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Jan 7, 2013 11:10 AM

Rome in February

Hi there,

I apologize if I'm asking questions that get asked a lot. I read the last few dozen threads, but that's obviously only the tip of the iceberg. =)

My husband and I are taking our first trip to Italy in February. We've been to Europe before, but never Italy. We are very excited! We'll actually be in Rome, Florence and Venice, but I'll get overwhelmed and twitchy if I try to tackle all 3 in this post!

A few things about us...
- I wouldn't call us foodies, but we like good food. We both like food that is simple but well prepared. Nothing fussy or stuffy.
- Neither of us love fish but we are open to trying things out of our comfort zone.
- Budget is a big consideration for us. Neither of us are huge eaters, though, and I'm hoping that we can share a course here and there and maybe limit ourselves to 2 courses in most places. We are okay with splurging and paying around €100 for a couple dinners but would prefer to stay closer to €50 most of the time.

That said, here are our thoughts:

Day 1: Er Buchetto (lunch), Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (dinner)
Day 2: Day trip to Naples/Pompeii. I'm a little unsure about dinner here. I think the last trains to Termini leave too early for us to have dinner in Naples.
Day 3: L'asino D'oro (lunch), Armando Al Pantheon or Pizzeria da Remo (dinner)
Day 4: Pizzarium (lunch), Felice a Testaccio or Perilli (dinner)

Am I going beyond my budget? It's hard to be sure.
Are there any glaring omissions?
Day 3 is Feb 14--What is Valentines Day like in Rome? It is not a big holiday for us, so I didn't pick anything special.
My husband and I like sweet wines (love Moscato!) does anyone have any recommendations for wine?
When should I start trying to get reservations?

Thank you!

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  1. Its perfectly possible to share in Rome and it can help keep you from feeling miserably stuffed (which two full meals a day can do)

    as well as being more economical. It can also feel better to eat lightly for the first couple days after arrival. Husband and I will often order 3-4 dishes between us (including contorni)

    It looks like the last trains from Naples in the evening leave around 21:30.. That would give you time to stop for a pizza, at least, or maybe get some pastry or other items to enjoy on the train. this trip may also feel like a lot on your second day (is it the first day you are waking up in Italy?? - you may consider a day trip down to Ostia Antica instead, which is fun and less crowded than Pompeii.

    A nice way to enjoy your moscato, if you are on a budget, is to buy a bottle to drink in your hotel/apartment.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      You know, the more I think about it the more I think we should save Naples for another time. When we started planning Pompeii was a MUST for me.

      Thanks for the wine idea! This is our first trip without our kids, and sitting in our hotel reading and drinking wine sounds like a lovely evening.

    2. Valentine's Day is like Noah's Ark with all the couples. You absolutely have to have reservations, special or not.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        Thanks for the tip! Should we expect special fixe prix menus? Since it's a big deal I'm not sure whether we should try to get an early seating somewhere nice or stick with a quick pizza.

        1. re: Callea

          Just reserve a nice place for 8 o'clock. I doubt you will find prix fixe menus in places that don't normally have them. It's not like New Year's Eve. It's just that the restaurants get booked up by couples.

          1. re: Callea


            Armando al Pantheon keeps on its website an archive of all the special fixed menu events they've done in recent years. They apparently never have done a special menu for Valentine's Day. None listed in the archive and no sign yet of doing one this year. I really enjoy the food there, and it would be my pick. You can look at the menu. It doesn't list prices, but I think you'd probably be paying more than 50e, but still comfortably under 100e.


            You definitely need a reservation. The website invites people to reserve by e-mail, but having your hotel call (or confirm even if you got an e-mail back) is much safer.

            1. re: barberinibee

              Thank you for looking into that! I had seen their menu but never would have thought to search for past fixed menus.

        2. I see from your comment below, that you're going to save Naples for another trip. Good choice, I think, because you really don't have much time in Rome.

