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Roman Memories--Long

Here are my thoughts about a wonderful honeymoon in Rome a couple of weeks ago; to cut to the chase, we loved everything about the city.

My Beloved Wife and I arrived in Rome in the evening of the 21st to celebrate our honeymoon. I had been to Rome 31 years earlier as a college student, however, that experience really did not provide me with more knowledge than my BW, who had never been to Rome. It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience, and it bore little resemblance to my time years ago.

In preparation for our trip, I read ALL of the Chowhound postings regarding restaurants and food in Rome. As a result, I compiled a list of over 250 restaurants, pizzerias, enotecas, gelaterias, coffee shops, and specialty food stores, organized by neighborhood, and ranked based on reviews of select Chowhound posters. We hadn’t left for Rome, but I felt qualified to answer most questions posed regarding food in Rome.

We rented an apartment on Via dei Pettinari, across the street from the Hotel Ponte Sisto, with a rooftop terrace. The location was brilliant: three blocks from the Piazza Farnese, four blocks from the Campo, and steps from the bridge to Trastevere. What I didn’t realize from the maps is how small the “blocks” are, as well as the streets. I had the impression that Via dei Giubbonari was a significant street, and it is, but I didn’t realize that a Smart Car would barely fit within it. We consistently walked beyond our destinations because we couldn’t appreciate how small an area the Centro Storico truly is.

I only made three dinner reservations prior to leaving for Rome, on the premise that our plans were fluid, and I didn’t want to tie us to a specific neighborhood in advance. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we ate at Agata e Romeo, Il Convivio Troiani, and Checchino dal 1887 respectively. Agata e Romeo hadn’t been on my original list of three, but we took a cooking class with Roberto Donna (formerly of Galileo in Washington, DC) and he raved about the restaurant, and said that it was the one place that we couldn’t miss. While reading the reviews of restaurants in Rome, I developed a severe attraction to Convivio, and I decided it was the one restaurant that I couldn’t miss. I decided on Checchino as the best example of classic Roman cuisine. This left us with about two dozen restaurants that I had highlighted from my list, as well as the best pizza places and wine bars.

To get directly to the essential point of my review, we have decided that for us, less was better in terms of restaurants in Rome. While we are accustomed to fine dining, we had a hard time justifying the prices paid at Agata e Romeo and Il Convivio. Perhaps we took the wrong perspective, given that these were two of the finest restaurants in Rome. But despite having dined frequently in NYC, we are not accustomed to spending $450 for dinner for two with the least expensive bottle of wine possible. Our experiences may have also been colored by the formal, exquisite, service that caused us to try and live up to the service by constantly sitting up straight. We just didn’t enjoy our time at these restaurants as much as we felt we should have based on the expense.

In fairness, I have to say that my BW felt that the red pepper risotto at Agata was the single best thing that she ate in Rome, and I have never had anything like the foie gras crème brulee. The tasting menu at Il Convivio contained some wonderful items: the veal with guanciale slaw was amazing; and the sea bream cooked sous vide in a jar was a delicious play on the technique. In both cases, the attention to detail was superb, particularly at Il Convivio. What Il Convivio spends on silverware per customer must be a fortune. Nonetheless, it was hard to find appropriate value in the meals, as all the food was not of mind-blowing quality or quantity. We just didn’t leave the restaurants thinking that regardless of the cost, we had never eaten like that before.

To return to the travelogue, we walked everywhere and had the most fun exploring the warren of small streets that make up the Centro and Trastevere. We always looked forward to returning to “our neighborhood” when we spent time around the Vatican or Prati or Veneto where the streets widened, and the shops became world renown.

We found that the food at restaurants of little regard in Rome equaled or exceeded most anything that we could find in our part of the world (Wisconsin). We ate at the Restaurant Campo dei Fiori on Monday night out of expediency, and the amatriciana was perfectly fine, the fried fresh anchovies were nicely prepared, and the pasta with porcini needed seasoning, but was good. Nothing was revelatory, my amatriciana is as good, but we had no expectations when we sat down, and the food certainly wasn’t bad, and we had the spectacle of the Campo right in front of us.

