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Aug 27, 2009 07:57 PM

Mirabelle or Agata e Romeo

Hi All,

I would love your opinion on which restaurant I should choose.

I've searched throughout the boards and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on Mirabelle. I've read a lot of posts on Agata e Romeo and it appears the main criticism is the price/value. My only stipulation is that I would prefer not to wear a jacket - I have no desire to go on another vacation carrying a garment bag for Suits/Jackets. I did enough of that on my trip to France/San Sebastian last year and my recent trip to NYC. Will this be an issue?

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  1. They are both fancy restaurants, and Rome is not cheap. The issue is less price/value than whether you want to go to a fancy restaurant or not. I have not been to Mirabelle, but the little I've heard about it is very good. It's probably fancier than Agata, which is small and intimate in an unchic neighborhood, while the other is in a via Veneto hotel. Most restaurants don't require jackets (La Pergola does, but I think they will lend you one), but it would be respectful of the place and the other diners to clean up and wear some decent shoes, long pants, and a shirt without anything written on it. What do you plan to wear when the temperature drops in the evening? I agree about the garment bag, but that shouldn't stop you from bringing a piece of decent clothing in a nice modern miracle fiber. In any case, you see a lot of low-grade wardrobe at Roman restaurants these days, and if you can manage "smart casual" you can go pretty much anywhere.

    11 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      I think you misinterpreted my post or perhaps I could have been more precise. My question was two fold.
      1) Which restaurant would you choose?
      2) Would dining without a jacked be deemed inappropriate?

      I was not planning to dine disheveled; one can look smart and respectful without a jacket. However, I am not familiar with Rome’s dinning scene and I did not want to stand out. I understand how “fancy” restaurant’s work; I’ve dined at my share of michelin restaurants.

      As for traveling with a jacket; I always require broad shouldered hanger (in my garment bag) to transport my jackets in order to maintain the jackets shape. Otherwise I would have to wear it every time I packed – there is no way I would pack a jacket in a suitcase.

      Thanks for your response.

      1. re: Apprentice

        Actually I didn’t misinterpret your question, but posts here are not exactly private correspondence and one often makes general statements not necessarily directed at the OP, though I repeat the question: what do you plan to wear on cool evenings? And you would be surprised (or maybe not) how many people, including Italians, do go to fancy restaurants in clothing I would not be pleased to see on my guests for a casual dinner at home. O tempora, o mores! I remember our first dinner on the high-end chi-chi Rome dining scene, back in the Craxi era, at the now-gone Pianeta Terra. Franco felt underdressed in jacket and tie. Everyone else was in a suit. For myself, I have long since resigned myself to traveling with black catalogue microfiber with important silk scarves. I commend your respect for the shoulders but think we have to make some sacrifices to maintain a veneer of sartorial respect for our surroundings. If that makes any sense.

        In any case, I love Agata, but we can walk there from home and have been going there for years. In that category we also love Il Convivio, where we have also dined frequently over many years. We've been once each to Il Pagliaccio and Baby and liked both a lot, but Baby is really better. As I said, I've heard only good things about Mirabelle, but nothing specific. Reading the Gambero Rosso review of Mirabelle, 78 points, I get the impression that its menu is less interesting than the others, but it has a view and great service. The others I mentioned all have score of 80 or higher. How did you settle on those two?

        1. re: mbfant

          I was thinking of wearing dress pants & dress shirt and if required a sweater;cashmere or something thicker depending on how cool it is.

          Thanks for the feedback on the restaurants. Based on your post, I'm leaning towards Agata. I was thinking of Baby but it's a bit further away and we'll be staying near Termini. If Baby is worth the detour then I'm willing to go there.

          1. re: Apprentice

            Of course you didn’t say what time of year you're going, but a cashmere sweater should be dandy in mid-late September after dinner. When Franco doesn’t want to wear a jacket but feels something is needed, either for dress or for warmth, he wears those baseball-type jackets that Italians make very elegant. He has a blue suede and a tan linen, and they look adorable with a tie.