          About your choices:
          I'm not familiar with Er Bucheto, but do love Taverna dei Fori Imperiali.
          L'Asino is a great choice for you, especially since they have the 12 Euro fixed lunch menu. But it is fixed, so you eat what you get.
          Not sure I'd choose either Armando or Remo as one of my only few dinners in Rome? If one, and you definitely want to fit pizza in, then Remo.
          Perilli over Felice, for sure.

          As Maureen says, definitely make sure you reserve on the 14th. Actually, for all restaurants, make sure you reserved a few days in advance. Also for L'Asino, which always books up at lunch time.

          Of the restaurants you listed, l'Asino will probably have the best selection of sweet wines, so make sure you add one on to your lunch there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: minchilli

            Thanks Elizabeth!

            Er Buchetto is about 2 minutes away from our hotel, so it's mostly a convenience thing.

            We do definitely want pizza, both because we like pizza and because we're thinking it will be a relatively inexpensive choice.

            I just read your review of Cesare al Casaletto, and I'm hoping to get there for lunch the day we would have gone to Naples.

            If there is anything else you would recommend, I'd love to try it. Thanks for your help!

          2. We had a very nice lunch at Urbana 47 last fall - reasonably priced, modern in style and not that far from your hotel (we are usually away from home at lunch time when touring). Bit it sort of depends on when you are getting into Rome - if you will be arriving the night before, you may find yourself in an altogether different neighbornood by lunch time whereas if you are just arrived and famished, you may want to stay close..

            Note, Trattoria Monti is not that far from your hotel either - it does not take res for lunch so if you are not standing there when they open, I think at 1, you may not get in but it could be a good dinner spot..

            5 Replies
            1. re: jen kalb

              Thanks, jen! Trattoria Monti sounds amazing! If they open at 1, we should be able to make that. Our plane is due in at 11am and all our luggage is carry-on.

              I'm going to check out Urbana 27, too. I hadn't been able to identify too many places really close to our hotel so I'm thankful for the recommendations!

              1. re: Callea

                I think you will be cutting it really close for 1 pm - it can take a long time to get out of Leonardo da Vinci and then catch a train/bus, then get to your hotel, etc and then to a restaurant. On the other hand, if you check in with Monti late enough, they might have a table that has cleared. Its hard to plan in detail for an arrival lunch since you cant be sure when you will arrive- just have a back up plan, is my recommendation.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Jen's absolutely right--one o'clock would be really difficult. If you find yourself arriving in Rome when it's too late for a proper lunch, you might do better with an enoteca. Many, though not all, are open continuously throughout the afternoon and evening. You can usually find meats and cheeses, sometimes soups and pastas. I like Al Vino Al Vino in Monti, but there are lots of choices. (Both Elizabeth Minchilli's and Katie Parla's apps are helpful.)

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Eeeek, I hadn't realized it would take that long.

                    As I work through itinerary stuff I'm trying to do a bit of Plan A/Plan B stuff with both activities and restaurants.

                    Thanks again for your help!

                    1. re: Callea

                      it may not be so bad but its possible to wait for a long time in immigration lines for example if several planes come in at once - or for tactors that are less clear. And the transport into town can require more waiting in lines waiting for your bus'train to arrive and other annoyances - like the bus we bought a ticket for last time, because we thought it would be faster, and then basically waited through two buses filling up and leaving before we managed to squeeze into one. take the train

              2. Callea,
                My wife and I are doing almost the exact same trip and the exact same time! I found a restaurant reservation site that may be helpful to you:

                Thanks to the other participants in this thread for restaurant suggestions. We were planning to choose places to eat when the mood struck us. Do you think we need reservations any other night besides the 14th?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Beezwaxxx

                  Hi Beezwaxxx,

                  My impression (and I do hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong) is that you probably want to make reservations pretty much anywhere. But perhaps except for Feb 14, those can be made same day or a day ahead?

                  Thank you for the link! I think that will be very helpful!