Wednesday we had a late lunch at Enoteca Roscioli after visiting the Colosseo and the Fora. We started with an appetizer of mozzarella with anchovies and sun dried tomatoes. The tomatoes were unlike anything we have ever had, filled with flavor and not as tough as those we get at home. We suspect that what we had were the semi-dried tomatoes that we later found at Volpetti, but they were amazing whatever they were. I had pasta with shrimp and bottarga, which I loved, but I love fishy-tasting things. My BW didn’t love my pasta, but she thought that her amatriciana was excellent (but still not as good as mine). We loved everything about the restaurant; we enjoyed shopping the walls of wine, olive oil, balsamico, and other foodstuffs. As would be expected, the bread was the best that we had in Rome, but I should note that we were surprised by the poor quality of most of the bread served in Rome.

In the evening, we crossed the bridge, and wandered through Trastevere. We walked down San Francesco a Ripa, stopping at the Fabbrica di Cioccolato for some wonderful, and relatively inexpensive treats. As we wandered, I saw Pizzeria San Calisto, which was on my list, and next door was a nice looking restaurant facing out on to the tiny piazza (we loved how anything slightly larger than a four-way stop can be called a piazza). We looked at the menu, which seemed quite reasonable, when I realized that this was Restaurante Paris, which rated a “1” among my list of restaurants in Trastevere. The restaurant was virtually empty when we entered at the same time as a couple of American monks. As a side note, we ate between 8 and 9 p.m. each evening, and we never encountered a restaurant that was full. We even saw people walk into Il Convivio without a reservation. I think Agata might have been the only restaurant where a reservation may have been necessary. We sat outside, and had a lovely evening. We ate Roman classics such as carbonara, and caccio e pepe; we also had the friti misti, and some veal with porcini. The tiramisu was nothing short of incredible. We contrasted this meal with the previous evening at Agata, and we came to realize that we were much more in our element at Paris, and we had a much better time, even if the food was not earth-shatteringly good.

On Thursday we took a 6-hour tour of the Vatican and the museums (we spent the morning touring the Vatican gardens, which were not special, but being able to wander around behind the scenes was great). There was a break for lunch, and we stopped at a tavola calda that was far enough away from the Vatican that it did not feature pictures of St. Peter’s on the walls, or “Vaticano” in its name. The pasta and gnocchi were not what an epicure would consider good, but we still found it far better than what we could find in the United States given a similar location and price. Besides, that evening we went to Il Convivio and we certainly experienced the highest levels of service and ingredients that anyone could expect from a restaurant.

We had late afternoon reservations at the Galleria Borghese on Friday, so we planned to take all day while walking in that general direction. With time in hand, we walked over to San Eustachio for a coffee. We thought it was quite good, but that Tazza de Oro had been better when we had stopped earlier in the week. We then ate dessert first by stopping at Tre Scalini for tartufi con pana. The whole place was way too touristy and mass-produced for my taste, but the tartufo was good. Sitting in the sunshine in Rome has compensations even if it is in the Piazza Navona amid the crowds. We then backtracked even farther to Pizzeria Montecarlo for lunch. The friti misti were entirely forgettable, however the pizzas were outstanding. The crusts were almost ethereal, just wisps supporting the toppings. I loved the capricciosa, and my BW enjoyed the prosciutto. They were everything that had been claimed about the Roman thin crust pizza.

We continued back to the north, and we stopped near the Spanish Steps in order to say that we were there, and found them almost as filled with tourists and revolting as the Trevi fountain. I bet we could have walked on people all the way up without touching stone—which would have been just about the only way to get to the top. We walked up the Via Veneto, comparing it to some of the boulevards of Paris, and admiring the boutiques. We greatly enjoyed walking through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, and the collection was amazing.

In the evening, we walked down to the Piazza del Popolo, and then to Via di Ripetta. As we walked back down from the Piazza, I noticed Enoteca Buccone, which was on the list. We stopped in for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We were entranced by the store, and its walls of wine and spirits from around the world. We had glasses of ciro and nero—two varietals that were completely new to us—which were wonderful. We also had prosciutto unlike any that we had ever had before. The meat was moist, and soft, and had a beautiful mild flavor. It was astoundingly good. Nothing that I later tasted at Volpetti came close. The plate also contained mozzarella, which was also good, but it got lost compared to the prosciutto. We highly recommend Buccone, the staff was very friendly, the wine choices were endless, and the rest of the food also looked good.

