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one more Rome list (tis the season?)

Hello hounds,
I know there is a lot of this now – but may I ask for a critique of my Rome list, please? Family of four, incl. kids of almost 6 and 10 (good travelers, good restaurant goers). Flat on Via dei Guibbonari, right near Campo di Fiori. MUCH EXCITEMENT. In country the week before Easter, yes, we know it will be a scene, and we’ll deal with it (having to work with the school vacation schedule).

Looking for more traditional and comfortable than upscale or happening. Lots of searching on this board, the blogs of Maureen, Katie, and Elizabeth (wonderful, thank you all), and lists and lists from friends, suggest the following. Dinners could include, in no particular order except that one will have to be on Sunday:

Nonna Betta
Il Fico (the resto, not the bar)
Ditirambo
La Campagna
Hosteria di Nerone
Roscioli
Perilli
Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
Had Sora Lella on here, based on Saveur, but sounds like there is a downhill alert here? Same with Piperno.

Would you say that reservations are essential at all of these? We are diners on the earlier side. I’m assuming kids won’t be frowned upon in these places, but please correct me if I’m wrong there. Finally, having a bit of a hard time judging distance – I think these are all well within walking distance from us, but if I’m way off, please let me know

We’ve got about a billion pizza and gelato suggestions, but always welcome additions (particularly the latter, as my son intends to keep a spreadsheet detailing his results . . .).

Many thanks to you.

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Perilli
Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

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

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

Nonna Betta
Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 16., Rome, Lazio , IT

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
Via Madonna dei Monti 9, Rome, Lombardia 00184, IT

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  1. Very glad to see Roscioli on your list - especially since your apartment is on the same street! We had a wonderful snack there one morning - mozarella and semi-dried tomatoes - and we liked it so much we had dinner there our last night in Rome. Would definitely make reservations, as the place is small and very busy. It will also make a great place to get provisions for the apartment. Attached is a picture of the "deli case". We are returning to Rome in October and will have our first dinner there!

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

     
    1. Nerone, Perilli and Trattoria dei Fori Imperiali (recent downhill alert) are at least 20 minutes away on foot, more with children. Look at the map on the right.

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      Perilli
      Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

      1 Reply
      1. re: zerlina

        Thanks, that is just the kind of info that is helpful! 20 mins is actually about our daily commute to work (on foot), but agreed, ragazzi at the end of the day . . . .

      2. For starters, you say you are eaters on the early side - well, most Rome restaurants dont start serving dinner til about 8. Can you kids deal with that? One of the benefits of a flat is that you can eat out at lunch and eat dinner at home. In my opinion, having done that for years with our kids. You will have to see. You may want to think more about where you will want to be after a morning of touring than where you want to eat dinner (mostly near your apartment)

        We liked, as a family, La Campana (note spelling), and Armando al Pantheon and Sora Margherita (not on your list) - A I recommend only for lunch since it is has more of its regular clientele and fewer tourists then, S is open only for lunch. We had good meals at Nerone over the years and I think it is suitable but reports have been spotty. I have heard serious downhill reports on Sora Lella. Perilli is a ways away but I think you can take the tram which is always fun with kids, locals can advise better

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

        hostaria nerone
        Via Terme di Tito, 96, Roma , IT

        Sora Margherita
        Piazza della Cinque Scole, 30, Rome, Lazio 00100, IT

        1 Reply
        1. re: jen kalb

          Well, we've had success with this urban vacation model - tour morning, rest afternoon, dine evening - but I know what you are saying. We are not looking for the early bird special, but we are also not Greek about it. Thanks for those additional suggestions!

        2. hey splendid spatula! here are some thoughts on your itinerary:

          Nonna Betta I really like this place, have had two good sunday meals in the past month, and they are good with families. reserve for sunday lunch or dinner.

          Il Fico (the resto, not the bar)-never been. is it still open? i vaguely remember walking past the place recently and seeing a different name...

