HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Two weeks in Rome (lots of short takes)

steve h. Mar 31, 2011 06:02 PM

Deb and I have been spending a couple of weeks in Rome every March for a few years now. Recently, we've been renting the same flat on the Via Giulia (near the Piazza Farnese and Campo de' Fiori).

Here are some thoughts/comments:

• Rome in mid-March is a lot sunnier and warmer than Connecticut (65 degrees and sunny daytime vs. 40 degrees in Connecticut going down to 20 degrees at night).

• March is still "low season" so tourists and students on holiday, while plentiful, have not completely overrun the famous attractions and restaurants.

• Pizza is very subjective. In Rome, I prefer Baffetto and Pizzeria La Montecarlo. Of the two, Montecarlo is far more accessible. Many intrepid travelers extol the Neapolitan-inspired pizzas at Da Vittorio in Trastevere but I take issue: the pizzas there are neither in the style of Naples nor Rome. Thus, they are confused and uninteresting compared to the pure Roman examples.

• Ice Cream is every bit as subjective as pizza, maybe even more so. My "goto" gelateria is Frigidarium on the Via del Governo Vecchio (near Piazza Navona). It's small, the craftspeople are passionate about their work and are thrilled to share their thoughts. The ice cream is delicious. Giolitti, considered by some to be the (oldest) best in Rome, is worth a visit for its history and architecture. Go once just to say you've been there.

• Roscioli, near the Campo, is a bakery that makes its own salumi, sells high-end specialty foods and stocks great cheeses. They also carry a fabulous wine selection. They open for lunch sometime around 12:30 and supper maybe around 7:30 p.m.. The place gets SLAMMED by walk-ins and those smart enough to make dinner reservations. There's a reason: the burrata is the best I've found in the city. Deb says the carbonara has no competition. The wine selection is very good.

• Picnics are a standard part of our stay in Rome. Beer, porchetta panino from Aristocampo and a Fathers' Day bigne di S. Giuseppe (Il Fornaio) filled our canvas bag as we hiked to the Villa Borghese. The grounds are beautiful. All-in-all, a wonderful way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon..

• The 116 bus is your friend. It's small, battery powered and can slip through the tiny streets near the Campo. It's a fascinating ride equal to the 6 bus in Hong Kong and the J-Church in San Francisco. We sometimes plot lunch/drink/supper destinations on its route.

• Ditirambo, near the Campo, makes a killer cacio e pepe. I believe they use a little goat cheese in the recipe so it's not traditional. Rather, it's arguably the best in town when the kitchen is right. Daniele runs the front of the house. He knows his foods and wines. Ditirambo is on the tourist track but is still one of my favorite mid-priced restaurants. They do a deconstructed mille foglie with zabaglione (sp?) that's really good. Their grappa selection is outstanding. Wine selection is moderate in price and very well thought out. I like this place a lot. Reservations are a good idea. Not fancy.

• Al Bric is a landing beacon for cheese and wine lovers. Pastas are house-made and are quite good but the main attraction here is the wine. Ask for assistance, perhaps build a meal around your wine selection. The ambience is quiet and pleasant.

• Next to Al Bric is Taverna Lucifero, a tiny, crowded little store-front of a place that packs a huge wallop. Their prosciutto and melted cheese app is a fine way to start a meal. Follow that with the steak tartar and you are onto something. Prosecco (on the house) to start, grappa (gratis) and espresso to finish. This is not fine dining. Rather, it's a fun and satisfying alternative to the same-old. Go after 9 p.m.. Highly recommended,

• Palazzo Barberini holds a measure of interest. More interesting is the nearby Colline Emiliane (classica cucina Bolognese). This, in my humble opinion, is a very interesting, mid-priced restaurant that is perfect for a two-hour luncheon sit-down after a morning of high-impact tourism. We only scratched the surface with cheese, pastas and wine. We need to return to aggressively pursue the meat selections. The restaurant appears to be a favorite with professionals in expensive suits (barristers?), creative types in well-tailored tweeds and club women. Interestingly, it retains an informal atmosphere. We will return.

• We like shopping on the economy. Markets like the ones at Campo de' Fiori and Testaccio are important. Finding a good butcher, baker, cheese monger, etc. goes without saying. Bottom line? Shop early, shop often. Don't settle for crap food. Sundays require home-cooked meals.

• The Abbey Theatre has Guinness and March Madness. Great place for a pint and some late-night basketball. Scholars Lounge will dial-up any game/golf match you're interested in.

  1. p
    Potsnpans Sep 6, 2013 02:59 PM

    Ok so first off I just want to thank Steve and porthos on the great substance provided in this post. Subsequently, thanks to everyone else for fueling the fire so to speak :). I was going to Rome for 5 days and without you guys I would have missed what turned out to still be some awesome places to chow at.