We should have stayed and made an evening at Buccone, but we pushed on, looking for another place to extend the evening. Unfortunately, we were approaching miles 10 to 12 for the day, and my BW was so exhausted that even food in Rome held no appeal.

On Saturday we slept in, stopped at Bar Farnese for a couple machiati doppio, then meandered around the Campo and the adjacent streets. We loved walking around the area, looking at all of the stores, marveling how people could make a living selling out of 50 square feet. After window-shopping, we got in line at the Forno Campo dei Fiori, and had a few etti of pizza—good, different from Montecarlo, but satisfying in a basic sort of way.

We then walked over to Testaccio, and caught the tail end of the market, and then headed to the ultimate destination: Volpetti. I expected a big store, and I was taken aback by how small it is. I had expected a sampling orgy, but the guy behind the meat counter was ready to go home, and didn’t seem interested in engaging us. We bought some prosciutto and cheese, and then started looking around on our own. We then caught the attention of a small man, who started offering us samples of cakes that he brought out from the kitchen. He then brought out a plastic pail, called us over, and opened it up. Inside were several dozen white truffles. The aroma was intoxicating. Then he started giving us samples of truffle salt and olive oil. He combined them with 20 year old balsamic. He sold us a bunch of great stuff. Then he showed us his picture in Maureen Fant’s cookbook (on the front counter), and we realized that we were speaking with Emilio Volpetti. By the time we left, we had had our complete Volpetti experience, and it was what I had imagined while anticipating our trip. The only negative was that I bought some guanciale, which didn’t make it through customs.

We were fortunate to have an apartment with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Palazzo Farnese, and with a lovely view of the dome of St. Peter’s. I had a list of all the rooftop bars and restaurants, but we never saw the need to leave our rooftop. We spent a part of Saturday afternoon on our roof, watching the sun set over Trastevere, drinking a bottle of Chianti, and making a picnic of olives, prosciutto and cheese from our trip to Volpetti.

Dinner that evening was at Checchino dal 1887. Once again, the restaurant was almost empty at 9:00, and never did completely fill. I had the Storico menu, since I don’t know where I could find pajata in the United States. My BW had the menu of Buon Ricordo (We noticed that at almost every other table in the restaurant, the man received the book given along with the Storico menu, and the woman received the plate given with the Ricordo menu). We appreciated the attention provided by one of the owners, who served as maitre ‘d and captain. We did notice, however, that the service provided by the two waiters who followed behind the owner was rather sullen, and lacked such basic grace as not reaching across one guest to serve another.

We thought that the food was good, but I had the sense that since we ordered off the set menus, that the kitchen might be doing things by rote, and the quality is not the highest. I can’t say that I was crazy about the calf’s foot salad, but I did like the pajata—too much pasta, and not enough pajata in my opinion. My BW greatly enjoyed her pasta with oxtail ragu, and I liked the coda vaccinara. We had a very nice bottle of ciro based on our experience at Buccone. It was a good meal, well executed, not amazing, but it could be that a meal of classic Roman cuisine is supposed to be hearty, filling, satisfying, but not amazing.

I had told each of the restaurants with which I made reservations that we would be celebrating our honeymoon. The owner of Checchino was the only person who made note, and he delivered liquor-filled chocolates to us with his best wishes. He also walked us out to our cab, and opened the door for us while shaking our hands and wishing us well. We had better meals in Rome, but we were never treated better than at Checchino. The next time we visit, we will order a la carte, and maybe the food will improve, but regardless, I have no doubt that we will enjoy the experience. It is the place that I would take my parents if I wanted them to feel comfortable in Rome.

