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Jul 13, 2009 10:03 AM

Doney Restaurant - Rome

I will be staying with my family at the Westin Excelsior in Rome on Via Vittorio Veneto. Has anyone been to the Doney Restaurant at the hotel? We are serious foodies who can't wait to try the amazing food in Rome and wanted to see if this restaurant is something we should even consider. Thanks!

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  1. A few of the restaurants in luxury hotels in Rome are considered outstanding, but Doney is not one of them. La Pergola at the (now) Waldorf Cavaiieri is (it has three Michelin stars), La Terrazza at the Hotel Eden, Imago at the Hassler, and perhaps Mirabelle at the Splendide Royal. All of them will give you Roman cooking "revisited", none of them will give you Roman cooking as it is "on the ground", so to speak.

    17 Replies
    1. re: zerlina

      I like your use of the terms 'revisited' and 'on the ground'. ;-)

      1. re: zerlina

        So do you think it's worth even doing a Sunday brunch at the Doney? How about Vivendo, the restaurant at the St Regis? Many thanks in advance for your input.

        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

          I don't frequent the luxury-hotel restaurants, so I'm ill-equipped to advise. But if you're looking specifically for Sunday brunch, they might be your best option. I understand that there are a few places in Rome where Sunday brunch is the new in thing, but most places offer a midday meal starting at 1 pm or 12:30 pm at the earliest.

          1. re: zerlina

            Hi zerlina -

            Thanks for the prompt reply. I'm not a big fan of hotel restaurants, but we will be in Rome from Aug 16 to 20 so we are trying to figure out what's open and worth trying.

            I actually did some research and believe the following places are open that week:

            Glass Hostaria:
            Da Giggetto:
            Taverna Trilussa: Via del Poloteama 23, Trastevere
            Il Fico:
            Checco er Carettiere:
            Antico Arco:
            Osteria Qui Se Magna: Via del Pigneto 307A, San Lorenzo
            L'Angoletto: near the Pantheon
            Casa Bleve:

            Do you have any thoughts on these places? We are serious foodies and really want to try some of the amazing food in Rome!

            Thank you in advance.

            1. re: hong_kong_foodie

              My thoughts on the following.

              Da Giggeto. Old school Roman Jewish cooking. Go there for all the classic dishes - carciofi alla giudea (are artichokes still in season in august?), tripa, supli al telefono. Service could be a little gruff at times, but that is what you get at local institutions like that.

              Gusto. Gusto in my mind is one of the pioneers of modern Italian restaurant. In Rome at least. It looks a little tired these days because of all the additions they've made throughout the years (i.e., wine bar at the back, restaurant here, etc). Their newest, Gusto al 28 (did i get the name right?) is pretty good.

              Antico Arco. I cannot stop raving about this place. It is modern, global Italian cooking in a modern really nice setting.

              Casa Bleve. My recent trip to Rome we had lunch here on our first day. Reminds me why i love Italy so much. Beware though it is one price, and with drinks and everything else, could add up rather easily.

              1. re: ms. chow

                Thank you so much, ms.chow! Quite a few of the restaurants on my starting list (which I then had to narrow down since many will be closed in August) came from my research on this board and the trip reports that you shared with us!

                So how much should I budget per person for each restaurant? No one in my party drinks wine or alcohol. I recall you mentioned a lunch buffet at Casa Bleve - does it work like a typical American buffet?

                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                  Da Giggeto i'd say plan for around 35 euro per person. Just depends on what you eat. As a foodie i would assume you want to order plenty of dishes to try.

                  Gusto i did not go to this year (i go to Italy every year), but i'd say plan for 40 euro at the restaurant. It will be less at the wine bar, and i don't recall if they offer aperitivo.

                  Antico Arco our bill for 2 was around 150 euro. But that included a bottle of bubbly and 2 glasses of dessert wine.

                  Lunch at Casa Bleve is 25 euro for the buffet. Without alcohol, there's still charge for coperto, bottled water, etc. It is like an American buffet in that you can go multiple times. The food is laid out on a counter against one wall. It is laden with meats, cheeses, veggies and other dishes. Don't forget the refrigerator case for cold dishes at the end of the counter. A server behind the counter will get a plate, and you tell him what and how much of it you want. He plates it and then brings it to your table.


              2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                If L'Angoletto will be open during your visit, that will be a change from previous policy. Four or five years ago, I was in Rome with a group of Engineering students. A small group of us ate a fantastic lunch at L'Angoletto prior to Ferragosto (August 15). On the strength of that lunch, a larger group showed up after August 15 for dinner. Whoops!

                Since you've searched this board, I suspect you've already read my trip report about our April visit to Rome. I can't add any more detail or praise to Antico Arco or L'Angoletto than I included in that write-up.

