Rome restaurant choices
So I am narrowing down the choices for a 4 day trip to Rome. Here they are and would appreciate any thoughts...
Sat lunch Alla Rampa (we will have just arrived and are staying near Spanish Steps
Sat dinner-Al 34 (we will definitely be jet lagged)
Sun lunch-Colline Emiliane
Sun dinner-Antica Pesa or Antica Arco
Mon lunch-La Matricianella (will be at Vatican City in the morning)
Mon dinner-Al Bric
Tues dinner-Il Pagliaccio, Il Convivio Troiani or Casa Bleve (want a last night special dinner)
I have never been to La Rampa because it has always struck me as a tourist trap. Numerous people do like it, however. They were recently involved in some sort of scandal -- money laundering or something. Go to Palatium instead, though it may be crowded.
Al 34 is not that great, though it has its fans, and I used to be one. Whatever you think of the food, it's always crowded and a little hectic and will not be a relaxing meal if you're tired.
Colline Emiliane is good. haven't been to Antica Pesa, though it's getting a lot of attention (reports of very high prices). I like Antico Arco. If you do justice to Colline Emiliane at Sunday lunch you will not need a restaurant for Sunday dinner. If you are a bit peckish, have a pizza or an ice cream.
Matricianella, Bric, and Ditirambo all get mixed reviews, but it seems to me that if you are planning Pagliaccio or Convivio for your final dinner (I love Casa Bleve but it's more wine bar than restaurant; I like to go at lunchtime and have salads and little tidbits), you can do better in the rest of your trip.
I love Convivio and have to confess my husband and I are known to the Troiani brothers, partly because I've written about them but also because we've been going there steadly, though not often, for years. So we always do well. I hope to go to Pagliaccio soon -- I haven't been often and not since the second star was awarded. My impression, and for the moment it is only that, is that Convivio has a more coherent, locally based menu (still creative), while Pagliaccio reaches for embellishments from many sources. The other place in that category I like is Agata e Romeo, where, again, we are known. For my birthday, I'm always torn between Convivio and Agata. I love both. Agata is smaller and a bit more relaxed (not more casual) in atmosphere.
Al Bric is pretty good. The lamb shoulder is a seasonal specialty well worth ordering this time of year. Let your server help you with the wine selection.
Ditirambo is casual fun, best if you're a regular. Having said that, the cacio e pepe is made with goat cheese and well worth the effort. The grilled octopus can be world class (eschew the skewer, talk to your server). Wine/grappa selection is very good.
Casa Bleve may be the best wine bar/restaurant in town. It's pretty fancy, has great wines and a most unusual/upscale "buffet" that's head and shoulders above the competition. I can recommend their mozzarella, salumi, spinach, fresh oysters/clams/head-on shrimp and so much more. The room is gorgeous (high ceilings, columns), has interesting furniture (Biedermeier (sp?)) and so on. Service is exemplary. I like it for lunch ... a lot.
re: steve h.
If you would like to taste one of the best pizzas on the outskirts of Rome. Go to a wonderful village of Grottaferrata it's just 1hr from Roma centre.
The Pizza place called Pizza Romana "Il Fornaio" with fresh ingredients prepared everyday.
I'm sure that Antonio the owner will help you with anything you would like on your pizza in pala.