On Sunday, we decided to walk back to Piazza del Popolo since we had walked through it in the dark on Friday, and it looked worthy of further investigation. Santa Maria del Popolo was nothing short of amazing; the hordes will go crazy once Angels and Demons comes out as a movie. We stopped for lunch at Buca di Ripetta, and had a wonderful meal. We started with pastas with clams and mussels respectively, and they were both outstanding. The clams were a fairly classic white clam sauce of olive oil, parsley and garlic; but the mussels were in a sauce made of pecorino romano, which violated the rule of my favorite waiter in NYC that seafood should not be mixed with cheese. Nonetheless, it was outstanding. We then had rombo and spada, which were lovely. We split a nice bottle of wine, and we proclaimed it our best meal of the trip.

We did some more wandering since it was our last day in Rome. We stopped at Giolitti for excellent gelato—maybe the best, but it is hard to say since we never had bad gelato. We went to San Eustachio for some coffee beans since Tazza de Oro was closed. Even though most stores were closed, we delighted in walking the streets, admiring details such as doorknockers, chandeliers in second floor apartments (an amazing one above L’Osteria del Memmo), and just taking in the beauty of the age of the city.

We continued to walk into the evening, crossing back and forth into Trastevere. Finally, we made our way to Al Bric, which had long been our intended destination for Sunday dinner. We arrived shortly before a horrendous extended family from New Jersey exited, so we watched, horrified, as their children wandered around the restaurant, listened as they complained about the price of hotels in Rome, as they used their cell phones to divide the bill individually and collect cash from each person, and then listened as cars honked while their cabs blocked Via del Pellegrino as all of this was going on. We tried to tell out waiters that we were (almost) from Canada.

Once peace was restored, we found a beautiful bottle of wine, and settled in for a great meal. We started with the pate maison, which was quite good, but I couldn’t place a key flavor. Then I realized that it tasted of Mexican chorizo, and had a similar consistency. An unusual flavor for Rome, but we liked it. My BW then had ragu castellano, which she enjoyed greatly. I had a ragu of boar and sausage, which was superb. We took our time, and enjoyed everything about the meal and the service. Then we walked the four blocks home.

Looking back at the trip in generalities, we never ate anything that was less than good. Even when we lined up with a bunch of high school kids for cheap pizza by the Piazza Minerva, it was good. We didn’t find a lot of food that qualified as revelatory, but the overall quality exceeded what we would expect in restaurants of similar quality and price in the United States. We were impressed by how essentials like coffee and gelato were actually less expensive than in the United States—and so much better. We were surprised that the bread wasn’t of better quality. We were pleased that wine was generally a good value given the ages of much of the wine offered. We couldn’t imagine how some CH correspondents plan on eating two big meals each day at the best restaurants in the city (we walked 6 miles or more everyday, we live to eat, but three courses with wine twice a day? Forget it). We were amazed, and a little dismayed, by how much English everyone seems to speak in Rome. It was a telling experience when French customers, and the Italian waiter at Il Convivio spoke English to each other as a means of communicating. On our next trip, I will substitute Antico Arco and Trattoria Monti for Agata and Il Convivio. I regret that we didn’t get the chance to stop at Cul de Sac, Obika, Palatium, or Biscottificio Innocenti. We were thrilled by how much we fell in love with the city. It was the perfect backdrop to a wonderful honeymoon.

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  1. Many thanks for taking the time to post this terrific report. And congratulations!

    1. Wonderful feedback,rneeno.
      I'm gonna spend 05 days in Rome,as my honeymoon too(or sort of),in a cuple of weeks.
      I've been doing the same research here and abroad throghout the internet as well.
      Your report was pretty important to me,because of its imparciality.I was raised in a very touristy city in my country,and, as local, I always knew that thing you wrote:"the less,the better".
      In such massive visited places,good food aren't everywhere ,nor has to have high prices.
      Sometimes we went to hidden,ugly places,just for food(the best food).
      Antico arco and Monti are(and was) on my top list too.Piccolo Abruzzo too.They look like my kind of resto.
      Anyway,thanks again,and all the best for you two!!

      1. Thank you.

        This is by far the best written and most engaging report on this board.

