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Rome restaurants, late October, would love feedback on choices

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My husband and I will spend five nights in Rome in late October - our first big trip without our son (2 years old) and are looking forward to relaxing, exploring neighborhoods, and enjoying leisurely meals! We don't like to plan too much, and want to soak up the atmosphere, barring a couple of the 'must-see' sights.

I've been reading through a number of discussions, and have found some great ideas/tips on restaurants. I'd love some feedback on our tentative schedule!

Arrive Day One (Thursday) mid-morning. (Hoping jet-lag doesn't interfere with these plans!)
Lunch at Vino E Camino.
Visit Vatican, etc in the afternoon.
That evening, stroll from Campo De Fiori to the Spanish Steps, followed by dinner at Palatium.

Day Two (Friday)
Sleep in (no 2 year old, remember?) :)
Lunch: We've booked a Cheese & Wine Lunch with Vino Roma, and are very excited about this! I found out about it through this board.
Visit Colosseum in the afternoon.
Dinner: La Pergola (our big splash dinner, the reservations have already been made.)

Day Three (Saturday)
We'll explore a couple of neighborhoods, hope to just stumble across a little spot for lunch. I don't want to make a reservation as I'm not sure where we'll be midday.
Dinner: Considering Checchino dal 1887 OR L'Asino D'Oro OR Primo (Trattoria) OR Trattoria Monti.

I know they're probably all such different experiences.Thoughts on these? I think the night after La Pergola we'd be more interested in a vibey, casual atmosphere, and Checchino may not fit the bill, but I have heard such good things about it so I think it's probably worth eating at sometime during our stay?

Day Four (Sunday)
Lunch at Pierluigi OR Trattoria Monti OR Primo (as far as I can make out, these are both open for lunch Sunday.) I've heard good things about Pierluigi on this board, and the location sounds lovely. However, I have also read some reviews (perhaps elsewhere, can't remember now) that said Pierluigi has more recently been pushy with tourists, and overpriced.

Dinner at La Gatta Mangiona

Day Five (Monday)
I think we'll just take this day to relax, explore some more, visit markets, and people watch. No reservations necessary. But any suggestions for our last night in Rome dinner-wise? Casual, laid-back, vibey atmosphere?

TUESDAY - alas, we leave. But I'm sure I will be dying to hug & kiss my little boy by then, so it will bittersweet to pack our bags.

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

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  1. Wow! I don't think I could have made up a more perfect itinerary for you. You've done a great job and obviously did your home work.

    To answer some of your questions:
    Saturday: Of the three you've chosen, I would steer you towards LAsino d'Oro. I think it will be the right feeling after Pergola the night before. Very casual, yet modern.

    Sunday: Although I love Pierlugi (and am not one of the people on this board who think it's touristy) I prefer it when you can sit outside. And end of October is pushing it. For Sunday lunch I like something very traditional and rustic. I think you should definitely fit a Testaccio experience in here, and for this Sunday lunch at Perilli is perfect. Best carbonara in town (in my opinion). For a slightly more modern experience there is Flavio al Velavevodetto. Still very traditional though and just as delicious.

    Monday: Since you seem to be serious foodies not put off by a taxi ride if it leads to good food, I'd suggest either Tre Zucche or Osteria del Giuda Ballerino. Both are located in sort of suburban neighborhoods, but well worth the effort. They are both among the best restaurants in Rome but tourists don't often get there due to their location.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    Elizabeth
    ______
    www.elizabethminchilli.com

    -----
    Perilli
    Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

    10 Replies
    1. re: minchilli

      "They are both among the best restaurants in Rome but tourists don't often get there due to their location." I so much agree with you. They're definetely worthwhile! I was at Le Tre Zucche recently and for my 4th or 5th time and loved it. Then, Giuda's Osteria is a great place with lovely cuisine.

      1. re: cristinab

        Thank you so much for your feedback, Elizabeth & Cristina! And for your kind words about our plans - it's encouraging! It can feel so difficult when you don't know a city at all, and there is so much to see, do, and eat - how do you narrow it all down?! (I guess that is where Chowhound comes in, but still, so many choices...)

