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Jan 3, 2009 06:35 AM

Rome - chow near Villa Borghese

My wife and I are visiting Rome this April. We are looking for rustic, family run restaurants near Villa Borghese. Around 50 Euros per person is what we are looking to spend. Thanks.

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  1. Scroll down to December 23 and read the post that says: Party of 12 in Rome. You'll find recommendations there, including mine for Vlidimiro/Marcello, which is not far from where you will be staying.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CJT

      Thanks CJT. Is our price range reasonable for the area? This will be our first visit.

      1. re: krschueler

        You can eat well in Rome for much less than 50 Euros per person, just vary the types of places you go to. Vladimiro/Marcello will run 35-40 per person for dinner with house wine and the meal I described. For lunch, go to restaurants recommended on this board and have just a bowl of pasta and maybe share a secundo. You probably don't want to be eating heavy at lunchtime if you are doing a lot of touring.
        Something I suggest you do for Rome: get a copy of ACCESS-ROME, the guidebook. Over the years, we have found their restaurant listings to be worth checking out. They rate places by both quality of food and price range and I have always tried to find those which got the highest number of stars for food and the lowest number of $ signs for price. If you can find a 4-star place in their listings with a $$ or $$$, you will probably do well.
        Another advantage of that guidebook is that they provide handy maps that show where restaurants are relative to where you are visiting. For example, you will find a good restaurant, Giarrosta dal Toscana, at Via Germanica just off Via Ottaviani and it is a short walk from St. Peter's or the Vatican Museum (just don't expect the restaurant to be open at 12 noon - try about 1 PM). Spend the entire morning at the Vatican Museum, leave at 12:30PM and stroll to the restaurant.

        But check this board for various recommendations on Rome restaurants as well.

    2. The SlowFood guide lists Trattoria Cadorna on Via Cadorna, which I believe is in the vicinity. The listing mentions that it is a family run place, closed Saturday, and Sunday lunch.

      1. There are a few exchanges you might find helpful ("Il Tinello in Rome help requested" and "Piccolo Abruzzo") from back in the fall. We stayed in the Borghese/Veneto area for a few months and really enjoyed Piccolo Abruzzo, its sister restaurant Brancaleone (although it's just been expanded - not sure if anything beyond appearance has changed), Cesarina, and Girrarosto Toscana. The first two are definitely family run (same family), second two a bit larger and less rustic but still consistently good. For less intimate meals, San Marco and il Pomodorino are also reliable. Our one bad experience in the neighborhood was Vladimiro di Marcello, but I know other diners have recommended it any maybe we just caught them on a bad night. Good luck!

        3 Replies
        1. re: BahamaViking

          We have eaten at Marcello many times and always enjoyed it, so I often post about it for people who will be in that area. Can you say more about your"bad experience"? Was if food, service, what?

          1. re: CJT

            Hi CJT. Sorry to not have responded sooner - haven't checked in ages! Our bad experience was a combination of service and food. We had mixed salads to start, and the lettuce was wilted. Given the abundance of good produce in Rome year-round and since it was summer, this wasn't normal, but we didn't complain. Then we had the worst amatriciana we've had in Rome, and we've probably had amatriciana in several dozen restaurants by now. It was both greasy and watery, the sauce was used inconsistently (my husband's plate had too much, mine too little), and the guanciale was overwhelmingly fat with almost no meat.

            Then the guitar player came around and when we didn't immediately tip him for his two minutes of "work" (we didn't have small change), he pointed obnoxiously at the 5 euro bill wedged in his strings and said he wanted a tip. He didn't get one.

            At the end of the meal, the waiter brought our bill on a sticky note (highly illegal) and had added a 6 euro tip for himself on a 44 euro meal. We live in Rome and have never received a bill with tip added on like that, and we know perfectly well that 1 to 2 euros would be a more than generous tip for a meal of that price, so insisted on an official bill and asked them to remove the 6 euro tip. So they added it as a "tax" on the official bill and we couldn't dispute it. I speak fluent Italian, so this wasn't an issue of an ignorant tourist getting bamboozled.

            Overall the experience was so off-putting that we don't intend to eat there again. But our colleagues in Rome, and other chow hound posters, have recommended it, so again, maybe we just caught them on a really bad night! I hope our experience was unique.

            1. re: BahamaViking

              Thanks for replying. I regularly recommend that people trying Marcello order the set menu that we have always ordered (for wife and self alone, or for wife, self, daughter, son and his wife). It consists of: 1) multiple bowls of antipasti. mostly grilled vegetables, lentils, ricotta, etc., followed by 2) platter with 3 different pastas in 3 different sauces, 3) platter containing large chunk of grilled veal with potatoes and greens, and 4) dessert which varies. Never been disappointed yet with this and friends/neighbors we've sent there for same meal have always raved about the quality, quantity, and reasonable price (60-70 Euros for 2 with 1/2 carafes of red and white house wines). If you ever go back, try this menu and see if it pleases you better.

        2. After we toured the Villa Borghese, we walked down to the Piazza del Poppolo, and ate at Porto di Ripetta. We also stopped at Buccone--an enoteca--and had some small plates. I highly recommend both, and they are only a short distance down from the Piazza.