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Rome dinner advice sought

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I've searched but results are a bit overwhelming, and most are not specific to my quest. I seek/request recommendations and/or advice on narrowing/focusing my search for an upscale (but not jacket required) dinner for 4 in Rome.

My traveling companion and I will meet up with my Mom and Dad in Rome for Mom's birthday. Parents appreciate fine food but are not frequent travelers outside the US. As such I'd like to find a memorable meal for her birthday. Price is probably not an issue until we start getting over about 200E per person. None of us will have attire on hand appropriate for a "Jacket Required" restaurant

Normally, I only care about food, and don't care at all about setting / view / ambiance, but this meal breaks my usual trends. We'd like a place that's attractive and comfortable, and quiet enough that a group of 4 can have a pleasant conversation over dinner. The group has pretty varied and flexible tastes. Probably something unique to Rome would be ideal, as this is probably the only time Mom will ever be in Italy. We won't have a car, so public transportation or reasonable cab ride accessibility is important. We're not sure yet where we'll be staying.

I appreciate that this may be similar to oft-posed queries. If this has been dealt with recently on CH, I would appreciate guidance in narrowing my search.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Ok I have never been here. But my grandfather who travels a lot and loves food says his favourite in Rome is Pierluigi ..it is not very "touristy" though...that is usally grandfather talk for local and not fancy.

    1. Hostaria Glass in Trastevere

      http://www.glass-restaurant.it/

      In a nutshell:

      - Not far off, easy to walk / cab to if you are staying within the ring

      - Sleek, serene, understated room.

      - Rated 1 *

      - Pricepoint: 2 tasting menus to choose from: €70/€90 - which, given the level of cooking, imho is a bargain

      - No jacket required - we were dressed in smart casual, but did see people in flip flops

      - Food is fantastic (Chef Bowerman does the fresh/seasonal/regional well), with modern touches.

      1. Thanks for the first two suggestions. Both look promising!

        1 Reply
        1. re: angra311

          Pierluigi has lots of tourists and to my mind IS rather touristy. I also dislike Glass, but many people like both.

          Jackets are a non-issue in Rome. I believe La Pergola is the only restaurant that actually states a requirement. Just as long as you look dressed for the city and not the beach, you will be sufficiently dressed up.

        2. Agata e Romeo. Food is wonderful and the atmosphere is quite conducive to having a pleasant conversation over dinner. I think it fits the bill on all the things you are looking for.

          6 Replies
          1. re: ttoommyy

            Great idea. Agata e Romeo is one of our favorites.

            1. re: mbfant

              I was surprised you hadn't jumped in earlier to suggest this; I know from reading these boards it's a favorite of yours. As we had only been there once a few years back, it's good to know the quality is still there. We will be in Rome for 3 nights in October and I think it's time to make a return visit!

              1. re: ttoommyy

                I try not to sound like a broken record and sometimes prefer to wait and see if somebody else will suggest the places I like. And I dislike, or at least am unmoved by, some of the oft-cited board faves, but don't want to be the voice of negativity. But I do love Agata e Romeo -- the persons and the restaurant -- and we had a super dinner not long ago with a visitor from northern Spain.

                1. re: mbfant

                  mbfant,

                  You might look at it this way: Most people coming to the board asking questions like the above are here for the first time. Other people who might suggest Agata e Romeo are not frequent posters. Someone who would really benefit from knowing that Agate e Romeo might be just what they are looking for might not end up hearing about it unless you mention it, even though you posted in their thread, which would be a pity.

                  In reality, nobody cares if you repeat yourself, sound like a broken record, or make negative remarks about beloved restaurants. Everybody else on the board does all 3. I think it would be better for newcomers if you were just candid in answering their questions, and let them sort it out as to where to take mom for her birthday.

                  1. re: mbfant

                    As the OP, I will say that I appreciate whatever advice you want to give, or not give, in whatever form feels appropriate to you. Personally I do not mind broken records at all, but I really do appreciate the desire to cultivate a lively community that is not dominated by one or a few voices.

                    I have really benefited in past trips from the advice of regular and strong posters (e.g. in particular Sturmi for Vienna), so really appreciate the value that folks with deep experience in a particular city bring. Thanks!

                    1. re: mbfant

                      I bookedmarked Agata e Romeo on your suggestion Maureen some months ago and I am really looking forward to it. After a couple of months of reading these boards daily, I know that regular posters have their favourites; I know that regular posters also disagree quite a lot about certain restaurants, which then leads me to do more research on them (all to the good); and also that there is now a 'list' of restaurants that almost everyone agrees on and I guess if I go too these (which I will) then I won't be the only tourist and therefore it won't be some little 'undiscovered' gem. But I will know that the food will mostly be good and the experience will be as described. So thanks to all the regulars and all the bloggers. It all helps.

              2. When you know where you are staying, it might be easier to pinpoint a place. In the meantime, you might also be able to find restaurants previously discussed on Chowhound that tick your boxes by doing google searches for "anniversary dinner Rome 2013 Chowhound Italy"

                (btw, I agree with mbfant that Pierluigi is touristy although in an upscale way (for instance, Hillary Clinton ate there when she was Sec. of State, and I think Woody Allen did when he was filming his movie in Rome). It is known to an international set. The service is very relaxing, puts one at ease, polished but genial and considerate of non-Italian speakers. The menu is not exclusively fish, but if everyone in your family prefers meat when dining out, I'd pick someplace. The venue, inside and out, is extremely appealing, and if you can sit outside in the piazza, that is certainly unique to Rome. I would say the food is elevated and special occasion, but not fussy or a parade of artworks. I wouldn't pick it for myself while in Rome, but I might pick if for my mother's birthday, maybe especially because I would be confident the staff would treat her well.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: barberinibee

                  Thanks for the "anniversary" hint - that really helped me narrow down the search results to the most relevant! I have lots of reading to do!