    2013 now - gotta love the internet.

    My trip started off with going to La Campana, which from what I read was a very family-traditional place. So I was looking forward to some good, what I like to call, homecooked food. I took Porthos advice on those godly porcini mushies and let me tell you it was sex. We had some super fresh figs on prosciutto and it went well as foreplay. But let me calm down the vernacular a bit because my aim on the mains was a bit off.. Now I had read porthos replies in this thread and gotten pretty hyped on seafood and the idea of comparing them along my following days of seafood indulgence. Thus I went with some grilled scampi and my girl went with the lamb cutlets after they were out of baby lamb :(. They were not worth mentioning, as the cutlets just looked and tasted barren. The scampi fell so short after having visited Tempio. But it is in no way a fair comparison so just take from it what there is - Tempio is crazy good when it comes to that area.

    So lets talk about this treasure! Considering we went there twice and I have it down as my top 3 seafood restaurants in the world I would quickly recommend it as The place to go. I tried everything except the whole fish dishes. Im hoping they're on par (it would be very weird if that wasn't the case). Favourites were the oysters (best fine de Claire I've had), grilled gamberi rosso (damn porthos you got me hooked on crack, sweet crack), they were good. I'd say the fish carpaccio was my third pick but I hate the fact that I forgot the name of the fish. I do hope that any fish crudo they serve will hold up to that standard though, because it was so good.

    Last but definitely not the least, and the place that had me buzzing of both excitement and inspiration, Roscioli. I can't explain well enough how much potential this place has in my mind. The menu featured like 30 dishes I all want to try and the things off menu as well as the wine just makes it a knockout. Mortadella, capponata, burrata con pomo, sardines, boom. Not surprised this is one of Massimo Bottura's fav spots.

    Tuna was closed (renov or vacation).

    No time for Al Bric, Lucifer, Ditirambo or Aristocampo. But we did get on that frigidarium gelato and I highly recommend their own flavour.

    I just want to put this out there because I want to both give more cudos to Steve and porthos, but also address the importance of what happened in this thread.

    I set out on a bit of a Italy trip with my girlfriend. She's never been to Italy and lives far from Europe so the true Italian food is very foreign to her. I work as a chef and have been several times but I wanted to see if I could dig past the touristy surface that Italy is covered in and get some inspiration as well as more knowledge about produce while we eat our way through.

    I like to research, just to get a bit wiser, but knew it would come down to finding reviews and anything from articles to photos to give me recommendations on where to eat. I just hate to go in blind after being blue balled so many times. We hit up TripAdvisor... See many people will know better and I was too, but the thing is the alternatives are so scarce/old, and so you're pretty much forced to read through countless inconsistent reviews on this, sorry, shitfest of a website. It is just crazy how many clueless people with no standards or more importantly no capability to give a review with real substance for the following reader. Or maybe I'm just to picky.

    I just wanted to showcase why the spotlight should be janked onto this sort of website where community is not filled with nimwits eager to tap away at stars in their TripAdvisor app before going to sleep in their hotel beds.

    That's it for me. Peace! And thanks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Potsnpans
      p
      PixieM Sep 7, 2013 04:15 AM

      Interesting thread to read through - it hadn't come up on my search of the boards prior to this trip. I am keen to eat some decent fish in the next couple of weeks. The only fish restaurant on my spreadsheet (lol) is La Gensola. I hadn't heard, for instance, of Tempio, So I just had a quick look on Tripadvisor (not used in the first instance by me, but I do like to put my own reviews on sometimes) and the reviews are disastrous. So I am a bit conflicted: should I try it? (I need to note that in 10 days so far I have not encountered a bit of bad service, even when dining on my own at the disgustingly early hour of 8pm)

      1. re: PixieM
        s
        shakti2 Sep 9, 2013 01:26 AM

        You'll need to decide for yourself but in case it helps, I've retrieved my notes from our really very satisfying meal of 2011.

        We went for lunch and ordered 'antipasti crudi e cotti' plus a single helping of crab spaghetti to be shared. My husband's memory is that service was professional though not particularly warm, and that we were one of only 3 or 4 parties, the others being local business-folks.

        On food specifics, we got 6 - 7 plates of antipasti including oysters, mussels, sea bass, squid, prawns and tuna (all raw, some very lightly-dressed with interesting and well thought-out elements like a sprinkle of Szechuan pepper), an octopus salad, burrata with anchovies, prawn crostini with a melting wafer of lardo and various fried morsels (the cotti part of the antipasti) - pretty much amounting to the entire contents of the antipasti menu. And then the crab spaghetti, delicious and generous.

