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Rome in May

Chowhounders: You have enriched our dining experiences in years past in Venice, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Barcelona and Madrid. We thank you for past advice and seek comments on our planned one week trip to Rome in early to mid-May.

A little background may be helpful. We have carefully researched existing comments on this site and other dining related sites on the internet. We have been to Rome before; three decades ago. We are seniors, and thus travel at a more measured pace than we did in our younger years (but, thankfully, without disabilities). We will be staying in the Prati area, closest to the Lepanto metro stop. We have developed a dining routine that works for us in the trips mentioned above: 1) We generally eat our main meal of the day at a late lunch and snack in the evening; 2) We prefer traditional regional cuisines (the latest cuisine trends and tasting menus are not our thing); 3) We are fairly light eaters (a primi or secondi with an appetizer or salad and wine may well suffice for each of us; 4) Price is relevant, but our experience and dining habits tell us that we are happiest paying more for better; 5) We understand that regular customers and native speakers may get some preference, but would prefer to avoid dining destinations where there is a serious risk of disrespect for presentable, well-behaved tourists, who make reservations (which we have not heretofore experienced).

All that said, the following is a list of restaurants we have assembled, grouped, however awkwardly, geographically, and without reference to quality or prices, upon which we will appreciate pluses, minuses, additions, or corrections: PRATI: L'Arcangelo, Da Cesare, Il Matriciano, Il Ragno d'Oro da Marco e Fabio, Osteria dell' Angelo, Dino Express, Cacio e Pepe, Micci, Lilli (not in Prati, but close); COLOSSEO/CAVOUR: Nerone, Taverna Fori Dei Imperiali, L'Osteria della Suberra, L'Asino D'Oro, Trattoria Monti (near V. Emmanuele metro stop), or La Piazzetta (which may have closed last year); TESTACCIO: Checchino dal 1887, Da Felice, Perilli; NAVONA/PANTHEON: Grano, Da Gino, La Campana, Armando al Pantheon, Vecchio Locanda (near Torre Argentina); CAMPO/ GHETTO/ TRASTEVERE; La Gensola, Roscioli, Piperno, Filletaro Santa Barbera, Roma Sparita; PZA. DEL POPOLO, PZA. DEL SPAGNA, PZA. BARBERINI; La Colline Emiliane (Bolognese), Tuna, il Margutta, Hostaria Romana.

I have not mentioned wine bars, pizza al taglio, tramezzini, gelato , caffe, etc., destinations because I think I have the picture. But, If there are Prati/Vaticano spots you think are notable, particularly those that are a close walk from the Lepanto metro area, we would welcome them.

One last note: We know that traditional Roman cuisine is heavy on vegetables, meat, and offal. The above-list includes restaurants that we gather feature worthy seafood options. We are not lovers of fin-fish but love dishes, with or without pasta, built upon crustaceons or mollusks that are memorable. If there are restaurants that feature vongole veraci, fritto misto, insalata de frutti mare, or other seafood classics that shouldn't be missed, please mention them.

Thanks to all commentors will be delivered. So as not to unduly extend the string, I will forbear from delivering them one by one.

Thans in advance to all.

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La Campana
Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

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

Osteria dell' Angelo
Via Giovanni Bettolo, 24, Roma , IT

Checchino dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, Rome 00153, IT

Perilli
Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

L'Arcangelo
Via G. G. Belli 59/61, Rome, Lazio 00193, IT

Piperno
Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

Roscioli
Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

La Piazzetta
vicolo del Buon Consiglio, 23a, Rome, Lazio , IT

Colline Emiliane
Via degli Avignonesi, 22, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

Il Matriciano
Via Dei Gracchi, 55, Rome, Lazio 00192, IT

Grano
Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

La Gensola
Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

Hostaria Romana
Via del Boccaccio, 1, Rome, Lazio , IT

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  1. >>> PRATI: L'Arcangelo, Da Cesare, Il Matriciano, Il Ragno d'Oro da Marco e Fabio, Osteria dell' Angelo, Dino Express, Cacio e Pepe, Micci, Lilli (not in Prati, but close);
    Arcangelo left me cold but is generally considered very good, idem Matriciano, which, however, I haven't been to for eons, Cacio e Pepe I haven't been to but by all accounts it's very good. Lilli is quite simple but friendly and good. I used to like Osteria dell'Angelo but feel I've outgrown it. If it's near enough where you're staying, it's certainly cheap.

