Rome near Spanish Steps
We'll be staying on via Sistina near the Spanish Steps for a weekend in early April. For dinner, I'd like to stay walking distance from the hotel or, if further away, it must be something really special.
Near the hotel, I was thinking about these 3 places: Nino, Alla Rampa and Palatium. I know Nino is Tuscan and Palatium Lazian, but what is Alla Rampa? And are these restaurants still great? I've read reviews from several years back...
I was also thinking about having one special dinner. Is there a modern, creative, innovative and still decidedly Italian (better yet, Lazian) restaurant in Rome? If the food is really amazing, then all the other factors (price, location...) don't matter. Otherwise I prefer the simple no-fuss genuine Italian trattoria. What are your thoughts?
And lastly, what is seasonal at the beginning of April in Rome? I guess it's a little awkward time - too late for citrus, too early for artichokes, right? So what to eat?
Thanks a lot!
I ate at Alla Rampa 3-4 times last April so maybe I can help you. For lunch, the big attraction is a large antipasto table which I think is 10 Euros for a single visit. It is pretty good if you want a lighter lunch, and is quite popular. There is large patio which fills up quickly for lunch. There always seem to be alot of travelling Italian businessmen at lunch which I guess is a good sign. The main room is very large and gets very noisy due to the sheer number of people. I was surprised how early it fills up. The menu is huge with anything you can think of on it. I know this is usually a bad sign but the artichokes, pasta, lamb and veal were good, and a very good value for central Rome. The portions are substantial. It has the feel of a tourist restaurant, and there are many Americans, but also many vacationing Italian families at dinner. There are obviously many places with better atmosphere and food, but if staying in Via Sistina area and its raining or you don't feel like a long walk, you can eat well there. If you want great pasta in the Bolognese style Coline Emiliane is well worth walking down the hill to the Piazza Barberini but you definitely need a reservation and be prepared for brusque service.
I've nver been to Alla Rampa but I have gotten the impression it is huge and serves very large groups, perhaps even tour groups. You can look up the menu online and I guess one might call the kitchen "pan-Italian"
If you are willing to add the cuisine of Bologna as well as Tuscany to your Roman stay, then Colline Emiliane has been recommended on this board (I've never been) and it is a 5 minute walk from your hotel. You might want to look up some of those reviews, and you can look at pictures online:
I love Nino's. Very old fashioned, traditional. Yes, sort of Tuscan, but very elegant and old world.
Another option, near your hotel, if you like fish, is Localino da Claudio, on Via Lazio.Opened by the owners of La Gensola, it's mostly fish, and excellent.
Worth a trip for innovative, creative yet still Roman: I'd send you to either Glass or Metamorfosi. Both modern, but not stuffy. Not cheap, but well worth the cost.
Artichokes are already starting to show up. Not local yet, but from the south of Italy, Puglia mostly. The seasons have been so wacky lately, it's hard to predict.