        There was a big contrast between the sophisticated and delicate presentation of the antipasti and the generosity and sloppiness of the noodles but what remains most clearly in my mind is the precision with which the seafood had been handled - different treatments to best suit each critter, as one might expect with great sushi. Also the sweetness and savour of the raw prawns in their various preparations.

        My notes are that the bill came to 156 euros including a bottle of Alto Adige white (a good recommendation by the hostess).

        It does not seem that standards have shifted a lot - we've sent friends and family there, including as recently as this past summer. But without reading the Tripadvisor comments, I can certainly guess that this restaurant would be polarising on a generalist site - the many different portion sizes, the raw elements, the contrast to a casual visitor's expectation of a 'cheerful seafood joint' and the possibility of a really large tab for whole fish (I can easily see this getting up to 150 - 200 euros for 2 diners when fish is priced at 15 euros per etto).

        You may also want to look up La Sella del Diavola, 5 min north of Piazza del Popolo, written up in a lovely post by a 'tenortom' (I think maybe 3 years old - also a really nice post which I think you'll enjoy) on this site, but otherwise not frequently covered. Also very precise handling of seafood, although perhaps the raw material less special than at Tempio, very warm service, small bistro-like room, fellow-diners also local business folks. We ate here twice in that trip.

        We also ate at La Gensola and Pierluigi, not too bad, but the cooking is much less delicate than the other 2 places. All these other meals ran to 80 - 120 euros for 2.

        1. re: PixieM
          p
          Potsnpans Sep 10, 2013 05:32 AM

          So as you might expect, after my reply, I've given up on TripAdvisor and had no idea Tempio got a bad rep from it. It's very shocking and throws me off even more that such a place could even touch on disastrous. But it's a clear confirmation that there's nothing for me on TA.

          To your question, all I want to tell you is go. Go and enjoy a restaurant that in my professional opinion offers both interesting and well prepared seafood.

          It's kind of upmarket and some of them don't speak much English (except for the hostess) but if you want to get a real idea and taste of what they got, go for the antipasti crudo misto, which will set you on a journey through all their raw items (oysters, razor clams, spotted prawn, scampi, fish..).

          In any case do let us know if you go, or whatever replaces it :).

      2. s
        shakti2 Dec 14, 2011 10:50 PM

        Hi steve h, I just wanted to say thanks for putting up this charming list. I'm just back from 2 weeks in Rome where we stayed in the same area. Your enthusiasm and that of Porthos prompted meals at La Campana and Tempio di Iside, the former very enjoyable for Sunday lunch and the latter truly revelatory - won't post because we had similar food as Porthos and his comments below stand for us too.

        We got on bus 116 after Museo Borghese on a Saturday afternoon along with a large family group with 2 toodlers, a couple with a well-behaved poodle, an elderly gent and some youngsters with spiky hair and falling-down jeans, all unrelated. Within minutes, the little bus had turned into a mobile living room - the toddlers had made friends with everyone, the elderly gent was singing and the youngsters were cooing at the poodle and chatting with its owner. It was very charming if a bit surreal.

        In the Campo area, we also liked Da Sergio on vicolo delle Grotte, Enoteca Corsi on via Gesu and il Goccetto on via Banchi Vecchio. Da Sergio was perfect for spaghetti amatriciana on days when we were looking for a simple pasta at supper time, Corsi for a specials-based lunch menu of traditional primi and meat-based secondi from the stew-pot or forno and il Goccetto for an informal glass of wine in an convivial bottle-lined room.

        2 Replies
        1. re: shakti2
          steve h. Dec 20, 2011 03:04 PM

          Howdy shakti,

          Rome is pretty special. Walking the streets, getting to know the neighborhoods, trying new places/re-visiting places you like is all part of the whole. The 116 can be a magic bus.

          It sounds like you had a great trip. There's no doubt in my mind that you'll be back.

          --steve

          1. re: steve h.
            s
            shakti2 Jan 1, 2012 06:13 PM

            This is the first time we've been back to Rome for an extended visit since 2004 and it has been the most rewarding trip food-wise than others of the past.

            It made a big difference that we found more options beyond the traditional menu of carbonara/ amatriciana/ trippa - more trattorie with fish on the menu and more restaurants with a regional tilt (Siclian or Sardinian in particular). Not sure if it is the case that the restaurant scene has shifted a little or just a function of where we've stayed in the past (Trastevere).

            Anyway, all good, will definitely be back and thanks again !

        2. Porthos Apr 18, 2011 01:47 AM

          Steve, perfect timing on the report. I'll be in Rome for 4 days in May and currently I have Colline Emiliane as my last meal of the trip on Saturday night. The line up is currently La Campana, Tempio di Iside, Tuna, and ending with Colline Emiliane. Any specific recommendations?

