Rome Dining Lineup
Four of us will be spending a week in Rome in early April, staying near the Pantheon, and I have developed the following list of restaurants from multiple sources. I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, and recommendations. We will be doing a lot of walking each day then returning for a nap to rest up for dinner. We will be using public transit or taxis as needed. I have listed the general area we will be sightseeing each day.
A few issues:
1. Saturday There was very little information about places to have lunch near Ostia Antica. I figured that we would continue on to the beach. Any better suggestions?
2. Monday I was looking at Trattoria Monti but half the web sites have it closed on Monday and the other half closed on Tuesday. Which is it?
3. Do we need reservations for lunches? Last year we were in Copenhagen and the restaurant we planned for the first lunch, even though it was completely empty, (we were early) was fully booked and we were unable to get in.
4. Are all the restaurants open on the days and meals I have picked?
5. How soon should we make dinner reservations? Are some of these restaurants harder to book than others?
Tuesday (Arrive from states/Jet lag)
L – Gusto
D – Alfredo alla Scrofa
L – Osteria le Mani in Pasta
D – Ristorante Antico Arco
L – Dino e Toni Hosteria
D – Al Presidente
L – La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
D – Sora Lella
Saturday (Ostia Antica)
L – Al Pescatore (Lido di Ostia)
D – Da Armando al Pantheon
L – Antico Ristorante Sibilla (Tivoli)
D – La Campana
L – Ostaria da Nerone
D – Bastianelli dal 1929 (Fiumicino)
I want to thank all the people of this site for all the time and effort they spend to help educate the rest of us foodies.
If I were you I would forget Alfredo alla Scrofa and Alfredo in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, and forget La Sibilla in Tivoli (a total ripoff and mediocre food).
Armando al Pantheon, excellent, is closed Saturday at dinner and all day Sunday, so reschedule your meal.
Le mani in pasta is excellent but you may need a lunch reservation and definitely a dinner reservation.
I think Sora Lella on the Isola Tiberina is open dinner only, and Mnosyne might have a point in not planning two major meals the same day, despite all the walking you intend to do. Villa D'Este on Sunday is crowded with tourists, who will flow over to the restaurants at lunch time. I would say any small restaurant on a side street a bit away from the Villa D'Este would be good if you see locals eating there.
I see some people on this board were not overly high on Sicilia in Bocca (Via E. Faa di Bruno, a good mile from the Vatican Museums on a residential street), but if you love fresh fish, I think it's terrific, especially the ample choice of antipasti and fresh fish. At dinner you definitely need a reservation, and there will be mostly Italians enjoying a long, leisurely meal. Closed all day Sunday.
I agree completely. ONE restaurant meal a day is plenty. If you're traveling, your days are fuller than your evenings, so lunch could be a sandwich in a bar or a slice of pizza al taglio or a little picnic. Or if you have lunch, dinner could be just gelato or something in a wine bar. If you are dying to sit comfortably for a while in the middle of the day and thus simply must go to a restaurant, I really recommend skipping the primo and eating very light if you plan to eat again in the evening.
Monti used to be closed on Tuesday but is now closed on Sunday evening and Monday.
Gusto should be considered a last resort for something like a Sunday evening in August when everything else is closed, not a primary destination.
I think Sora Lella is a ripoff, but it has its fans. Every time I think I should give it another chance, I feel like a sap.
Speaking of gelato, go to Della Palma - it's right on one of the little streets leading to the Pantheon. I'm not kidding when I say they have every flavor under the sun (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNSv7M... - this video only shows 2 of the 3 walls!). The gelato is definitely the best I had (try the mascarpone, it's incredible) and it's priced the same as if not less than other gelato places in Rome - 2 Euro (about $3.50). We went on the recommendation of a tour guide, and she certainly knew what she was talking about! If you can't find it, I'm sure if you ask at your hotel they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
Also just a general tip: don't eat in a piazza! The food is overpriced and probably not worth it, so even if you're really hungry venture into a little side street and you'll probably find cheaper, better-quality food. Also, while you don't necessarily need to eat a big lunch if you're on the go, make sure you grab something because restaurants (that aren't targeting tourists) don't open for dinner until 7-7:30 (we learned that the hard way).
