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Rome - good friends in search of good food and wine

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We are three very good friends who are leaving our husbands behind to travel to Italy in October. After 4 nights in Venice, 4 nights in Florence and 7 nights based in Todi, we have a very quick 2 nights in Rome before we return to Canada. I admit, Rome was not first on our list, difficult as that was to decide. We wanted to have enough time in each location, and did not want our trip to be entirely city-based. But then, we needed a departure point, and rather than backtrack to Florence, we decided to head to Rome for a whirlwind visit.

I am nervous about our dining plans in Rome - we are only in Rome for 2 days. To make it more challenging, we are there on Saturday and Sunday. Also, as these are our last two days in Italy, I would really like to choose well.

On Saturday, we are spending the afternoon at the Vatican Museums. Sunday morning we have a tour booked of the Colosseum and Forum. Sunday afternoon we plan to go to the Pantheon - and at some point, wander up to Capitoline Hill.

We are staying in an apartment on Via Banchi Vecchi, but we will travel for food. We enjoy wine, but we are not really that knowledgeable! We are willing to spend money for good food and lively atmosphere, but are just as happy to find great food at great prices. We prefer regional foods, going to farmers markets and restaurants using local foods in our home cities. I believe I cannot leave Rome without having either carbonara or cacio e pepe, or both! Although naturally, I realize that if we go to La Gensola, we must have fish :)

With much difficulty, I have narrowed the list of possible restaurants, with a couple of wine bars, to the following:

Checchino dal 1887
Roma Sparita
La Campana
Perilli
Ditirambo
Settimio al Pelligrino
Flavio al Velavevodetto
La Tavernaccia
La Gensola
Vino e Camino
Il Goccetto
Cul de Sac

I would welcome any advice or suggestions. Many thanks!

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  1. There's always a ton of traffic on many of these places on CH , and the usual expert responders do their wonderful best to comment., often over and over. Please have a quick search by name of restaurant, and you'll find them all--if not, post away.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bob96

      Hi Bob, I have been following the Italy board for some time now - I really enjoy the planning part of the trip! I have appreciated the advice and input of vinoroma, katie parla, elizabeth minchilli, maureen b fant and many others, as well as following blogs and twitter. I am sure I will have some type of withdrawal after the trip is over :) I am just being terribly indecisive and uncertain about the Roman part of our trip, at least where food is concerned, and while likely unfair, I am hoping to get some further input specific to us, our location and travel plans.

    2. Goccetto is just down the road from your place and open only saturday, you could stroll by early sat evening or after dinner.
      From your list, I would pick Checchino and La Gensola, I think. Sparita has a good cacio & pepe which you want to have, though. Flavio is good for the roman pastas, too.

      Btw, I had a mediocre meal last night at La Campana. very small but good zucchini flowers, cheesey and non tomatoey arancini instead of suppli, bacala greasy. Cacio e pepe was good, rigatoni with coda alla vaccinara flavorless. Lamb was muttony, rabbit good. Wine selection, especially local ones, got smaller, and mark-ups for some wines were outrageous. They had various artichoke dishes on the menu, even under daily specials and as they tried to sell me fried lamb & artichokes and I frowned, quick to tell me they are not local. They had run out of saltimbocca, btw. I have been sending so many people their way, esp. on sundays because they were one of the better options for sunday, but I think I'll stop that, for some time at least.

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

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

      7 Replies
      1. re: vinoroma

        Its a pity to hear a bad review of La Campana, I have never had a bad meal and have always rated the food and service over a number of years. It was excellent last November when I went last and I was planning to go back again. Roma Sparita was excellent. Have you thought about Hostaria Costanza, I went there last year and was very impressed by the food, service, speed and cost?

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

        Hostaria Costanza
        Piazza del Paradiso, 63, Rome, Lazio , IT

        1. re: LotsC

          Hmm, La Campana was a definite possibility for Sunday lunch. Thank you, vinoroma, for the very recent feedback. Checchino has been near the top of my list, it seems to be often recommended, has a long history, and I loved tenortom's report! Thank you also for noting that Goccetto is only open on Saturday.

          LotsC, I had not considered Hostaria Costanza, thank you. Time to do a search and find out more!

