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Nov 21, 2011 11:20 AM

Christmas in Rome

We'll be in Rome Christmas Eve and Christmas day - we're looking for recommendations for Local food - not touristy. We want to experience a traditional Roman Christmas.

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    1. ill be publishing a list next month. here is my list from last year:

      Al Ceppo is open on December 25th.

      All’Oro is open at dinner on the 24th and at lunch on the 25th.

      Casa Bleve is open the 24th at lunch and dinner.

      Da Danilo will be open for lunch on the 24th and 25th.

      Il Pagliaccio is open on the 24th for dinner only and the 25th only at lunch. There will be a €155 prix fixe menu.

      L’Angolo Divino is open the 24th at lunch and at lunch and dinner on the 25th.

      Palatium will be open the 24th for lunch.

      Roscioli will be open the 24th for lunch.

      should be more or less the same this year

      Il Pagliaccio
      Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 130, Roma 00186, IT

      Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

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

      Al Ceppo
      Via Panama, 2, Rome 00198, IT

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

      Da Danilo
      Via Petrarca 13, Rome, Lazio , IT

      17 Replies
      1. re: katieparla

        Last year we went to Filippo La Mantia on Christmas Eve, completely satisfying, very pleasant. Prix fixe set menu.

        1. re: mbfant

          How much was the menu fixed price?

          1. re: tavoleromane

            I don't remember, but it was quite reasonable in both price and quantity -- not overdone. The ornate setting made it very festive, but also relaxed.

            1. re: mbfant

              Thank you for the additional information.

        2. re: katieparla

          Hi Katie,

          Any official updates on this? Any of these spots that you'd recommend taking a freshly jetlagged 3-year-old to?


          1. re: worldmatt

            We've travelled to Italy with our sons since the eldest was 18 months old, and we're not opposed to children in restaurants, provided they behave well and provided the parents know when it's time to leave. Even I would be hesitant about taking a jetlagged 3-year-old out for dinner. We spent two weeks in Rome when the boys were 6 and 9 and even then found dining hours in Rome too late for children. We rented an apartment, ate breakfast and dinner in, and dined out for lunch. That would be my recommendation.

            1. re: lisaonthecape

              Oh, trust me: if we could eat at our apartment, we would! But we are arriving that day, and since virtually every grocery in town will be closed, we will have no food to eat. That is, unless you can recommend a grocery or supermarket between Piazza Vittorio and Porta Maggiore that'll be open! Otherwise we're going to have to go out. Nowhere fancy, of course, although most of the places that are staying open seem to be of the fancier sort, as opposed to the homey trattorie we'd prefer.

              1. re: worldmatt

                Which day do you mean, December 24 or 25? One Metro stop from Piazza Vittorio is Termini (where you arrive if you take the Leonardo Express from the airport). In the concourse downstairs, there's a huge Conad supermarket-and-a-lot-else. It's open 6 am to midnight every day; December 24 will not be an exception nor, I think, December 25.

                Homey, family-owned and operated trattorie are unfortunately the most likely to be closed on holidays. Da Danilo is close by, but since it's normally closed on Sunday, it's more likely than not to be closed on December 25 this year.

                This is not, *not*, NOT, *NOT* a recommendation (I've never been there nor do I know anyone who has), but if you're desperate, there's a restaurant-pizzeria called Cotto on Via Torino that is open for lunch and dinner December 24 and 25.

                1. re: zerlina

                  Ah, beautiful, just what I needed to know! We arrive on the 25th, shortly after noon; it's good to know we'll be able to pick up groceries *somewhere* that day. Thank you!

                  A friend with kids, however, has recommended three open places we check out that night, and I'd love to hear your thoughts:

                  Giggetto al Portico d’Ottavia
                  Da Pallotta a Ponte Milvio

                  If you had to choose one that would satisfy hungry, adventurous parents and a well-behaved, noodle-loving toddler, which would it be?


                  1. re: worldmatt

                    Are you sure they're all open for dinner on Christmas Day?

                    Da Pallotta a Ponte Milvio is pretty far away. Giggetto and Matricianella both have defenders and detractors. I'd probably try Giggetto; if it isn't open, one of the other restaurants in the Ghetto might be. At either Giggetto or Matricianella, try the artichokes alla giudia.

                    1. re: worldmatt

                      hi matt! sorry for being MIA! definitely not giggetto. awful awful place. i obviously fall into the detractors category:) if you scroll below you will see a link to my 2011 holiday dining suggestions that was published yesterday in the NYT In Transit blog. you will se Da Danilo is open for lunch on xmas day. Nonna Betta and both Ba Ghettos are open for lunch and dinner on christmas. enjoy!

                  2. re: worldmatt

                    I wouldnt assume that only fancy places are open - though with bigger staffs its easier to have cover for holidays. About 5 years ago we were in rome for Christmas day and some stores shops and neighborhood restaurants were open. There are an increasing number of small supermarkets and 7-11 ish stores which can cover basic needs in Roman neighborhoods. I would reach out to your landlord for info on this to avoid anxiety and struggling for reservations.

                    also, not far from where you will be Panella Arte del Pane was open on our christmas visit and we easily covered our meal requirements with treats (specialty breads, creamy pasta and regional desserts) from there. Follow the link to their website - which says they are open on Sunday and holidays til 4 pm.

