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Feb 26, 2013 10:51 AM

Rome with a Wiggleworm - Looking for Opinions on a Restaurant List


What a great resource this forum is! We are headed to Italy in June and are planning six days in Rome. We love food -- I've been starting to do research both here and on both Elizabeth's and Kate's apps -- and am hoping you might be able to add some thoughts to the list I've compiled before. This is our first international trip with our 7 year old son and 10 year old daughter - I have waited a few years before attempting this, in part beause of the reason I'm explaining below.

My son is very well behaved with one caveat: He hates sitting still in restaurants. While he is capable of sitting through a long meal he loves having latitude to move, even walk and goof around. So outdoor seating is a plus, and outdoor seating in an area without danger of cars/scooters/fast bikes (does such a thing exist?) zooming nearby would be a really big plus. We do plan to eat most of our dinners at our hotel (we are staying near Piazza Navona/Campo di Fiori) but I'm hoping to eat lunches out, if possible.

So I have two lists, the first for take-out and eat at home, the second for lunches, plus one big night out for my husband and myself (with grandma watching the kids). This is an awesome forum - many thanks in advance for your help!

Take out:

Forno Campo de Fiori
Campo di Fioro
Antica Norcineria Viola
Dar Filettaro

For lunches out:
Taverna di Fiori Imperali
Flavio Velavevodetto
Trattoria Monti

For big night out:
Glass Hostaria

Also, as we're arriving on a Sunday, I'm toying with asking the car we're hiring from the airport to stop at the Circo Massimo market for an hour for some food shopping. My mom arrives even earlier and absolutely loves farmer's markets, so I may send her. Crazy?

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  1. Oops - missed one for the lunch out list: Chiostro di Bramante

    1. Trattoria Monti has many virtues, but I, who love sitting in restaurants, get claustrophobia there. Flavio, which I basically hated the one time I went, is probably a good bet, since it has sheltered outdoor space. And everybody else likes it. I am also a minority in not liking Glass, but I have been disappointed twice, despite a few very good dishes. There are much better places for a big night, all discussed here at length.

      The market at the Circo Massimo (via S. Teodoro) gets unspeakably crowded and hard to negotiate. I hardly ever go there any more and I can walk from home, so I would have to say it's the last place I'd go on the way in from the airport with the family waiting impatiently in the car. You can survive with a supermarket till Monday when the market at Campo de’ Fiori opens.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mbfant

        Thank you - that is very helpful, particularly the tip about the market!

        I had ruled out Il Pagliaccio because we get so much Asian and Asian fusion food here in San Francisco, I thought we'd like something different. My husband won't be bringing a dinner jacket, so that rules out La Pergola as well.

        Any other ideas of where we can eat while my son gets out his wigglies is greatly appreciated. We enjoyed fine restaurants for a decade in Manhattan and many years in the Bay Area until we had kids - how things change.

      2. Take out: forno campo fiori is good for pizza by the slice. Add roscioli's pizze and breads (esp lariano or the tozzetti, which make great sandwich rolls), you are set on the carbs. You could buy expensive fruits on campo dei fiori, cheese at the latteria around the corner from campo (across forno campo dei fiori) or even better cheeses at beppe e suoi formaggi and you are ready for your evening picnics. I don't think getting anything from the filettaro as take away is a good idea, as the fried baccala pieces are only good if eaten immedeatly and piping hot.
        For lunches with wiggleroom: trattoria monti would be the wrong place, there is not enough space. Flavio is a better idea. Another is da teo in trastevere, with outdoor seating! But reservations days ahead a must! Chiosto de bramante is a heaven in the bustle of the city, but i would make a coffee etc break there and not eat anything!
        San teodoro market is great but absolutely out of the question in your situation - but maybe sending your mom who comes in early is a good idea. There isgreat cheese and salumi there.
        For big night out, if you are getting a lot of asian fusion and don't want it here! Then i would rule out glass as well and tend towards Pipero al rex, all'oro or metamorfosi.

        1. If you are planning to eat in in the evenings, I would really suggest finding an apartment rather than a hotel.. You will save money and it will be less sordid and cramped than a hotel, as well as being more relaxed for your kids, We did both over the years including with our kids, and the apartment option is much superior in terms of being able to eat at a table, rather than perched on the side of a bed, having a real refrigerator and espresso pot, washing clothes, etc. It gives you more of a scope for enjoying the food shopping resources.

          I agree that Trattoria Monti is not a place to go with a child who needs to be active - we like it a lot, but it would be better to go there as a couple or group of adult friends.given the seating arrangements. Flavio is more spacious and informal,and has some areas that a kid could walk around away from the table - and we liked it quite a lot.. I think there are quieter streets in the pedestrianized center - including the ghetto - where you might find outside seating areas not threatened by traffic. Osteria Nerone, (not a pedestrianized area but more lightly trafficked) has an outside seating area which might work for you. But you might be even better off taking a picnic lunch into the Colle Oppio, or another park and letting the kids run around.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jen kalb

            Thank you for these great recommendations!

            I had thought about Da Teo - a few Tripadvisor reviews warned they could be unfriendly to tourists. I don't think of us as 'ugly' Americans, but I know my husband would be very put off if he saw himself being treated differently from locals around him. It otherwise looked great.

            We're staying at the Michelangelo Suite at the Navona Garden Suites - two bedrooms, two baths, eat in kitchen and private terrace. I agree I think an apartment would have been great, and definitely cheaper, but I had trouble at this point finding something similarly located that I liked as much for five people (my mother is coming with us and wants her own bedroom and bathroom). Rome books quickly! We are staying in an apartment in Venice, which I managed to find for our dates.

            Picnics would be awesome for dinner - thought it might be a
            little too hot in the middle of the day? Still unsure about the market - my mother's flight is at 8:30 am, so I thought she might be able to get there before the crush, but am not sure. I never go to the San Francisco's farmer's market after 9:30 am for the same reason.

            After reading all this I'm now leaning towards All'Oro.

            Thanks to everyone again. I'm so excited to go and will definitely post a report after our return.

            1. re: sfmom

              Certainly the kitchen and terrace will make a real difference.
              Im trying to think about places with outdoor space - Grano is not that far from you,and has an outdoor seating area facing not onto a street but onto a relatively quiet piazza/open space. It is a tad pricier and more refined than some of the places recommended and with a slight tilt to southern italian ingredients.

              We visited the Circo massimo farmers market and were not so, so impressed with the quality over and above what is available in public markets and fine food shops.around Rome. I think you will enjoy shopping in the markets generally - if you go to Flavio, you can visit the newTestaccio public market which is nearby, as well as Volpetti and other places. not about food,but the nearby Protestant Cemetery - with the pyramid of cestius set in to the side - is also fascinating with cool shade, as is the Aventine hill, with its parks, villas, ancient churches, and walk down to the Tiber/back of the Capitoline, though on our last visit there seemed to be an awful lot of homeless in the parks up there.

              in the summer, its the shade that is essential to find at midday - that and some cooling drinks!