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Sep 6, 2013 02:26 PM

4 days in Rome - end of September, help us narrow down our list!

We will have 4 evenings (Tuesday - Friday) in Rome and would love some thoughts on narrowing down this list - we appreciate atmosphere and of course, great food. We are staying near Piazza del Popolo. Here is our list... many choices are thanks to Elizabeth Minichilli's fabulous blog and app

Flavio al Velavevodetto
Taverna dei Fori Imperili
Armando al Pantheon
Cesare al Casaletto
Trattoria Monti
Antico Arco

We won't plan our lunches but want to make sure to check out some enoteccas and have some great pizza.

Thank you for weighing in on this selection on what can't be missed!

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  1. Hi, I've been to quite a few on your list in the last 10 days - see my recent trip report. Rome based chows and more experienced Roman travellers than me should be able to give you some more focused advice. I'm not doing a pizza review until I've tried more than 4 so that will happen in a week or so!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PixieM

      Thanks PixieM ... That was a great and helpful trip report. I will look forward to your pizza reviews!

    2. My thoughts on narrowing down your list is that if your main interest is delicious food and warm ambience, as opposed to going a treasure hunt for unique Roman specialties (i.e., fried artichokes, pajata, etc), then you might choose places no more than a 20 minute walk from your hotel. You don't say if you have been in Rome before, but most people spend 4 days in Rome walking their legs off sightseeing. Come 8pm, the idea of going a great distance to even a good Roman restaurant loses its lustre, since every neighborhood has good ones. Of course people will be willing to call taxis for you, but taxi rides after dinner aren't my favorite way to end a meal in Rome. I'd rather have a short stroll through the atmospheric streets.

      There are easily 4 good restaurants already on your list that are convenient to piazza del Popolo, and it is wise policy in Rome to return to a restaurant if you liked your first meal there. I'll put in a vote for Armando al Pantheon as a restaurant that consistently makes its guests happy they ate there, and I would probably choose to eat there more than once. It is less than a 20 minute walk from the piazza del Popolo.

      If it isn't possible to tell using the app how far it would be to walk from your hotel to every restaurant on your list, you can use Google maps to put in the address of your hotel, and then use the "Get Direrections" feature to insert the name of a restaurant on your list. Click the icon that shows a person walking, and you will get an estimated walking time.

      Also, just so you know, hot round pizza that you sit down to eat is an evening dish in Rome, not a lunch dish. During the day it is more common to find pizza in Rome being sold by the slice, eaten at room temperature "to go", a classic street food. To me, hot round Roman pizza is the most delicious pizza in the world, so I always try to make one of my dinners pizza. Many of the restaurants on your list are convenient to the famous sights of Rome, so going to them for lunch could be a nice, relaxing break in the middle of the day, with a simpler meal of pizza or in an enoteca for dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barberinibee

        Thanks to all your feedback. Havent been to Rome in 30 years so I know we'll cover quite a bit of ground each day. After Rome we go to the Amalfi Coast for a week and relax. Yes great food and warm ambiance but I do have to have delicious fried artichokes!

      2. I have the opposite view on Armando and suggest you take a pass. Several lunches there in the past two years were, at best, mediocre. Location is good, food is decidedly not.

        I recommend you consider booking a table outside at Piperno. The restaurant is situated on a lovely, postage stamp sized piazza, September weather in Rome is lovely and the food is consistently very good. If mushrooms are offered as a daily special, full speed ahead. Go for it.

        Roscioli, Monti, the Taverna have all been beaten to death here. Antico Arco and Roscioli offer the most "inventive" food of those on your list. Arco is dinner only and very far from your hotel, you need a taxi.

        Roscioli is cramped & tiny, not a comfortable setting for a relaxing lunch - what with the place bizzbuzzing with shoppers sniffing, snorting and poking things at the deli counter, elbowing around diners at the few tables to check out wine bottles on the wall. I am guilty of that conduct as a shopper but I also enjoyed their food sitting at a table. Food is very good, just be forewarned about the tight seating.

