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3 Days in Rome--Light Lunch Advice Requested

This coming week my wife and I will start a 23 day journey in Italy with three days in Rome. Relying significantly upon research on this board, we are reserved for dinners at Perilli on Thursday, Checchino on Friday, and La Pergola on Saturday. We will be arriving at our hotel on Via Piacenza in Quirinale early Thursday morning no doubt heavily jet lagged. I am thinking Colline Emiliane, but am uncertain whether a "light lunch" would be achievable (or acceptable) at this Emilian restaurant. We will be doing "Ancient Rome" on Friday afternoon, and were considering Roscioli beforehand. Finally, we'll be spending Saturday morning in the Vatican Museums, and were thinking of something in Trastavere if possible (but we will be happy to go elsewhere for the right meal).

The key here is delicious but light--as you can see, our dinners are likely to be substantial, and my wife is liable to leave me if I arrange something that is "too much" for lunch.

It has been a pleasure reading this board over the last few weeks; I thank you in advance for any additional advice you all might offer. As seems to be the custom here, I will start separate threads on "light lunches" around Arezzo, Emilia Romagna (Bologna/Ravenna/Ferarra), and Piemonte (Monforte d'Alba and surrounds, and Soriso), the three other areas we'll be spending most of our time.

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Perilli
Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

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

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  1. I hope once you leave Rome you will consider having at least some of your major meals at lunch time. With the late dinner hour in Italy, heavy evening meals can be less pleasant than a leisurely lunch followed by a nap or walk - its also more on accordance with the custom of the country - there is a reason why most pizzerie are only open in the evenings.

    Colline Emiliane does not seem like a perfect light lunch destination - and since you are heading to E-R, its not really necessary in Rome to sample that cuisine. Maybe the fixed price lunch at L'Asino d'Oro, or a wine bar would be good for that first lunch. Depends on where you hope to be at noontime.

    For Friday, perhaps you could consider having fish as your light lunch meal .
    For Saturday, given your big deal dinner, maybe Pizza al taglio for lunch? Pizzarium is in the area of the Vatican Museums, but it doesnt really have seating.

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

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

    1. hi carlvin, for lunch on thursday, id ditch colline emiliane in favor of a salad at la barrique or something at enoteca provincia romana (loads of light choices). mia market on via panisperna is another option for a light lunch.

      the best dishes at salumeria roscioli (burrata, carbonara, cacio e pepe, spaghetti with butter and anchovies) aren't particularly light. i find their salads pretty lame. so if you want to do roscioli on friday, go to the forno (via dei chiavari) for small slices of pizza by the slice instead of the salumeria (via dei giubbonari). alternatively if you do la barrique on thursday, you can go to enoteca provincia romana on friday.

      if you want to eat in trastevere on saturday, you can grab a nice fish meal at la gensola.

      you might also consider going to roscioli for dinner instead of perilli or checchino (i prefer the latter).

      enjoy!

      www.parlafood.com

      1. Another light-lunch possibility: Casa Bleve. Pricier than the other light-lunch options mentioned, but if you've reserved at La Pergola, price is presumably no object.

        And another vote for Checchino over Perilli.

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        Casa Bleve
        Via del Teatro Valle, 49, Roma 00186, IT

        1. Aside from the fact that I would in any circumstances skip Perilli and go to Checchino, I would never go to both two nights in a row and consider Colline Emiliane in the same week, much less a week that contains La Pergola. Light lunch would not be my primary concern. I'd advise to plan your dinners better and let lunch just happen. Pizza al taglio or a sandwich in a bar -- and there are some very nice bars in every neighborhood -- is all you need, and why stress yourself in the middle of the day trying to reach a place you've reserved. Or, if you know you'll be leave the Colosseum or the Vatican or La Rinascente for that matter at lunchtime, plan for location and eat what you want.

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          Perilli
          Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

          La Rinascente
          Via Gatti,3, Trapani, Sicily , IT

          1. I'd also ditch Perilli and substitute either with l'arcangelo or roscioli (prefer the latter). Thursday lunch either what katie said or l'asino d'oro's lunch menu for 12 euros which is just enough to get you thru the day without weighing you down. Pizzarium might be a good idea for lunch before la pergola if you can restrain yourself. Or also sorpasso where you & your wife can have as much or little as you like, including nice salads/vegetables.

