Rome - dining with a crowd
Will be headed to Rome soon and will, at times, be dining with a large group - probably about 10 people. No one is fluent or even proficient in Italian. Any restaurant suggestions, or tips on dealing with such a situation? Many thanks in advance...
One thing that might help is to have your hotel call ahead and make reservations for you. Also, dining on the early side may make things easier, like 7:30 instead of 8:00 can make a huge difference in Rome.
In most of Italy seating for large groups is no problem in simpler places that serve risottos, pizzas and other simple pastas (they have a specific name but I forget what they are called). But in countries like Italy and France you are in very good hands in terms of where to eat if you ask the hotel manager. So calling ahead and setting something up is a good idea as well.
In my experience most Brits, Americans, and Canadians can tell you only where the restaurants are, while the French and Italians will passionately inform you where you MUST eat.
We were just in Rome (december) with 4 other family members and returned to one of our favorite restaurants, which I recommend you consider as they would have no problem with 10 people (but make a reservation). Ambiance is quite nice. Enough of the wait staff speak English, so there is no issue with that.
It is Vladimiro-Ristorante Marcello, Via Aurora 37 (between Ludovici and Lombardo - 2 blocks in from Via Veneto). We have eaten there 5 times in 11 years and the food gets better each time. You might want to consider the meal we have every visit (reflects what we just had in December): first they present platters and dishes with antipasti (roasted red peppers, tomato with basil and mozzarella balls, canellini in tomato sauce, mushrooms in vinaigrette with parmesan cheese, salad of cooked peas/lima beans/carrots, grilled peppers topped with cheese, and assorted other dishes - never the same twice); second comes a platter with 3 different pastas, each in a different sauce (cream sauce with asparagus, tomato sauce, meat sauce); third is a huge hunk of roasted veal with potatoes; last is dessert (ice cream, ricotta cake, etc.). We always order the house wine in carafes and bottles of water. We were all stuffed when we finished. Total for 5 people on December 9 was 180 euros - average 36 euros per person. This is a standard offering on their menu and I suggest you look into it if the above description is to your liking.
The restaurant is not far from the Spanish Steps, but you have to walk up a hill to get to the neighborhood. After dinner, walk 2 blocks to the Via Veneto - nice to visit.
Paradoxically, given the small size of so many Roman restaurants, ten isn't that huge a crowd. You can probably eat anywhere you like as long as you reserve. Il Sanpietrino has a private room that could accommodate you. Pizzerias routinely handle parties of that size. One suggestion for ordering: try not to order all different things, and especially different pasta shapes. The kitchen will thank you if you order, say, four spaghettis instead of a spaghetti, a bucatini, a rigatoni, and a penne, and you will eat sooner.