Monti Area of Rome
Everything Elizabeth said. (only I don't love Urbana47)
+ my 2 cents
Another nice before dinner glass of wine or craft beer spot:
Fafiuche - Via della Madonna dei Monti, 79
Comfy couches, good background music - for coffee, juices and excellent sweets at Cafe 2Periodico - Via Leonina, 77 (calm & quiet during the day - busy at night)
gillian, I am wondering what you dont love about Urbana47 - we liked it quite well even tho it had a little bit of the hipster locavore ultra-earnest flavor we have a lot of in our Brooklyn neighborhood (the only restaurant I saw in Rome with an Apple laptop on a table!) - the food was well prepared and the folks were friendly for our brunch/lunch. I think its a great spot for a lighter meal, not for the traditional roman pasta and meat dishes.
Also nearby, and solid are Nerone and Trattoria Monti for a more traditional trattoria meal format.
re: jen kalb
re: jen kalb
agree 100% with gillian. Urbana 47 has been mediocre for ages. Monti isn't actually all that exciting. La Barrique is great (and waiting on outdoor seating permit...hopefully granted by July), Fatamorgana is exceptional, Gaudeo is nice for sandwiches (lovely staff but overpriced food), Espressamente is great for coffee, snacks and outdoor patio, al vino al vino is good for wine and snacks, but the rest of the neighborhood offerings are pretty meh. L'asino is cheap at lunch, but dinner is really inconsistent.
Here are my favorites:
Taverna dei Fori Imperiali: it's our own local, but books up, so make sure you reserved.
L'Asino d'Oro - creative twists on Umbrian cuisine. A great 13 Euro fixed menu at lunch.
Urbana 47 - Local, organic ingredients, modern twists on traditional recipes.
Al Vino Al Vino
Gaudeo, Via Boschetto
Zia Rosetta, Via Urbana
Le Carette, Via Madonna dei Monti. Just a good local pizza joint. If you go early enough, you can get a table outside.
Er Baretto, Via Boschetto pretty cappucino, good place for morning coffee.
Cafe de Brasile, Via dei Serpenti, excellent coffee.
Hope this helps!