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

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

          45 Replies
          1. re: Porthos
            vinoroma Apr 18, 2011 02:40 AM

            Porthos, only 4 days in Rome and you are eating Roman, fish, fish and ER? Are you having some more rome-specific lunches I hope?

            1. re: vinoroma
              Porthos Apr 18, 2011 07:49 AM

              Was in Rome back in October for 3 days and had Roman, Roman, Roman, Roman, and Roman ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740543 ). This time I'm looking for something a bit different and a bit lighter especially since this is following 4 days of what may be some very meat-centric eating in Paris.

              I'm also planning Palatium on the day we are doing Tempio di Iside and Forno Campo de Fiori the other two lunches since I have a mean craving for their pizza and would like to see what they have for spring.

              Any recs for any of my above restaurants vinoroma?

              -----
              Palatium
              Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

              1. re: Porthos
                vinoroma Apr 18, 2011 07:54 AM

                ok, I had forgotten you were already here!
                Palatium excellent lunch choice and Forno Campo dei Fiori as well (though they don't radically change their pizza offerings... for that you should check out Pizzarium - admittedly different than FCF, but very seasonal & local toppings on a great pizza dough).
                Well, Roman, fish, fish and ER *is* the recommendation than! :) You might add La Gensola if you like fish this time around, a slightly Sicilian leaning fish menu! Tuna has great oysters, Tempio great raw seafood platters.

                -----
                Palatium
                Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

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

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

                1. re: vinoroma
                  katieparla Apr 18, 2011 09:13 AM

                  Tempio's warm antipasti arent half bad either:)

                  1. re: katieparla
                    jen kalb Apr 18, 2011 01:39 PM

                    adding a few links

                    -----
                    Forno Campo De' Fiori
                    Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                    Tuna
                    Via Vittorio Veneto, 11, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

                    Il Tempio di Iside
                    Via Pietro Verri, 11, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

                    Antico Forno Roscioli
                    Via dei Chiavari,34, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                    1. re: katieparla
                      Porthos Apr 27, 2011 07:30 AM

                      I am considering replacing either Tuna or Tempio di Iside with Roscioli. Which fish restaurant should I replace? I am looking forward to both a nice raw and cooked selection of antipasti.

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

                      1. re: Porthos
                        vinoroma Apr 27, 2011 08:20 AM

                        can't help with that decision. Just had the greatest scampi of my life in Roscioli on saturday and a lovely raw fish platter, too. The warm fish salad was lovely, as well.

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

                        1. re: vinoroma
                          Porthos Apr 27, 2011 12:57 PM

                          What if you were forced to choose or lose your most prized bottle of barolo?

                          1. re: Porthos
                            steve h. Apr 27, 2011 01:01 PM

                            Nothing like a little pressure!

                            vinoroma, watch out for this guy. He knows fish like nobody's business. :-)

                            --steve

                            1. re: steve h.
                              Porthos Apr 27, 2011 01:22 PM

                              Steve, you are far too kind! I am by no means a fish specialist. I just like a little sushi once in a while. I don't plan on doing any whole fish dishes at any of the 3 restaurants lest I get taken for a 500 euro fish. But I do plan on consuming as many crustaceans and bivalves as I can.

                              Speaking of which, can someone explain to me what "sea truffles" are? They are listed on Tuna's cooked and raw antipasti menu. Are they limpets? Baby abalone?

                              1. re: Porthos
                                steve h. Apr 27, 2011 01:26 PM

                                You're way too modest.
                                A sea truffle to me is a clam.
                                Here's a link:
                                http://translate.google.com/translate...

                                Edited to add: don't let the fish stories scare you. Sea bass is readily available at reasonable prices, squid and octopus, too. Shop around.

                                vinoroma, for the record, Porthos has a black belt in sushi (fifth dan).

                                1. re: Porthos
                                  steve h. Apr 27, 2011 02:02 PM

                                  Howdy Porthos,
                                  As an aside, have you considered a day trip to Naples? A seafood lunch there might make sense. The right train from Rome can be mighty fast. Lots to see.
                                  ...just a thought.

                                  1. re: steve h.
                                    Porthos Apr 27, 2011 02:39 PM

                                    Steve. Thanks for the info. When I googled sea truffles I got a link saying they were the same as ormer which as far as I can tell, were baby abalone. Wishful thinking on my part I guess.

                                    http://www.ormeau-breton.fr/2.html

                                    As for Naples, I was there about 7-8 years ago for pizza and didn't like the city too much...mostly because we were "backpacking" at that time and picked a hotel by the train station. Upon settling in our very dingy rooms, we opened up the guide books and read with much chagrin "Whatever you do, do not stay by the train station!" We were off to Florence the next day.