        1. Thanks so much for this detailed and thoughtful report. It is going straight into my Rome file. I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in Rome, both for business and for pleasure, and to have eaten in a wide variety of restaurants there and I agree with you completely: less is more. My fondest food memories are of meals eaten in tiny places I could never find again (if only I had learned to keep a travel journal earlier in life!) rather than the top-of-the-line places I was entertained at, lovely as those places were. Sounds like a truly wonderful and memorable honeymoon -- congratulations!

          1. I also thank you for your report. I went to Rome in August and have still not posted my review. My prep was similar to yours in that I obsessively collected and compiled lists of restaurants for my trip. Unfortunately, since it was August a lot of places were closed but I did manage to eat at Cul de Sac (fantastic and very fun), Pierluigi (very good), Da Giggeto (which I do NOT recommend), and Il Convivio (fancy!) for dinners as well as San Crispino, Giolitti's, Del la Palma, and Volpetti's for gelato and snacks respectively. I was staying with my aunt and uncle who live in a very residential part of the city where no tourist would go (nor should they).

            I agree with you whole-heartedly on Il Convivio. We had an excellent meal there but not like you I'm not sure it required paying that price. When I was there every single table was full of Americans. This added an almost comical tone to the night as the waitstaff despite incredible attention to detail and more than adequate ability to speak English, seemed nervous. The couple next to us seemed nervous. My husband seemed nervous... I just wanted to laugh and tell everyone to relax!

            My husband also shared your experience with the bread. Don't tell my uncle but I thought it would be better.

            On a sightseeing note... my experience with the Spanish Steps was similar. It's kind of a fake tourist attraction isn't it? But sometimes it fun to see something you saw in a movie... The first night we arrived in Rome (still on Boston time) my cousin took us sightseeing from midnight until four in the morning. I have to say the Trevi fountain at 2:30 in the morning is pretty spectacular... and not a soul around (except for the carabinieri which prevented us from having a real Anita Eckberg moment)

            1 Reply
            1. re: heypielady

              its true that the standard restaurant breads are poor in Rome. but I have always liked the star shaped rolls served for breakfast, and, if you stay in an Apartment you can seek out and eat the wonderful breads from the campagna - towns like Lariano and Genzano.

            2. I wish I could have written my (very similar) experience in such a lovely way! Thank you for sharing. There is only one significant difference/addition I would make: The wine tasting we had with Hande (of vinoroma.com). It just broadened our horizons about italian wines so much!

              1. Rneeno-
                Sounds like a tasty and amazing honeymoon! Congrats. Can I trouble you to email me your spreadsheet of dining options?

                1. reneeno,

                  Congratulations on your wedding and what a lovely honeymoon! We're planning a trip to Rome/Florence/Milan around Christmas time. Would you be willing to share your restuarant / food shop list organized by rating and neighborhood (wow!) with me as well? It's priceless I'm sure, but though I would ask. Thanks.
                  josamania at hotmail.com

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: josamania

                    I'm sorry that I have been off the board for a while, I would be honored to share my research with anyone who would like it. I will email it shortly.

                    1. re: rneeno

                      rneeno - Your post was the best i've read on CH! We too have found that the spur of the moment, local place usually outrank the fancy, anticipated one. But when researching for a trip, I can't help getting excited about the places with rave reviews and making my reservations there. Your post is making me re-think these though and remember that the best meals are those experiences that you can't reserve or plan for (then again, I hate to "waste" a meal ...). Anyway, would you mind sharing your spread sheet with me as well, esp if it is organized by neighborhood! You can email it to yfeingold@dl.com. Also, a question: were places empty at 9pm b/c people eat earlier (e.g. we should make resrvations for 8pm), or for other reasons? Gratzi!!

                  2. would love to get the information on the apartment you rented. I know that neighborhood well and would like to see the place. thanks--and can respond with several other amazing places in rome to rent. jbrancatelli@aol.com

                    1. Rneeno, Congratulations on the wedding and what sounded like a very lovely honeymoon. We are planning a trip to Rome next week for Thanksgiving, and would love to get hold of your Rome restaurant list as well. Please send at chdelro@hotmail.com. Many thanks for your generosity and hard work on that list!

