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Buffet Lunch in Rome

Picola Irpinia used to have a fabulous, extensive buffet at lunch at a reasonable price. Gusto has an extensive, (in my opinion) not so fabulous buffet at lunch. Open Collona is our current go-to location for a really good quality, extensive selection, buffet lunch, but I'm wondering what some of the other full-time or part-time Roman Chowhounders (we are here only 5-6 weeks a year) think is the best lunch buffet in town--with selection, quality, and price all factored in.

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  1. Hi Geraldi, I'm with you on Gusto, though you are infinitely more diplomatic than I on the subject:) The only weekday lunch buffet that comes to mind aside from Open Colonna is at the vegetarian restaurant near the Spanish Steps, il Margutta. On the weekends, lots of places serve buffet brunch. there is a good round up on Tavole Romane here: http://tavoleromane.wordpress.com/rom...

    Are you looking for a weekday buffet then? Would you consider a tavola calda (hot dishes served cafeteria style)? I go to Cafffe Camerino in Largo Argentina occasionally.

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    Il Margutta Vegetariano RistorArte
    Via Margutta,114, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

    1 Reply
    1. re: katieparla

      Cafffe con tre f IS one of our other fallbacks. We will give Margutta a try. Thanks.

    2. adding links

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      'Gusto
      Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7, Rome, Lazio , IT

      Open Colonna
      Via Milano, 9/a, Roma, Lazio 00184, IT

      1 Reply
      1. re: jen kalb

        Thanks Jen! I dont know what it is but I can't seem to add more than a couple of links, especially after I add a venue!!

      2. Hi Geraldl and thank you Katie for the kind mention of our blog!
        Happy to contribute to the Chowhound community about food in Rome.
        In addition to the already mentioned places for weekdays buffet a good choise is Vivi Bistrot. It is inside the wonderful and relaxing Villa Pamphili. Bio buffet for 12€ including a soup and 1 dish that you can fill with pasta, rice, cous cous, cheese and different kind of vegetables.

        Agree with you about brunch at Gusto while pizza is better in our opinion.

        PS. I don't know how to add new links. This is Vivi Bistrot web site link:
        http://www.vivibistrot.com/

        1. La Piazzetta, Vicolo del Buon Consiglio 23a for lunch antipasto buffet very close to the Coliseum. I think it was 10E fall 2010. Just walk up Via Cavour away from the Coliseum, take your first right down a little street/alley, go maybe a block and its on the left on a corner. Patio seating behind a hedge, so even though you are right on the alley, you are somewhat blocked from view/exhaust. A nice selection of mainly vegetable dishes, but also prosciutto and salamis, egg dishes, mussels, fried little fishes - anchovy or sardines. Close to the Coliseum/Forum/Peter in Chains. Not terribly far from San Clemente, which I always seem to hit for the post-lunch closed hours, so then I backtrack to La Piazzetta until they re-open. Mostly locals on my visits in May/October.

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

          1. I can add my thumbs down to the 'Gusto buffet. (but it was 'Gusto that got the whole new buffet trend going in Rome, for better or worse).
            I was recently at Open Colonna for their buffet brunch, and have to say it was very disappointing. So much so, that I decided to leave it out of my app to eating in Rome.
            I don't find the buffet at Il Margutta any better than 'Gusto or Open Colonna.
            Vivi is a great choice, especially because of the location.
            For a more traditional take on 'buffet' I love Hosteria Orso 80. It's not a self serve buffet, but if you order the Antipasto, the waiters bring your table small plates of their large and delicious antipasto buffet. None of the red rice salad or other 'modern' buffet items. Just traditional Roman antipasti like seafood salad, mozzarella, grilled peppers, etc. And what I think are some of the best veal meatballs in town.

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            www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com

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            'Gusto
            Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7, Rome, Lazio , IT

            Il Margutta Vegetariano RistorArte
            Via Margutta,114, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

            Open Colonna
            Via Milano, 9/a, Roma, Lazio 00184, IT

            4 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              What disappointed you so much at Open Colonna brunch Elizabeth? We have been there many times and we think it is one of the best locations for this kind of offer in Rome. Of course it is a buffet and food can not be compared to a restaurant menu, but variety and quality worth the expense (28€ + drinks) in our opinion. Curious to know something more about your bad experience.

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              Open Colonna
              Via Milano, 9/a, Roma, Lazio 00184, IT

              1. re: tavoleromane

                last year I was at the open colonna lunch and chose the 3-course menu (not the buffet) and was disappointed. I don't remember anymore what we had, but remember liking the 1st course but not the following ones. Elizabeth, you are not alone!

                1. re: tavoleromane

                  I was there for brunch a few Sundays ago and it was just platter after platter of insipid rice and pasta salads. Many had frozen peas (!) and tiny cubes of carrots and barely any seasonings. There was nothing special about any of the main dishes at all. The desserts were ok, better looking than tasting. But nothing was special.
                  The space is spectacular, and I truly wish I liked the buffet better. I know that a lot of people love it.
                  Maybe I'm just over the whole buffet thing?

                  1. re: minchilli

                    Thank you for answering and happy to read also Vinoroma here!
                    It's always nice to share food experiences and point of views also when they are so different as in the case of Open Colonna brunch. In our opinion remarkable for a buffet are in particular eggplant parmesan (served in a small cocotte), legums soups and rabbit (porchettato). Happy to know if there are buffet offers with much better food quality. Maybe Os Club that we haven't tried yet?

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                    Os Hostaria (Os Club)
                    Via delle Terme di Traiano 4A, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

                    Open Colonna
                    Via Milano, 9/a, Roma, Lazio 00184, IT