                                    Weather is supposed to be nice next week in Rome. Think I'll spend it walking around and eating gelato. Thanks for the frigidarium reminder. I couldn't find it in October because I was looking east of Piazza Navona, not west. But I'm pretty sure this was also my favorite spot for gelato when I stumbled on it by accident the first time I was in Rome. Never knew what it was called though. Just remembered that it was on a side street near Navona.

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      steve h. Apr 27, 2011 02:47 PM

                                      Rome is made for walking and discovery. Keep us posted as things develop.

                                      1. re: steve h.
                                        Ruth Lafler Apr 27, 2011 05:32 PM

                                        You all are making me jealous. If I make it to Europe this year it won't be to Rome (although it might be ten days in a friend of a friend's place in Tuscany, which isn't something to complain about).

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          steve h. Apr 27, 2011 05:56 PM

                                          ...there's just something about italy.

                                    2. re: steve h.
                                      Ciao Bob Sep 26, 2013 02:59 PM

                                      Please let me know what you like in Naples steve h.

                                      Anyone have anything more to say about La Gensola?

                                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                                        steve h. Sep 26, 2013 03:22 PM

                                        Hi Bob,

                                        I've only day tripped to Naples from Rome, a shortcoming I'll correct in April. Jen Kalb, a frequent contributor to this board, has some good recommendations. Maybe look her up.

                                        Thanks for your help on the LA board.

                                        Be sure to shoot us some feedback after your excellent adventure.

                                        --steve

                        2. re: vinoroma
                          vinoroma Apr 27, 2011 11:18 PM

                          oh, no pressure at all - barolo is NOT my one and all... :) And I know about Porthos, when I was in LA in Feb and March, I did come across him in the boards a couple of times... So, in any case, I'd leave out Tempio I guess. I know there are others here who would do otherwise, but this is my decision under threat :)

                          1. re: vinoroma
                            Porthos Apr 28, 2011 08:55 AM

                            What is your one and all then?

                            I was thinking about leaving out Tempio but I guess I can risk over eating in classic tourist fashion and move La Campana to lunch and adding Roscioli in as a dinner. Thanks for the advice.

                            Btw, I ran across a recent Lonely Planet article by Zerlina saying that porcini is also in season in spring? Is this possible? Or did she mean to say porcini season runs fall through spring?

                            http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblo...

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

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

                            1. re: Porthos
                              z
                              zerlina Apr 28, 2011 09:17 AM

                              Nope, I didn't mean fall through spring. But there is a porcini season in late spring(?)/early summer(?). I've had them often in May.

                              1. re: zerlina
                                Porthos Apr 28, 2011 09:38 AM

                                I guess some things aren't too good to be true. Hopefully I can find some next week. I have not had many things better than a plate of porcini arrosto at La Campana.

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

                                1. re: Porthos
                                  jen kalb Apr 28, 2011 09:49 AM

                                  had a great plate of porcini with sweetbreads at Trattoria Monti on our last Rome visit. Nothing better than porcini.

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

                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                    Porthos Apr 28, 2011 10:27 AM

                                    had a great plate of porcini with sweetbreads at Trattoria Monti on our last Rome visit. Nothing better than porcini.

                                    ================================

                                    Except maybe a plate of porcini arrosto AND a plate of fettuccine with white truffles on my October visit also at La Campana. Rome in October is heaven.

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

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

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      steve h. Apr 28, 2011 10:32 AM

                                      Now you're talking.

                                      1. re: steve h.
                                        Porthos Apr 28, 2011 11:16 AM

                                        ...and a plate of coda alla vaccinara to cleanse the palate...

                                        1. re: Porthos
                                          steve h. Apr 28, 2011 11:27 AM

                                          Ox tail stew! Good call.

                                  2. re: Porthos
                                    s
                                    Splendid Spatula Apr 28, 2011 10:41 AM

                                    Then you are in luck. We were at La Campana twice last week, and on the second visit, there were porcini on the menu, and a big basket out front.

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

                                    1. re: Splendid Spatula
                                      Porthos Apr 28, 2011 11:08 AM

                                      I'm there! Looks like La Campana at least twice this trip too...

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

                                      1. re: Porthos
                                        steve h. Apr 29, 2011 07:16 PM

                                        Familiarity can be a good thing.

                                        1. re: steve h.
                                          Porthos May 4, 2011 11:26 PM

                                          Went to Colline Emiliane last night. Tagliatelle bolognese and triangoli with spinach and sausage was excellent. Bolliti Misti was good not excellent. The cotolette bolognese was veal parm in a parmigiano sauce. My bad. I was hoping for ribs braised in bolognese not in the style of bologna. Tasted just like veal parm, very heavy sauce and soggy breading. Went untouched after 3 bites. Neighbors risotto was a thick glop and looked very unappetizing so I didn't order it. Got seconds of the tagliatelle bolognese because I was still so hungry. Overall a bit disappointing given how strongly recommended it comes. Can't wait for La Campana lunch today especially seeing how it's porcini season also in May.