          Ditirambo- havent been in a while. thanks for the reminder:)

          La Campana-great for sunday lunch and they are very welcoming for families. book ahead for sunday.

          Hosteria di Nerone-havent been in years and never warmed to it

          Roscioli- awesome food, service occasionally matches, but i had awful service last week and the meal lasted 4 hours as a result. not ideal if you have a 6 and 10 year old in tow. not sure how they handle kids. but the food is excellent. reservations essential.

          Perilli-havent been in years but gets good feedback on the board

          Ditch Sora Lella for sure

          Piperno still does amazing fritti but i dont think a lot of their dishes are up to snuff these days. Taverna dei Fori Imperiali also isnt all that great but they are good with families.

          For pizza, Da Remo in Testaccio does good Roman style pizza. Dal Paino and La Montecarlo are good enough in a pinch. for amazing pizza, hop the #8 tram to La Gatta Mangiona. the style is similar to Neapolitan pizza with a thick rim. they have great fried starters. they are only open for dinner (including sunday night), reservations are essential

          For Gelato definitely take the kids to Gelateria del Teatro, where they can watch the gelato being made in the back. Near your apartment, on Largo Arenula, is Gelateria Corona. Great stuff.

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

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

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

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

          Nonna Betta
          Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 16., Rome, Lazio , IT

          Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
          Via Madonna dei Monti 9, Rome, Lombardia 00184, IT

          La Gatta Mangiona
          Via Federico Ozanam,30, Rome, Lazio 00152, IT

          5 Replies
          1. re: katieparla

            "....Nonna Betta I really like this place, have had two good sunday meals in the past month, and they are good with families. reserve for sunday lunch or dinner..... "

            You say you will be in Rome around Easter time, so I'll point out the following:

            As Nonna Betta is a kosher restaurant, be aware that it will be closed for Passover, certainly on the 18th, 19th and 20th of April (Monday through Wednesday) and the following Sunday night through Tuesday. It's POSSIBLE that it will be open on the days inbetween ---- excluding Friday night and Saturday ----, serving a special Passover menu.

            -----
            Nonna Betta
            Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 16., Rome, Lazio , IT

            1. re: grandpamarian

              Thanks to you both for the good reccos, and the timely schedule info. I had wondered about this, am glad to have it confirmed ahead of time.

              1. re: Splendid Spatula

                Leaving aside the Passover which will only be potentially relevant in the Ghetto your visit coincides with Holy Week which is a big deal in Rome. I would imagine there are alot of additional visitors and their MIGHT be some restaurant closings or menu changes . I would be interested to know from our Rome Mavens, whether there might be anything special foodwise going on, for example special fish meals as we see in american communities, over this time.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  well, fish is definitely on the menus when people go out to the seaside for easter monday, but the preceding easter feast is very much land based: grilled lamb/lamb offal, fava bean and artichoke dishes, savory Easter breads, etc. i guess one might eat fish for good friday...anyone else have thoughts on the topic?

                  1. re: katieparla

                    I can't imagine a practicing Catholic NOT eating fish on Good Friday. I can't remember about Holy Saturday, but that is probably meatless too. Otherwise there's the "pizza" di Pasqua, a wildly overrated IMO cheese bread from Umbria, various rustic savory breads with varying combinations of pork cracklings and eggs, and sweets galore. These are principally chocolate eggs and colombe. The colomba, meaning dove, is similar to a panettone, but vaguely in the shape of a dove and it contains almonds and has little sugary thingies on top. Like panettone, it can be industrial and vile or quite delish if well made.