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            Perilli
            Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: vinoroma

              I second what Vinoroma suggests. I did all of L'Asino D'oro's 12 EUR lunch which is prob one of the best value lunches I've had, Pizzarium after St. Peter's & The Vatican and Roscioli for another lunch although Roscioli did npt turn out to be light in the end as I had both a burrata plate and a carbonara (the former after watching the guy in action at the deli counter) but stick to the one course and it will be "light'. I'll post my experiences in a separate thread.

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

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

            2. Thank you all for your pointed and helpful advice. I'm persuaded that Colline Emiliane would be an inappropriate choice. The enotecas mentioned sound like an attractive way to go for my purposes. Would I be able to just walk into Casa Bleve for a Thursday or Saturday lunch, or should I make a reservation? What about La Barrique? Finally, how casually may we dress for these venues at lunch, as we'll be hiking around Rome and inclined toward "comfortable" clothing.

              As for the "duplication" involved in my choices of both Checchino and Perilli, I confess it reflects a bit of obsession about encountering the best of certain Roman dishes in the short time available in Rome. I'm a New Yorker who has recently added Maialino near Grammercy Park to my regular rotation, and the opportunity to explore and compare Carbonaras, Amatricianas, Coda alla Vaccinaras, etc, is pretty compelling. Nevertheless, you have all got me thinking about it, and I very much appreciate the thoughtful input.

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              Casa Bleve
              Via del Teatro Valle, 49, Roma 00186, IT

              Perilli
              Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

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

              La Barrique
              Via del Boschetto, 41, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

              2 Replies
              1. re: carlvin

                I love Maialino, and promise you will be disappointed by Perilli and a great deal else you find in Rome. Maialino is a very well-thought-out NY adaptation, and by any standards a very fine restaurant. In addition to Checchino, I'd suggest Checco er Carettiere, Felice, and Palatium (but it was closed last week and the situation may be lengthy). I would also not eschew the top local chefs: Antonello Colonna for cacio e pepe, Agata for carbonara, and Angelo Troiani for amatriciana and gricia. I would also suggest Grano for both carbonara and amatriciana and their "hamburger" of coda alla vaccinara.

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                Palatium
                Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

                Perilli
                Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

                Antonello Colonna
                palazzo delle esposizioni,Scalinata di via Milano 9A, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

                Grano
                Piazza Rondanini, 53, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                1. re: mbfant

                  Maureen -

                  Ginny & I just returned to NYC after a little over a couple of weeks in Italy (mostly Umbria). Of the 5 nights we spent in Rome (2 in the beginning of the trip and 3 at the end), we ate at Perilli twice and Checchino once. The first Perilli meal and the Checchino meal were back to back, for basically the same reason as carlvin stated above (sorry I'm too late to this to be of any assistance to the original post). At any rate, my own take, as someone who regularly eats at many types of Italian places in NYC, is that comparing these 2 Rome restaurants is really "apples and oranges", even though they're in the same neighborhood and seem to specialize in the same type of cuisine. Everything about Checchino reminded me of places like NYC's Maialino or Babbo, from the depth of the wine list (and, yes, we took Charles Scicolone (& tenortom's) advice, drinking a great bottle of the Fiorano Bianco '75), to the "formality" of the place and the classic preparation of the food. It was a place to expect a serious, well prepared and presented dinner (and at a surprisingly moderate price). But, as I mentioned above, we hit Perilli twice, going back at the end of our trip for another dinner. This was (obviously) a clear indicator that we really taken by it & felt comfortable there. It's more like going to an informal trattoria, like a Bianca or Piccolo Angelo in NYC or, more to it, an old line Brooklyn or Queens place, specializing in the food the owners grew up on. Perilli's sauce in the pajata (I had this both times there and shared one at Checchino) was thicker and more of a "down home" version... a "grandma's kitchen" version, compared to Checchino's more classic (?) recipe. The roasted pork w/potatoes at Perilli was similarly more rustic and informal in preparation, but to excellent result in taste. Ginny's Carbonara was somewhat salty (from the meat alone?... I'm not sure), but the versions we eat in NYC at Lupa and Otto are similarly salty & Perilli's version knocked them out of the water. An ok wine list, with nothing to really yearn to drink and a lack of frills in both the room and the presentation are definitely the things that put Perilli at a disadvantage in general, but, if treated as a moderately priced non frills home cooking place, I dont think it can be beat. I'd go back regularly when in Rome. Just my 2 cents on this minor part of the thread.