    COLOSSEO/CAVOUR: Nerone -- I like it, but it's my local (very good spaghetti alle vongole veraci), Taverna Fori Dei Imperiali left us cold the one time we went but it is a great fave of foreign visitors and many foreign residents of the neighborhood, L'Osteria della Suberra, you mean Suburra, don't know. L'Asino D'Oro getting a lot of buzz but I haven't tried it yet, Trattoria Monti (near V. Emmanuele metro stop),it's good but surrounded by an unfortunate aura of undeserved fabulousness, or La Piazzetta (which may have closed last year) I think not closed but the owner has jumped ship, unfortunately; TESTACCIO: Checchino dal 1887, I love it, very courteous, quiet. Da Felice--good hearty food, atmosphere tends toward frenetic, Perilli -- a classic, haven't been in years since it seemed to decline but have been hearing good things lately; NAVONA/PANTHEON: Grano -- fabulous IMO; Da Gino, La Campana, Armando al Pantheon, -- all these are consistently liked (exc I hated Gino the one time I went), Vecchia Locanda (near Torre Argentina), should still be good; CAMPO/ GHETTO/ TRASTEVERE; La Gensola, good mainly for fish, Roscioli, good; Piperno, for the Jewish fritti; Filletaro Santa Barbera, Barbara not Barbera, only for great hulking battered cod fillets; Roma Sparita haven't been yet but everyone loves; PZA. DEL POPOLO, PZA. DEL SPAGNA, PZA. BARBERINI; Colline Emiliane (Bolognese) uncomfortable but very good, Tuna -- I love it, il Margutta, Hostaria Romana -- don't know these, only hear about them from tourists.

    Roman cuisine is not "heavy on vegetables, meat, and offal". There are a very few traditional offal dishes that turn up on some trattoria or traditional menus. They are easy to avoid, but if you want to try them, go to Checchino. Restaurants tend not to do justice to the fabulous vegs in the markets, but in May you should find a good variety, including artichokes (until it gets warm), favas, and peas, often combined in a dish called vignarola. Restaurants emphasize meat more than home cooks do, but there are very tasty traditional meat dishes worth trying. Also, bear in mind that a dish like grilled baby lamb chops (abbacchio a scottadito) sounds so simple you might skip it, but it's really typical, delicious, and probably different from other grilled lamb chops you've had. The real Roman forte is pasta, which you don't mention.

    -----
    La Campana
    Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

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

    Osteria dell' Angelo
    Via Giovanni Bettolo, 24, Roma , IT

    Checchino dal 1887
    Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, Rome 00153, IT

    Perilli
    Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

    L'Arcangelo
    Via G. G. Belli 59/61, Rome, Lazio 00193, IT

    Piperno
    Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

    Roscioli
    Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    La Piazzetta
    vicolo del Buon Consiglio, 23a, Rome, Lazio , IT

    Colline Emiliane
    Via degli Avignonesi, 22, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

    Il Matriciano
    Via Dei Gracchi, 55, Rome, Lazio 00192, IT

    Da Cesare
    via San Giovanni 38, MO, Spilamberto, Emilia-Romagna 41057, IT

    Vecchia Locanda
    Vicolo Sinibaldi, 2, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    Da Gino
    Piazza Generale Dalla Chiesa,4, Trapani, Sicily , IT

    Grano
    Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    La Gensola
    Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

    Hostaria Romana
    Via del Boccaccio, 1, Rome, Lazio , IT

    2 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      Vignarola and abbacchio a scottadito. The cornerstones of a great meal.

