Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jul 12, 2013 03:22 PM

Is it possible to have a decent lunch in Via Veneto?!

We will be arriving into Rome around 2pm after a full morning of Pompei and then the ride to Rome............we are staying at the Excelsior and presume all will be fairly tired and want something convenient - just worried that our first dining experience in Rome is tainted!

Anyway suggestions as always much appreciated.



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Instead of arriving in Rome at 2pm and trying to scurry to find an excellent lunch or settling for something lesser, consider stepping off the train in Naples, stowing your bags in the train station if you have them, and walking to Mimi alla Ferrovia, which is just 5 minutes from the train station. You can have a wonderful meal, and proceed to Rome after lunch.

    If you are traveling on a day when Mimi alla Ferrovia is not open for lunch, then you could also find an exemplary pizza in Naples near the train station if that would intrigue you. (The archeological museum in Naples is very much part of appreciating Pompei and the glories of Rome as well, so that is another reason to plan a stop in Naples).) Other people could give you recs for that (I prefer Roman pizza!


    On your way back to the train, if you love coffee and pastries, then there is a Caffe Mexico in the piazza Garibaldi, directly opposite the central station in Naples, one of the world's best cups of coffee in my experience

    and right in the same neighborhood is Attanasio, which serves hot sfogliatelle all day, both a crunchy pastry and a soft pastry variety, plus other unique treats to enjoy on the train

    In a very small radius you can have a really illuminating experience of Neapolitan food culture.

    14 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      thanks for the detailed response.............we are actually in Naples prior to Positano

      We are not taking the train we are driving by private car so I think the idea is to not take up more hours and just get to back to Via Veneto??!

      1. re: davidcotyalex

        you might find it more restful to stop at a restaurant in Pompeii after your visit (I liked touristy but good Zi Caterina, with excellent fritto misto and its big and good vegetarian antipasto display), others that have been recommended here over the years include Il Principe and Il Giardino dei Esperidi, or else on the way there are possible restuarants to stop at along the route - if you are planning to eat lunch in any event before you launch into touring in Rome, its six of one, half dozen of the other.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Actually, if you are planning a "full morning" in Pompei, the drive to Rome is 2.5 hours, so eating en route in a restaurant may be the only option if you want something other than a sandwich. It is hard to imagine how you will have dealt with traffic, what to do with the car and checking into a hotel in time to be sitting down to eat in a Rome restaurant by the time the kitchen closes if you are driving up from Pompei (unless you leave Pompei by 10.30am).

          Unless you have a private driver and are being dropped off right at your hotel? You might beat the odds leaving Pompei by 11.30 am.

          Although it doesn't serve the cucina Romana, the restaurant Colline Emiliane tends to get lots of love on Chowhound's Italy board and from ex-pats living in Rome. It's a 10 min. walk from your hotel.

          1. re: barberinibee

            thanks jen and barb - yeah I think it may come down to six of one.........

            plan is - with private driver and tour guide

            8am - depart positano
            9am-ish - tour Pompei
            11:30am - depart Pompeii
            2:00pm arrive at Excelsior

            yes I have noted colline! it is on my list.........


            1. re: davidcotyalex

              Were it me, I would want a shower and a nap when I hit the Excelsior!

              You might think I'm crazy, but I would bring from the US one of those hot-cold thermal bags they sell in supermarkets, and the night before leaving Positano, I'd fill it with tomatoes, provolone, lots of bread, anchovies, olives, fruits and non-eggy sweets and stow it in the mini bar. I'd take it with me either to eat in the car or, more likely (for the sake of my driver's upholstery), eat it in my hotel room or on the hotel terrace. Shower plus nap, then only out again once it is cool in the evening to join the passeggiata in Rome.

              1. re: davidcotyalex

                what day of the week will you be doing this?

                1. re: jen kalb

                  haha that is exactly my worry Barb!!! great idea on the picnic although might be a bit too entrepreneurial for us! :)

                  Jen it will be Friday Aug 2..............

                  we have so many good meals lined up throughout the vaca we may as well just throw in the towel on this one meal........

                  Positano on the schedule is Zass, Next2 and La Sponda for dinners with one open: Carlino, Lo Scoglio (Nerano) and Da Adolfo for lunches

                  Rome is dinners at Ristorante Paris, Roscioli, Flavio al Velavevodetto and Imago; lunches at dar Poeta and Il Sorpasso - we are deferring to our guide on one lunch

                  and then we have six lunches and dinners in Paris!

                  so like I said I think we are in good shape..............and after all that a sandwich by the side of the road may not be too bad either lol!

                  1. re: davidcotyalex

                    you may indeed feel like eating light at some point.

                    there is an Autogrill on the grounds at Pompeii - not too inspirational but it may give you fuel - and a place with fruit and juices just outside the main entrance. The main place I was thinking of enroute, Osteria del Tempo Perso in Casalvieri, just across the border in Lazio, is only open for lunch on Sunday. Slowfood also lists Enoteca Federici in nearby Ceprano and Il Ruspante in Castro dei Volsci as well (Gambero Rosso lists La Locanda del Ditirambo in the lattr town but its closed in August)

                    1. re: jen kalb


                      I am hoping so at Sorpasso as well since that is the Imago day.....

                      great ideas thanks Jen............appreciate the ideas of a stop along the way - may just be the best way to break up a long drive - and thanks for the research on when open.....I do wish we would have departed a little earlier for this trip and actually could have - was just afraid of conflicting with a certain 14 year old's baseball schedule...ah well as I am discovering there are ample places still running in August in both Rome and Paris (where I did have a bunch of Aug closure hits to our original list...)

                      off to go research those two!!!