                    Panella Arte del Pane
                    Via Merulana,54, Rome, Lazio 00185, IT

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      UPDATE: So, after all this help, we wound up... going to Conad and cooking dinner at home! Actually, it was great fun—a simple dish of pappardelle with a beef ragù, plus a salad of rucola, mushrooms and parmigiano with a lemon dressing. A crisp white wine to go with it. Everyone happy! That's a decent Christmas for this Jewish-Buddhist-atheist family.

                      Now, where do we eat for the next two weeks? That's the big question!

                      1. re: worldmatt

                        I'm glad that worked out for you. As it turns out, I've been researching Rome dining this afternoon. I won't be travelling until April, but this is my first solo trip before my husband joins me for a week on the Amalfi Coast. Here are some places on my short list: L'Asino d'oro (12 euro fixed menu lunch Tues.-Fri., which is a great bargain); Trattoria Monti; Taverna Romana; Roscioli (both the bakery and the restaurant) and Vecchia Roma Enoteca. Since you have an apartment, definitely hit the Testacchio market and also nearby Volpetti. Other choices I'm considering are Taverna dei Fori Imperiali; Palatium; Perilli; La Campana and Colline Emiliane. All of these places are discussed at length on Chowhound.

                        I'm looking for an authentic experience that won't break the bank and--just guessing here--thinking that a frugal travelling experience might be what you want as well?

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

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

                        Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

                        Via Marmorata 39, Rome , IT

                        Vecchia Roma
                        Via della Tribuna di Campitelli, 16, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

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

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

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

                        Via Buonarroti 48, Rome, Lazio 00185, IT

                        1. re: lisaonthecape

                          A "frugal traveling experience"? Ha! I know *exactly* what you mean. Two years ago, I might have been all over that, but I gave that up in May of 2010. Not like I'm traveling in seven-star luxury these days—just that frugality's now a personal matter, not a professional one.

                          In any case, it's nice to know about 12-euro fixed menus, especially in Asino d'Oro's part of Monti, where I want to show my wife some of the cool shops. Mostly, we're trying to eat lunches out and dinners home, although that requires some smarts when it comes to shopping at markets (Piazza Vittorio's the closest, but I want to check out Testaccio's, too). Often, however, those smarts are lacking—cf. today, when our jetlag (translation: lack of foresight) left us bereft of ingredients. So we ate at Da Danilo, a place everybody knows but is still pretty good, and happens to be a five-minute walk from our apartment. The carbonara con tartufo bianco was a beautiful pick-me-up after a day spent with a crank toddler on my shoulders; particularly liked how meaty the shreds of pancetta were. Good wine (Bassarossa, I think), and copious platters of meat. The kid ate almost none but the degustazione di cioccolato (I know! Strange, huh?), but since we were stationed in the empty basement I don't think anyone noticed.

                          Tomorrow: Lunch near the Colosseum at Nerone (thoughts?), and a placid dinner at home.


                          1. re: worldmatt

                            I haven't been to Nerone in years, although it seems to be a reliable choice. I can't recall any negative reviews. Armando al Pantheon is also a good option, with an extensive menu and a great central location. I think we took our boys there when they were younger and don't recall any horrific experiences.

                            Enjoy the crank toddler. Before you know it , you will suddenly have teenagers--mine are now 14 and 17 and just ditched the Italy trip for an opportunity to travel to China with a group from school.

                            1. re: worldmatt

                              Huh, i just came home from da danilo. I usually love the place but had ups & downs today. Did your wine cost 40 euros? Then it was the testarossa montepulciano d'abruzzo which they have heavily marked up (with italian standards) and were pushing on everyone today. When i called them out and questioned the unusual markup he immedeatly asked me if i have a restaurant or if come from a guide. Some dishes definitely sub-par today, like the rigatoni con sugo di coda and the bacala.

              2. I have just completed some research for a blog post about Christmas and New Year's Eve restaurants in Rome.
                Da Cesare in Monteverde is open for Christmas lunch. They don't have a special menu but it can be nice if you don't mind to move outside historic center. It takes about 25-30 minutes to go there with 8 tram (just at the end of the line).
                Flavio al Velavevadetto is open for Christmas lunch too but it is already fully booked!
                I'd recommend Metamorfosi or All'Oro for a more creative and upscale meal. Both have an outstanding Christmas Eve tasting menu for 120€.


                Via Eleonora Duse, 1, Rome, Lazio , IT

                Da Cesare
                Via del Casaletto,45, Rome, Lazio 00151, IT

                Via Giovanni Antonelli, Rome, Lazio 00197, IT

                1 Reply
                1. re: tavoleromane

                  do you have a list for this Christmas day openings?

                2. Just an addition to Christmas openings: Gaetano Costa Restaurant has published their celebration menus (in English too):



                  Christmas Eve: 80€/pp

                  Christmas Day (lunch and dinner): 60€/pp

                  NYE: 190€/pp

                  This is not a recommendation since I haven't been at this restaurant yet but it is quite quoted by gastronomic guides.

                  Gaetano Costa
                  Via Sicilia, 45, Rome, Lazio 00187, IT

                  1. Katie Parla's recommendations for Christmas (and New Year's) openings have been published on the NYT In Transit blog:

                    Congrats Katie!


                    1 Reply