      1. re: mbfant

        Maureen, with regards to your oft recommended Colline Emiliane and Tuna...what would you recommend there? Especially Colline Emiliane since at Tuna, I'm guessing I just indulge in seafood. Online searches keep turning up the same 3 dishes at CE: bolognese, tortellini, and braised veal.

        Based on your recs, I'm cutting back on a couple of La Campana visits this time around to give Colline Emiliane and Tuna a try.

        -----
        La Campana
        Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

        Colline Emiliane
        Via degli Avignonesi, 22, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

      2. << PRATI: L'Arcangelo, Da Cesare, Il Matriciano, Il Ragno d'Oro da Marco e Fabio, Osteria dell' Angelo, Dino Express, Cacio e Pepe, Micci, Lilli (not in Prati, but close); >>
        YES to L'Arcangelo, Da Cesare, Il Matriciano. I don't know the others, but you are missing Settembrini, which is one of the best new restaurants, not only in Prati, but in Rome.

        <<COLOSSEO/CAVOUR: Nerone, Taverna Fori Dei Imperiali, L'Osteria della Suberra, L'Asino D'Oro, Trattoria Monti (near V. Emmanuele metro stop), or La Piazzetta (which may have closed last year); >>
        Nerone, Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, Trattoria Monti and L'Asino D'Oro all very very good. L'Asino D'Oro is my new all time personal favorite in Rome. Just opened last month. Skip La Piazzetta.

        <<TESTACCIO: Checchino dal 1887, Da Felice, Perilli; >>
        My faves at the moment in Testaccio are Perilli and Flavio Velavevodetto.

        <<NAVONA/PANTHEON: Grano, Da Gino, La Campana, Armando al Pantheon, Vecchio Locanda (near Torre Argentina);>>
        Of these, I would head to La Campana for traditional. You should also try Renato e Luisa, which I love (even though it recently got a bad write up here at Chowhound)

        <<CAMPO/ GHETTO/ TRASTEVERE; La Gensola, Roscioli, Piperno, Filletaro Santa Barbera, Roma Sparita;>>
        La Gensola fantastic, one of best places in Rome for fish. Roscioli always underwhelms me, especially their service, which can be nasty at times. Piperno's is wonderful, especially if you get a table outside. Filletaro is great fun, but only bacala.

        <<I have not mentioned wine bars, pizza al taglio, tramezzini, gelato , caffe, etc., destinations because I think I have the picture. But, If there are Prati/Vaticano spots you think are notable, particularly those that are a close walk from the Lepanto metro area, we would welcome them.>>
        I just wrote a round up of Prati Gelateria for Food & Wine, which may be out before you come. If not, don't miss:
        Gelateria Gracchi
        Fatta Morgana
        Settimo Gelo

        You must must go to Pizzarium, best Pizza al Taglio in Rome.

        Hope this helps!

        -----
        La Campana
        Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

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

        Osteria dell' Angelo
        Via Giovanni Bettolo, 24, Roma , IT

        Checchino dal 1887
        Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, Rome 00153, IT

        Perilli
        Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

        L'Arcangelo
        Via G. G. Belli 59/61, Rome, Lazio 00193, IT

        Piperno
        Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

        Roscioli
        Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        La Piazzetta
        vicolo del Buon Consiglio, 23a, Rome, Lazio , IT

        Il Matriciano
        Via Dei Gracchi, 55, Rome, Lazio 00192, IT

        Renato e Luisa
        Via dei Barbieri, 25, Rome, Lazio , IT

        Pizzarium
        Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

        Da Gino
        Piazza Generale Dalla Chiesa,4, Trapani, Sicily , IT

        Grano
        Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        La Gensola
        Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

        Settembrini
        Via Luigi Settembrini, 25, Rome, Lazio , IT

        10 Replies
        1. re: minchilli

          I think the time has come for at least an initial thank you note. Ms. Fant, I'm sure you recognized the influence of your previous writings on dining choices in Rome among the places I mentioned. I am very grateful for your taking the time to give me an extended update. As for pasta, shame on us if we spend a week in Rome without having exemplary carbonara (and/or gricia), amatriciana and caccio e pepe. Those dishes don't appear on the menu at many Italian restaurants in the U.S. (at least outside of NYC), and when they do the result would often reduce a Roman to tears.

