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Rome - near Piazza San Silvestro

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We'll be staying at the Hotel Parlamento, next to Piazza San Silvestro at the end of April. We'll be traveling with my Mom on her first trip to Italy. She is not a very adventurous eater, and also accustomed to eating earlier in the evening. Are there any good choices in the area, not too far to walk for someone in their 70's? Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. At the Piazza San Silvestro there is a small bus depot with 10-12 bus lines ending and starting there. If you get quickly up to speed on how to use the buses, you'll be able to use public transportation to a lot of places in the city.
    As for a good restaurant very near your hotel (2-3 short blocks), I hightly recommend Palatium. Ground floor is a wine bar but you can get food served there as well; up one level is a much quieter restaaurant area (there is an elevator you can take to get there). All food and wine there is from the Lazio area, which is the area Rome is in. Good food and wines at reasonable prices in an upscale environment.
    As for early meals, keep in mind that most Roman/Italian restaurants don't open for dinner before 7:30-8 PM, so your mom might have a problem finding an early dinner. The better solution is to take her for a good full meal at lunch and have a lighter snack or meal at dinner.

    1. Hopefully some of our roman contributors will be able to chime in but you are right in the Center - so there will be quite a number of restaurants nearby you can get to without taking a bus! Places like da Gino, la Campana, Matricianella the pizzeria Baffetto come immediately to mind. If you eat a real sit down lunch you should be able to hold on til a 7 or 7:30 dinner hour.

      11 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        I think in none of these mentioned you are likely to get any food till 8pm. What is early dinner time for your mother? Also, Palatium is good food, but a not adventurous eater may still have difficulties.

        1. re: vinoroma

          What could you possibly think are "difficulties" one would have at Palatium? I had a saltimbocca there and it didn't scare me at all. This place serves excellent food with interesting tastes. Wife ate a delicious lasagna and I also had a dish with short thin noodles in a broccoli puree -- granted there were also mussels in the dish, but the OP's mom could ask that they be left out.

          1. re: CJT

            CJT, I gather you do eat a lot of things since you are on these forums. I wasn't saying they serve scary food. Point is, OP's mom is in her 70s and has been expicitly declared not an adventurous eater, so I was just trying to warn. I have heard enough people objecting to the anchovies in the fried zucchini flowers, to the buffala mozzarella, to sage on saltimbocca, to lamb, to fish, to little octopi, etc, etc... I never saw lasagna there, good to know they would have at least one thing familiar to pickier palates.

        2. re: jen kalb

          To clarify, I think it may be a mistake to focus on your Mom's traditional early eating time. It may work better if you switch to Italian eating and living patterns rather than American while in Rome. If you do this, you will be thinking more about where you are liikely to be at lunch time and look for a convenient place to settle in for a tradtional leisurely sit down lunch, rather than grabbing a quick sandwich and continuing to tour. A nap to follow may be welcomed by your Mom and would be in keeping with Roman closing hours (12-3 for many stores, churches etc). Along with the breakfast you will likely get at your hotel, snacks as you go along, including an icecream at one of the very good nearby gelaterias you should not be hungry until Roman dinner hour and indeed will want only a light supper.

          1. re: jen kalb

            This is becoming a bit of a free-for-all, so I might as well weigh in.

            You will not get food on the table before 8:00 pm, even if a restaurant says it opens at 7:30 pm.

            I agree with the suggestion that you have a sit-down lunch (more locals, possibly better food/service) and a light snack for dinner. You can pick up cold cuts, cheeses, salads at a supermarket or grocery store on the way back to the hotel, including things your mother is used to like cooked ham and Swiss cheese. She can eat as early as she likes. (I've always read that people in their 70s have relatively small appetites.)

            If your mother is not an adventurous eater or of Italian heritage, even saltimbocca (veal scaloppine with raw prosciutto and sage leaves in a wine sauce) might not be to her liking.