        Elizabeth - you should know I have already downloaded your Rome Food App, even before posting here! I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, but I'm sure it will be very helpful.
        I should say that we don't consider ourselves foodies. Wannabe foodies, perhaps? :) We just enjoy good food and delicious wine, and 5 nights away sans baby, I don't want to take chances on bad food & service on a romantic getaway!

        It seems that Trattoria Monti, or Primo, are both not worth considering? I found these restaurants on a Conde Naste article, and they seemed intriguing.

        Do all the restaurants mentioned require advance reservation? I don't speak Italian (I will try and rehearse some phrases ahead the trip, of course), and am nervous to even attempt calling. We have a friend in Rome who could potentially make them for us - in fact, we'll eat with him at La Gatta Mangiona, so we'll get him to make that call :). But otherwise will it be enough to have the hotel concierge make the other reservations when we arrive?

        Thank you so much for your insight!

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

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

        1. re: nicolafrow

          Trattoria Monti is definitely worth considering. I haven't been to Primo al Pigneto, but I get the impression it might be more about the vibe than the food.

          If I had only one meal in Testaccio, I'd have it at Checchino. It's somewhat less casual and slightly more expensive than Perilli, but I think it's a cut above.

          As a rule, reservations can be made the day before or even morning of, but I'd ask the concierge to reserve at Palatium. Reports are that they are less than obliging with anyone who is not a native speaker.

      2. re: minchilli

        adding some links.

        Monti is definitely worth a visit - make sure you check out the daily specials before going in and make a reservation for sure. Please note, Monti does not map correctly for some reason - its actually close the Santa Maria Maggiore in the Center.

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

        Pierluigi
        Piazza Dè Ricci, 144, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        Giuda Ballerino
        Largo Appio Claudio,346, Rome, Lazio 00174, IT

        L'Asino d'Oro
        Via del Boschetto 73, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

        Vino e Camino
        piazza dell’Oro 6, Rome, Lazio , IT

        Flavio al Velavevodetto
        Via di Monte Testaccio 97, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

        Le tre zucche
        Via Guglielmo Mengarini,43/45, Roma, Lazio 00149, IT

        1. re: jen kalb

          Ok, I think I have it sorted!
          With the exception of La Pergola, which of course is dressy - will jeans & a nice blouse/heels be appropriate for most other restaurants?

          THURSDAY:
          Lunch at Vino E Camino
          Visit the Vatican
          Pre-dinner drinks at Palatium
          Stroll from Spanish Steps to Camp De Fiori (or vice versa)
          Dinner at Checchino dal 1887

          FRIDAY:
          Lazy morning - visit a market perhaps? Any good ones in particular for people watching and pretty location?
          Wine & Cheese Lunch with Vino Roma
          Colosseum
          Dinner at La Pergola

          SATURDAY
          Lunch: Trattoria Monti
          Dinner: L'Asino D'oro
          (Or we could do that in reverse order - does it matter? )

          SUNDAY
          Lunch: Perilli (I will order the Carbonara and I will force my husband to order the Amatriciana so that I can taste that too.)
          Dinner: La Gatta Mangiona

          MONDAY:
          Completely unscheduled day except for dinner at Tre Zucche, which sounds great, and we love the idea of traveling further afield!

          Grazie mille per tutti i tuoi consigli e le raccomandazioni!

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

          Palatium
          Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

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

          Perilli
          Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

          1. re: nicolafrow

            Thursday evening doesn’t make sense logistically. Have a glass of wine and a canapé at Divinare, in Testaccio, then walk to Checchino. Via Frattina to Campo de’ Fiori (why?) to Testaccio doesn’t make sense, and you probably can't start drinking at Palatium early enough to get to your dinner at a decent hour, but I'm not sure about that. I'd have drinks and dinner in the same area.

            After dinner at La Pergola I would want to keep my lunch light on Saturday. That would not be Trattoria Monti. It would more likely be a nice bar when and where I began to feel peckish.