          2. Inspired by others, I’ll offer a brief report on our all-too-brief trip to Rome during the week before Easter. Thanks to all who offered suggestions and guidance, it was really helpful. Mostly I can sum up by saying that I am still thinking about it all, with great longing. Culinary highlights included:

            A burrata appetizer at Ditirambo.
            Multiple plates of pasta carbonara, gricia, all’amatriciana devoured by my son (and tasted of course by the rest of us). The principle note is to be reminded how very al dente pasta is in Italy, compared to here.
            Carciofi alla giuidia and vignarole at Giggetto. The vignarole in particular had a little kick from some pepper flakes, and the most delicious porkiness. And those carciofi! I was amused by another hound’s comment of how do you eat this scary-looking vegetable, it looks like it will eat you? Just dove right in, crunchy, tasty, unlike anything I’ve ever had.
            Osso bucco at La Pompiere. I get that some on this board have pooh-poohed this place, but that OB was like butter. This was a lovely, convivial meal with an old friend, the wine was good, the carciofi crispy, the grappa perfetto.
            Ravioli and lasagna at La Campana. Exquisite handmade pasta.
            Fettucine al tartuffo at La Campana. When it finally arrived, a very generous portion entirely made up for the delay.
            Baccala at Filletario da Santa Barbara. Right around the corner from our flat, this meal was a highlight. So perfectly fried, and that side of puntarelle was just the perfect foil.
            Pizza, ciambelle, colombe, cookies from Forno di Campo de’ Fiori.
            Gelato. Well, what can I say here? We undertook a serious study, averaging two a day for the entire week. Our faves (all visited twice) were: Cremeria Monteforte (next to the Pantheon) where the granite caffe con panna provided the best (and highest) caffeine high ever, Gelateria del Teatro where the fennel and caramelized almond was the highlight for my husband, Alberto Pica where a fig and ricotta, and also a zabaglione stood out, Bucciantini (sp? Also near the Pantheon) for some really fine fruit. There were others but these are the highlights.

            Regrets –
            Didn’t eat nearly enough pizza etc. from Forno. Or baccala. And despite staying basically across the street from Roscioli, didn’t eat there so am still wondering about that burrata and carbonara. Should have returned to Giggeto for more carciofi.

            A wasted, over-priced night at Dar Galletto. The setting, on Piazza Farnese, is lovely, tho.

            Uneven service at Ditirambo, La Campana, Giggetto. We were fully prepared to be leisurely, but the offer of dessert before our pasta arrived at Ditirambo was kind of the opposite direction. Giggetto, I’m still waiting for that puntarelle, and I thought tht 8:30 was late enough but apparently one should not order roast lamb too early in the evening, because the oven is not fired up or something. La Campana, they kept apologizing, but fettucine al tartuffo was on the evening’s menu as a special, so not sure what happened there. Everyone else was long done, when that arrived. Still, an unbeatable fragrance.

            Obserations –
            It is a pleasure to watch professional waitstaff in a restaurant like Giggetto or La Campana. With about one-tenth of the staff of an American restaurant of comparable size, they work incredibly hard and are pleasant and knowledgeable without being intrusive.

            I’d worked so hard on my Italian menu-reading skills, that I was confused when handed an English menu at La Campana on our second visit! I had to get an Italian one to map back so that I could be sure we were all getting what we wanted. This was thrilling for me, actually.

            There was a thread about making reservations a few weeks ago. We made two via email before arriving, and while both were honored, there was clearly confusion on the part of the staff who did not seem to have any idea that we’d made a reserve. But a good phrasebook can get you through the reservation conversation on the telephone quite easily, and it is rather empowering to do it all in Italian anyway.

            My kids were jewels, great explorers and wonderful about eating out so much and trying new things (although they drew the line at the carciofi). A late-day nap (for all of us) was key to getting through dinner, and of course all that gelato helped quite a bit.

            Now I just want to go back.

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

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

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

            11 Replies
            1. re: Splendid Spatula

              Thanks for the refreshingly plainspoken and informative report, and a special thanks for having the grace to acknowledge early on the very heavy "list" traffic for Rome the regular CH Rome experts get to face this time of year. Hope you get back soon. Cheers.