          The same thanks to Ms. Minchilli. I'm thrilled to get extensive comments from professional writers on Roman cuisine. Kudos to you and to Katie Parla for the spectacular photographs on your sites (loved your recent piece on L'Asino D'Oro). So many spectacular-looking dishes, so little time.

          Steve h: Will file a report after we return. Hard to imagine that it will not include a rave from my wife about the abbacchio a scottaditto at Checchino. I expect I'll get a taste in return for a sample of my coda alla vaccinara. The restaurant may need a forklift to remove us.

          1. re: sernoff

            I'm pretty fond of the cacio e pepe at Ditirambo. Go very late since this place is on the tourist track. A reservation is a good idea. Wine list is good, the grappa list is superb. The grilled octopus can be superb (not the skewer stuff). Ask for it.

            -----
            Ditirambo
            Piazza della Cancelleria, 73, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

            1. re: sernoff

              Thanks, sernoff! That is very kind! Of the places above, I would highly recommend L'Arcangelo for the following dishes: carbonara, cacio e unto (pecorino and guanciale), coda alla vaccinara. Bear in mind that Arcangelo cooks his pasta very very al dente. Roscioli, a place I used to despise for its service that was often quite rude, has changed dramatically on that front and i have had excellent food and service there consistently for the past 6 months. Though it is not a Roman dish, do start with a burrata. There are also wonderful Cantabrian anchovies served with butter and toast as a starter. The carbonara is one of the best in town and I also quite like the amatriciana. Remaining on the topic of carbonara, I would strongly recommend a trip to Da Danilo (Via Petrarca 13), very close to Piazza Vittorio (you can take the Metro from Lepanto). Their carbonara, which is drier than that at Roscioli, is out of this world. The cacio e pepe is also very special. It's a good idea to call ahead a book a table on the ground floor, which i think is more pleasant than the basement dining room. Also, be sure to make a booking at Roscioli for dinner. Avoid it at lunch when it is chaotic. I second mbfant's opinion about Tuna and minchilli's gelato suggestions. I would also add Il Gelato di Claudio Torce' on Viale Aventino 59 if you happen to be near the Aventine/Circo Massimo.

              Some other thoughts: I dont think Piperno is at all worth a visit. It's way past its prime (an unfortunate condition that many places in the Ghetto have fallen into) and while its fritti are very good, most everything else I've had there in the past year has been just good--not amazing--and IMO overpriced. For fritti Nonna Betta is my go-to. It is a kosher (dairy) restaurant on Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 16. It is moderately priced.

              Pizzarium is excellent (I just got back from eating way too much pizza there tonight), though bear in mind there is only 1 bench outside so you will have to stand to eat. It is super busy around lunchtime, so go before 1230 or after 3. Now that I mention it, it was pretty packed at 8pm on a Sunday so you may have to queue for a bit.

              Grano was a reliable spot in the center but I find it quite troubling that they add a 15% service charge to the bill. I recently sent friends there and they were charged nearly €30 for service, a sum I can't fathom paying at any place in Rome. Maureen, is this a new thing? I cant recall seeing such an outrageous service charge on my bill there (or anywhere else in Rome) ever.

              Sorry I am unable to link new venues. For some reason the "Add a restaurant or Bar" link isn't working for me. I have put addresses in the text instead.

              -----
              L'Arcangelo
              Via G. G. Belli 59/61, Rome, Lazio 00193, IT

              Piperno
              Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

              Roscioli
              Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              Pizzarium
              Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

              Grano
              Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              1. re: katieparla

                Ms. Parla: Thanks very much for your input. You confirmed my vague suspicion about Piperno, where I remember dining on my last trip to Rome in 1978. I am forewarned that Roscioli is chaotic at lunch, when we generally prefer to have our main meal. I am a tad confused about the service charge at Grano. I assume it is a coperto on steroids as opposed to a simple servisio incluso.