            Sunday, it's no use my repeating that I don't care for Perilli, but I would certainly suggest letting your husband order whatever he likes. You can taste amatriciana (or, better, gricia, which is amatriciana without tomatoes) at Checchino. I would also not go to Testaccio twice in a short stay. You don't need to go to both Checchino and Perilli. My choice would be Checchino, which is also more formal (but not all that much) and has great cheeses and a renowned wine cellar. Perilli is open on Sunday, so I'd go somewhere else, like Piperno, maybe Paris (in Trastevere). If you opt for Perilli on Sunday, stay at Palatium to eat on Thursday. Better yet, have drinks elsewhere and go to Palatium at dinner time.

            Gatta Mangiona is also pretty far afield. It's about a half hour's tram ride from Largo Argentina. Not worth it IMO, but mine is a minority opinion (shared by my husband and several discriminating friends). haven't been to Tre Zucche, but have heard only good things and will get there sooner or later.

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

            Palatium
            Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

            Perilli
            Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

            1. re: mbfant

              Thanks - I will check those other restaurants out! The schedule has changed somewhat since I last outlined it, including the fact that we've moved our Vino Roma event to a wine tasting on the first day (Thursday). I moved some things around once I started mapping things out. Yes, on a large map of Rome, with different color highlighters on restaurant locations on different days - we don't want to criss-cross unnecessarily. :)

              I've just spent 2 weeks in Cape Town (I'm South African, now married to an American and living in Chicago), so my Rome plans have been shelved until now, and that is also why I have taken so long to respond. I appreciate everyone continuing to give their feedback. :)

              1. re: nicolafrow

                A color coded map? The great thing about Rome is that you really don't have to make your reservations so far in advance, unlike Paris or NYC . So feel free to free up your schedule and play it by ear (or mouth).

                1. re: Darioro

                  Hi all - I've posted a report on our trip to Rome in a new post. It's rather lengthy, so thought it best to start anew.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814630

        2. re: minchilli

          Happy you also Elizabeth like Le tre zucche!
          If I remember well I was the first to mention it in this CH board (maybe just because it is outside common touristic paths) and I was just able to upload their "tiramisu espresso" picture, that you can see following the restaurant link. Nicolafrow, don't miss it if you decide to go there! It's possible to choose between the regular (cappuccino cup) and small size (espresso cup). I'd eat a dozen of it!

          Concerning Primo in Pigneto it's more than one year that I don't eat there and I remember a not so good experience. Atmosphere was cute but food and service were less than average and also if there could have been improvements in the last period I would avoid it on Saturday evening.
          If you are looking for something "trendy" on Saturday, in addition to the already mentioned Giuda Ballerino Osteria I'd suggest Pastificio San Lorenzo. Don't expect great service here too but their food and wine offer is interesting.

          Enjoy your trip! I also agree your schedule is excellent and you can finalize some decisions when you'll be in Rome after you have a look to some of the "shortlisted" places. As zerlina already wrote in the majority of restaurants is sufficient to book few hours or a day in advance. Hotel concierge can be helpful for this, but please avoid to ask him/her any suggestion about restaurants ;)

          -----
          Pastificio San Lorenzo
          Via Tiburtina,196, Rome, Lazio 00185, IT

          Le tre zucche
          Via Guglielmo Mengarini,43/45, Roma, Lazio 00149, IT

        3. Hi! I would like to add 2 tips:
          1. Trattoria degli Amici - piazza Sant'Egidio - trastevere: good food/price - nice project ( disable guys employed) - amazing location
          2. La Pariolina: viale Parioli - original napoli pizza (with lievito madre) - great selection of salami from italy and spain - tipical "deep fried" of Rome ( supplì, zucchini flower, ricotta).
          Enjoy your staying there....october is a nice period for visiting...