              1. re: Splendid Spatula

                Thank you Splendid Spatula for sharing your food experience in Rome with this great and detailed report.
                I'm a quite new CHer and I'm becoming "addicted" to this huge source of information and discussion. Hope I can be more helpful in future also if my English is not so good.
                Cheers!

                1. re: Splendid Spatula

                  Howdy SS,
                  Sounds like a really good time.
                  Roscioli will be there when you get back.

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

                  1. re: Splendid Spatula

                    I like nothing more than to see a really good trip report like yours! So glad you had a good time, and thanks for taking the time to report!

                    1. re: Splendid Spatula

                      What a wonderful read; so informative and so refreshingly different from most. Your brief description of the food and service draws a good picture of what each restaurant is about. Your gracious attitude in responding what doesn't always go smoothly when traveling is commendable. And that you and your family had a great time really came across on your post. Again thank you.

                      1. re: PBSF

                        Well, we are off on Sunday, armed with lots of input from contributors to this board. Will report when we return.

                        Glad Splendid Spatula and family had a fine visit and appreciate the report. One thing puzzles me and may deserve more comment to relevant requests. Our request spelled out that we are older and have gotten into a routine of having our main meal at a late lunch with snacks, like pizza al taglio, shared panini and the like in the evening. I really can't fathom why families with children don't follow this drill as well.

                        Unlike oldies, kids are usually hungry and raring to go early in the day. Particularly if the family is dining in their hotel, why not give them a big calorie boost then (with breakfast items that may strike them as familiar). Then, after a hectic morning of touring, have a main meal at lunch to fortify the family for a further hectic afternoon of touring. By the end of the afternoon, the kids (and quite possibly their parents) are usually dog-tired and grateful for a sandwich or a slice before bed.

                        Apologies to gourmets who bring nannies along to tend to their kinder at night, but I scratch my bald, heavily creased head at the obsession of traveling families to adapt to local adults' dining schedules. Lots of pros on this board have written about wonderful lunch experiences. What don't I get (apart from the fact that Rome still had an emperor when last I visited)?

                        1. re: lsernoff

                          I think most Americans, maybe Brits too, have an eating pattern of a quick, rushed lunch and a nice dinner which they expect to follow when they travel .Thats not the culture in italy - makes no sense with the long midday closings, and hot midday sun in summer, perfect for long lunches and siesta. Nor is it a good approach on vacation, when some wine and a change of pace is a good thing.Although admittedly with little kids in tow no dining situation is going to be truly relaxing.

                          I think people just dont change their pattern when they travel as much as they might. the big fix for us, after some sordid hotel experiences with our kids, with drinks on the windowsill and jars of peanutbutter and bananas on the dressing table, was renting an apartment. Even now. with the kids grown and gone we still appreciate the flexibility and increased comfort - and cooking and shopping fun - this gives us.

                          Have a great trip!

                          1. re: lsernoff

                            To each his own, I think. Kids have different preferences, just like adults - some are morning folk, others are night owls. In our family, if we stop too long midday, we have a hard time getting motivated again. We rent a flat, and our too-few days worked for us. I myself am an early bird, so could enjoy poking around the Campo de' Fiori market to get breakfast - forgot to mention above one great highlight: local strawberries and a porchetta sandwich, what a way to start your day - while the others rolled around taking their time getting going.

                            1. re: Splendid Spatula

                              How right you are - , and shopping markets is a wonderful pleasure. I will never forget the baskets of wild strawberries we enjoyed on our first visit to Rome (around Memorial Day) many years ago.

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Are you talking about the fragole di Nemi that are all over Roman markets during the spring? Superb!
                                http://italianfood.about.com/library/...

                                1. re: bob96

                                  I think so - they were amazing, along with the tiny foraged field greens one could have in salads then. Im glad that they are still available and any traveler in this season should make the effort to seek them out - cant think of any restaurant meal that would top the experience. thanks for reminding me, Splendid Spatula!