                I can say that of the list you've supplied, Casa Bleve is the one place I'm most interested in trying on our next visit to Rome.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  You won't be disappointed with Casa Bleve. My recent Rome trip i'd say Casa Bleve ranked #2 after Antico Arco.

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    Yep, and I just re-read your Rome report, Indy 67 -- thank you!

                    So we've scheduled Antico Arco for dinner and are extremely excited, but what do you think about dinner at L'Angoletto (I know you went for lunch) the night before? Any particular thoughts on this restaurant? I understand it's big on seafood?

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                      I think you'll have a lovely meal at L'Angoletto regardless of whether you eat lunch or dinner there. Remember, that in Italy the menu changes little, if at all, between lunch and dinner.

                      I'd like to make a gentle suggestion that you to have a back-up plan about your restaurant choices and that you relax a bit. In Italy, store hours, restaurant openings and closings -- even site hours -- have a way of being ignored. That will be particularly true in Italy after August 15. If you don't have a reservation at a restaurant, make sure you have a back-up choice. Even if you have a reservation, I suggest you phone to confirm the day before you eat there.

                      This trip means a lot to you and, clearly, you're putting a tremendous amount of energy into nailing down the smallest detail about your restaurant choices. Relax! When you're on the ground, things may not work out as planned and you'll enjoy what does emerge more if you can relax.

                      1. re: Indy 67

                        Thanks for the advice on having back ups and being flexible - I totally agree. I do have reservations at all of these places, but I understand what you mean about the possible fluidity of restaurant schedules, especially around Aug 15. This is our first time in Rome and we can't wait to soak in everything!

              3. re: hong_kong_foodie

                Sunday brunch in Rome is either for tourists who don't know it's not a native concept or Italian young people who have brought the habit back from their travels. It is definitely not for anyone who wishes to explore the typical or traditional foods and foodways of Rome. So forget it. Have your usual breakfast, early, go to a museum or for a walk on Sunday morning, then join the normal people for a proper Sunday lunch.

                The one time we tried Vivendo, we thought it was beautiful but not all that good.

                Doney is a historic Via Veneto café. I wouldn’t go there for anything but coffee.

                1. re: mbfant

                  Makes a lot of sense - thanks for the advice.

                  So where should we go for breakfast and lunch on a Sunday in the middle of August? I was thinking about Gusto for lunch. What do you think?

                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                    Actually, to be more specific, what do you think about (1) Gusto Pizzeria on Piazza Augusto Imperatore or (2) Checco Er Carettiere on Via Benedetta for lunch? Both are open and available.

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                      I think Gusto is awful, but I have unconfirmed reports that the pizzeria is all right. I have tried the osteria and the upstairs restaurant -- never again. I like Checco but food that heavy at lunchtime in August would probably be fatal. Depends how much you want to spend/eat. You could buy things for a picnic the day before, then have your main meal in the evening when it's cooler.

                      1. re: mbfant

                        Thanks for your feedback - I really appreciate it. I have downgraded Gusto accordingly. :)

                        What do you think about Chinappi and L'Angoletto for lunch on Sunday?

              4. Obika the mozzarella bar does an excellent weekend brunch on saturdays and sundays. Although it is not a brunch of eggs and pancakes and such. For 20-25 euro (i don't recall) you get a spread of meats, cheeses, all sorts of roasted veggies, all sorts of frittata, and a few rice and pasta dishes. There is also an assorted selection of desserts.

                11 Replies
                1. re: ms. chow

                  In Rome 8-10 times a year. Stay away from Obika- overpriced, over hyped, and overated for sure. Try Dar Poeta for incredible pizza in Trastevere. If you're there before August, go to Armando del Pantheon. Great food, incredible people working there including the amazing daughter of the owner, Fabiana.

                  1. re: sockster

                    I'm going to second avoiding Obika for brunch. I can only speak to the bunch a Milano but unless you are game for eating lots of cheese and pasta (which sounds good in theory) it's not really worth the price. After you add an OJ and/or a spritz you've easily tacked another 10-15 euro to the bill. If they offer aperitivo at the Obika in Rome, that's the time to visit.

                    1. re: sockster

                      I have heard amazing things about these places and really want to try them out, but unfortunately Armando del Pantheon is closed all of August and I'm afraid Dar Poeta is as well. Do you by any chance know whether the popular pizzerias like Dar Poeta, The Morgue, Da Baffetto, Pizza Montecarlo, etc are open in August?

                      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                        I would guess tht Montecarlo and Baffetto are both open. Armando is installing a new kitchen and is absolutly closed.

