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Rome Restaurant Itinerary - Feedback Requested

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My partner and I are spending ten days in Rome (Oct 9-19) – first time there for the both of us. Needless to say I can’t wait to arrive. And, after much agonizing on my part, I've come up with our dinner itinerary.

If it helps, here’s some background: we’re staying in an apartment, just north of il Colosseo, but we’re happy to walk/bus/cab anywhere; pasta and risotto are highest on our list, with salumi, pizza and fish closely following; love wine, though don’t know as much about it as one might hope; and are hoping to keep most dinners under €150, though we’ll want to splurge on a couple of nights.

So, here’s our current resto itinerary. I’ve also included a list of other places I’ve heard about via the boards (esp from mbfant – grazie mille!) and Time Out (which has always served me well when traveling). Any recommended revisions or other feedback would be much appreciated.

Oh, and if it’s any incentive to share your views, I plan to blog about the trip, which’ll undoubtedly include many food-centric posts. I’m happy to share my site with any who are interested.

Thu, 10-09 - Checchino
Fri, 10-10 - Antico Arco
Sat, 10-11 - Paris (followed by late night clubbing)
Sun, 10-12 - Uno e Bino
Mon, 10-13 - Trattoria Monti
Tue, 10-14 - L’altro Mastai (is this a good romantic splurge choice?)
Wed, 10-15 - Da Felice
Thu, 10-16 - Lunch: Crudo or GiNa
Dinner: pizza (where?)
Fri, 10-17 - Agata e Romeo
Sat, 10-18 - La Piazzetta

Other places I’ve heard about:

Al Ceppo
Baby
Da Francesco – for pizza
Enoteca Ferrara
Est! Est! Est!
Giuda Ballerino
Il Fico
L’Osteria
Osteria del Rione – Inexpensive prix-fixe; any good?
Palatium
Piperno
Ristorante da Ottavio
Vladimiro Ristorante

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    1. re: CindyK

      I don't know enough about your individual restaurant choices to comment, but I did want to suggest that, in addition to pasta and risotto, you put gnocchi on your list of dishes to try. Gnocchi in Roma is most often made with semolina and baked like a gratinee, and I prefer it to most other gnocchi you can name (and I like all the rest). I think it is a special treat. There is a tradition to eat it on Thursdays in Roma -- I don't know the origin of the tradition -- so if you see it on the menu at a good restaurant on a Thursday, you might give it a go.

    2. Among your list, my strong advices are:
      L'ALTRO MASTAI, as, in my opinion, the chef Fabio Baldassarre is a very clever chef.
      Do not miss "spaghetti con scarola, coniglio e capperi".
      Rather than romantic, in my opinion, it is elegant and very comfortable
      TRATTORIA MONTI, classic and for sure not wrong
      FELICE, very nice and genuine.
      About pizzerie, these are my suggestions:
      AL GROTTINO www.algrottino.com
      BIR & FUD www.birefud.it almost no wine but many excellent beers
      IL SECCHIO E L'OLIVARO www.ilsecchioelolivaro.it
      LOCANDA DEI GIRASOLI www.lalocandadeigirasoli.it managed in a sweet way

      1. You have a good list there! You might also want to check out:

        Ditirambo - in the Campo dei Fiori area which is wonderful. It has a more creative menu and one of our most memorable meals was there.

        http://www.ristoranteditirambo.it/

        You should love Checchino dal 1887! It's great!

        I also recommend Il Giggetto in the Ghetto:

        http://www.giggettoalporticodottavia.it/

        Annd also Sant'Eustachio for the best coffee:

        http://www.santeustachioilcaffe.it/

        If you want good gelato there is a new-ish place in Trastevere called Fior di Luna:

        http://www.fiordiluna.com/

        For great foodie stores you need to try and get to Volpetti in the Aventino/Testaccio area and Castroni & Franchi near the Vatican!

        Other great gelaterias are Giolitti, San Crispino, Old Bridge and Checco er Carettiere.

        For pizza we had a great time at "Ai Marmi" on the Viale Trastevere. It's very popular.

        Have a great trip!

        1. Sorry it's such a long answer but have been meaning to write all this since we returned from Italy....We spent only a few days in Rome. We ate so well and i get the feeling that pretty much you can eat well wherever you go.

