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Jul 24, 2010 08:41 PM

3 Days Rome - Perfecting Restaurant List

Hello! I will be in Rome for three days from Sep 14th [Tues] to Sep 16th [Thurs] staying in an apartment rental close to the Pantheon on Via del Collegio Capranica, 10. I searched through Chowhound and compiled a list of recently highly recommended restaurants. I then made my choices based on the following:

(1) location and convenience to the planned activities for each day [created google maps by day]
(2) recommended meal for each restaurant [lunch or dinner]
(3) varied dining experience [traditional / modern / upscale - fine dining / moderate - reasonably priced / trattoria / pizza]

With that said, below is my plan. Please let me know your thoughts!

DAY 1 - SEPTEMBER 14TH [Tuesday]
FOCUS - CENTRAL ROME [Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Campo de Fiori]
LUNCH - LA CAMPANA - originally planned the highly recommended Armando Al Pantheon, but it has been sounding mediocre in recent posts
DINNER - TRATTORIA LILLI or IL BACARO - since it's our first day in Rome and will probably jet-lagged, I want to stay within walking distance to our apartment on Via del Collegio Capranica so we can pass out after dinner. also, i would love for my boyfriend and I to experience authentic roman cuisine in a beautiful setting - ideally alfresco dining on a picturesque cobble stone street, etc.

DAY 2 - SEPTEMBER 15TH [Wednesday]
FOCUS - ANCIENT ROME [Colosseum, Forum, Capitoline, Palantine] - early start, hoping to do this in the morning and finish by lunchtime /// VILLA BORGHESE [Afternoon] - planning to do a bike ride through the park
LUNCH - LA PIAZZETTA or PALATIUM - originally planned Trattoria Monti, but like Armando, I've seen some recent negative reviews. if we are able to finish touring Ancient Rome in the morning before 1PM, it would be possible to have lunch at Palatium on the way to Villa Borghese. if not, La Piazzetta would be more convenient.
DINNER - CHECCHINO DAL 1887 following sunset cocktails/vino @ Hotel Sofitel's Rooftop Bar - this is our fancy/dressy night out. I was considering Il Convivio, but I am drawn to Checchino more for some reason.

DAY 3 - SEPTEMBER 16TH [Thursday]
FOCUS - VATICAN CITY [Morning] /// TRASTEVERE [Afternoon]
LUNCH - PIZZARIUM and GELETARIA FATAMORGANA - we have a tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel in the morning that I am expecting will end by 12PM so I can have a 1.5 hour lunch somewhere near the Vatican before our 1:45PM Scavi Tour at St. Peter's Basilica. any ideas for a backup to Pizzarium?
DINNER - ANTICO ARCO - we will be exploring Trastevere in the afternoon and planned a [light] wine + cheese picnic at Gianicolo @ sunset. i will probably make a reservation at Antico Arco for 9:30PMish. I also planned on checking out Stairs Club in Trastevere where they have live jazz music.

Looking forward to your recommendations! I am open to making any changes.

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  1. I forgot to list out the other gelatarias we plan on checking out at least once... or twice. ;) Conveniently, most of them are located near our apartment!

    + Giolitti
    + San Crispino
    + Della Palma
    + Monteforte

    1. day 1. you are already getting authentic Roman cuisine at La Campana (good choice), so no need to repeat it at dinner. Instead I'd recommend pizza. The best for me is Da Remo in Testaccio, which would mean one bus ride (but totally worth it), and it opens at 7, so you could have an early dinner to pass out afterwards.
      day 2. Palatium is nice. Checchino, very good, but is nothing fancy - just very good roman trattoria and very good wines.
      day 3. Pizzarium and Fatamorgana is a good combo, though I'm not too sure if it'll fit into your break. Antico Arco is your fancy/dressy night, by the way. I wouldn't want to ruin my appetite with wine & cheese at sunset before going there.
      another nice roman place with alfresco dining is in Trastevere, Roma Sparita.
      I personally do not like any of the gelateria you have listed below, but by any means, they are popular here and elsewhere, so do try them. My favorite, after fatamorgana, is gracchi on the street by the same name and ciampini, closer to your accomodation.