                At the risk of fawning, I want to thank you above all for the fantastic food photographs on your website and on ParlaFood's Photostream on Flickr. Experts' comments on particular dishes at particular restaurants are always very helpful, but seeing the dish adds a whole new dimension. For example, your verbal description of Da Danilo's carbonara takes visible form in your photo of the dish.

                A closing comment to Ms. Fant: No photographs are necessary to conjure up a vision of "great hulking battered cod filets". Filletaro Santa Barbara will have to get along without our patronage.

                I am greatly indebted to all of you.

                -----
                Piperno
                Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

                Roscioli
                Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                Grano
                Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                Da Danilo
                Via Francesco Petrarca, Figline Valdarno, Toscana 50063, IT

                1. re: sernoff

                  Hi Sernoff, call me Katie:)

                  I realize i didn't do a very good job of expressing the whole Grano thing. Basically I have been going there probably every three months or so since it opened and I do not recall ever having been charged the 15% service charge that was on my clients' bill. A fixed service charge is fairly unusual in Rome and 15% is something you would expect to pay at a tourist trap in Piazza Navona. I examined the clients' bill, which they had kept, and was stunned to see they were charged nearly €30 euros for service. I was curious if Maureen had noticed the charge, if it is new, or if it is selectively applied. In my opinion, it is more than a coperto on steroids; it is a practice that is blatantly exploitative of visitors to Rome-and of the servers. In general, the server only receives a portion of the sum. Any insight on this from Maureen or others would be greatly appreciated!
                  -------------
                  www.parlafood.com

                  1. re: katieparla

                    Why not call the restaurant and ask?

                    By law, the menu must say either "Servizio XX% incluso" or "Servizio XX%". Servizio added on is fairly unusual, but I've encountered "Servizio 15% incluso" in non-touristy restaurants that were not on Piazza Navona. The amount of nearly 30 Euro is, I think, immaterial: If it was nearly 30 Euro, then it was 15% of something short of 200 Euro, which would not be unreasonable for four people with a more modest wine or for two with an expensive wine.

                    If it's selectively applied, it's a major problem, but I don't see how they could do it without separate menus, which is also illegal and not something a reputable restaurant would risk lightly.

                    1. re: zerlina

                      Hmm not so sure that a call is a great idea. I will go in person and ask. I was going to go the day after it happened but didnt have time. They wouldnt need separate menus to selectively apply it. They just simply wouldnt add it to the bill. Like when regulars dont pay coperto or get a big fat sconto. Legal or not, it's pretty routine in Rome and elsewhere in Italy. That's why im interested in another customer's experience. I honestly dont recall ever seeing it on my bill there, nor reading it on the menu. 15% seems quite arbitrary.

                      1. re: katieparla

                        Going in person is better than calling, and 15% is on the high side. But if not charging regulars for pane (there is no coperto in Lazio) or giving them a sconto is a frequent occurrence (and I know it is), then Grano merits particular oppobrium only if the service charge is listed on the menu but added for *visitors* only. I think you'd need a pretty broad sample to determine if it's the case or not.

                        1. re: katieparla

                          Katie: Since you say to use the familiar, I will do so. I didn't mean to raise a big issue, but, having done so, go gal, and settle it!

                          Here are some thoughts from an American tourist that may be helpful to whomever speaks to food-interested tourists to Rome, or elsewhere in Europe. Assume I go to a good restaurant in the USA, including wine, and am charged $100 on my bill. I will be expected, and, of course will, leave a tip of 15% - 20%. If I go to Europe and pay E85 for a similar dinner and leave a few coins for the server, I assume I am rewarding the server and paying close to the same total price as I would back home (I leave aside, but recognize, that waiters' pay structure differs as between the USA and at least some European destinations).

                          That said, now let's assume that I could dine at Grano and get a basic bill for E85 or dine at a restaurant of "equivalent quality" in the same area for the same price. If one charges me a "coperto" or "servicio incluso" that is much higher than the equivalent restaurant I would be interested in that fact. I would be even more interested if I thought that the charge was being imposed selectively.