          BEST MEAL - We had lunch at Piperno and it was fantastic. We sat outside in the lovely courtyard and had an oil-fest - sounds hideous but it was really marvellous. The Jewish style artichokes are exceptional - and it is worth going just for those - deep fried whole artichokes with the crisp outside leaves the colour of dark roasted potato chips and each layer towards the centre reveals less crispness and more soft artichoke... The stuffed zucchini flowers were lovely as well. The pastas were also first rate - i had a spaghetti carbonara which was extremely rich but seriously delicious.
          Imagine spaghetti tossed with really crisp pieces of the saltiest (they called it just lard)pancetta (or guanciale) and a sauce made of grated pecorino cheese, egg and resulting melted lard...absolutely lip-smackingly great. Extremely rich – in fact too rich to finish, but certainly a truly memorable dish. Perhaps I may have been able to eat it all had I not eaten 18,000 calories of fried food for starters.
          The kids had gnocchi alla pomodoro and alla bolognese and all enjoyed it very much.
          And we had to then have MORE fried food for dessert. I mean, how could you possible skip a dessert called Le Palle de Nonno Fritte – literally translated as Grandpa’s Balls – fried! The plate came with 2 fried balls about the size of small cricket balls – a light and slightly sweetened ricotta mixture (think Cheesecake) which was then lightly battered and deep fried. Mmmmmmm.
          Fantastic lunch. More fattening than most, more expensive than most but well worth it on both counts!

          We also went to Checchino and had a delicious meal. My starter of Tonnarelli al sugo di coda, a square cut spaghetti with “a full body gravy made with tomatoes and ox tail”. Incredible. We all loved it and ate every last morsel and scraped the bottom of the dish with bread. Hubby ordered the Bucatini all Gricia, described as long, hollow spaghetti served in a white sauce made with ewe’s milk cheese and rendered pig’s cheek, which was spaghetti with guanciale, olive oil, pepper and grated pecorino. It was fantastic! . Hubby's main – Coda alla Vaccinara – was oxtail which had been cooked for hours in a tomato sauce with celery, pine nuts, raisins and (wait for it) sprinklings of bitter chocolate. It was totally unique and unctuously (is that a word?) delicious. Incredible flavour of a slow cooked dish that just makes you HAVE to lick the plate clean. Only downside of the meal was the snooty waiter - maybe becasue we had 4 young teenagers with us?

          We also ate at Colline Emiliane which we all really enjoyed, particulary the first course pasta. Excellent Fettucini with mushrooms, and a perfectly made Fettucine alla Bolognese - from the home made slippery egg pasta to the wonderfully simple meat ragu. Lovely simple restaurant which was very warm and welcoming!

          Our worst meal (with the loveliest waiter !) was at Osteria de Nerone near the Colosseum. It wasn't terrible, just ordinary. Perhaps because everything else was extraordinary!

          Happy eating!

          1 Reply
          1. re: hank64

            Glad you had good experiences at some of my favorite places. I'm curious about which waiter you found snooty at Checchino. The two waiters are really very nice but often don't seem fully engaged. The two brothers (tall one in the dining room, short one in the kitchen) are rather formal but extremely gracious. And what did you eat at Nerone? It's just a trattoria, in a different league from the others, and undoubtedly suffered by comparison with Checchino.

          2. We moved to Rome a few weeks ago and haven't tried any place from your list yet (but we will!). That said, we have discovered a few fantastic places and if you can't get there on this trip, maybe next time. If salumi is a priority, try Piccolo Abruzzo on Via Sicilia in the Veneto neighborhood. They bring out a basket of different salumis as one of the MANY appetizers, their pastas are sublime, and a full multi-course meal with wine comes to about 42 Euro a person. Don't bother with the menu, just sit there and eat until they stop bringing plate after plate of deliciousness.

            Antica Pesa in Trastevere was incredible for high-end authentic Roman dining - if you're feeling daring, try the tuna - it comes in a box and you have various spice powders (including cocoa!) and sauces for dipping. The pastas were perfectly seasoned, and my appetizer of cabbage and cheese (it tastes better than it sounds) was sublime. Clemente alla Maddalena near the Pantheon delivered too - not cheap, but this is a real chef doing creative things with Roman classics - it came highly recommended by a Roman friend who has written a book on Italian cuisine.

            Further afield, we just discovered a place called VeRoma near Piazza Verbano (Via Sabazio 22). Wow. Classic Roman and Veronese fare with a creative twist, artistic presentation, charming service, and the most delicious and fresh ingredients we've had (and we've eaten at places like La Terrazza dell'Eden in the past few weeks). Minimalist decor, no view, and a bit out of the way (approx 2 miles northeast from Trevi Fountain) but the food is simply amazing. They started us off with a glass of sparkling wine and a delicate potato/fennel soup - both gratis. For antipasti, we chose fried zucchini flowers (layered with buffalo mozzarella and accompanied by tomato sorbet) and fennel salad (small buttons of goat cheese and a sprinkle of olives complimented the crunchy fresh fennel perfectly). We skipped primi piati and instead had the beef al'amarone (an incredible fillet mignon cut, perfectly cooked, on a bed of seasoned mashed potatos, and carmelized onions in amarone, topped with crunchy fried greens) and lamb five ways (not sure exactly what the "ways" were, but each was delectable). Wine was a steal (for Italy) - we had a Valpolicella Ripasso for 17Euros). For dessert we had the chocolate mousse pyramids, accompanied by a shot glass of strawberry reduction. It was sublime, and not pricy by Rome standards - antipasti and desserts 8-10 Euros each, secondi 18 Euros each.

            Good luck and buon appetito!