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Trattoria Monti, Rome: how far in advance to reserve?

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fillyjonk Sep 28, 2007 04:55 PM

We'll be spending a single night in Rome before flying home from a three-week trip to Italy in October, and would like to have dinner at Trattoria Monti (conveniently located around the corner from our hotel). Can anyone give me an idea of how far in advance I should book a table? We'll be a party of 2 on a Tuesday night.

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  1. jen kalb RE: fillyjonk Sep 28, 2007 09:02 PM

    If you are going to reserve and not just wing it, why not just go ahead?
    Having said that, I imagine you can wait til you get til Italy - I hardly think its that hot a ticket!

    1. c
      CJT RE: fillyjonk Sep 29, 2007 11:50 AM

      We have stayed at the Mecenate Palace Hotel just a few blocks from Monti in 3 different years (including December 2006) and tried to find Monti open. Six times we tried and only found it open once at lunch (never could find it open at dinner although we tried on various days of the week). I'm not saying they aren't open regularly, as I don't know. But I suggest you have an alternate choice to go to if you have the same experience we had. We did eat there once for lunch 12/06 and did not find it worth the press it has received - special of the day was roast stuffed pigeon and it was dry and overcooked.

      1. mbfant RE: fillyjonk Sep 30, 2007 09:12 AM

        Talk about a vicious circle. It's exactly this -- reserving far in advance -- that will change the character of what has always been a pleasant, modest restaurant. It should not be wildly impossible to eat there on a Tuesday, or wasn't until the recent spate of attention. Now practically everyone who goes there is American and local people have a hard time getting in. I'm exaggerating, but not much. It is not the sort of place local people book ahead at; it's a neighborhood place in a neighborhood where it stands out. But since you have logistical reasons for going there, and it will be October tomorrow, just book your table and have done.

        9 Replies
        1. re: mbfant
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          fillyjonk RE: mbfant Sep 30, 2007 04:07 PM

          Thanks for the responses, all. Mbfant, I'm sorry if I came off as just another unimaginative American making life harder for the locals! I ordinarily wouldn't think about planning this far in advance for a meal in a neighborhood trattoria; the issue is that we'll be in transit, with an early morning departure from the train station, and are hoping for a decent meal within a fairly limited geographic area so as not to get back to the hotel too late. If anyone has alternative ideas for a reliable spot in the immediate area of Termini, I'd welcome them -- searching the board doesn't turn up a ton of options in this neighborhood. (Agata e Romeo is probably beyond our price range, unfortunately.)

          1. re: fillyjonk
            mbfant RE: fillyjonk Sep 30, 2007 11:24 PM

            As I said, you have logistical reasons, so go ahead. In our household, logistics trumps almost everything. Unfortunately Agata e Romeo and Monti are about it in the immediate neighborhood. And you do need to reserve ahead at both (and yes, Agata is where we go for birthdays, not when we just feel like eating out). When, as increasingly often, Monti is full when we need to take people somewhere in the neighborhood at short notice, we go to Nerone or La Piazzetta, which are maybe ten minutes' walk from Monti. But bear in m ind that we are talking about the center of Rome, so even if a place isn't right around the corner, the distances are not huge.

            1. re: mbfant
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              Curmudgeon RE: mbfant Sep 30, 2007 11:39 PM

              I've been to Nerone 4 or 5 times over the years and love it. Last time we also enjoyed a Slow Food recommendation, but it is a subway or taxi ride away. Slow Food thinks 35euro without wine is what a family can afford and doesn't include pricier places.
              Osteria del Velodromo Vecchio
              Via Genzano, 139
              Rome 00179 Italy
              +39 6 788 6793

              1. re: mbfant
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                condiment RE: mbfant Oct 2, 2007 04:15 AM

                How does a restaurant like Monti suddenly become popular with travelers? I've never quite figured it out. It's a good neighborhood place, and it's refreshing to eat Marchesi cooking after a couple straight weeks of Roman food, but I would never think of it as a culinary destination or recommend it as such.

                1. re: condiment
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                  zerlina RE: condiment Oct 2, 2007 05:02 AM

                  Warm (fairly recent) write-ups in "Travel + Leisure" and on Frank Bruni's blog in the New York Times will do it...

                  1. re: zerlina
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                    Jeremy M RE: zerlina Oct 2, 2007 06:11 PM

                    We had lunch there two weeks ago before catching a train from Termini to Naples, and had a great meal. Bruni's review and the recent publicity almost kept me away, but Maureen's positive words and the good rating from Slow Food convinced us to go. I'm glad we did. We had a nice pasta with fiori di zucca, risotto with porcini, a couple of very interesting flans (one was red onion with gorgonzola - excellent), suckling pig, breaded fried lamb chops, and chicken in a spicy tomato sauce. The service was very warm and friendly, despite our haste to catch our train.

                  2. re: condiment
                    mbfant RE: condiment Oct 2, 2007 11:01 PM

                    You mean Marchigiana ;-) i.e. from the Marche. Marchesi, in gastro context, evokes Gualtiero Marchesi, doyen of creative chef/restaurateurs. But you express my feelings exactly, though I must say I am liking the food at Monti better than I used to while bemoaning the loss of its neighborhood character. I think Bruni was irresponsible in his blog. Such superlatives were bound to have consequences for the character of the place.

                    1. re: mbfant
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                      condiment RE: mbfant Oct 4, 2007 02:51 AM

                      Sorry - as much time as I've spent in Italy, my Italian is beyond appalling.

              2. re: mbfant
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                RomeAddict RE: mbfant Oct 1, 2007 12:45 PM

                Just returned & my new fav is La Fiammetta...eggplant parmigiano to die for! Incredible pizzas. Everything out of that wood-fired oven is fabulous. Mainly Italian clientele so it's my kinda place. Sublime! Do not miss it! They have my best food award out of my dozen trips to my favorite city.

              3. r
                RomeAddict RE: fillyjonk Oct 1, 2007 03:54 PM

                At Trattoria Monti, you must try the parmesan flan in lettuce sauce! Exquisite! House white is intoxicatingly wonderful. Love the younger brother, Danieli Camerucci, shown here with my friend. We had a fabulous lunch!

                 
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                  fillyjonk RE: fillyjonk Oct 20, 2007 09:25 AM

                  Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions. We did end up having dinner at Trattoria Monti on our one night in transit through Rome; I called around four days ahead for a reservation, which worked out fine (was glad we did reserve, as walk-ups were getting turned away when we were there). The clientele on that particular Tuesday night was about 70 percent Italian, the rest mostly British. We enjoyed a playful mixed fry that included stuffed olives and zucchini blossoms as well as a surprising little fried packet of vanilla sauce; a pasta dish involving anchovies and more zucchini blossoms, delicate but with a good anchovy punch; a tortello with a liquid egg yolk nestled inside its ricotta filling; an incredibly rich and concentrated red onion flan; and a special swordfish with a bread stuffing and zesty sauce of cherry tomatoes. The house Verdicchio went surprisingly well with the whole range of flavors. The food and the overall experience were extremely pleasant and soothing, perfect for an evening before a long day of travel.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fillyjonk
                    mbfant RE: fillyjonk Oct 20, 2007 12:55 PM

                    All sounds delish. The vanilla packet is called cremino, but usually travels in the plural. It's a dense pastry cream, chilled and cut into lozenge shapes, then lightly breaded and deep fried.I love them. They're a specialty of the Marche as are those stuffed olives, which are olive ascolane, specialty of Ascoli Piceno.

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