sisto
The garden is indeed a good idea. I haven't been to the restaurant in literally decades, and the place has sort of fallen off the radar -- not in guidebooks, nobody ever mentions it. It was always a little more expensive than it should have been. I would be very hesitant, but I just don't know enough about the place to answer.
Reporting back on Romolo nel Giardino - we had the rehearsal dinner there in the garden last Thursday and it was WONDERFUL... the food was good, solid (we arranged risotto, lamb, and tiramisu with house wine and caffe after at about 50 euro a person), the service was top notch, the location BEAUTIFUL - just perfect for an occasion like this. They were incredibly accomodating and it actually seemed like they really enjoyed having us there. Perhaps most important than the food when there is such a large group - everything went so smoothly that the guests all had a great time.
(To anyone planning - it would be difficult to do this from afar, because they don't really have a web presence or anything. If you arrive in Rome in advance I would just go by at lunch time and ask to speak with Mimmo. Knowing some Italian would help, too.)
Via di Porta Settimiana 8
Rome 00153 Italy
+39 06 581 8284
We recently had lunch at Ristorante Cecilia Metella on the via Appia Antica. The food was good and not too pricey (120 Euros for 3 w/house wine and dessert). It was a nice day so we sat outside on the lovely garden patio overlooking the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. Check out their website at www.ceciliametella.it. I would think that, if planned in advance, this would be a lovely setting for a rehearsal dinner.