                        1. re: sockster

                          Just called both Montecarlo and Baffetto, and they're both closed from Aug 9 to Aug 28. Sadness.

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            There are so many good pizzerias in Rome that a few will be open in August. Just go there and you'll find one. Try Francesco near Navona, Remo in Testaccio, Da Vittorio and Ivo in Trastevere.

                            1. re: PBSF

                              Thanks so much for the advice. Is it true that pizzerias are usually open at night? If I find one that's open during the day, is that a sign it's bad or...?

                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                Except bakeries that sells pizza al taglio, pizza in Rome is a dinner thing.

                      2. re: sockster

                        We are in Rome now and went to Armando del pantheon for lunch today and they are sign, just closed. We were very disappointed.

                    2. I have two more for you. Both are very special, very local, and very hard to get into: Felice in Testaccio, known for the best Cacio e Pepe in Rome...but everything is awesome, and then Da Danilli. Tiny but amazing. Good luck.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sockster

                        Hi sockster,

                        Thanks so much for the recs. I definitely noted your recommendations from another post, but unfortunately I don't think either Felice in Testaccio or Da Danilo is open in August. I actually called both of them, and unless I misheard, they should be closed the entire month. But just to be sure, you are referring to these two restaurants, right?


                        Thanks again.

                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                          You are correct....sorry about that. Let me know where you end up..

                      2. Sorry to hijack this question,but was wondering if anyone knows if La Matricianella will be open in mid-late August?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: lbrawer

                          Hi Everyone,
                          I am new to this forum and I'd like to say hello to everyone out there.
                          a) Matricianella is open in August, but always closed on Sunday.
                          b) Best Restaurant in Rome is La Pergola at the Waldorf Cavalieri Hotel, run by Uber Chef Heinz Beck, but the Mirabelle at the Splendid Royale is also very good.
                          c) I wrote down a list of the top ten slowfood restaurants (trattorie) In rome, if you'd like to have a look just visit, and you'll also find some tip on best ice cream, best bars, best aperitifs, and soon the most romantic terraces in Rome.
                          Have a nice day
                          Ciao from Rome
                          Nancy Aiello

                          1. re: ItalyTravelista

                            La Pergola is closed for renovations till mid-September....

                            1. re: AstridR69

                              Hi everyone -

                              At this point I'm leaning towards lunch at Checco er Caratierre and dinner at Dar Poeta on Sunday. I have heard a lot of great things about L'Angoletto and would still like to try it on another day. Would you recommend L'Angoletto over Casa Bleve for lunch?

                              Thanks as always.

                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                If you have lunch at Checco, you will not want dinner, but I guess you might find room for a pizza (alla marinara, without cheese, is what I'd recommend). Casa Bleve exists for wine, so it's sort of pointless to go if you don't drink. However, the salads and things are lovely. The drill is you go look at the stuff and tell somebody what you want. A waiter will then bring it to the table. It's not cheap. I haven't been to L'Angoletto yet, but I trust Indy. It's a restaurant, Bleve isn't. Depends what you want to eat.

                                Two others I have learned are open in August are Mare, a fish place in via di Ripetta I haven't been to yet, and Grano, next door to L'Angoletto, which I haven't been to lately. Both are open every day.

                                1. re: mbfant

                                  Please stay away from Mare. On another post I have written about our horrible experience there. In short: Bad service, bad food.

                        2. Italians don't do brunch. They do pranzo everyday, however Sunday tends to be far more elaborate. The following suggestions are culled from years of traveling to Rome . BTW I own a cooking school in Umbria Italy and teach cooking in Manhattan, New York. Here goes:

                          Ivo, Via di San Franscesco a Ripa 158 for fabulous brick oven pizza, outdoor dining, very roman.
                          Da Lucia, vicolo del Mattonato 2, not easy to find, but a really really authentic trattoria, full of romans.

                          Near the Pantheon:
                          for the best gelato & people watching: Giolitti Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40. Sip a prosecco and nibble on almonds while you are at it)
                          for the worlds greatest coffee , Sant'Eustachio Piazza Sant'Eustachio

                          La Rosetta, Via della Rosetta 9, loved this restaurant, need a reservation, . Definitely one of the finer restaurants in Rome. Beautiful fish

                          Giusto, has a great bookstore, kitchenware , and restaurant great for lunch.... I wish I could give you the address, but I can't find it. Just know it is walking distance of Piazza del Popolo. Has a fantastic buffet at lunch time in addition to some decent pizze.

                          Near the Spanish Steps, you must go for a very civilized cappucino and pastry at Caffe Greco, Via Condotti 86. The staff wears tuxedo's, but it is so antico!

