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Rome- Seeking Atmosphere as Well as Food

I am arrving in Rome on 7/28 and have three dinners to plan with my husband and three sons who are in their twenties. (One dinner will be on Sunday). We are well-traveled food and wine lovers. After doing a great deal of research on the board, I sent my preferred restaurant selections to the hotel concierge (we are staying at the Hassler). He reserved Girarosto Fiorentino, Imago, and Checciono. Only Checchino was on my list. My question is---is Imago ultra formal? I have heard that the view is unbeatable but I note that jackets are required. Although the quality of the food is very important to us...so is the atmosphere of the restaurant. We tend to like either a beautiful space or a trendy/fun environment. We do not have a dining budget and are willing to spend more for wonderful food and wine. We are just looking for memorable meals. Any advice or comments from fellow Chowhounders would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I haven't eaten at Imago but jackets are required. It's supposedly spectacular. I've heard varying reports of the food, which, taken together, suggest that the potential is there and the quality of the meal will depend on other factors, such as knowing what to order, which I can't help with. Since it's in the Hassler, it figures the concierge would book you there, but where did Girarrosto Fiorentino come from? What were your other choices?

    3 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      Thanks for your reply mbfant! Girarrosto Fiorentino came from the concierge! I had not even heard of that one. I have not been to Rome in several years so my choices were made from reading online reviews and asking a respected Italian chef in Florida where I live. My suggestions to the concierge were: Antico Arco, Checchino, Glass Hostaria, All' Oro, Perrilli, Antico Arco. Metamorfosi, Antica Pesa, and La Rosetta al Panteon. Imago was also on my radar because other Americans who have been there say the view is breathtaking. Rome is our first stop so I want our dinners to be special......

      1. re: Debbie

        The list you sent does in no way call for girarosto fiorentina. Don't go there, esp if you are going elsewhere (tuscany?) after rome. Glass is closed during your dates, but metamorfosi, all'oro, antico arco are all better food (and wine, esp aa and meta) than imago (though imago wins for the views). Antica pesa and rosetta are names, but for good food and wine i wouldn't go there. Keep checchino as your traditional roman, and if you like imago maybe for the views, but ditch girarosto with one of the others.

        1. re: Debbie

          Imago is beautiful, no doubt about it! And the chef is really good as well! He's been there now for several years and it seems he's becoming more and more popular. All professional food journalists and websites have dedicated positive articles and reviews to Francesco Apreda. He's had a michelin star now for several years and friends who've been there lately have positively commented on the dinner. I have recently eaten some tortelli in a fish broth with just a touch of asian style (bonito flakes) that were really good.
          It is true that jackets are required but also true they are not that strict about it. They often close an eye, especially during the hotter months.

      2. My wife and I were in Rome in June of 2010 and one of the restaurants at which we dined was Hosteria Romano, a family owned eatery near the Via Veneto, but hidden down one of the narrow streets. We were staying at the Majestic Hotel. Yes, the name of the restaurant is spelled with an 'H' which must be of Latin derivation rather than of standard Italian. The food was 'molto saporito', but it is not a fancy restaurant. The prices were reasonable.

        There were 2 Italian couples at the table next ours who were from out of town. I struck up a conversation with them using my limited knowledge of italian for they spoke no American (I do not speak English), but I am a US citizen (and very proud of it) who speaks American. I miei antenati non erano italiani (my ancestors were not Italian). It was a lot of fun along with a good meal. I happen to be an extrovert by nature.

        Buon viaggio e mangia bene,

        ChiliDude

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChiliDude

          Thank you so VERY much for the responses thus far. I think I will substitute Antico Arco for Girarosto Fiorentina for sure. My family has nixed the idea of wearing jackets in the summer heat so I will also cancel Imago. Any other ideas for lovely or fun/ trendy places (with great food of course!......??

        2. Jumping in a bit late here, but just wanted to add one note about accepting suggestions from concierges in general. For many years it was a general practice in large cities in Italy for the concierge to accept payment in return for sending clients to restaurants. Giarosto Fiorentino is a very old fashioned, traditional restaurant and most likely still adheres to this policy and probably has some sort of agreement with your concierge.

          It's obviously not in the best interest of the concierge to send you some place bad, but most of the newer restaurants don't have this sort of relationship with hotels, and so are not often at the top of their lists. And probably explains why he added a restaurant none of us would ever go to.

          www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com

          2 Replies
          1. re: minchilli

            Hi Elizabeth. This is why I made my own suggestions and asked the concierge to choose from MY list. However, he/she still reserved the additional restaurant that may, in fact, accept payment in return for sending guests. I plan to make changes as necessary and still seek an additional dinner in Rome that would appeal to my three sons who are in their 20's but are adventurous eaters and discriminating foodies.....I will also buy your app for assistance!

            1. re: Debbie

              I would echo all of the above negative comments on G.F. The only advantage is if you are staying on the via Veneto and need an early lunch on the day of arrival. There is absolutely nothing special about the place and there is no reason to seek it out.

              Far better options in that neighborhood, let alone within a ten minute walk, for both lunch and dinner.

          2. If it's not too late I'd recommend Il Bacco al Tevere on the island in the Tiber river. We were there 2 weeks ago and the atmosphere could not be beat on a warm summer evening. The carbonara was outstanding although the carpaccio do manzo was not well executed and left a lot to be desired...and I left almost all of it on my plate. It was also great to walk along the Tiber after dinner where all the other pop up bars and restaurants were located, very festive.