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          i think you missed the link?

                          liked what I saw on moulin rouge in ceprano.............


                          I like going there over castro dei volsci as it seems right along the highway....compared to the prices we are paying elsewhere this is going to be quite a deal!!!

                          edit: have sent a note to the concierge at ISP to get any thougths from them as well...........stopping for lunch seems the most rationale course of action :)

                          1. re: davidcotyalex

                            sorry this was the original link I mean to add - al vecchio mulino in teano.,

                            If you are relying on tripadvisor for Moulin Rouge I would forget it - all those reviews look like shills -I would imagine that if you stop at a town of any size along your route you will find something simple - the trick is to find something delicious.

                            Personally, I think you are going to find that you are ready for your break when you leave the Pompeii Scavi which is a large site with a lot to see and hard to visit rapidly - why not adopt the relaxed attitude about lunchtime the italians do? A relaxed lunch and a bit of siesta (snoozing in your car) is one of the nicest features about the country, much more enjoyable than running around.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              oh absolutely.................just want to know my options....the hotel is the one who suggested two hours with a I have a bad hip so am not going to be up for extensive meandering - two hours plus a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Naples should do it justice i hope.............that was part of the allure of ceprano as it is straight on the highway.............but yes if there appears to be a decent option as we are pulling out we will see how we is the drive - scenic?

                    2. re: davidcotyalex

                      I'm curious if you have a private driver how much it will add to the costs if you stop for lunch en route. I am wondering too if you need to clear it well in advance with the car service, because your driver might be picking up someone else for the return trip.

                      Any idea if the Excelsior is absolutely hopeless when it comes to room service or a late lunch of light foods in the air conditioned bar?

                      I'd still be tempted to go back to my plan A, modified by having the driver take me to Napoli train station to stow the bags and heading over to Mimi alla Ferrovia. However, I also think jenkalb has a point that once you have tromped around Pompeii for several hours in August, you might want to immediately go sit someplace air'conditioned cool and eat lightly. If your driver doesn't have to whisk you to Rome, I'd pick someplace, however unatmospheric, near at hand, and eat fruity-veggie stuff and drink lots of water!

        2. The drive up from Naples is not extreme. Check into the Excelsior, clean up a bit and go grab a gelato. Giolitti is pretty close, not my favorite spot by a long shot, but the walk will help you shake off the dross after your ride. Colline Emiliane, I think, is closed the month of August. Pity, I like the place. Maybe grab a bite at a tiny place that grabs your eye as you walk about.

          2 Replies
          1. re: steve h.

            thanks Steve - definitely another option!! I think that may be right on Colline.....for some reason i seem to remember it not working now that I think of it

            1. re: davidcotyalex

              You might find this a fun and helpful read about restaurants in and near the Excelsior. For those of us who travel alot, FlyerTalk is a great resource, even if you steeply discount the food recommendations


          2. davidcotyalex,

            look what I just found!!


            Every weekday, from noon to 3pm, the Excelsior collaborates with a local organic food distributor to serve an organic "picnic"on the terrace of the hotel!

            3 Replies
            1. re: barberinibee

              hah barb you are the BEST!

              thanks for providing me another website to while away the hours lol!!! sounds like a cool website.............I also travel a fair amount on business so will definitely take a spin through

              awesome on the excelsior - nice find! definitely a just get to the hotel option...........

              you know we are close when the first day of our trip is now inside the ten day we just need to wish some good weather to Luzern as it looks a little spotty!

              thanks a million for all the above!

              1. re: davidcotyalex


                I was worried you might not come back and see that organic picnic at the Excelsior. Take their phone number with you because, if things get tight, you can probably have your driver call them from the road and ask them to make up a few picnic boxes for you if you don't think you'll arrive in time for the buffet. It also looks like a nice option for a take-along picnic in the Borghese on some days, or heading back to the hotel for a break midday for food and a shower if it is hot.

                For Italy, ignore anything but a 24 hour weather forecast, and for August, even that can be unreliable.

                1. re: barberinibee

                  hah thanks no I don't have anything better to do for the next ten days!! :) and yes definitely it is very nice to know on the westin - not sure how I missed it...?!

                  even positano?? that looks like a weatherman's dream??!!

                  I am really only concerned with the weather in Luzern as all we have planned (boating on the lake and hitting mt pilatus) are all predicated on good weather. To my prior point I am also presuming positano for the most part will be gorgeous.............fingers crossed on each!!!

            2. well still undecided on our Monday lunch

              Very well opt for something simple like heading to Il Forno in Campo

              But if we get motivated how is Renato e Luisa as an option (haven't checked for august closure but I couldn't see anything on the web site save something about December I think)? Can we get away with a light lunch of maybe appetizer and a pasta?

              As always


              Getting excited - we leave for Switzerland on Wednesday!!

              1. My advice is have a cappuccino freddo and bricoche at Buca di baco in Positano, or if they are not quite open up at Bar Mulino Verde. (it was open yesterday at 730am.) Next, stop at the Autogrill - Casallina Est there is a buffala mozzarella kiosk with fresh mozzarella and local salami. I fear you may faint from heat and hunger in Pompeii otherwise.

                if you are not tired of seafood (after 2 weeks on the Amalfi Coast I cooked a big steak last night :) One of my favorite fish spots, La Gensola, has an elegant outpost near via Veneto.
                Localino da Claudio on via Lazio 22.