            1. re: zerlina

              For an American (Im assuming) who likes plain food, something like steak or other grilled meat can be good. My own mother (late 80s now), for example orders steak when we take her out in food-scary NY. Certainly many restaurants will serve this type of item - since the OP is rather close to the Piazza Spagna neighborhood, perhaps Nino, which is a Tuscan or Otello alla Concordia might work for them? Wondering if there is any chowhound input on Nino. Its been there for many years. Personally, I think La Campana might be nice for this group since it is relatively less crowded and quieter with nice old waiters. Their vignarola soup (a vegetable soup) was delicious the last time we had it (2005)

              1. re: jen kalb

                Jen, I see where you're coming from, but I'd suggest that almost any decent restaurant that has it on the menu will serve a halfways decent filetto di manzo. I wouldn't suggest a bistecca (can be awful) or - God forbid! - a fiorentina at a Tuscan restaurant. (I've never been to Nino.)

                La Campana: The last time I was there, more recently than you, almost all the nice old waiters were gone, replaced by young ones. But vignarola? With fava beans? And artichokes? I wouldn't suggest it for a picky eater.

                1. re: zerlina

                  Think your filetto suggestion would be a good idea too. Im surprised there are not more concrete restaurant suggestions for this area - there seem to be a lot of nearby choices. To me an unadventurous eater is different from a picky eater and for the former from the older generation of Americans, US basic meat and potatoes is likely to work. I just visited my parents and realized how much they like dishes like pot roast - meat, potatoes and vegetables.

                  the vignarola version we had (in winter) was made to a large degree with cruciferous greens with delicious flavoring from guanciale - I realize it was hardly canonical but it was excellentt and I think it would be liked by an older American eater in that form - tho in April I guess that winter form would likely not be produced.. the La Campana waiters have changed since we ate lunch there ilast November , 2009? Thats too bad - they looked like the same crew that first served us 30 years ago! Maybe they just come out at midday.

            2. re: jen kalb

              I agree with Jen Kalb. The very reason one travels is to experience the new, the different, the strange, the exotic. Otherwise, why travel?

            3. re: jen kalb

              For great "tastes" of various pies, try Pizza Europa" near Termini. A pizza joint, they make many varieties and you pick the ones you want and they'll give you a taste of each to make a most memorable meal.

              1. re: sockster

                Termini is quite a hike from where their hotel is -- it's even a good bus ride from there. Why go all that distance for pizza? I agree with vinoroma: what will Mom be interested in eating or avoiding?

            4. lol, gourmetlight, look what you have gotten us into! Please do chime back in and tell us what your mom would or not eat, at what time, etc!

              3 Replies
              1. re: vinoroma

                How funny, I was so surprised to see the number of responses! Yes, she's more of a traditional eater than a picky eater. She's not terribly familiar with unusual (to her) ingredients or preparations. My husband and I were just in Italy (Rome and Tuscany) in September and did well adjusting to a larger meal at lunch and more "snacky" type meal at dinner. That will probably work well.

                I really appreciate all of your thoughtful responses! When in Rome in September we did venture much further away from the Hotel Parlamento, where we also stayed at that time.

                1. re: GourmetLight

                  Hi GourmetLight,

                  You may find your mother doens't really want to eat at all in the evenings, except for a very light snack. That was my experience with my mother in Italy (she's 80plus, but more like 70year old constitutionally). She just couldn't handle the onslaught of food that Italy can be, and I saw no point in trying to make her sit through the typical Italian restaurant supper, which generally includes not just two or three courses, but a long wait for the tab.

                  Since I have an apartment, I cooked 90 percent of the time, but other times we simply went to the local bars at the apertivo hour, where one can order plates of sliced meats, cheeses and (around here) fried artichokes to go with drinks, as well as getting free nibbles. My mother happens to be a big fan of ice cream, and she joined the Italians in making that her dinner some evenings. We always has a big lunch (where I often ended up finishing her meal as well as mine). I kept fruit and nuts around, etc. in case she wanted something later in the evening. She never did.

                  Older people just don't burn the same calories.

                  Have a great trip!

                  1. re: summerUWS2008

                    I really appreciate all of the replies. I, too, am surprised there aren't more tried and true choices in the neighborhood. And maybe my Mom will surprise us with being more adventurous while in Italy! Grazie mille!