          -----
          Trattoria degli Amici
          Via Quirina, 539, Arquà Polesine, Veneto 45031, IT

          1. I, too, will be traveling to Rome for the first time next month (October), so I was DELIGHTED to stumble upon your post! So timely!! I, too, have many of the same questions re: dress/restaurants, etc., and I am getting more anxious/nervous the closer my departure date gets (mid-month) Unlike you, however, I will be traveling solo (visiting my nephew who's doing his college semester in Rome), so some of my restaurant choices may differ. I was just wondering if you received any other responses when it came to on attire? I be in Rome for 7 days. Also, can you tell me the name of Elizabeth's Rome App? I'd love to download it before I leave! Grazie! E hanno un grande viaggio!

            2 Replies
            1. re: kindone

              Apart from La Pergola, which will be very dressy, I think I am going to take a chance on mostly dark skinny jeans, with a dressy top, jewelry, heels (at night).

              Elizabeth's Rome App is called Eat Rome. If you go to her website (see her signature above) you'll find a link to it.

              Enjoy your trip! We are so excited, and I'm looking forward to giving some feedback on our dining experiences.

              1. re: nicolafrow

                Dark jeans is what I plan on taking--and alot of black and white--easy to mix and match. Right after my last post I looked up Elizabeth's site from her previous post (a big, duh on my part) and downloaded the app. Have a great getaway!

            2. Can I put my vote in for Al Moro? My partner and I eat there every other week. I first ate there over 20 years ago and it is just as good. I find it strange that none of the regular Rome contributors, most of whom I admire greatly, never seem to mention this great, classic Roman restaurant. Maybe I should be happy, less "flocking".

              -----
              Al Moro
              Vicolo delle Bollette, 13, Rome, Lazio , IT

              6 Replies
              1. re: Darioro

                The problem with Al Moro is that it's erratic and foreigners who parachute in are not going to have the same experience that a long-term frequent patron will. I agree, when it's good it's fabulous, but they can be snooty and condescending to people they don't know. The tables are close together and uncomfortable, and the food is not always uniformly fabulous. My last experiences there, a few years ago, were great food and service with my handsome Italian husband and an Italian senator friend, condescending service and mediocre food with my cousins from New York. Also, most men seem to wear jackets there, and people on this board seem to be allergic to them. It just seems too risky to recommend to someone on a short trip.

                -----
                Al Moro
                Vicolo delle Bollette, 13, Rome, Lazio , IT

                1. re: mbfant

                  Ah, so it's the Chowhounders I see at nice restaurants not wearing jackets.

                  1. re: Darioro

                    my husband always brings a jacket on Italian visits. Some tourist may not want to, but most folks want to fit in - thats why there are often questions about attire as well as food. here.

                    Its great to have you on the board, hope we will hear what you think of some other rome eateries.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Jen, my impression on this board is that many people will rule out some very good restaurants because of fear of formality and not wanting to pack a jacket. But Rome is very informal and jackets are rarely needed except to keep off the evening chill. (That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather dine with a gentleman in a jacket than not, of course.)

                      1. re: mbfant

                        Well we are a few years older than many I guess, of a generation when one had a couple of sports coats along with suits, etc. and he finds his well aged harris tweed very comfortable for walking around in cool seasons. Id agree however that this might be an issue for my kids' generation who may have never purchased and got comfortable with this garb. but as you say, its mostly not an issue except maybe for inveterate wearers of athletic clothing. Jacket or not, we will always feel a bit unfashionable in an italian setting, no matter how casual

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          My husband will have a jacket - we have to dress up for La Pergola at least, so perhaps he'll just take it along to other places just to be safe.

              2. Just got back from Italy last night. Was in Rome on the first leg of our trip. If you want good food . Walk off the beaten path a little. Rome in the tourist areas are catered to American's, you will see the menus not very good food. Sora Margrherita in the Jewish ghetto was fantastic. Learn your Italian for food. I used the book Italy for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin. The food and wine glossary in the back of the book was a must. A word to the wise. Be very, very , very careful of pick pockets it is rampant here. Especially if you ride the subways. Just be aware and you will have a great time.