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If you could choose only one meal in Rome for a honeymoon - that meets these 2 criteria, what would it be?

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We will be taking a 2 week honeymoon to Italy this June, with some super good-fortune from the airline miles gods (though only 3 nights will be in Rome, with only 2 full good eating days). As we are paying for a hefty part of the wedding on our own (and shopping for a house!) - we are needing to be pretty careful with our budget. Most of our meals will be well-reputed but decidedly lower cost (lunches at Pizzarium, Enoteca Corsi, Forno on Campo di' Fiori where we enjoy paninis by the fountain , ect).

I've combed the boards for a few hours, but am honestly a bit overwhelmed with wedding planning - so I'm putting my trust in the experts! If you could choose ONE meal in Rome (for traditional Italian fare) that met these 2 expectations.. where would it be?

1. Outside on a piazza at night (I have my heart set on this)
2. Under $75-$100 for 2 people

Additional helpful details... our hotel is situated across the street from the Opera House, though we are open to all locations for meals. My fiance and I have both been to Rome before (though this will be a very new experience for us both - as I traveled to Italy for 3 weeks alone, and he went with his friends for world cup and was admittedly drunk the entire time). I know the budget probably makes this a bit of a challenge, but I appreciate all of your input. Thank you in advance!

Jenny

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  1. It's not on my A-list, but Roma Sparita actually meets all your criteria. The piazza is beautiful, the price is right, and the food is traditional.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      Thanks for the recommendation, their Cacio e Pepe looks really good! If you were able to omit one of the criteria, either the outside setting, or less than traditional fare (a budget of under $100 is pretty set) - is there an A-list dining experience that you would be more excited about recommending? (after researching more I am starting to toss around L'Asino d'Oro or La Campana - for some reason these two keep calling out to me?)

      1. re: Jenny15X

        Their cacio e pepe is supposed to be fantastic, but my (Roman) husband had it and, in his enthusiasm, ate the cheese basket in which it is served (not in itself a reason to go there, despite what you may read), and had nightmares. I am not sure how much a dinner at Grano would set you back, but it's worth looking into. It has great food (A list) and a lovely setting in a piazza near the Pantheon. It's not wildly expensive. Campana goes up and down in quality. Most people love L'Asino d'Oro, which is pretty much of a bargain. It leaves me cold, but that's just me. As I said, most people think it's great.

    2. Cacio e Pepe does have a great location but they seat locals and foreigners and seperate locations AND they have a horrible wine list as well as horrible glasses. If I recall Katie Parla wrote about them recently because they were illegally chardging a service charge but it wasn't on the menu.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SarahMayWineinRome

        The restaurant in question was Roma Sparita, Piazza Santa Cecilia, known for its cacio e pepe (I think tonnarelli), not the restaurant named Cacio e Pepe. Katie wrote about Grano's service charge, which has been eliminated (as far as I know).

        1. re: mbfant

          Oops! I had cacio e pepe (the dish) on my mind knowing I was writing about Roma Sparita. My own experience there has been so-so. The service was not great and the food did not live up to its fame. And, as I mentioned before their wine list is terrible and their wine glasses even worse. However my (Roman) husband loved the cacio e pepe there. Despite that my opinion is based on my own experience not his.

          1. re: SarahMayWineinRome

            Thank you both! I have Roma Sparita, Grana, and L'Asino d'Oro now on my short-list to look into. Roma Sparita sounds pretty perfect but some of the recent reviews online around service and quality make me a little nervous. We're from a smaller town in the Pacific NW and I'm guessing we will be more than thrilled with any solid recommendation by you all who undoubtably have a much more refined palette than myself and my fiance. I'll be elated to end up somewhere with quality cacio e pepe and spaghetti alla carbonara (I love antipasto, primo, and dolce, but tend to have a harder time finding secondo I'm as excited about!)

            1. re: Jenny15X

              I do not recommend Roma Sparita anymore bcs of service and questionable pricing issues (see katieparla for this). L'Asino D'Oro does have an outdoor seating that will be open in June, thought not on a piazza but a street. But they don't make cacio e pepe, nor carbonara (they are more Umbrian than Roman).