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Feb 9, 2012 11:46 AM

Rome Report - very long

We just got back from Rome.
Pro: It snowed for the first time in 26 years while we were there! How cool and how beautiful everything looked.
Con: It snowed for the first time in 26 years while we were there...The ground was wet and slushy, the taxis stopped running, most of the sites tourists visit shut down and we had to cancel our splurge night at All'Oro. Waa, waa
We had a fantastic time anyway!!
We arrived on Monday afternoon from Venice, checked into the fabulous Hotel Majestic and set out walking immediately, with the understanding that this would be our only sunny day in Rome. We wandered and wandered and then walked to VinoRoma for our 5:00 p.m. wine tasting, which we thoroughly enjoyed and actually learned some pretty good stuff. From there, our plan was to go to L'Asino D'Oro. To our great disappointment, when we got there, they were closed. Apparently, they are NOT open for dinner on Monday. That's okay, we had a plan B. Jump into a taxi toward Da Danilo. We had hoped for a wine bar/other type of bar near Da Danilo for a pre dinner drink and wandered in the hood for awhile searching (and used both Katie's and Elizabeth's apps trying to find one), but found nothing. At Da Danilo we ordered some arancini to start (very tasty, no oil residue), then my husband had cacio & pepe and I order the carbonara. Wow - the carbonara was incredible - we were fighting over it. We ordered the oxtail but they came back and told us they didn't have it and suggested a steak. I think it was good, but honestly all I really remember is the carbonara.
Day 2 - morning rain but headed over to the Jewish Ghetto, did a tour and walked around. It stopped raining so we hustled to the Colosseum and did a tour. We had planned to go that day to Perilli for lunch, but now I was worried that we'd get there after 2 and that they wouldn't serve us (based on reviews of surly service to tourists). To make matters worse, we tried to take a taxi but the driver told us no and that it was only a 5 minute walk. It wasn't a 5 minute walk. We arrived finally at 2:00 on the dot, but they graciously seated us and were very helpful and friendly, contrary to what I had feared. We ordered carbonara, amatriciana and split a roasted pork and an artichoke. The carbonara was very good, but didn't rate as high as Da Danilo. We really liked the amtriciana and the roasted pork, especially the crispy skin. Our stomachs stuffed with wine and food, we finally found a cab and raced back to Palatine hill to get in before it closed at 3:30. When we finally got back to the hotel, something I had joked about before leaving on the trip actually happened. My stomach waived the white flag and I surrendered. I had been dieting for 6 months prior to the trip and I joked that I needed to carbo train before I left so my body wouldn't reject the food. My body rejected the food that evening and we couldn't go out as planned to Pizzeria Tonda. Take out pizza for my husband, tums, pepcid, a coke light and other stomach potions for me.
Day 3 - I was still feeling rough, it was raining pretty bad but we headed out to the Pantheon and then kept our lunch reservation at Colline Emiliane. Luckily, I have a husband who can eat his fair share AND half of mine. We order two soups to start: vegetable and tortellini in brodo. They were both really, really good and sat well in my stomach. Next up, bolognese for husband, tortellini with spinach and cheese in a tomato sauce for me. They were both excellent. I was still feeling queasy - but the desserts looked so good and I'm so happy we ordered one slice of a walnut cake that had some chocolate at the crust. It was excellent - served a little warm. A top rate meal and by the way, the service was great and friendly. That night we took a cab to Da Remo for roman style pizza. Wow, it was delicious. I had a marguerite, my husband had mushroom. I ate half of mine and my husband ate the rest. Even though I didn't feel well, I still wanted to try everything and I certainly didn't want to deprive him of all the great food I had planned. The service was brusque and surly, but to everyone, not just tourists - although I really didn't see many tourists, and it was just part of the fun of the experience. I definitely recommend it and only wish we had made it to Tonda to try both styles of pizza.
Day 4 - very early context tour of the Vatican. Walked over to Pizzarium afterwards. I'm sorry to say that we were a little disappointed. We tried four varieties: potato, our favorite, artichoke, 2nd favorite, one with something like capicola on it, and the 4th I have just simply forgotten. Overall, they were just too oily and so, so heavy. I wish the marinara had been out when we ordered, although when they brought out before we were leaving, even it had a pool of oil on top. We were disappointed and it certainly didn't help my overall malaise...We were supposed to go to L'arcangelo that night, but I just didn't feel up to it. Instead, we went back to Colline Emiliane which was a block away from our hotel so I could have soup and my husband could have pasta again. We also had a caprese salad that was good.
Day 5 - snow day. Walked to Galleria Borghese in the snow for our 11:00 am reservation. While we were touring, we continually looked out the windows in disbelief at how hard it was coming down. The walk back to the hotel was gorgeous while we were inside the gardens, and then slushy, wet and slippery once we left. We were supposed to go to Palatium for lunch. Cars were sliding down Via Veneto, my socks were wet inside my boots, and we weren't going anywhere except the hotel's buffet lunch, which was very good but cost a small fortune. It slowly became clear as the afternoon dragged on that our touring was done and that dinner at All'Oro would not happen. Take out pizza and salad - at the suggestion of hotel staff who sometimes stop at this place on their way home. It may be Rome's equivalent of Domino's but it was a hell of a lot better than Dominos! It was kind of romantic eating pizza in the room with the snow coming down outside...
Should I have eaten more carbs and filling foods prior to the trip? YES! Did I have a great time anyway? YES! My only regret: I didn't eat any gelato in Rome. It was just too, too cold. All in all, your recommendations were excellent. We had great food and great service, everywhere we went. Thanks again for all of your help!