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

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

                                          1. re: Porthos
                                            mbfant May 5, 2011 05:46 AM

                                            I'm sorry to hear it disappointed. We always have tagliatelle al ragù or tortelli di zucca or lasagne, and I am always a little hard pressed to choose a secondo, though the gigantic shank of something is quite tasty. You would not have made the terminological error if you had remembered that the bolognesi don't actually ever speak of bolognese sauce, because for them there is no other. In Bologna it's ragù. And ragù as prepared in Bologna is designated "bolognese" elsewhere, because there are so many kinds. In any case, you would never find it on a chop.

                                            1. re: mbfant
                                              Porthos May 5, 2011 07:58 AM

                                              the bolognesi don't actually ever speak of bolognese sauce, because for them there is no other
                                              ===========================
                                              Love it. Now I will never forget. Maybe the lesson is also to get only the primi and skip the secondi. The primi were indeed very good...except for the scary looking risotto on the table next to ours.

                                              On a positive note. It is indeed also porcini season in May. Went to La Campana for lunch and had another plate of porcini arrosto. It was excellent although if memory serves me correctly, the ones in October were tastier. The risotto with shrimp and fiori di zucca was stellar and the essence of the shellfish permeated throughout the dish. Rigatoni with coda alla vaccinara as good as the last time. I wanted linguini vogole but the special of the day was gnocchi vongole. Sounded odd to me but I didn't know if the waiter was recommending the gnocchi vongole over the linguine vongole or if he was trying to tell me they only had gnocchi vongole today. Anyways, the vongole was as good as I remembered although I much preferred linguine or spaghetti vongole over the gnocchi.

                                              Got the same waiter I had in October. He remembered my wine selection from before and recommended me something today based on his very correct recollection. Very impressive. The place is much calmer for lunch than dinner.

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

                                              1. re: Porthos
                                                steve h. May 5, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                It's that "familiarity" thing. Counts for a lot.

                                                Edited to add: Over the years, lunch has taken on a greater importance for us.

                                            2. re: Porthos
                                              steve h. May 5, 2011 09:10 AM

                                              I'm sorry things didn't work out for you. I'm sure La Campana will put a smile back on your face.

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

                                              1. re: steve h.
                                                Porthos May 5, 2011 01:10 PM

                                                La Campana was good. Tempio di Iside far exceeded high expectations tonight. We started with antipasti crudo and antipasti cooked. They were out of the sea tartufi so I still don't know what they are. All the waiter said was that it's different from vongole. Our crudo consisted of scampi, gamberi rosso, and smaller shrimp. Each different in taste, each excellent. Cooked antipasti cinque consisted of fried calamari, calamari with balsamic and radicchio, shrimp on toast topped with lardo and balsamic, 2 cooked scampi, fiori di zucca friti stuffed with shrimp. All excellent. Being the pasta fiend that I am, we went with the handmade fusilli with pomodoro and more gamberi. Then we ordered the whole crab linguini (for 2). Awesome. Both dishes were amazing and at 16 euro per serving, completely reasonable. Crab was stellar. Tasted most like rock crab back in the states. I'll post the pics on my return.

                                                We were seated in the more formal downstairs room next door which was a beautiful dining room. Overall, a perfect meal and a perfect experience. I plan to head back for Saturday lunch if possible. Currently the best meal I've had in Rome to date (next up Tuna and Roscioli). Easily eclipsing my beloved La Campana. Thank you local hounds for an outstanding rec. Total bill including a very reasonable and excellent 28 euro bottle from alto adige (many reasonable selections) was 135 euro.

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

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

                                                1. re: Porthos
                                                  Porthos May 6, 2011 01:43 PM

                                                  Dinner at Tuna tonight was also spectacular. The oysters were indeed amazing. We did a dozen of mixed oysters. All excellent. A bit bigger and meatier than the oysters back home, but all with a very sweet finish. It was my first time having belon oysters. Awesome. So good I had to get seconds. Sea truffles were indeed clams (thanks Steve). Quite delicious raw. A bit sweeter than our littlenecks. Seafood risotto was perfect. Very delicate and refined. We finished with grilled large scampi and gamberi rosso. Really enjoying these gamberi rosso both raw and cooked. Wish we had these back in the states. Another wonderful perfect meal. I'm going to have to work both Tuna and Tempio di Isidre into my Rome rotation. I also realized that I've been doing myself wrong not doing these seafood places earlier. Again, many thanks to local hounds for the recommendations.

