Birthday in Rome
I'm going to be in Rome with my boyfriend to attend a wedding. He lived in Rome when he was younger, and his sister married a Roman and lives there now. His birthday happens to be while we will be there. Although this is not any 'milestone' birthday, wanted to make it extra special.
Looking for suggestions for good places. Most liekly not any of the traditional Roman-Jewish places, as we will go to those places on any other night anyway. We're self-professed foodies and cooks. Really fell in love with Il Pagliaccio when we were there during Xmas a few years ago. I'm ruling out Il Pagliaccio for now, because our previous experience there was so special and one of a kind, i sort of don't want to change that in any way.
Interested in what you guys have to say about Antico Arco, Al Ceppo, and Al Presidente. Read about L'Altro Mastai, but seems like they are closed? Am also considering La Pergola or Mirabelle. But that would be a bit extreme, and not exactly our style.
How many people are you talking about? For a small group, or for just you two, I'd suggest one of my favorites-- Otello all Concordia, Via della Croce 81. My grandfather used to take me there when I was a kid, and I've continued going there every year ever since (I am over 50 now). It is a small intimate place near the Spanish Steps that serves Roman specialties. I've gotten bent out of shape over the years as I slowly saw tourists discovering the place, but it hasn't lost any of its charm or quality. Try eating on the enclosed veranda outside the dining room, which tends to be busy and crowded. You will need a resrevation if you are trying to eat there on a weekend or during tourist season (I ate there last month two times and just walked in, including with a group of six family members and had no reservation, but it's prudent to call ahead.
The fried brains (cervello fritto) is excellent, as is the eggplant Parmesan (melanzane alal parmegiana). the veal is tender and good.
that's funny! we visited Otello on our first two visits to Rome, maybe 30 yrs ago. The second time we were crammed into the dining room between two (other) groups of american tourists - the food was fine - I had kidneys, I think - but the atmosphere was pretty unbearable - I agree that the outdoor seating is much more civilized - I remember our first experience there of watching Europeans peal and eat fruit with a knife and fork.
But I think tourists discovered this place long before we ever saw it!
re: jen kalb
I used to love Otello, but crossed it off my list years ago. The food is tired, the tourists many, the scene hectic, the waiters jaded. It is probably the sort of place where you could still eat decently if you lived upstairs and had been going there steadily for decades, always eating the same couple of dishes.
But even at its best, it's not birthday material. As for the OP's list, Arco, Ceppo, and Presidente would be fine. The outdoor seating at Pres would be especially nice, but I have to say my last dinner there wasn't up to previous levels. Ceppo probably has the best food of the three. I believe L'Altro Mastai has reopened but I'm not sure. It is mucbh fancier than the first three. Convivio and Agata e Romeo are in a class between Ceppo and Pergola. Convivio has more staff and is larger, Agata more intimate.