                      1. Thanks so much for a thorough account of what you enjoyed - sent me in a Googling frenzy to help me decide where to go. Cheers!

                        1. Thank you for such a lovely post. Our trip to Rome will be at the end of April. If you don't mind sharing your spreadsheet--I'd be most appreciative! corygreenberg@earthlink.net

                          1. rneeno,

                            I just read the whole report and it was terrific - I wish there were more reports like this. I am heading to Rome for 4 days at the end of March and always find that no matter how much Chowhound research I do for travel, I am always too overwhelmed and lost to ever find the restaurants I wrote down.

                            I'd love to see your list of restaurants to hit, especially since it's organized by area. my email is janepae@gmail.com. I never wanted to go to Rome because I could not bear the thought of not having any choice but to eat at an overpriced tourist resto.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: janethepain

                              Jane, Rome is one of those places (unlike Florence or Venice) but like London, NY or LA which is not so overwhelmed by tourists that you have to eat in tourist focussed restaurants. Maybe in the central areas its swings more touristic at night but if you eat at lunch maybe on a back street you will dine with local artisans and office workers, international businessmen, government officials, even clerics .Be not afraid and enjoy!

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Thank god - though I'm born and raised in NYC, so I always think it's a treasure trove of goodness. Spectacular food also abounds in LA. London I have to say, you either have to have the $$$ or good intel to find a meal worth the money. I studied abroad there and ended up cooking a lot.

                                However, I always got the impression that real Italians lived outside of Rome and went there just to work, so it would be extra difficult to find good food (especially if you're not particularly heavy in the pockets). Thanks for the reassurance.

                            2. rneeno, I would be interested in your list as well. My email is cegray@usatoday.com. Grazie!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: cegray

                                I will be thrilled to share my research, and I will email it shortly. I often reflect on our trip, and recall the completely wonderful experience. There were so many great places to eat, and so many that we didn't get to try. None of the restaurants that we tried were touristic, but these days everyone is so well informed, encountering other visitors in almost inevitable. I think that Testaccio, Trastevere, and much of the Centro Storico are filled with places that are not tourist oriented--even if they contain tourists. As I mentioned, we fled from the areas around the Vatican and the Via Veneto because they seemed too modern, too touristy, and not as uniquely Roman. I'm certain that all areas of Rome contain authentic, neighborhood restaurants, but we liked the areas that we considered most traditional. I dream of an apartment in Rome, and the chance to explore everything,

                                1. re: rneeno

                                  rneeno, thank you for such an insightful and informative post. One of the best I've read in a long time. I'm going to Rome and Florence in mid-April and would appreciate it if you could also email me your Rome list, too. Thank you and Congratulations on your wedding. All the best always.

                                  1. re: chamorrofoodie

                                    I will be delighted to help, I will send out the list shortly.

                                      1. re: rneeno

                                        Congratulations on your wedding and thanks for the excellent report. Sounds like the perfect honeymoon! My husband and I are headed to Italy in May (sort of in celebration of our anniversary), and I would love if you could shoot us a copy of your restaurant research as well. krhong@gmail.com Thanks!

                                    1. re: rneeno

                                      Rneeno - congrats on your honeymoon - sounds like a great trip! That apartment sounded pretty darn perfect too!
                                      Btw - if you would be so kind we'd love to have a look at your restaurant list. I'm starting to cut and paste from CH - that would be a great addition, photoeats at gmail.com

                                      1. re: Maxfood

                                        It will be on the way to both of you shortly

                                        1. re: rneeno

                                          Considering the number of follow up requestions you're getting for your research, perhaps you'll post that information in this thread. I suspect that for every person who is willing to post his/her email in a public forum so you can send him/her a personal copy, there is a much larger number of folks who are unwilling to do so.

                                  2. Wow! What an amazing report of Rome! My fiance and I will be heading to Rome after our wedding in April... really soon! I just started researching on food on CH. Would it be possible for me to have a copy of your restaurant list? My email address is athuynh@gmail.com. I'm so excited for the honeymoon!!!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: amazonanh

                                      I am trying to figure out how to post a very large excel document so that the formatting will be retained. In the meantime, I will email out a copy, and if anyone else would like a copy, you may contact me at stolaf79@yahoo.com

                                      1. re: rneeno

                                        Hope I'm not too late to be added to the list. Could you email me your picks?
                                        Email is shopgirl_aussie@yahoo.com
                                        Thanks so much!