                                                  1. re: Porthos
                                                    Porthos May 7, 2011 06:42 AM

                                                    Lunch at Tempio di Iside today was also excellent. We had the paccheri vongole, the spaghetti with "redfish" and capers which looked something like sculpin when brought tableside, and more grilled gamberi rosso and large scampi. Pasta was again flawless. This sculpin looking fish was very moist and tender. Texture and taste was similar to rouget. The paccheri vongole also excellent. Grilled large scampi and gamberi rosso was addictive. The brains on this shrimp reminds me of Hokkaido uni in its richness and sweetness. Head to head, this version slightly edged out Tuna's version last night.

                                                    I finally figured out that the item I want from here is the connocchie aka mantis prawn. I spied it on the table next to us the first night and kept ordering large scampi thinking that's what it was. Having figured out that it's mantis prawn, I am now forced to place Roscioli on hold until next visit so I can go back to Tempio for the third time. Tempio di Iside. So good I can't help but go back thrice.

                                                    1. re: Porthos
                                                      vinoroma May 7, 2011 07:13 AM

                                                      hmm. I had the best raw scampi of my life 2 weeks ago at Roscioli... (and I do eat them a lot). The friend I was with just said she is still dreaming about it. Have to check Tempio's examples out, too, I guess...

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

                                                      1. re: Porthos
                                                        mbfant May 7, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                        I don't know sculpin, but was it scorfano in Italian? (My radar is always active for new food translations.) Big, red and spiky outside, delicate and white inside? It's often used on pasta with tomatoes. It's a standard at Tuna.

                                                        Mantis shrimp (aka squill and maybe aka mantis prawn; Squilla mantis) are canocchie or pannocchie, the latter incidentally also the word for ears of corn. You can sometimes find them live at the market, where they look like space invaders. The classic way to eat them is to rip off the heads and suck the bodies, meanwhile lacerating your mouth. Nice restaurants cut the shells for you. The meat is very sweet.

                                                        1. re: mbfant
                                                          Porthos May 7, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                          That's it. Scorfano. Scorpionfish via google. Since sculpin are a species of scorpionfish it would be more accurate for me to just call it scorpionfish because I don't know what species of scorfano are in these waters. It is delicious though.

                                                          Going to swing by Tuna tonight to see if they will let us indulge in a dozen orders of belon before we head off to Tempio for canocchie. I've had raw live ones from Japan as sushi. I'm eager to try the Mediterranean version though. I just hope the suckers weren't sold out from last night's service.

                                                        2. re: Porthos
                                                          e
                                                          Expatissier May 9, 2011 04:23 AM

                                                          I’ve just joined Chowhound purely to share the Tempio di Iside experience! I went with two friends in April and we had the antipasti caldi and the crab linguine between us as well! The food was just fantastic. So good, I also insisted that we return on the Saturday night when we had John Dory between 3 and the same antipasti caldi. We also had a beautiful dessert. A plate full of frozen fruits (strawberries, oranges) and chestnuts and walnuts filled with ice cream alternating with thin slices of lemon sponge. Heavenly! We ate in Iside but there seems to be a new restaurant/dining room next door, also owned by them called Oº. I am not sure whether Iside will go? The second night was much more expensive as we couldn’t stop ordering more food. Pure greed!

                                                          My question is: my niece will be staying in the area with teenage friends in August (horrible month, horrible hostel). I guess Iside will be closed in August? Of course it is way off their budget unless I treat them but I am hoping there might be somewhere local that's simple and delicious.

                                2. re: Porthos
                                  Ciao Bob Aug 20, 2013 09:24 AM

                                  Porthos have you been back? Just starting to put together a Roman Itinerary for mid-October
                                  Thx
                                  CB

                                  1. re: Ciao Bob
                                    Porthos Aug 20, 2013 04:28 PM

                                    Have not been back since. Been doing South America these days.

                                    October is perfect. You'll get both porcini and white truffle season!

                                    I'm not a Rome regular like steve h, but I've been 3 times in the past 5 years. The ones I will definitely go back to when I am back are:

                                    1. La Campana for grilled porcini and white truffle fettuccini along with the roman classics. We consumed about 4-5 plates of each in a span of 3 days during a family trip in October 3 years ago. Impressed them so that they remembered us 5 months later upon our return in May. Waiter even remembered my wine preferences.

                                    2. Tuna for oysters and champagne and the risotto ai frutti di mare. Below are pics of the wonderful belon oysters I had there.

                                    3. Tempio di Iside for the gamberi rosso (sweeter and even more delicious than our spot prawns), whole crab linguine, and monster delicious scampi. Looking through my photos I also stumbled across a picture of the delicious scorpion fish spaghetti with capers I had there. In the scampi photo below, the regular sized forks and spoon are dwarfed by the scampi. Ask to be seated downstairs. It makes for a much finer dining experience.