      12 Replies
      1. re: vinoroma

        thank you for your feedback, vinoroma! as much as i would love to go to pizzeria da remo on day 1, realistically, i don't think we'd be up for commuting there on the first day. perhaps, we will try to do it on day 2 for lunch.

        do you have a favorite alfresco dining spot and pizzeria in the piazza navona / campo / pantheon area? if so, please let me know! i know bafetto is a popular pizza place, but for some reason, i want to avoid.

        i put gracchi on my list! thanks a bunch!

        1. re: citychicnyc

          pizza is a strictly dinner affair, except for pizza by the slice, which is a completely different thing, like at pizzarium. If you want to go to Remo (or to any other respectable pizzeria) you'll need to go for dinner. Do stay away from bafetto.
          Those areas are hard to come up with a good dinner in any case, and nothing comes to my mind that would be al fresco. Only thing that comes to mind is pizzeria montecarlo, which is not the best, but rather ok.

          1. re: vinoroma

            Be careful about your timing on Thursday. If you leave the Vatican Museums at 12 Noon, you are not likely to find a lot of very good restaurants open that early in that vicinity. If you find one worthwhile in that area, keep in mind that a walk from the Vatican Museums to where the Scavi tour begins is 15-20 minutes and you have to be on time for the tour or you will not be allowed in.

            1. re: CJT

              cjt, she has planned Pizzarium for lunch on thursday, which is a pizza by the slice place and open from 11am - which is a good choice because it is good and would be quicker than any type of place to sit down.

              1. re: CJT

                The OP is thinking about Pizzarium and a gelateria, either Fatamorgana or dei Gracchi. Pizzarium is a pizza-by-the-slice place that is open at noon (almost no seating, mostly take-out, but it's open); gelaterie are also open. It's a longish hike, though, from Vatican Museums to Pizzarium to dei Gracchi (somewhat less than to Fatamorgana) to the Scavi entrance. It will certainly not be a leisurely lunch.

                1. re: zerlina

                  Am I the only person on the planet who cannot toss gelato on top of a slice of pizza without ending up unhappy?

                  I would put a couple of hours between the two gastronomic events.

                  1. re: barberinibee

                    I agree. I also agree with just about everything Vinoroma said, especially about not spoiling the appetite for Antico Arco, which, yes, will be the festive dinner. Checchino is a bit formal but would not qualify as the dress-up evening.

                    1. re: mbfant

                      would anyone be able to recommend the specialties of some of any of the restaurants i've chosen? i still have to do my research of some must-try authentic and traditional roman dishes. but if any of these restaurants prepare anything exceptionally well, please let me know! =D

                2. re: CJT

                  thanks for the warning CJT. i will be sure i keep track of time closely during lunch. i am a punctual person so i will make sure we make it on time.

                3. re: vinoroma

                  sorry... it doesn't have to be a pizzeria and alfresco. i would appreciate a rec for a reasonably priced alfresco restaurant with a beautiful settng in the area by my apartment.

                  1. re: citychicnyc

                    this search generates a list of restaurants based on your address - they generally get more distant as you scroll down through the list.


                    by the way, I dont agree that Armando and Monti are downhill or mediocre, though they may suffer from a tourist deluge and unrealistic expectations. Have some sit-down restaurant meals at lunch if you want to have a better experience.

                    1. re: citychicnyc

                      "A reasonably priced alfresco restaurant with a beautiful settng in the area by my apartment" and, presumably, good but not stellar food.

                      Grano would fit the bill.

              2. citychicnyc - love your logic and "methodology!" We'll be in Rome right after you and would love to piggyback on your itinerary. Are you willing to share your updated itinerary? If you'd rather not post it again, I'll send you my email address. Thanks!

                2 Replies
                1. re: BrynVA

                  hi brynva... give me your email and i will send you my detailed itinerary and share my google maps of my planned days in rome. :)

                  1. re: citychicnyc

                    Great! Thank you. We're also spending four nights in Tuscany (Castellina in Chianti) and four nights in Positano so if you have any good research for those areas, I'd love your suggestions. Have a wonderful trip!