                  By the way, our other 2 meals (which I hope to write up separately when I have the time) were at Da Giggetto and Campana.... both winners. Sorry I didnt have time to go back to Hosteria Nerone on this visit.... I still thank you for recommending it when my wife and I had lunch with you 4 or 5 years ago.

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                  Perilli
                  Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

                  Giggetto
                  Via del Portico d'Ottavia 21A/22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              2. Thanks for your additional thoughts Margaret. I will try to replace Perilli with Agata e Romeo.

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                Agata e Romeo
                Via Carlo Alberto 45, Rome 00185, IT

                Perilli
                Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

                1 Reply
                1. re: carlvin

                  I think that's wise. Ask for carbonara even if it's not on the menu.

                2. Got it. Sorry Maureen.

                  1. One final question. While I have a pretty good idea of what to order at Checchino, I would appreciate any input on the hits and misses of the a la carte menus at La Pergola and Agata e Romeo. Maureen has already started my education with Agata's carbonara. Anyone else?

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                    Agata e Romeo
                    Via Carlo Alberto 45, Rome 00185, IT

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: carlvin

                      La pergola does change the menu rather often, but one not to miss classic is the inside out carbonara (which has a proper name that i don't recall at the moment, but you will recognize it!)

                      1. re: vinoroma

                        The proper name is fagotelli alla pergola. They are not on the tasting menu but you can ask them to add them and they are happy to do that.

                      2. re: carlvin

                        I would choose the tasting menu at Agata e Romeo. They should allow to change one course if you don't want to miss their carbonara.
                        Enjoy your stay in Rome!

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                        Agata e Romeo
                        Via Carlo Alberto 45, Rome 00185, IT

                      3. I want to thank you all for being so generous with your informed advice. I look forward to reporting back to you on our experiences.

                        1. For a Light Lunch in a beautiful place, I like a picnic. Pick up a bottle of wine (sfuso, even), bread, salami, cheese, and file a little spot of sun or shade. It's easy enough to pick up supplies and find a little place to sit. We once stopped with our supplies just off the road outside Scansano. A local woman was gathering greens in the nearby woods, a tour group on horse went by, we nibbled, relaxed and enjoyed the view. Sure, ape were chugging by a few feet away, but it was still lovely.

                          1. Please pardon the "short version" nature of this response, but I wanted to give some quick impressions of our experiences in Rome over the past several days. This will be quick, as my wife is waiting for the ipad and we're heading off to Arezzo and it's Pieros in a few minutes, but here goes. Agate e Romeo was worth visiting for the best Carbonara I've ever had, not on the menu but as Maureen suggested I asked for it and they (unenthusiastically) complied. That lack of enthusiasm, by the way, doesn't enhance the overall experience, but I don't mean to suggest the service was bad, just that it lacked any semblance of warmth. ( Romeo didn't wait for my opinion on an off bottle of 89 Vietti Rocche before pronouncing it unworthy and replacing it with another.) The guinea hen was very good, but beyond those two dishes, and some tasty dolci, there's not much that's plaice to remember. In particular the eggplant "parmagian" with its whipped mozzarella was an odd failure, and the salt cod "5 ways" was about 4 ways too many. Bottom line--too expensive for what it is, wouldn't go back, but will remember that Carbonara.

                            Checcino served me a fine meal of excellent Amatriciana and the best Coda alla Vaccinara (that sauce!) I've ever had. My wife on the other hand suffered through some flavorless vegetables as a primi and a tough beef with cloves as her secondi. The pecorino and parmigiano were in poor shape and shouldn't have been offered. The owner was charming and made an excellent recommendation of a young but accessible 04 M Chiarlo Barolo. Otherwise service was gruff and unsmiling. Bottom line--nice restaurant, no real reason to return.

                            La Gensola deserves all the praise it gets on this board. Charming room, charming service, everything we ate simple and delicious--carpaccio of sea bass with olive oil and chopped vegetables, fried squid, simply grilled fish, a lovely, aromatic Trentino blend by the glass. A perfect follow to a morning's hard (and immensely rewarding) work at the Vatican Museums. La Gensola is the kind of place I'd be a regular if I lived in Rome.

                            Final note--I am unable to report on La Pergola because I didn't get to eat at La Pergola. While the media was focussing on the economic, social and political dimensions of the demonstrations in Rome, they were missing the real story--because of the massive disruptions, I couldn't get a cab and had to cancel our reservation! Oh well, next time....

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