                                        1. re: shopgirl_aussie

                                          I know the last post was a few months ago so I hope rneeno you still look at new posts; I just came across this thread - I'm getting married this Nov and we're going to be in Rome for our honeymoon (after stops in Florence and Greve). I would love a copy of the list as well - I like that you organized it by neighborhood as that is what I'm trying to put together. My email is pellegrino35@gmail.com. Many thanks in advance!

                                          1. re: pellegrino31

                                            I have enough ego that I always look when I see a new comment on my posts; I am honored to help. I hope that you have a wonderful time, I have no doubt that Rome will be fabulous.

                                            1. re: rneeno

                                              rmeeno, Im sure if you posted your list on here, lots of hounds would appreciate it

                                    2. Rneeno, I love this report, Grazie Mille! You totally confirmed my hunch that I wanted to by-pass the fancy Michelin places in Rome for the hearty-homey-traditional stuff. I would want to try it, but not at the expense of a sure-fire meal and at such a high price.

                                      Your wife is so lucky to be with a dedicated gourmand who refers to always as "beloved wife".

                                      My only point of contention- I am SURE that I can eat three course meals twice a day and still tour my ass off.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: sarahbeths

                                        Thanks for the kind thoughts, although I am sure that there are many people who would tell you that La Pergola is worth every Euro. The really important thing is that we loved our time--and the food--in Rome. And my Beloved Wife is still entirely beloved.

                                        1. re: rneeno

                                          I would also love your list, if you're not too weary of e-mailing it! I have been doing research, but my geographic skills are terrible, so the neighborhood organization would be very helpful. Thank you so much! jenny at dienu dot com

                                          1. re: missjennychows

                                            If you would email me at: stolaf79@yahoo.com, I would be delighted to send it to you.

                                            1. re: rneeno

                                              My husband and I just returned from Rome and I carried rneeno's curated, light, easily folded Excel printout everywhere. When we were hungry, in whatever neighborhood, I whipped out the list, called the number, reserved, and walked right over.

                                              I think rneeno is onto something. Do I dare suggest he sell his list. (Seems ungrateful to suggest paying for something that is given freely in good spirit, but my point is that the value is there.)

                                              Briefly, we ate in our Monti neighborhood at Hosteria da Nerone (2x), La Piazzetta, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (when we couldn't get into Trattoria Monti as the last minute for Sunday lunch), Trimani il Wine bar near the Baths of Diocletian, and had porchetta at Aristocampo. Plus one plus one dinner at La Carbonara on Via Panisperna, (not on the excel sheet but probably should be. Maureen Fant's recommendation, I think).

                                              I agree with rneeno's observation that high end service makes us sit up straighter (not a bad thing) but that casual dining, in mostly family-run places is more fun for us. In our case, none of the food was thrilling, all of it was comforting. A few flaws could have been avoided by better ordering: Did I really need to order fettucini with butter plus lamb chops at La Piazzetta and then eat the dessert buffet; did I really forget that Maureen Fant said don't order dessert at Nerone; and I could have been more imaginative about wine. (Best wine, no surprise, was at the wine bar.) We still had a wonderful time and this excel sheet made eating easy. Thank you.

                                              1. re: rneeno

                                                Hi, I realize you're probably sick of sending out your list 3 years after the fact, but if you have a chance could you send it to lhitchlock@yahoo.com? Much appreciated!

                                                1. re: lwinberg

                                                  Sorry for the delay in noticing your request, I will send out the spreadsheet this wee.

                                        2. Great post - could you please email me your spreadsheet? my email is polly.barry@gmail.com

                                          1. Thank you so much for all that information. We are leaving for Rome next week and would really appreciate your spreadsheet if you are still willing to share. My email is janrde@aol.com.