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: g.sarnataro

                            Just to present another take on these, most of them are places to which I cannot drag my Roman husband and don't much like myself, except Giolitti and Sant'Eustachio.

                            Ivo has good pizza, but he won't go there for some reason having to do with the ambience. I have never understood the attraction of Lucia, but it does get credit for staying always the same and has plenty of fans.

                            La Rosetta is fabulously expensive, and, despite the delicious food, I find it uncomfortable.

                            'Gusto (note apostrophe, and not spelled Giusto) does have a great shop, but we've been disappointed too many times by the food. I am told the pizza is great but have not verified. It is on piazza Augusto Imperatore.

                            Unless you stand at the bar at Caffè Greco, bring plenty of money. I always found the waiters odious, but haven't sat down since I've been able to speak Italian, so I dunno.

                            1. re: mbfant

                              Thanks again for all your input - we really appreciate it!

                              At the moment we have planned the following itinerary:

                              Lunch at Checco er Caratierre
                              Dinner at Dar Poeta

                              Lunch at Roscioli
                              Dinner at Antico Arco

                              Lunch at L'Angoletto
                              Dinner at Pierluigi

                              Lunch at either Gusto or Chinappi. Casa Bleve sounds wonderful, but we do not drink so it might not make a lot of sense for us.

                              Of course we're also planning to check out Volpetti, Sant Eustachio, Tazza d'Oro, Giolitti, and San Crispino. We also plan on checking out the Testaccio market in the morning on a weekday.

                              Any final feedback? Also, is there dress code at any of these places? What is appropriate to wear from head to toe? Is tap water safe to drink at restaurants?

                              Thanks again for all the input - we are so excited to visit Rome!

                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                There is no dress code at any of the restaurants, but it's generally better not to wear shorts and T-shirts, at least at the more expensive ones (all except the first two, although you might see shorts at Pierluigi, which is frequented by many tourists).

                                Tap water is perfectly safe in Rome, but in every restaurant you will be offered bottled water, flat or fizzy. No Roman would think of asking for tap water.

                                1. re: zerlina

                                  Makes sense re: dress code. Just to make sure I get it right, the only two restaurants where I might want to risk dressing casual are Checco er Caratierre and Dar Poeta?

                                  Hmm, I'm a bit confused by the tap water issue - if it is perfectly safe, and bottled water on the other hand (at least in the US) can actually be inferior to tap water, then why is it such a no-no to ask for tap water?...

                                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                    Don't try to make sense of the tap/bottle water issue. It might be a habit, a cultural thing or some just like the taste of bottle water, some like the fizz. Travel is full of these little things that might not make too much sense. Just relax and enjoy your trip.

                                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                      Its not a no no, just not the way italians drink water in restaurants. YOu cant analogize to the US where bottled water is a restaurant rip off - in italy the bottled water is relatively cheap. There are a lot of springs that have been bottled for drinking for a very long time. HIstorically the bottle labels would include health claims and they still have an analysis of mineral contact, but the number of types seem to have dropped. Its simply the custom to drink water this way in restaurants- you will just have to specify which form of aqua minerale you want, with or without carbonation. YOu will have plenty of opportunities to drink the tap water - snag a bottle and you can refill it from water fountains/spigots as you walk along in old Rome.

                                  2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                    Great itinerary. Lunch at Roscioli and dinner at Antico Arco makes me want to catch the next flight out. Enjoy your time in Rome.

                                    1. re: ms. chow

                                      Thank you! We are certainly looking forward to the trip.

                                      But could you all give us more insight into the dress code? What's appropriate at Dar Poeta and Roscioli? Flip flops and short sleeved shirts? How about a nice place like Antico Arco? Dress shirt and slacks for men, dresses for women?

                                      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                        Well, in general, Italians are well dressed. So you definitely don't want to go anywhere in t shirts, shorts, and flip flops. Lunch at Roscioli would be casual. It IS a food store with a restaurant. But i would probably not have flip flops, especially the rubber ones. Short sleeved shirts would be ok in my book. It is Rome in the middle of August (scorching hot). Antico Arco is nice, but not stuffy. I'd say there is a young, modern vibe. So dressing up is definitely a good option, but don't feel that you have to be in suit and tie or fancy evening dress. For men, i'd even say you can have dress shirt and dark jeans if you can pull it off. Women, short and flirty dresses could be fun.

                                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                          Roscioli is nicer - you don't have to dress up, but shorts and flip flops will definitely stick out. Not that they will say anything but you might feel uncomfortable. Also, I do remember there are 6 in your party, is that right? Though Roscioli doesn't take reservations for lunch, it is a good idea to go by the day before or in the morning to alert them you will be coming - they have little tables scattered through the place, 6 at once need some planning.