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Where to stay in Rome to eat well?

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PixieM Jun 11, 2013 12:43 AM

I am currently in the process of booking a month in Rome in September. Most of the time I will be by myself, although my husband is coming over for 10 days (he works in North Africa). Today's (early) query is: what would be the best neighbourhood to stay in for a woman on her own to feel comfortable eating out locally on a daily basis? I am most definitely not going to stay inside and cook for myself! I am a big walker and explorer. I would prefer not to be that near the major tourist sites. I want to be welcomed and as local as possible. I will be working a lot with my laptop so places where I can stay and drink coffee without being hassled would be good too.

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    PixieM Jun 15, 2013 03:59 AM

    Reporting back that I have now settled on an apartment in Monti (best deal, best fit) and I am very excited....Having said no tourist sites, I am literally cheek by jowl with the colloseum but also no more than a few minutes walk from most of Elizabeth's recommendations. I will enjoy searching the board over the next couple of months for great places OUTSIDE of Monti to eat....when my husband comes over, we will certainly be aiming to get out and about. Thanks again to all.

    1. steve h. Jun 12, 2013 11:46 AM

      I'd find an apartment on the Via Giulia. It's near the Campo de' Fiori but not too close. It's plenty safe, reasonably quiet, has great character and near to everything.

      I like the neighborhood: plenty of small shops, galleries, trattoria, etc.. Been renting there (March-April) for years. I like my neighbors.

      The neighborhood is not for shut-ins. Go out, eat, explore, pay in cash, make some new friends.

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        PixieM Jun 11, 2013 11:46 PM

        Thanks for all these ideas. Good to see that a robust debate has been generated! I understand that everyone has a different idea of what a "best" neighbourhood might look like, so I wasn't expecting something definitive. Monti seems to get the most votes so far and then Prati so I will do some research. Given that it's a month, I won't be staying in a hotel, but rather an apartment - which may limit my choices if I can't get one I want, in the neighbourhood I want, for that period of time. So second and third choices/opinions are also very welcome.

        1. grandpamarian Jun 11, 2013 03:30 PM

          I'm a single woman traveller who spent a few days in Rome at the end of my very recent Italy vacation, and stayed in Monti for the first time. It was great for me, but I've mostly stayed lately in the area to the west of Piazza Farnese, don't know Prati or Testaccio at all.
          I am perhaps not as demanding as some who post here, but I found good tasty fresh food in many places along the major streets of Monti, some nice take out, and most importantly very informal places where I felt very comfortable as a single diner. I often travel alone, and am very accustomed to dining alone in Italy including Rome, and there was just something about the eating places in Monti that seemed more lone-diner friendly. Also places to sit out and have a coffee or a drink at relatively reasonable prices.

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            acssss Jun 11, 2013 10:45 AM

            Because the "Italy" threads, much like the "NY" threads are full of people who have very acute sense of things/opinions/ideas, I suggest you go to google maps and find Rome on the map - and take the little google man for a walk across the areas described here. Many of the neighborhoods mentioned, in my opinion, are not even close to the way they are being described... but different strokes for different folks!
            I don't think you want to find yourself spending a month in a place described to you as wonderful only to find out you are in a, well not a wonderful place. Tripadvisor is a good place to get a sense of what the average opinion is (383 reviews for a hotel is more informative than the few reviews you will find here)

            1 Reply
            1. re: acssss
              vinoroma Jun 11, 2013 03:18 PM

              Acssss, we are not talking about hotels here - as a first stop, we are talking about the areas, related to the points that are important for the op.

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              acssss Jun 11, 2013 08:04 AM

              Stay at the Hotel Delle Muse in Parioli! It is a small hotel in the most beautiful neighborhood - quiet - non touristy and you can take a bus or walk easily to city center. The restaurants and caffes in the area are visited mainly (and in some cases only) by locals and are the best in Roma. You will be close to the local markets as well in case you just want a small chianti, sandwich and some fruit for lunch. It is close to parks where you can sit with your laptop and work, and September is the best time to go there, because they have great deals. Go online, google them and read the reviews for yourself. I've stayed there many many times (also for a month at a time - and sometimes even more) and wouldn't stay anywhere else.

