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Oct 7, 2010 05:52 AM

2 dinners and one lunch in Rome - what would you choose?

I'll be spending 1 1/2 day in Rome, and I'm looking for recommendations for 3 restaurants - 2 dinners and one lunch. It can be anything from gourmet to a local trattoria - what's important is that it's a restaurant with good food, and a nice atmosphere. Hoping to make the most out of my short stay.

Also that it's relatively centrally positioned in the city, as I'll be in the areas around Piazza Navona for business, and would like something within walking distance.

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  1. here is the result of a map search on our Restaurant page. a place like Armando which attracts local businessmen and government officials is a nice place to lunch.

    1. We were just in Rome and had a great lunch at Enoteca Cul de Sac right in the Piazza Navona area. We had a great salumi and formaggio plate, liver pate with cognac and for dessert the glazed figs which had to be one of the best things I've ever had. The bread was also excellent. A nice stroll through Piazza Navona after will make for a perfect afternoon before you get back to business. Good luck and enjoy.

      1. It depends on what you're looking for, of course, but Cul de Sac--highly recommended on Chow-- is good: Simple, straight-forward with an outstanding wine list. The place is very small and very busy but the staff is friendly, attitude-free and anglophone. This isn't a place for a dazzling kind of meal, but I liked it a lot.

        A couple of other ideas:
        Enoteca Spiriti, (Via di S. Eustachio, very near the Pantheon.) We had a terrific lunch there today. The food is more sophisticated--and more expensive-- than Cul de Sac. I had the cavolo nero soup, which was really nice and my wife had the deconstructed lasagna, the Italian name for which I can't remember. This is a good alternative to the big tourist places at the Pantheon--we were the only non-Italians in the place. The service was very friendly and if their English is a bit dicey, it's still better than my Italian.

        Another good lunch spot was La Buvette, Via Vittoria, 44. This is just beyond the crush of the Spanish Steps on a quiet, very fashionable street. The food is good, the people watching is extraordinary. Again, even though it was full of locals when we were there, the service was excellent. Try the pumpkin strudel, which is not a strudel at all, but a pumpkin-cheese mixture wrapped in phyllo and baked. You'll want to stick your head in the pumpkin stuff--it's that good-- but I'm pretty sure it would be frowned upon.

        For dinner: I'm sure there are better places, but I liked Antico Arco a lot. "Modern" Roman food, whatever that is. The restaurant is on one of the seven hills--I can never remember which-- but there is no view and there are no outside tables.

        4 Replies
        1. re: exbruxelles

          Thank you so much for your suggestions so far. I have Cul de Sac and Antico Arco on my list already - good to have these confirmed :)

          1. re: tiram

            Seating inside Cul de Sac is not good. Painful is the word that comes to mind. Grab a table outside if you insist on going there.

          2. re: exbruxelles

            Tullio, been around since 1950. On one of the side streets that runs along the Hotel Bernini at Piazza Barberini. Ate there 2 nights, full of characters, solid food: fettucine with porcinis, thin-sliced smoked swordfish, tortellini in brodo, veal with roasted potatoes...nothing revolutionary, but spot-on.

            1. re: exbruxelles

              I agree with the choice of Antico Arco. I was there last week, and it was one of our best meal in Rome.

            2. Forgot to update this after I got home.
              We ended up eating our first dinner at Casa Bleve, good food, but no wow experience.
              Lunch the next day at Babette. I really liked the lunch buffet, and we were the only non-italian-speakers, which often is a good sign :)
              The last dinner was at Spirito di Vino and was one of the best meals of my life. Wonderful staff. We let them pick our menu and wines, and it was just a feast. To finish the evening with a peak in the historical wine cellar made the evening perfect. Will go back without a doubt!