            As long as you're staying near Termini, you might as well go to Agata. It's very pleasant, and they give you little pizzette, etc., to start. The wines and cheeses are great, and Romeo and his daughter Maria Antonietta (who speaks English) are great sommeliers. In addition to the creative(ish) menu of 4-5 dishes per course, and the tasting menus, you can always ask for Agata's famous carbonara or matriciana. But I would make sure she's there, otherwise there would be no point. Look at the site and see if the menu appeals. Baby is probably more exciting, but, as I said, I've only been there once, a couple of years ago, and I do love Agata. I'm afraid I've made it sound boring, which is awful, because it absolutely isn't. The breads are elegant, the place settings delightful, the welcome warm.

            1. re: mbfant

              Maureen: if you can walk to Agata from home, then you must have some ideas of decent restaurants in the same area for the several posters (like me) who stay at the Mecenate Palace. Other than Agata and Monti, I see very little on other worthwhile (not looking for extraordinary places, just good ones) restos in the area near S Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, Via Merulana, Via Cavour, etc. Do you suggest or recommend any other "neighborhood places" in that area? We'll be there for a week in December and would like to find some reasonably good places in the area without a 30-minute walk.

              1. re: CJT

                Not sure if it is still open, but a few years ago we went to San Clemente, but it was closed. There was a restaurant called Hostaria Clementini right across the street. We decided to have a long lunch there. It wasn't extraordinarily great, but the food was good, and the staff was very attentive. It is on Via San Giovanni in Laterano.

                1. re: ms. chow

                  I tried Clementini with a friend a couple of years ago and thought the food was pretty bad. It's a very difficult neighborhood. We always wind up at Nerone or La Piazzetta for a trattoria, Agata for fancy, Li Rioni for pizza, or Monti when we have to take people out who we have already taken to one of the others. There are various places people like and write about, but every place we try is a disappointment. Under some circumstances I like Cavour 313, the wine bar. Cicilardone a Monte Caruso, in via Farini, is not bad and, with its Lucanian cuisine, makes an interesting change. Hang Zhou is considered decent for Chinese. And every so often I see a place on via Merulana I think we should try but then don't get around to. Many people have a love/hate relationship with Panella, the fancy bakery on via Merulana, but they do a wicked pizza bianca with mortadella, and only shame keeps me from wanting to eat my way through the shop. I don't really live that close to Agata, but walking is the easiest way to get there from where I do live (Celio). But Franco teaches at the engineering faculty, which is next to S. Pietro in Vincoli, and in 40+ years as student and prof has never learned of any convincing alternatives. There ARE some good old trats among the tourist traps, but I'm afraid my research is wanting.

                  1. re: mbfant

                    Sorry to hijack, Maureen, but I have a question that I can't resolve through internet search and am not able to get to Testaccio at the moment: Do you know the name of the restaurant with outside seating just around the corner from Felice, on Via Alessandro Volta? I once went by and it looked very nice and I can see it on google street view but can't find the name anywhere... Thank you so much!

                    1. re: vinoroma

                      Do you mean La Fraschetta? It does look attractive, but I haven't been there.

                      1. re: mbfant

                        Yes, I just searched and it looks like that is the one I mean! Thank you so much!

                    2. re: mbfant

                      We agree with your feelings on Panella and shop there regularly when staying at Mecenate Palace. Sometimes after a day of touring, visiting, and traipsing about, we aren't in a mood for a full dinner and Panella always has something hot on display that fills the bill for us. Just have to stay away from their chocolate or we drop a lot of Euros there.

      2. Any recommendations on the best way to book at Agata? Is it best to call?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Apprentice

          If you are staying at a hotel, their staff or concierge will call and make the reservation for you.

          1. re: CJT

            We plan on dining the same day we arrive. I tried booking via on-line but have not received confirmation. I'll just call, hopefully they will have someone who speaks English.

            1. re: Apprentice

              By all means, call. Don't rely on on-line bookings. At Agata or any other place.