              1. minchilli Jun 11, 2013 03:18 AM

                I'd definitely recommend Monti. It has a lot of nice places to eat, but also at least a half dozen places where you would feel comfortable hanging out with either a cappucino or a glass of wine.

                It's also not overly touristy (there are no major sites in Monti) but extremely near them all.

                www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com

                3 Replies
                1. re: minchilli
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                  lisaonthecape Jun 11, 2013 12:09 PM

                  I would second Monti. Yes, it has become more hip and gentrified, but I found it a very comfortable neighborhood when I spent a week in Rome last spring before my husband joined me. Lots of comfortable spots to hang out; very walkable but also accessible to public transportation; many choices for dining; close to many sightseeing destinations but not itself overrun with crowds of tourists. I felt very safe and comfortable there as a solo woman traveler.

                  1. re: minchilli
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                    PixieM Jun 11, 2013 11:50 PM

                    Thanks Elizabeth! Are there any particular restaurants you think I would enjoy eating at on a regular basis? (and where they would not frown at me for not being a big pasta eater?!)

                    1. re: PixieM
                      minchilli Jun 12, 2013 03:15 AM

                      Yes, here are some of my Monti favorites:

                      Taverna dei Fori Imperiali - our local, but has gotten a lot of press, (sorry!) so you definitely need reservations.

                      Le Carette - the local pizzeria. If you get there early enough, you can grab one of the outdoor tables.

                      L"Asino d'Oro - much talked about on this board

                      Urbana 47 - Has gone through a lot of changes, but I like its current iteration of local and sustainable, but on the creative side.

                      Valentino (sometimes called Birreria Perroni) on Via Boschetto - quirky place with great food. Barely any pasta.

                      Gaudeo : gourmet sandwiches

                      www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com

                  2. vinoroma Jun 11, 2013 12:57 AM

                    Prati would be my first choice. Then maybe Monti.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: vinoroma
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                      PixieM Jun 11, 2013 01:02 AM

                      Can I ask what makes those particular neighbourhoods stand out for you?

                      1. re: PixieM
                        vinoroma Jun 11, 2013 09:35 AM

                        Sorry, that was a too early button-hit and then i got distracted.
                        I used to live in Prati and love it. It is not touristy (unless you stay on the vatican side), completely residential, green, close to historic center, trastevere etc if you want to walk in, has great food choices... You could stay in Prati without ever needing to leave.
                        Monti is a bit more gentrified but still very cute. A number of cafes with wifi and some good eating, but you'll definitely encounter more expats and tourists here than in Prati.
                        In case anyone wonders why Testaccio is not my recommendation: it is still good in a way but also fast losing its charm. Overrun by huge (food) tour groups, market is not as charming anymore.
                        Parioli is high class and doesn't feel like Rome at all. I also find it to be badly connected to the rest of the city.

                        1. re: vinoroma
                          mbfant Jun 11, 2013 10:10 AM

                          I think Prati is a great idea, but I don't really recognize it from your idealistic description. It has traffic, bazillions of shops, and many offices. But it also has lots of good food, and foreign visitors haven't quite grasped how well connected most of it is to the rest of Rome. The architecture is late 19th/early 20th century, as indeed is the whole street plan, so the streets are broader and straighter than in the heart of the centro storico.

                          Monti is cute, but it's sort of the nabe du jour and getting less real by the minute, as far as I can see. Also, where do you eat there? The only restaurants we used to go to there (and we live and work very near) have closed and nothing else ever comes to mind. (I realize we should get out more, but still.) I am aware of a couple of oft-cited places, but don't much care for them.

                          Testaccio is definitely not what it used to be. Those groups, whose focus appears to be more on standing around and eating while being lectured to (as opposed to actually shopping), are the coup de grace.

                          1. re: vinoroma
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                            PixieM Jun 11, 2013 11:48 PM

                            Trastevere was recommended by some Italian colleagues of my husband's (after they heard what we like when we travel) but is it maybe a bit too noisy and night-clubby? And - well - touristy?

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