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  1. Lovely report! Thanks for reporting back and sorry you weren't 100%.

    1. Sorry you weren't feeling great but Im glad you did put a partial dent in your dining plans. Thanks for the heads up on L'Asino d'Oro. I have made the change on Rome for Foodies and that change will be reflected in the app immediately!

      I'm with you on the steak at Da Danilo. Sometimes it is memorable but usually it is not. the carbonara, however, is worth a flight. I hope you get the chance to return to Rome soon to hit up the places you missed and to eat some gelato--may I suggest putting Neve di Latte, Il Gelato di Claudio Torce', Gori and Fatamorgana at the top of your list? :) thanks for the wonderful report!


      4 Replies
      1. re: katieparla

        They were all on my list!! I even had printed google maps of each location. Damn weather! Damn stomach!

        1. re: tlubow

          I'm happy to read your report as well. We're traveling to Rome soon, and we have planned only dinners, since we have two weeks of eating, we're going to try to pace ourselves. Breakfast will be bread from Tricolore and lunch will be gelati. I was most interested in your comment about Pizzarium, since overly oily is my worry. (This was planned as our one exception to a gelati lunch.).

          1. re: Nancy S.

            Nancy, I don't know how soon is soon, but you might find that it hasn't really warmed up enough for gelati lunches. It can be fairly unpleasant to eat gelato if the air temps are biting. Not all Roman lunches are multi-course gut-busters. There are buffet tables of vegetables and light soups like stracciatella.

            I'm not disapproving of skipping a meal in favor of sweets or dessert, just suggesting you have some other light-lunch back-ups in case you find that gelato chills you. You can buy small amounts of fruits and cheeses from the markets. I would definitely head to Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi ahead of a gelato.


            1. re: barberinibee

              We're not traveling until March 17, so I'm hoping the weather will improve by then.

      2. Im sorry to hear Pizzarium was oily. I have occasionally had the same experience with pizzas being too heavy, but the oil sitting on top of the pizza rossa and many of the others is an intentional choice and actually i find it quite nice to sink my teeth into a slice of rossa (pizzarium's best IMO) and taste the slick finishing oil. this is a matter of taste, however!

        1 Reply
        1. re: katieparla

          One of the reasons I've always shunned eating pizza al taglio in Rome is the sight of that oil on pizza rossa. I greatly prefer sit-down Roman pizza anyway, but to me that slick of oil reminds me of hot dogs floating in oily water in New York pushcarts, and I lose my appetite.

        2. tlubow,

          That pizza in your hotel room, on a snowy night it Rome -- it does sound romantic.

          I am sorry to hear your stomach went off (I would have blamed the taxi driver) but quite glad you otherwise suffered no harm amid all that slippery slush. I think if you'd had any gelato you would have instantly regretted it!

          3 Replies
          1. re: barberinibee


            Sounds like you did eat a lot and enjoyed your trip. Sorry to hear about the stomach and that you didn't like Pizzarium. I found it great and liked the oil, as I did Da Remo which was a different experience. The waiters at Da Remo weren't brusque in my experience, they were helpful and slightly cheeky in suggesting what to order - I had the Pizza Da Remo which had a lot of stuff on it but gather they recommend it to foreigners as most other people had simpler toppings.

            1. re: mikey8811

              @mikey - yes, despite my weak stomach, we really did eat a lot! Regarding Da Remo, the waiter was in no way offensive - don't misunderstand me. He did ask if we wanted an english menu and seemed very pleased when we said it wasn't necessary. I think we had read somewhere (Parla Food?) that it was better to order the pizza there with fewer toppings. We actually like it better with fewer toppings anyway - especially the thin crust pizza.

              @barbarinibee- We had a 3 hour delay at the Milan airport on our last day. Feeling better, I had gelato (I know not the best, obviously) TWICE, while we waited to finally board.

              @nancys - our plan basically was to eat a big meal at lunch and then go to a pizzeria for dinner, or have Pizzarium for lunch on the day we were to have gnocchi for dinner. Our hotel included a lavish spread for breakfast, which also became as issue, since in theory you want to say I'm just having coffee, but in practice, it's difficult to resist. We walked by the above-recommended
              Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi and it looked very, very nice, so I think Barbarinibee has a good idea.

              @Katieparla - re Pizzarium, it wasn't just the oil on top. The oil permeated through the pizza, so when you bit down, it was, how should I put this...juicy? You could feel the oil come out into your mouth. I would have blamed it a bit on my stomach, but my husband felt the same way, and he's never thrown away pizza - at least since I've known him. It may have been that we got there around 1:00 - it wasn't busy, and the weather was bitter cold, so it could have been sitting for awhile? I'm not sure if it was just an off day. I hope so.

              Thanks everyone again for the advice. We did have a great time and I am already thinking of it nostalgically.

              1. re: tlubow

                Oops. One thing I forgot to mention in the original post was that we had puntarelle at Da Danilo and either Perilli or Colline Emiliane. We never had it before, and didn't really know what it was until we googled it after. We loved it! Especially the way it's served with the anchovies. I love trying a new vegetable. See...we didn't only eat pizza and pasta.