                                            1. This was a wonderful post! Thank you!

                                              1. excellent report, very detailed.
                                                I have taken note of the following restaurants:
                                                Trattoria Monti
                                                Enoteca Roscioli
                                                Restaurante Paris
                                                Il Convivio
                                                Pizzeria Montecarlo
                                                Enoteca Buccone
                                                Buca di Ripetta
                                                Al Bric
                                                Cul De Sac
                                                Biscottificio Innocenti

                                                1. rneeno -

                                                  Thank you for posting this! Even though it's almost 2 years later, I'm excited to use your experience in my trip next summer. My husband and I are going to Italy for 10 days and will probably spend at least 7 of them in Rome. Following your fine example, I will post a thorough and (hopefully) informative trip report when I return.

                                                  Could you send your spreadsheet to me as well? dyanne at mac dot com

                                                  Thank you in advance!

                                                  1. Hello, What a wonderful narration! My husband and will be in Rome for 10 nights celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary early October. We'll be staying in the Trastevere area and will walk the city or use public transportation. I also would appreciate your list, portia22@gmail.com. Your trip is amazing filled with wonderful thoughts, suggestions and love. Thanks, BB

                                                    1. A very helpful and thorough posting. Would you mind sharing the name of the agency and the contact info for your apartment rental? It sounds very nice especially the part about the terrace. Thank you.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: rabeyemd

                                                        Sorry for the delay, but I had trouble finding the listing. If you go to Roman Reference, it is listing #362

                                                        1. re: rneeno

                                                          if you read this before Friday and can forward your list I would love to have it for my trip.
                                                          many thanks.

                                                          1. re: rneeno

                                                            Hi rneeno, if you are not too tired of sending your restaurant research list around the world, would you please consider including chshekamoo@gmail.com
                                                            so many thanks in advance

                                                        2. Thank you for such a wonderful review, rneeno! As the others requested, would you mind sending me your spreadsheet to samarakaufman@gmail.com? This would be incredibly helpful as we plan our honeymoon!! Thanks SO much!!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: yumyumsami

                                                            Please also send me a copy....nancara@verizon.net

                                                          2. Just wanted to let you know that your report is still being read, studied and enjoyed. It is one of the most honest accounts I have read in preparation for our upcoming trip to Rome in a couple of weeks.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Shoshanna88

                                                              Thank you for the kind review of my work. The trip was the best of my lifetime--so far--and I had a great time writing about it. I am thrilled that you find it useful.

                                                            2. Meeno,

                                                              Thanks for the write-up I will be in Rome in a few weeks and if you don't mind can you please send your spreadsheet to tulionana@gmail.com.

                                                              Thanks in advance.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. Thanks so much to rneeno for this extensive report and for your generosity in sharing this spreadsheet.

                                                                The sheet's been posted to google docs here: http://tinyurl.com/69vunm2

                                                                Thanks again!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: drinkmoretang

                                                                  What do the numbers mean to the left of the restaurant names?

                                                                  Thanks for the iink.

                                                                  1. re: jangita

                                                                    The numbers are my ratings of each place based on all of the reviews and comments that I read

                                                                  2. re: drinkmoretang

                                                                    please do not rely on 3 years old data for Roman dining. some of those places do not exist anymore, yet others have moved, and reviews about them have changed, too. Do search the boards for newer threads on roman dining!

                                                                  3. I am leaving for Rome tomorrow and am just now finding this post! I would love to have your spreadsheet if you don't mind sharing? pamgiffin@gmail.com
                                                                    Thank you for this post!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: pgiffin

                                                                      drinkmoretang linked the spreadsheet above to save meeno the effort.

                                                                    2. Again, great article. I was there two weeks ago and loved Pizzeria Remo and Sora Margherita with photos below. Spring lamb, carciofe, and the fiore de zucca it was fantastic.

                                                                      Sora Margherita
                                                                      Piazza della Cinque Scole, 30, Rome, Lazio 00100, IT

                                                                        1. A belated THANK- YOU
                                                                          You were kind enough to email the Excel Rome restaurant guide which proved to be a great help

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: frk040

                                                                            Wonderful! I am entranced every time that I think of our time in Rome, and I am thrilled that you had a good time.