                                    4. Back to Roscioli for some 48 month old Parmigiano Reggiano.

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                              2. re: Porthos
                                steve h. Apr 18, 2011 10:19 AM

                                Howdy Porthos,

                                As usual, you have things well sorted out. My best recommendation is to reserve early at Colline Emiliane. It's wildly popular with the locals. Maybe put your waiter on the spot and have him orchestrate your meal/wines. While the restaurant is fun and informal, guests tend to dress nicely. Let us know how things turned out.

                                --steve

                              3. katieparla Apr 1, 2011 04:06 PM

                                great report!! im thrilled to read you made it to lucifero (tho i think you mean cantina lucifero on via pellegrino; taverna lucifero is on via dei cappellari). Their melted cheese dishes are so good!

                                -----
                                Cantina Lucifero
                                Via del Pellegrino, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: katieparla
                                  steve h. Apr 1, 2011 06:29 PM

                                  Hi Katie,

                                  Via del Pellegrino it is. Lucifero is a fun destination. I was pleasantly surprised how good the steak tartare was. The gent running the place (I didn't catch his name) is a charming old coot and a lot of fun to chat with.

                                  1. re: steve h.
                                    katieparla Apr 1, 2011 11:19 PM

                                    yeah that gent is really nice. and i love the steak tartare there, too!

                                    1. re: steve h.
                                      m
                                      munshado Apr 16, 2011 06:07 PM

                                      This has been a very helpful and not too overwhelming post. I appreciate all the posts and everything that each one says. This one was nice, concise and refreshing. I will further my research and narrow my lists. Thanks

                                      1. re: munshado
                                        steve h. Apr 17, 2011 02:00 PM

                                        We're all friends here.

                                  2. c oliver Apr 1, 2011 07:49 AM

                                    Great report, steve. My only visit to Rome had enough negatives (mostly personal ones like losing my carryon for a few day with jewelry, tickets, etc.) that it left a sour taste in my mouth. Reading this has put a very good taste there instead :) Must go back. And now that I NEVER have to go to the Sistine Chapel again with a thousand of my closest friends, I'm sure it will be better. Are y'all home yet? We leave for Rio on 4/25.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      steve h. Apr 1, 2011 08:14 AM

                                      Pulled in Wednesday night. I tend to shy away from crowds so I've developed a number of techniques over the years that limit my exposure.

                                      Rome in March is pretty special for us. We try to balance the familiar with the new in a low-impact sort of way.

                                      Rio sounds great. Remember not to drink anything stronger than beer before breakfast :-)

                                    2. jen kalb Apr 1, 2011 06:36 AM

                                      Steve, great report and I am so envious of your annual two weeks, tho I dont think I would ever be able to stay local and in effect live in my own small town Rome the way you do!

                                      is this the Vittorio pizzeria and Montecarlo you have visited? - there is a branch of Montecarlo in Parioli which was what got linked.

                                      if you can still edit your links, you can drop off the incorrect ones.

                                      Cheers, and welcome back.

                                      -----
                                      Vittorio
                                      Via di San Cosimato 14/a, Rome, Lazio , IT

                                      La Montecarlo
                                      Vicolo Savelli 12/13,, Rome, Lazio , IT

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jen kalb
                                        steve h. Apr 1, 2011 07:02 AM

                                        Thanks.

                                        1. re: steve h.
                                          jen kalb Apr 1, 2011 07:29 AM

                                          did ALL of the links created by your post , even the correct ones, drop off? thats really strange.

                                          1. re: jen kalb
                                            steve h. Apr 1, 2011 08:08 AM

                                            Hi Jen,

                                            No, that was my fault. I had to rush out so I zapped 'em all without thinking. Sorry for the confusion.

                                      2. vinoroma Apr 1, 2011 12:15 AM

                                        Steve, nice round up of your experience as a long term tourist in Rome. But: you have been to Rome so many times and your stays are long, too. I do understand being an animal of habit, but you really need to graduate from Baffetto and Montecarlo to real pizza. I wouldn't send anyone other than poor college girls looking for action to neither.

                                        And one word on the so beloved "on the house Prosecchi" everyone is so enamored with at the beginning of a meal: They cost the owner about 25 cents a glass and other than getting brownie points in the eyes of the customer who feels himself pampered, serve a very mundane reason: The acidity and bubbles of prosecco will get your saliva going and awaken your appetite, making you order more food than you might have been planning/needing.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: vinoroma
                                          steve h. Apr 1, 2011 06:07 AM

                                          Thanks for the feedback. You're right, it's time to move up.

                                        Show Hidden Posts