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Rome - Trip Report - Trattoria Monti, Antico Arco, Le Mani in Pasta - October 2010

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  • GillH Oct 18, 2010 01:55 AM

Just back after a wonderful few days. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, although I admit to being flabbergasted by how much busier the city was since my last visit around 10 years ago. With such a plethora of tourists and restaurants, I was pleased that we had researched and booked meals in advance.

Rather ironically, in light of recent posts by others, our most enjoyable meal was at Trattoria Monti. Service (from the two brothers and another younger guy) was extremely friendly, and the food was fantastic; we couldn't fault a thing!

The food was also fantastic at Antico Arco, but the experience marred by some awkwardness when we arrived - we were led to the upstairs room which was completely empty and soul-less. We asked if we could have a table by everyone else downstairs. There was a bit of a performance involving a phone call to check, and eventually we were led downstairs again. From then on, service was good, though not particularly warm. But it was probably another 45 minutes before any other party went up to that floor, so had we stayed at our designated table we would have been eating on our own for the majority of our meal.

Another night, we walked to Travestere for Le Mani in Pasta. Another enjoyable evening, notable for the fascinating walk through the Ghetto and across the Tiber to get there, and, once in the restaurant, the warm welcome and the outstanding pasta. (We had specifially booked a table upstairs and were very glad we had.) The rest of the food was decent but if returning there I would have nothing but pasta - which is the point of the place after all!

I also enjoyed the market at Campo di Fiori for the photography opportunities - and for the pizza by the slice from the bakery in the corner of the square.

So thank you, Chowhounders, for all your help, which added considerably to our Rome experience!

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  1. We will be visiting Antico Arco next month. Was there any problem with english speakers ie wait staff and menu. What did you have and any suggestions etc. Thanks in advance.

    9 Replies
    1. re: specktaker

      No problems at all with language - everyone spoke very good English. I booked by email and got a prompt reply. They have a good website (with an English version and prices). We had been advised by other Chowhounders to book an early time as the kitchen sometimes struggles when it's busy. We were there at 7.45 on a Friday evening and were amongst the first there, so if returning I'd be tempted to book for 8pm. Definitely ask for a table on the ground floor where you enter, as I thought the top floor room had no atmosphere, whereas that main floor was very comfortable. I am embarrassed to say that I can't remember exactly what we had - my main was fish and we finished with the cheese selection - although it was delicious and beautifully presented. I think my expectations for this meal were very high - everybody had told us how much we would love it and although it was good, the performance about our table at the start and subsequent service (efficient but not particularly friendly) was irritating, so I didn't enjoy the experience as much as I expected to. I've also just got our credit card bill in and an additional sum (of around 10%) was added a couple of days after the cost of our meal was deducted. I'm sorry to be slightly negative - I really did want to be able to gush about this meal, and the food was the nicest we had in Rome, but the overall experience was nice but not amazing.

      1. re: GillH

        @ GillH
        Why was an an additional sum added and on what authority?

        1. re: allende

          Grrr - an additional "service charge". It's a clever short term wheeze, because once you're home it seems too much hassle to start arguing with the credit card company about a smallish charge like that. but long term it can't be helpful for their business, as news travels...

        2. re: GillH

          Thanks GillH for a fine report. As our trip to Rome approaches, I am distressed to read another report of a well-regarded restaurant whose initial instinct is to seat foreign tourist in"Siberia", then get huffy when they protest, and then add a special service charge just for them. More on the latter issue in my recent post below, Rome in May (most recent reply posted on April 7). A pox on such establishments! Rest assured, they need not worry about having to accommodate us.

          Glad to read of a good experience at Monti, where I have requested a luncheon reservation.

          1. re: sernoff

            Sernoff, I agree with you completely! Thank you for drawing my attention to the posts on this subject - I have added my thoughts so that if Katie or Maureen or whomever decide to draw up a list of culprits, the name of Antico Arco is added to it!

            I hope you have a lovely trip, and I'm glad to hear you're hoping to include Trattoria Monti, which was low-key and all the more enjoyable for that; exactly what a good neighbourhood restaurant should be.

            -----
            Antico Arco
            Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

            Trattoria Monti
            Via di San Vito,13a, Roma , IT

            1. re: GillH

              Its ironic how different people's experiences are. We received second class service at Trattoria Monti, including not being offered the daily specials (only a fat english language menu, so I had to go out and look at the daily menu outside to order) painfully slow service compared to adjoining tables (we were basically ignored) and did not receive one of the special dishes we requested (probably not enough producted for non- regulars). Yes the guys were charming but it did not go past the surface with us. I still recommend because the food we did get was fantastic. but they are hardly a model of ourist friendly roman service culture.

              ps GillH did you dispute the charge?

              -----
              Trattoria Monti
              Via di San Vito,13a, Roma , IT

              1. re: jen kalb

                I'm ashamed to say that I did not. If it had happened at the time, I would have. But by the time I got home, and got my credit card bill and saw 2 separate charges two days apart, I couldn't be bothered with the hassle (and cost, if I had phoned) of chasing up for what was a relatively small amount. I should have emailed and asked but I no longer had my original receipt with the various charges laid out.

                1. re: GillH

                  I would just contact your credit card company and context. YOu have the two amounts there is no justification for a second charge 2 days later, especially since you only signed once, right?

              2. re: GillH

                That is too bad about your experience at Antico Arco! I have eaten there three times now, always paying with a credit card, and we've never had this happen. I hope it was a one-time thing or something because I really do like the food there.

                I actually somewhat prefer being in the "English room" (see current discussion on the France board). We were seated downstairs a few weeks ago, and, I don't know, we had a booth upstairs on our other visits. I just like booths better. The service we have received has been professional and fairly friendly, upstairs or down.

                I'm sorry Antico Arco let you down. No fun.

                -----
                Antico Arco
                Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

        3. We plan to enjoy lunch on a Tuesday in May at Le Mani in Pasta...however, their website is a bit difficult! I believe it says that it's possible to reserve online, but no email address is given, and when I click on the reservation notation on their website it does not respond! Were you able to reserve online?

          1 Reply
          1. re: California Sunshine

            I didn't try to book Le Mani in Pasta online, but phoned them directly. I speak very little Italian, but I was very clear that I wanted to reserve a table in the upstairs room ("di sopra") on the ground floor rather than in the basement. I seem to remember that the person who answered the phone spoke reasonable English, but they always appreciate any attempt to speak Italian!

            -----
            Le Mani in Pasta
            Via dei Genovesi, 37, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

          2. adding links

            -----
            Antico Arco
            Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

            Trattoria Monti
            Via di San Vito,13a, Roma , IT

            Le Mani in Pasta
            Via dei Genovesi, 37, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT