I'm taking my gf on a surprise trip to Italy this July and plan to propose in Rome on the first night (Saturday). I know there's been similar posts in the past, which I've read, so I apologize for the repetition in advance, but I'd greatly appreciate any guidance.
We're staying at the St Regis. The plan is to get a car service around sunset that supposedly will take us to dinner, but actually drop us off at a romantic location (I'm thinking Gianicolo, though I'm open to better suggestions) for the proposal, then we get back in the car and it drops off at the restaurant. I've narrowed down the restaurants based on Gambero Rosso to the following: (i) Il Convivio; (ii) Antico Arco; (iii) Vivendo; (iv) other?
I was originally set on Convivio, but then I heard good things about Antico Arco and noticed that it's both cheaper and close to Gianicolo. For Vivendo, I don't believe the food will be as good, but I thought there's a better probability of being treated very well, seated promptly etc. if we stick with the St. Regis (service is critical given the occasion).
For a little more background, I'd like to do a tasting menu under 100 euro pp, classic or modern Italian is fine, fancy decor, but not overly modern/trendy. A place that's good for a celebration and has great service are key. We also like to eat (e.g. don't love tiny portions). We're in our mid 20s and from NYC, if that helps.
Sorry for the long post and I appreciate any assistance.
Wow, I think maybe the people in Rome are busy or asleep right now, but this is going to get a lot of happy replies! How exciting, congratulations!!! From my research (non-proposal) I decided I had to go to Antico Arco (if your girlfriend is a fan of Mario Batali, he said he never misses this place on a visit to Rome) and from what I gather from my research, being in the Gianicolo hill environs is quite serene and romantic. Personally, my research of Il Convivio menu made me feel like it somehow wouldn't feel as quintessentially Italian (or my idea of that) to be eating, for example, roasted squab instead of pasta. Ultimately I decided to pass on dinner at Convivio during my 4 nights in Rome because I can eat modern "michelin" style fare all over California, where I live, but I wanted to each meal to be through-and-through screaming "YOU'RE IN ITALY, you lucky bitch!" at me. For me I liked that Antico Arco had modern, gourmet slant but the base was still traditional Roman dishes and there were plenty of pasta dishes on the menu that looked mouth watering. (take a good look at the menus online if you haven't yet.)
Oh and Antico Arco sent me a very friendly email to confirm my reservation. I am sure that which EVER of the three you pick, if you let them know ahead of time what you are doing, you are going to receive amazing treatment that will really put that Italian touch on your proposal.
I hope you post the whole story here when you get back!
I agree with Sarahbeths - I'd prefer Antico Arco on this occasion as well and also do let them know of your plans to ensure special treatment!
PS: and don't forget to organize a *good* bottle of bubbly (like Franciacorta - it is Italy, after all) and glasses to be stashed in the car so youhave it ready when she says yes!
I'll grant you Antico Arco for this occasion for reasons of budget and location, but I will not let you get away with dismissing Il Convivio as something you can get in California while Antico Arco is truly Italian. Nobody eats squab instead of pasta. Pasta is your primo, squab your secondo. If you skip the primo and go straight to the meat, don't blame the restaurant. Angelo Troiani's gricia, matriciana, and carbonara are among the best in Rome, and he's even got coda alla vaccinara on the menu.
re: Sid Cundiff
That was my subjection impression, I thought it was clear that I knew it might be wrong because I hadn't been to either. I believe you that their pasta is excellent, I guess the restaurant is so expensive though that if all you really care about is a plate of pasta (and have no interest in roasted squab even as a secondo) you could go somewhere less expensive and be satisfied. I guess I should have qualified my thought differently- it's not that meat is less Italian, it's just my personal proclivities of Italian foods lay heavily in pasta. I'd rather have a different pasta as a secondo. (Not advised, right?)
Maureen, I realized that I have one of your books in my kitchen-- Rome Williams Sonoma!