        Taverna is hit or miss, three times there for lunch have been mixed for us. But their location is convenient if you plan to tour in that neck of the woods so lunch is a good idea. I would definitely not make the effort to go from Popolo to Fori Imperiali for dinner. Monti has gone downhill, perhaps due to so much acclaim starting with Frank Bruni in the NY Times six plus years ago. Beyond me what his and others see there aside from the harsh lights and linoleum.

        Personally, I would plan your lunches out after a full morning of touring, then have something very simple for an early dinner vs. going out and sitting for two+ hours at a restaurant, then getting a cab back to the hotel. Too long a day, too long a commute and the food for much of those on your list just is not worth the extra effort.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wristband

          I will never argue with anybody's subjective personal take on a restaurant, but you can put the statement that the food at Armando al Pantheon is "decidedly" not good up against at least half a dozen very recent trip reports from a variety of Chowhounders who rated their meals there among the best of their trip. Wristband decided never to return, unarguably a wise choice on his or her part. Others who frequent Rome just as regularly or live there disagree and confidently recommend it.

          No way to know ahead of time whose tastebuds you share, but wanted to you to know in case you hadn't already guessed that opinions expressed on Chowhound in absolutist fashion reflect a style of writing that can sound authoritative and definitive but ain't necessarily so.

          1. re: barberinibee

            I so agree Barberinibee. I try to write and report in a way that strongly reflects MY opinion rather than a definitive this is 'crap' or this is 'fantastic and you must go' kind of way. I have come to Rome expecting that of all the recommendations I have collected, some I will end up agreeing with and some will leave me cold. Vinoroma says that she would drop Fori Imperiali but it's one of my locals and I loved it (with some qualifications). She also said that TM is still great and that is MOST definitely on my list for next week. Last night I tried a local that is not on any chow's list but they cooked a fab roast bream. Now....what to have tonight????

        2. all on your list have been discussed many times on the board, so won't go into each, but here are some points since they have been touched upon...
          antico arco is open at lunch and actually offers a 10% discount
          sitdown pizza is dinner - there are different styles, da remo for roman, tonda and gatta mangiona for "new wave" are my faves.
          was last at trattoria monti just before they closed for august vacation and it was good as ever - courteous service, great wines, impeccable food (a respite from roman classics for those of us who live here).
          please please please do not eat artichokes in rome end of september - they won't be roman artichokes (dec-may is the season) and you will be doing yourself (taste), restaurants that respect seasons and local farmers a disservice.
          for me, fori imperiali and maccheroni are two that can be dropped from the list.
          enjoy your time in rome!

          1 Reply
          1. re: vinoroma

            Thank vinoroma. I appreciate the heads up on the artichokes too.

          2. First of all, grazie! You've done a lot of research, and as others have already pointed out, most of these places have been discussed a lot on this forum.

            As far as cutting out things, definitely cross Maccheroni off the list. It's not horrible, but not worth making an effort to go to.

            Choose either Perilli or Flavio, both would be too much Testaccio in too short a time. I usually prefer Perilli, but if it's nice weather and you want to sit outside, then Flavio is best.

            The last two times I was at Cesare I had a pretty bad experience. The antpasti and the primi are great, but the secondi were very dissapointing. Also, unfortunately, if the place is full the service is excrutiatingly show for that kind of place. 2 hours to receive the main course is just too much in my opinion.


            1 Reply
            1. re: minchilli

              No, thank you! Not only is the information on your app so detailed but I love all the photography too.

              Thank you for your feedback. I believe I'm definite about Roscioli and Taverna dei Fiori Imperiali and I have narrowed down to Armando, Piperno, Perilli or Flavio, Antico Arco, Vino e Camino and now from today's postings... Pierluigi. Maybe one for lunch? We are planning to Romeo and Casa Bleve for a lunch/drink.

              Any further suggestions to narrow this down would be helpful... I guess I just need to stay in Rome longer.