To answer your question, many restaurants in Rome are closed on Mondays. Not sure about Osteria de Nerone or Bastianelli dal 1929 though - try shooting your hotel an e-mail, they should be able to tell you.
Try Frommer's Rome book, too, if you haven't already. I've never had a bad experience with them (but certainly some delicious ones).
Enjoy your trip!
You might want to think about Osteria dell'Angelo or Il Matriciano for Thursday lunch instead of Dino & Tony's...
Thanks to everyone for their input so far, I will do some revising and rearranging, this is why this site is so great. We will look for another lunch restaurant in Tivoli. Both suggested restaurants near the Vatican look good. I need to see how much time we have during our tour for lunch. Are there any other suggestions for lunches in Trastevere and Monti/Esquilino area?
As for TWO full meals each day, we have been able to meet this kind of a schedule for many other tours in Europe and have survived. However, I will not say that we are not excessive, which is why we are talking about food three weeks before our trip. It also gives us a chance to sample twice as many restaurants. The secret is an early lunch, late nap, and late dinner.
I just returned from Rome and dined at L'Osteria de Memmo at Via dei Soldati, 22-23, Tel. 06-68135277. http://www.osteriadememmo.it/ The restaurant is a two-minute walk from Piazza Navona.
A friend in Rome suggested this place and she was right. It's the kind of place you would go to again and again. Very Roman. They speak no English at all. The antipasti was amazing in its variety: roasted peppers, eggplant, zucchini, fennel, olives, mozzarella, ricotta buffala, rice balls, meat balls, fagioli, prosciutto, and more. I had a very fresh sea bass which was excellent.
On my last trip to Rome (November) I ate at Osteria da Nerone and it was very good. Great selection of antipasti. I had the house pasta (Nerone?) which was scrumptious.
Re your Ostia Antica jaunt, there are a couple of things you could consider. Rather than heading on down to the beach after your visit to Ostia Antica, you could eating at Il Monumento restaurant in the adjoining town of Ostia Antica - it looked like a popular, good bet when we were in the area (it was fully booked so we couldnt get in on Epiphany holiday). The other suggestion might be to go back up to the vicinity of St. Paul fuori le Mure or Testaccio (right near the Ostiense station) for your lunch - there are a number of options which might interest you.
You owe it to yourselves to dine at least once at my favorite authentic trattoria, Fiammetta. You'll dine among Italians & their food is fantastic. Eggplant parm is out of this world due to an incredible red sauce; pastas, salads are all terrific. Everything is baked in a wood-fired oven so it's also one of the few places you can have fabulous pizza at lunch or dinner. Address is Piazza Fiammetta, 10. Go to Zanardelli, top left above Piazza Navona, look for the Hotel Genio & turn left at the corner & there it is. Buon Appetito!
If it's even open on Monday, the only reason you would need a reservation is all the people from the Internet treating it like a gastronomic destination instead of the modest, honest old shoe that it is (mind you, I am crazy about old shoes). Unfortunately, that is now a risk. Phone them on the Friday or Saturday, or even late Monday morning, just to make sure, and if by some chance they are full, call the next place on your list. This is why it's important to travel with a cell phone.
Yes ... sadly, you do need a reservation at Fiametta ... and very likely for just the reasons described by MBFant, above. They have gotten a big name on this board, and if you go there, you will realize why -- the food is DIVINE!! Basic, hearty dishes that you would expect in a Roman trat, but so delicious, you will go back, like I did when we were in Rome just 4 weeks ago. They are open for lunch at 1:00 pm, and don't try going there at 12:30 -- they usher you out, and welcome you back in at 1:00 pm. But, as I said, it was one of our best meals in Rome ... modest, but authentic surroundings, but great, fresh food and a memorable time. You can email them for a reservation ... RistoranteFiammetta@liberio.it ... you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this "old shoe" and you will go back ... I promise you! Enjoy! Ciao!!
I ate at Fiametta on Monday April 29. Made a reservation, did not need it as there were several empty tables at dinner time that stayed empty all evening. This was a very average dining experience. Not bad, not great. Even had the much touted eggplant parm. Again, average. The staff was nice and attentive. Pleasant enough evening. Not worth a special trip in my opinion. Grilled veggies were very good, however.