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Mar 6, 2008 11:56 AM

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

Wednesday (Trastevere)
L – Osteria le Mani in Pasta
D – Ristorante Antico Arco

Thursday (Vatican)
L – Dino e Toni Hosteria
D – Al Presidente

Friday (Coliseum/Forum)
L – La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
D – Sora Lella

Saturday (Ostia Antica)
L – Al Pescatore (Lido di Ostia)
D – Da Armando al Pantheon

Sunday (Tivoli)
L – Antico Ristorante Sibilla (Tivoli)
D – La Campana

Monday (Monti/Esquilino)
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.


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  1. 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.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lawrietaylor

      Thanks, I will swap Armando al Pantheon with Sora Lella. I will make sure to make lunch reservations at Le mani in pasta. I picked Alfredo's figuring that we would be jet lagged and too tired to really appreciate the first dinner.

      1. re: lawrietaylor

        Forgot to ask what do you recommend in Tivoli?

      2. I have found, and perhaps Maureen Fant and others agree, that planning two big meals a day is overkill. I don't want to dampen your spirits, just to warn you.

        6 Replies
        1. re: mnosyne

          We have taken many trips like this and with all the walking we do and our appreciation for food we have been able to handle the two meals. It helps that dinner is much later then in the US.

          1. re: KipCraven

            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.

          2. re: mnosyne

            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.

            1. re: mbfant

              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 ( - 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!

              1. re: ihearthothippo

                To the OP, I recommend you do a search on this board about gelaterias. Della Palma does not usually win such high praise, although the comment about every flavor under the sun is correct.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  I agree about the gelato.

                  Hostaria da Nerone is closed Sundays, open Mondays. Bastianelli would be closed Mondays and possibly also Sunday evening. But why go there?

          3. You might want to think about Osteria dell'Angelo or Il Matriciano for Thursday lunch instead of Dino & Tony's...

            1. Others may disagree, but I found Oseria le Mani in Pasta to be dreadfully mediocre.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tupac17616

                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.


              2. I just returned from Rome and dined at L'Osteria de Memmo at Via dei Soldati, 22-23, Tel. 06-68135277. 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.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mommabear

                  What kind of prices at de Memmo?

                  1. re: stymie

                    We were there on 11 April; €110 for 3 covers x 3 courses, with wine for two.