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Jan 18, 2010 12:12 PM

some culinary input needed venice and rome restaurants

we are three people (2 adults and 1 15 year old who eats everything) traveling in march: 4 nights in venice and 6 in rome. we live in nyc - we love great food but not fussy food. warm and non-formal (what i would think of as upper east side) restaurants. i was hoping for some feedback on what i have sketched out. if we're going to be in a specific place (e.g. in rome we have 2 days of booked itinerary but in venice, it's anything goes), i'll note it. trying to have one sit-down real restaurant or trattoria meal and the other will probably be very casual - either a bar sandwich or some goodies from a local deli/market. (bfast is at the hotel.)

day 1. sunday: staying near frari at oltre di giardino: need a casual simple close-by first night place to eat some dinner while bleary from jet lag. ?
day 2. monday: dinner: osteria la bottega ai promessi sposi
day 3 tuesday: thinking lunch at ca d'oro OR a trip to burano and wondering if there's anywhere good to eat there. in which case we'd go to ca d'oro for an easy dinner.
day 4 wednesday: last night: dinner (already reserved) at alle testiere.

rome: (arriving around 6pm) staying at teatro di pompeo

day 5: thursday ? something near the hotel? it's right near dar pallaro but not sure that's what i want. maybe just a wander over to da baffetto for an easy pizza dinner.

day 6: friday: heading to the pantheon, navonne,etc. lunch at armondo al pantheon at 1pm.

day 7: sat. big vatican day for us: scavi tour at 9:15 and st. peters: then vatican museum in afternoon and, hopefully, a walk past castle st. angelo. not sure what to do. i'm stuck with one scenario of pizzarium for lunch with a sitdown (somewhere?) before moving on to the vatican museum. any suggestions if we walked over the bridge at the castle and went to dinner somewhere near there?

day 8: sunday: roma antica tour with context from 10-2pm. thinking hosteria nerone for lunch. then over to the s. peitro in vincoli to see the moses sculpture. wondering if it would be a good night to walk through trastevere - and thinking about: bir i fud; le mani in pasta; or alle fratte. thoughts?

day 9: monday: up for grabs - the activities and the eating.

day 10 tuesday: our last full day: afternoon at borghese museum. dinner at 7:30 at colline emilane.

i know it's a lot to comment on. but hoping someone can look at the overview and let me know if i'm picking too much of the same - or any big bloopers or can fill in the blanks with a suggestion that would compliment what i (think I have) planned.

many thanks for any little bit you choose to tackle!

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  1. Addressing only Rome, I'd say you are aiming very low. Armando is fine, just slightly above a trattoria. Nerone is also a trattoria, closed on Sunday. I'm fond of it, but it's in my neighborhood. Baffetto is not easy. It's uncomfortable and rushed and you usually have to wait. Bir e Fud is great but you must reserve and try to get there by 8 because it fills up and gets a bit hectic. La Mani in Pasta is wildly overrated IMO -- fine if you are in the neighborhood, not worth traveling to from elsewhere. I think Pallaro is pretty awful, though it has its fans. I haven't been in eons, but there's no reason to suppose it has improved. Colline Emiliane is by far the best on your list, not counting Bir e Fud, a pizzeria. Pizzarium was renovating last week and I don't know when it's reopening. They didn’t have a clue.
    You might look into Felice, in Testaccio, and Fiammetta.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      lol it may be my first time aiming too low!!! (i *was* trying to be a bit budget concious!)
      Thank you...I'll look into Felice and Fiammetta. I don't want Pallaro - to aim higher!

      1. re: mbfant

        Le Mani in Pasta--overrated, underrated, I can't really comment on that. What I will say is that I was very satisfied with the two meals I have had there. I thought they did a good carbonara. What makes this place worth returning to for me is that on both visits we were treated to good and friendly service. The server was patient, made good suggestions etc. I think that goes a long way in Rome.

      2. For your Day 7: I have been very happy eating at the warm and friendly, quite informal Sor'Eva in the piazza delle Rovere. You might enjoy watching this YouTube

        8 Replies
        1. re: summerUWS2008

          also: am i right that thursdays are traditionally gnocci night? my husband adores gnocci and maybe someone could suggest somewhere not too far from our hotel (tho we can do a good size walk) for great gnocci? it will be our first night in rome.

