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Dec 10, 2011 07:48 AM

Disastrous meal at Vino E Camino, Rome

Hello all, let me just preface this by saying that I discovered this board while looking for places to eat in Rome, and with one exception the advice I followed on this board led me to incredibly good food.

The one exception however, was Vino E Camino. This was to be my last dinner in Rome, and although it was the most expensive at 44 euros, it was also by far the worst. I ordered the pumpkin spelt risotto and the grilled swordfish.Even for a sweet tooth like myself, the risotto was cloyingly sweet and not particularly interesting. The swordfish that followed was even worse; the meat was extremely dry and not particularly flavourful, and the prawn that came with it was actually off.

I am not sure if I was just unlucky or ordered the wrong dishes, but I really was quite shocked at how bad the food was at this restaurant.

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  1. Sorry you had this bad experience at Vino e Camino, in my opinion it is one of the best choises in historic centre. For sure you've not ordered the dishes they are famous for such as the huge mixed starters, tonnarelli cacio e pepe or meat food cooked in the oven. I'm also curious to learn something more about the other better meals you've tasted during your stay.

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

    1. Im sorry about your experience and would like to hear about your other meals as well.
      IMO you are running a risk by ordering non-regional food in a random italian restaurant, especially "creative" dishes like the spelt risotto. We have had poor meals at generally reliable places when we veered off the track of the standard local cuisine.

      1. So it's the diner's (customer's) fault that the meal was bad? Not possible it might have been the restaurant, even though they generally serve good food?

        He may not have ordered the local or restaurant specialties, but I assume he ordered from the menu. Which means the expectation of a quality meal was reasonable.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Transplant_DK

          Im not at all suggesting its the diners fault, that its wrong to criiticize or that the expection of a tasty meal is unfounded- and the report is certainly valuable info about the restaurant. Only my experience that the risk of an unsatisfying result goes up quite a bit when a "creative" dish is selected. weve all had the experience of chefs reaching out to do something different - and it not quite working.

          I will also note that I havent much cared for some of the northern pumpkin dishes - with mostarda or amaretti, which seem too sweet to me as well.

          1. re: Transplant_DK

            My friend taught me that at a restaurant (ANY restaurant), there are good things to order and bad things to order. You don't always know them right off the bat. Sometimes you need to go a few times to figure it out. If a restaurant is known for a particular dish, order THAT dish.

            1. re: pdxgastro

              I do agree that knowing which dishes to order can make quite a difference, and my not liking the risotto could simply be personal preference or the chef trying to be experimental. What was less acceptable to me was the failure of the secondi; ensuring that a single prawn is not off and that the fish you serve is not overcooked should not be that hard.

              As for the requests to share further details of the meals I have had, I would be delighted to do so and will make a separate post soon,

          2. I'm sorry to hear about your bad meal at Vino e Camino, where I've always eaten well.
            I have to say, I've never ordered fish there, and didn't even know they had it on the menu. It's definitely not what they are known for.
            I'm also wondering, what day of the week did you go? For instance, Romans know never to order fish on Sunday or Monday.
            Where else did you eat?


            2 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              Transplant hit it right on the head. We see too many instances on this board of "you should not have ordered a particular dish. " "It was not a regional dish."Many of the times it has been about Roman restaurants... and takes on "the customer was wrong" syndrome.

              If a restaurant has an item on the menu, it should be a dish that the restaurant wants to cook and is capable of cooking. If not ,it shouldn't be on the menu. If Vino e Camino has fish on the menu, it should be fresh and it should be cooked well. Here is a case where the fish was not cooked well and part of the dish did not have a fresh ingredient. Why do people, again many from Rome, look to excuse restaurants at the expense of the customer.

              Jen, with all due respect, risotto made with spelt is one thing (but if you can't cook it, don't put it on the menu), but swordfish? There is no excuse.

              As far as Romans never ordering fish on Sunday and Monday, that is simply a cop out and an excuse for poor quality by a particular restaurant. Fish is served on Sunday all over Italy, in cities large and small. It is served in the countryside. It is fish that is caught on Thursday and delivered on Friday. The fish at most really good restaurants in Italy is often two, three or four days old. That is a fact. If Vino e Camino (and other good Roman restaurants) doesn't get a fish delivery on Saturday, then perhaps it shouldn't serve it on Sunday. But I'm willing to bet that if it gets a delivery on Wednesday, it will serve it on Saturday if it is still around and good.

              As far as Romans knowing never to order fish on Sunday, I know of one Roman buongustaio, a very well known person, who has never, in the thirty-five years I've known him, had any problem eating fish at restaurants in Rome and around Rome on Sunday.

              1. re: allende

                Also, it wasn't a Sunday or Monday when I ordered it, it was a Thursday

            2. I've also just had the worst meal of a 2-week visit in Rome at Vino e Camino. We had the mixed antipasti, a primi each - squid-ink taglioni with bottarga and pappardelle with sugo alla vaccinara - and because we were hungry and the welcome was warm, we ordered a 'casarau al forno' as well.
              The problem was that too much of this was a poorly-conceived attempt at creative cooking - the antipasti included casarau toast heaped with wet and greasy cooked lardo, the taglioni was topped with ricotta salata which fought with the bottarga and the 'casarau al forno' was the oddest of all - layers of thin bread and cheese which were wet when delivered to the table and gummy soon afterwards. I saw other creative oddities headed to other tables including baccala souffles and meat under blankets of cheese sauce, although there was also some cacio e pepe and steak which looked more conventional.
              The sad part was that the ingredients were clearly good and used with a very generous hand. We also thought the hospitality particularly warm and appreciated that we were steered to a good value deal on a nice Barolo which the restaurant was pouring by the glass. We really wanted to like the food but it was not to be.
              For the other posters who've suggested that Barquetine ran into trouble because he didn't know how to navigate the menu of a restaurant famous for its roast meat and antipasti, I'm not sure how recent or attentive their experience may have been. The menu currently posted on Vino e Camino's website is similar to the one I received at the restaurant this week bar some specials, and has 14 primi, most of which are 'creative' eg. strozzapetti alla gricia con cozze and perhaps 5 protein-based secondi, 3 meat and 2 fish. There are other places in the centro for well-cooked traditional food without such a high risk of an unintended encounter with 'creative cooking'.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shakti2

                I think you are referring to my previous post. I've been 4 times at Vino e Camino in Rome during this year and I know since many years the restaurant the same owners have in Bracciano, a village not far from Rome.
                Maybe we just have different tastes or the kitchen is experiencing some troubles during the last weeks. I value comments from you and Barquentine and I look forward to your comments about places were you had much better meals in Rome.