                          That said, I will raise a few other points for chowhounders to kibbitz about: In our most recent trips to Europe we have noticed that charges for acceptable "house" wines are significantly below prices charged in the USA for wines of "equivalent quality". Is this the experience of others? If so, is that widely known? If not, does it cause diners on a budget to " dial down" their budget for dining choices based on calculations from home experience?

                          One last thought for chowhounder travelers reporting their experiences: Do not be embarrassed to report not only what you enjoyed, but, if you have a record, tell what you spent, how many courses you ate, what you drank, etc. Why do I say this? Because those who care deeply about food, but have a budget, may "dial down" their destination choices because they read reviews from people who dine more heavily than they do and fear to go to some restaurants that they could afford, and love, because they fear that they will "break the bank". I proffer a 2010 example: Cal Pep in Barcelona. 1) we felt an obsession to go there, based mainly on chowhound reports; 2) it was good, but in our humble opinion we ate better elsewhere in that noted food city; 3) we spent less at al Pep than we expected to spend because we ate less than most of those who dined when we were there ate (many of our contemporary tourista dining compatriots there seemed to feel a need to sample everything offered, without pressure from the establishment). Obviously, these thoughts will be irrelevant to those who dote on tasting menus, the latest molecular offering, etc., but there are a lot of the rest of us who go, care, and appreciate all the information we can get to make informed choices that work for us.

                          -----
                          Grano
                          Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                  2. re: katieparla

                    That's very disturbing news about Grano, and the service charge. I'll look forward to hearing what you find out Katie.

                    Sadly, I think this happens all too often in Rome. My husband went with clients to Assunta Madre a few months ago (Via Giulia). A hotel had made the reservation for them, and they were all speaking English the entire night. There was no menu, just fish, which they were shown and then chose without knowing the exact prices. The bill? Are you ready? 800 euros!!!! For three people.
                    Among the many 'tricks' was in the wine charges. They had ordered a 25 euro chardonay, but they were charged 200 euros for the third bottle.

                    -----
                    Grano
                    Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              2. As usual, Katie has another great suggestion - the burrata at Roscioli is heavenly. I will also submit the "amateur" vote for Checchino and Roscioli. One of the best crustacean-focused dinners I have ever eaten was in Rome at la Rosetta, a lovely seafood restaurant located on Via della Rosetta. The following is the description of my favorite dish from my trip diary:

                "M and I started with a Crustacian Salad, which I thought would be a couple of prawns on some lettuce. HAH! One of the best seafood dishes I have ever had. Honestly, it was a huge selection of the freshest prawns and lobster very simply steamed, accompanied by a small salad with a citrus vinaigrette. It was a perfect example of treating high quality ingredients with respect and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. White prawns, pink prawns, regular prawns, langostines and half a lobster – all of my favorites on one plate! I regret not taking a picture because it was a thing of beauty."

                -----
                Roscioli
                Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                3 Replies
                1. re: ekc

                  I love La Rosetta too, and have only had extraordinary meals there. But I always hesitate to include it in my guides to Rome restaurants, because it is SO expensive. And since it is all about fish, often the price won't even be on the menu, so it can be quite a shock at the end of the meal.

                  -----
                  La Rosetta
                  Via della Rosetta, 9, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                  1. re: minchilli

                    fish is always a problem and issue in Italy - it is the best and freshest fish ever but because it is usually priced by weight and "market price" you have to ask (hard for foreign tourists) or else assume. that it will cost a big multiple of anything you can imagine. and it may not feel "worth it" unless you are a serious appreciator of very fresh fish, simply prepared, as the Italians are.

                    1. re: minchilli

                      Good point EM, but good lord that crustacian salad was worth every penny!

                  2. Prati: yes to L'Arcangelo, Da Cesare, Osteria dell' Angelo (it is a good one time experience), Micci (but not a destination), Lilli. indifferent to Il Matriciano (have had bad vibes), Il Ragno d'Oro da Marco e Fabio left me cold but might be interesting as a tourist, Dino Express is a 100% stay away, Cacio e Pepe disappointing, the pasta have detoriated.