          1. re: redgirl

            Gnocchi. Lunch AND dinner on Thursday. Nerone's are the real McCoy, and Felice's must be too.

            1. re: mbfant

              we don't get in on the train from venice until 6pm so dinner.
              by the way, i told my husband what you wrote...that i was aiming too low...and he just about coughed up his dinner laughing and said: that's a first! thanks for your helpful advice.

              1. re: mbfant

                ok, here's aiming higher for rome - staying in center and would like feedback on our one main meal each day:
                1. thurs. eve. only (coming in from venice on train and then to hotel:
                the hunt for a gnocci dinner :
                Felice (30 min walk from hotel)
                2. friday all activities near pantheon: lunch at armando al pantheon
                3. saturday long day at vatican (could use lunch rec near there) and a walk over ponte st. angelo to fiametta (do they take reservations? it's a sat. night.
                4. sunday: 10-2 tour ending at collosium - need sunday lunch rec. that we can land at 2:30pm.
                dinner: bir i fud
                5. monday: la gensola - fish
                6. tuesday (last night):: colline emaline (sp?). confirmed 7:30 res.

                SOOOOO.....i'd love input on whether it's a better list than the original?
                for bits and pieces we'll try to hit bafetto; pizzarium.
                was hoping to work in da danilo but they are closed sunday when we'd be the nearest and i thought that la gensola would be a good change - and nicer.

                THANKS ... for any input.

                1. re: redgirl

                  Yes, it's better, but your spelling is atrocious! You MUST reserve at Felice and it's a good idea to reserve anywhere on a Saturday. Monday is generally considered the worst day to eat fish, except at a high-end fish restaurant (which has its own sources). Better to go to Colline Emiliane on Monday and eat fish on Tuesday (a good fish day).

                  I can't think of anyplace decent open on Sunday near the Colosseum (that's how it's spelled), but since you have a good evening planned (and you MUST reserve at Bir e Fud, which is how it's spelled, and reserve early), Taverna dei Quaranta would probably do. It's on via Claudia 24. 2.30 is late for lunch, but they might take you. They're pretty loose. Phone is 067000550.
                  And it's spelled gnocchi.

                  1. re: mbfant

                    :::sheepfaced re the spelling:::

                    thanks! let me know when you come toward brooklyn - i have difara's private # and would be happy to take you for a pretty great pizza here.

                  2. re: redgirl

                    i'll make the same recommendation as I did before for your vatican lunch. It got a good review from the LA times in 2008

                    1. re: summerUWS2008

                      thanks. i have it on my list...we're going to play that afternoon a little loose and maybe do a quick bite takeout and just do fiammetta for the full dinner bang. but i have that and pizzarium as options that day.

            2. By all means take a trip to Burano. If you get an early start you could go to Torcello first, then get to Burano in plenty of time for lunch. Da Romano is an excellent place for lunch.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rrems

                FWIW to the OP, Tony Bourdain had a meal @ Da Romano during his Venice show.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  the overexposure from that kind of a visit is not necessarily a good thing. however in march it should not be overrun. Second the recommendation for Torcello - its a great lagoon destination, but not very populated, so Burano does make sense for lunch if you dont want to head back in for more of the City..

              2. For Venice, if you are on a budget and looking for decent and simple, Ai Promessi Sposi and Ca d'Oro (Alla Vedova) fit the bill. Neither would be my choices for a few days in Venice. Alle Testiere is excellent and more creative than some of the traditional places. If you're aware of its limitations, you will not be disappointed.
                For your first night, a Sunday, pizza would probably be out since you will be heading to Rome. I would still recommend Al Nono Risorto for it's antipasti and primi; moderate with a nice outdoor garden that might be open in March. Antica Besseta is a good honest trattoria. La Furatola for moderate seafood where one can eat light by splitting both an antipasti (or a primi) and an order of their fritto misto (way too large for one person). All are in either in Santa Croce or Dorsoduro and a short stroll from dei Frari. And if you go to Torcello, bring a lunch if you plan to eat as there is not much else other than the expensive Locanda Ciprani.