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Aug 22, 2012 01:43 PM

Recommendations for memorable authentic meals in Rome- non-touristy

We are traveling to Rome in October for about 8 days and are adventurous eaters (such as specialty meats, oxtails, calamari).
We want the TRUE Roman experience, and are looking for AUTHENTIC, non-touristy restaurants for lunch and dinner near some of the tourist sites, but also would be willing to travel.

Price is not an issue, but we like value for our money.

If you make a recommendation, can you also suggest some dishes we should order which are the specialties of the house. ( I find that it makes the experience of dining more enjoyable).

Some places we will hit are:
Spanish Steps ( our hotel is there, so breakfast, lunch and dinners)
colissium ( lunch and dinner?)
trevi fountain ( lunch and dinner?)
vatican ( lunch and dinner?)
pantheon (dinner?)

Please also think of some great apertivo spots, that we can get glass of wine and some free apps.

Thank you! I have waited 20 years to go to Rome and please help it be memorable!


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    1. Thank you Jen for your recommendations. Are there particular specialties you enjoy at each of the restaurants you listed?

      I ask. because my experience is that two people can go to same restaurant, but yet have different experiences depending on the food ordered. (For example, if someone goes to a Cantonese restaurant and orders (Shanghai) soup dumplings, they are necessarily going to have great dumplings. The restaurant may offer it on the menu for the tourists, but it is not their best effort.)
      This is why I posted requesting recommendations for restaurants, and particular dishes, and indicated that we are adventurous eaters (not deterred by use of organ meats, which, I understand is used in some Roman cooking), rather than relying on other posts. (Also, it helps me discern the reliability of the advice, if the poster merely tells me that he/she has pizza or lasagna at every restaurant he/she suggests.).
      Thanks much.

      2 Replies
      1. re: 999dlc

        Most tho not all of the restaurants recommended here are traditional roman places and serve traditional roman cuisine (spaghetti or other pasta alla carbonara, gricia,amatriciana, etc) gnocchi,lamb, cicoria, etc. Its worth doing a little prep reading on the cuisine so you recognize these dishes on the menus. Similarly there are some restaurants recommended (La Gensola comes to mind) that offer the Roman dishes only to satisfy the local tastes and not because they do them it works both ways.

        Well, at Trattoria Monti (not Roman but marche food as mentioned) we enjoyed their ravioli with an egg (they are making the fresh pasta in an open kitchen) and I can particularly recall sweetbreads with funghi porcini as excellent. My advice there is to look at the board outside with their daily specials - they didnt recite them to us and gave us an english menu, grr. There have been a lot of posts about meals at this resto, search and see what others recommend. At Nerone, we enjoy their romana pastas and gnocchi and I think I liked their oxtail, but that was a while ago. At La Campana we have enjoyed their traditional pasta dishes, also such dishes such as fettucine with funghi porcini, pasta with bottarga and squash blossom, vignarola (spring),rabbit, and puntarelle (chicory salad). both La Campana and Nerone have a nice antipasto array. Id also recommend Trattoria Armando al Pantheon at lunch time, with Roman trattoria cuisine and better than average desserts (for example poached pear). they are best for the roman classic pastas and lamb dishes in my experience

        1. re: 999dlc

          Maureen has also recommended Nerone (near the Colosseum) and Checcino, two favorites. I also like Nerone, if your are in that area at mealtime.I also like Trattoria Monti, about a 20 min walk away, which offers tasty food of the Marche region. they dont take reservations at lunch so you need to be there at opening time (1) I think; reservations are a must for dinner. L'Asino d'Oro is also in the general vicinity and has a bargain lunch.

          We have in the past enjoyed La Campana, near the Spanish Steps, for lunch but its gotten some mixed reviews lately here. Others recommend Palatium and Matricianella.

          You may wind up not eating near your highlight sights - Fontana di Trevi for example - its easy to walk to adjoining areas for lunch.

          If you read through some recent threads you will see the names of the restaurants recommended, over and over by the participants here, which should give you a genuine local experience.
          Here's one thread that goes round and round with many recommendations and a lot of discussion

          also, if you put your geographic markers into the search box at the top of this board, you will access threads with suggestions in the area of the landmarks you are looking for.