                    Colosseo: not my area but the pasta at Taverna are good, L'asino d'oro is new at that location but has a good history, we love the food (Umbrian).

                    Testaccio: Checchino is great, da Felice has a vibe, then there is also tutti frutti and da Remo and Nuovo Mondo (the latter 2 pizza places)

                    Navona/Pantheon: like da Gino better for lunch than for dinner (more touristy), La Campana is great

                    Campo/Trastevere: Except Piperno love all you mentioned

                    Spagna/Barberini: Colline Emiliane is great, as is Tuna (but expensive). I don't care for Margutta.

                    Add to Prati: Mondo arancio for arancini as a snack and follow with gelato from Gelateria Gracchi. Or do the combo Pizzarium for pizza al taglio and gelato from Fata Morgana at the (roughly) other end of Lepanto. Piccolo Irpinia (new location) is not bad either. Settembrini is great (but finer dining), as is All'Oro.

                    -----
                    La Campana
                    Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

                    Osteria dell' Angelo
                    Via Giovanni Bettolo, 24, Roma , IT

                    L'Arcangelo
                    Via G. G. Belli 59/61, Rome, Lazio 00193, IT

                    Piperno
                    Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

                    Colline Emiliane
                    Via degli Avignonesi, 22, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

                    Remo
                    Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

                    Il Matriciano
                    Via Dei Gracchi, 55, Rome, Lazio 00192, IT

                    Da Cesare
                    via San Giovanni 38, MO, Spilamberto, Emilia-Romagna 41057, IT

                    Pizzarium
                    Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

                    Settembrini
                    Via Luigi Settembrini, 25, Rome, Lazio , IT

                    All'Oro
                    Via Eleonora Duse, 1, Rome, Lazio , IT

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: vinoroma

                      Thanks to ekc and vinoroma. I value the zingers just as much as the raves.

                      1. re: vinoroma

                        Clarification: All'Oro is in Parioli (via duse)

                        Update: Stopped by Grano on Saturday to inquire about the 15% gratuity issue. I explained that I had recommended the place to some people and was surprised to hear about such a charge and that I would like to know the reasoning behind it, as it is quite unusual. The manager (?) said I should speak to the owner directly but he wasnt in. The saga continues. I'll report back when I have more news.

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                        All'Oro
                        Via Eleonora Duse, 1, Rome, Lazio , IT

                        1. re: katieparla

                          Thanks for the recon, Katie. Grano is on my list for someplace (good) in the center so I'm curious what the deal is. Looking forward to the update to the update.

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                          Grano
                          Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                          1. re: katieparla

                            As I wrote that sentence I knew I was not writing clearly. Thanks for the clarification, Katie!

                            1. re: katieparla

                              We had dinner at Grano this past Monday evening. Food was good but the service seemed a little off, perhaps partially because I was tired--tired of eating out at a restaurant every night for two weeks. In any case, the servizio was indeed in the neighborhood of 15%.

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                              Grano
                              Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                              1. re: Leely2

                                15%?! I know no restaurants that would ever charge servizio without complaints from Romans!

                                1. re: cristinab

                                  There is at least one verified report that locals are *not* charged the servizio of 15%. Look at Puntarella Rossa's review and comments.

                                  1. re: zerlina

                                    That would make it even worse....:-)

                                    1. re: cristinab

                                      Yes, it was our last evening in Rome and I regretted choosing Grano, particularly because our other dinners were so enjoyable. And we had been in Sicily before that and had eaten well and been treated quite hospitably. We are not boors, either. Really. :)

                                      1. re: Leely2

                                        so sorry your trip ended this way. We get dining out fatigue on our trips too, one reason why we usually rent apartments for long stays. I have a theory that some of these central Roman restaurants do their main local business at lunch and that the evening mostly tourist situation may not be as good. I dont know whether its a good theory but I dont know how else to explain the differential in satisfaction in reports. Looking forward to hearing all about the eating you did on your trip!

                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                          I don't really agree with that. If you apply service ONLY to foreigners (and there are many restaurants and bars which endure this bad habit), you are just dishonest, no matter where your business is located.