          1. re: LotsC

            I like Hosteria Costanza too!

          2. re: vinoroma

            I also recently experienced a not so positive lunch at La Campana. And I was very negative impressed by their tentative to sell dishes with artichokes even if outside season (imported from France).
            Ditirambo too in my opinion is not the same as it was some years ago but I haven't tried it in the last year.

            In historical center I'd go for Vino e Camino for traditional meal or l'Asino d'Oro if you prefer more creative food. You could have the second dinner in Testaccio area, choosing between the restaurants you already mentioned and eating the most traditional Roman preparations.

            Ps. L'Asino d'oro is not a luxury restaurant, it costs about 35-40 euros per person and has low surcharges on wines. Sorry for having anticipated Vinoroma answer and I leave to her any addition about wine since she is by far more expert than me about this.

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

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

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

            1. re: tavoleromane

              :)

              1. re: vinoroma

                Thank you tavoleromane, for providing your thoughts. The list is getting refined!

                For Saturday lunch, if we have time for a sit down lunch we will likely go to Vino e Camino as it is quite convenient to our apartment rental. Otherwise we may bring some snacks with us from our rental in Todi and make do.

                Saturday evening is likely either Checchino or Hostaria Costanza as these are closed on Sunday. I am leaning towards Checchino though my friends may prefer the history of Hostaria Costanza. We will discuss!

                Sunday is more challenging of course. It looks like Perilli, La Gensola and perhaps Flavio are open on Sunday. Would any of these be recommended, or even open, for Sunday lunch? I'm thinking about the possibility of Roman pasta for lunch (though we would likely order only two courses, so we don't overdo it for our evening meal) and then go to La Gensola for dinner.

                Thank you again to all for your advice and input. I look forward to providing a report!

                1. re: Silverwing

                  My pleasure Silverwing!
                  Flavio is open on Sunday, both for lunch and dinner and La Gensola too if I remember well. I don't know about Perilli.
                  I'd go as you wrote in the post: a not too long lunch based on Roman food (Flavio is great especially if weather allows you to eat outside!) and a dinner based on fish dishes at La Gensola.

                  Enjoy your Italian trip and I look forward to your report!

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

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

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

          3. My picks for dinner would be La Gensola and then either Flavio al Velavevodetto or Perilli. Whenever I send people to Perilli, they tell me it was one of the best meals of their trip. (and serves the best carbonara in town, in my opinion)

            Maybe Saturday lunch at Settimio al Pelligrino? Or Vino e Camino which is between your place and the Vatican. Sunday lunch is harder, since you don't want to fill up too much. What about L'Asino d'Oro? Not far from Forum.

            Todi? Did you already write me directly about your week in Todi? (I think it may be you that did)

            Elizabeth
            www.elizabethminchilli.com

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

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

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

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

            5 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              Elizabeth, many thanks for your input. I know you are quite a fan of Perilli and I am indeed a fan of carbonara lol! Thanks also for the suggestion of Sunday lunch at L'Asino d'Oro, it certainly would be convenient. Nice to see that both you and vinoroma recommend La Gensola! I shall do some more research on the restaurant regarding specific items to order.

              Regarding Todi, I did not post but was delighted to see that someone else did - and many thanks for your response. I had already noted several of the restaurants you suggested from your blog or these forums, and I have used Fred Plotkin's book as a guide to other towns as well. We have also booked a wine tour and a cooking class, so with those recommendations, travel to other towns, and a bit of cooking in our rental house, we are pretty well set for Umbria. Thank you to all who provide input and those who provide trip reports, these boards have been the source of great fun and great information!

              1. re: minchilli

                I love L'Asino d'Oro and missed it on your original list, but is closed on Sunday, I just asked again last week.

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

                1. re: vinoroma

                  I did not have this on the list I posted, though of course it was on the larger list I started from! If it was open, it could have been a convenient option that I had overlooked. Thanks for the updated Sunday info, vinoroma.

                  1. re: vinoroma

                    Is L'Asino d'Oro very expensive? Their web site has no information.

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

                    1. re: sockster

                      L'Asino d'Oro is not expensive at all, max 40 euros. And, as with most Italian trattorie & ristoranti, wines get a small markup only and stay very accessible.

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