                              2. re: katieparla

                                Katie, this is very interesting because we had a similar experience at Antico Arco. You, Maureen and other Chowhounders had been very helpful when I was planning our trip, and I wrote a Rome trip report in October 2010. In it, my description of Antico Arco was...

                                "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."

                                After writing that review, I received our credit card bill - and discovered that two days after the cost of our meal was deducted, another charge was made by the restaurant to our credit card of approximately 10%. And we had left a tip in our original bill too. Of course, they are relying on the fact that it is too much hassle (and Euros!) to phone up and complain after we have left the country. But it left a very bad taste in the mouth and I certainly won't be recommending the restaurant to anyone; no-one likes to be taken for a ride.

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                                Antico Arco
                                Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

                                1. re: GillH

                                  WOW. I am actually not surprised about the upstair room trick. they've pulled that on me at Antico Arco (and about a million other places in Rome. it happens frequently when i go to restaurants with american (non-Italian speaking) friends and family. the ol' stash the foreigners in a separate room drives me nuts. maybe it's because i was a hostess for so long and learned to seat sections on a rotating basis. sticking a bunch of people in the same section at around the same time makes no sense to me. anyway, when this happened at Antico Arco, I thought i was being paranoid til the room started filling up with american tourists, all of whom were seated before 830. downstairs remained relatively empty til 9 or so when the italian speakers were sat there.

                                  regarding the 10% charge added to your bill, that is completely unacceptable and i would most certainly dispute the charge with your credit card company.

                                  im glad you left feedback here and your post brings up a very interesting topic. we rome dwellers on chowhound have a very different experience dining here than visitors have. we speak italian (which goes a long way to avoid being taken advantage of) and have achieved "regular" status at places, so we may not notice when visitors are being slighted. case in point: i sent two sets of friends to Tuna and La Gensola. At the end of the meal, the server explicitly told them service was not included. this was not in response to them asking. both sets of friends are veteran travelers aware that they had paid a cover charge,which covers service. each left a hefty tip, as they felt pressure to do so. the unsolicited "service isnt included" nonsense would never be communicated to a local EVER. I now recommend both places less enthusiastically. i wonder why i do at all, to be honest.

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

                                  La Gensola
                                  Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

                                  1. re: katieparla

                                    I'm working on my Italian, but it's going to be a while before I sound like a local, and with my strawberry blond hair and freckles I'm never going to look like an Italian! Thanks for your feedback, too, Katie. Wherever I travel, I hate to be treated as a tourist - but sometimes it's difficult. I live in Edinburgh, and I think we have a similar problem here - not with overcharging, but with the ambiance and client mix. The restaurants frequented by locals tend to be very different from the ones visited by tourists. Luckily, I think boards like this one generally
                                    help to point interested foodies in the right direction!

                                    1. re: katieparla

                                      As the OP, whose week in Rome is still three weeks off, I'll pipe in.
                                      I have read about the deceased proprietor of Felice, who reportedly put a reserved sign on every table, and admitted to his restaurant only those whom he wished to serve (a policy apparently rescinded by his successors). I'd call that cranky, but I can live with it. Always wanted to dine at Rao's in NYC. Fuggedaboudit!

                                      I can also relate to the notion that regular patrons get a heartier greeting than one-timer tourists, particularly those who are demanding or whose behavior is somehow difficult for the house.

                                      For me, the line gets drawn where a restaurateur says your money is welcome, but I'm going to charge you more than another patron. There is double underlining on that thought if I understand, as indicated in Zerlina's comment farther up in this string, that the up-charge is unlawful. Adding a charge to the credit card after the guest has signed gets triple underlining. Antico Arco was never on my list. Now, I wouldn't go there at gunpoint.

                                      My amour for Grano and Gensola has been diminished by comments on the discriminatory up-charge theme.

                                      Will report in detail on our dining experiences in Rome after the trip. Looking forward ever more eagerly.

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                                      Antico Arco
                                      Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

                                      Grano
                                      Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT