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Apr 24, 2014 09:08 AM

Is La Pergola, Rome, worth it?

Last Tuesday evening I was dining divinely, or as the Germans say “wie Gott in Frankreich”, at Il Convivo Troiani (* Michelin), my favorite Roman restaurant, where I have dined almost yearly since 1998. It was slow night, and the waiter, Eric (ask for him), explained that Romans had their big meal on Easter Sunday, and just two days after Easter they weren’t hungry for another. Just as well, because it gave Eric and I a chance to chat about our mutual passions: churches in Rome and fine dining. Eric asked me if I had dined in other restaurants in Rome of similar quality as Il Convivio. I mentioned Pierluigi and Agata e Romeo* (Eric said that the Troiani brothers are friends with Agata and Romeo. He endorsed Il Pagliaccio** with fervor. When he asked if I had ever been to La Pergola***, I answered "no". Eric became animated with ardor! “You really must try it if you love fine dining; it is several notches higher than Il Convivio, and worth every penny.”

Well, my fellow Chowhounders, four questions:

1. Is Eric correct to endorse Il Pagliaccio?
2. Is Eric correct to swoon over La Pergola? Is it the pinnacle of Haute Cuisine in Rome? In Italy? Is it the La Tour d'Argent of The Eternal City?
3. Can you recommend to me a banker who would loan me the money to eat at La Pergola? Study the prices on the Menu:
4. Will I spend my time in Purgatory being purged of gluttony?

A review of Il Convivio forthcoming.

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  1. A fervent yes to La Pergola! The service is absolutely sublime and our meal there was one that sticks in my mind even years later. The prices seemed reasonable to me- I seem to recall our dinner for 3 was around €600. I sincerely doubt you'll dislike it but the prices aren't so astronomical that you'll be shattered by a mediocre meal.

    1. I have made reservations for Il Convivio, Glass and Metamorfosi in Rome. What of those three would you recommend. I have heard Metamorfosi is better than Il Convivio- do you believe that? If so, why?

      11 Replies
      1. re: cpessagno

        I like Il Convivio best of the three, Metamorfosi next, and Glass at the bottom. Even though Il Convivio turned heads with its innovations when it opened about 25 years ago, today it seems much more rooted in its territory than the others, whose chefs are not even Italian. I like Metamorfosi, but don't see the point of sending nonresidents there.

        1. re: mbfant

          The point of sending non residents there (metamorfosi) becomes clear with dishes like the carbonara or bracciano eel...

          1. re: vinoroma

            At Metamorfosi? Those must be relatively recent additions to the menu. There was nothing even close last time we went. Half the menu was stuff like raw fassone.

            1. re: mbfant

              The carbonara is a signature dish, has been on for some years now. Another fave is the pasta with the sea (or smth similar), with cozze. The risotti are great too, btw. Lamb with almonds, piccione and the eel are often on the many as well.

          2. re: mbfant

            I join mbfant in endorseing Il Convivio, though full disclosure obliges me to say I have not eaten at the other two. When, cpessagne, you go to Il Covivio go there when Massimo is present, Ask him to choose a wine for you from a general catagory (red/white, region, Barolo/Brunello/Amarone etc), and then have him choose from the menu what matches the wine. You'll not be disappointed. Ask also for the waiter Eric. I ate there Feb 10 last and last Tuesday. I'll try to get my own review of Il Covivio up in the next few days, once I've overcome jetlag.

            1. re: sidcundiff


              And what about Pierluigi? I have read conflicting reports.

              1. re: bcc

                We are just torn between doing Il Convivo or Metamorfosi. Is it worth it to do both? We are only in Rome for 3 days. We could do both financially but not sure if we should do both dinners as upscale and not more local. Reviews for Metamorfosi are better on pretty much every recommendation sites- saying it's worth more value and better overall. We want good roman or authentic cusine but also want value and a good amount of food.

                1. re: cpessagno

                  O, l'infamia! When reading sidcundiff's post I didn't realize that his "cpessagne" was a typo for a user named "cpessagno"! Sorry.

                  Still, I'd love to hear if anyone has anything to say about Pierluigi. Elizabeth Minchilli seems to like it. Katie Parla seems to dislike it. Anyone else?

                  1. re: bcc

                    the search is really good for something like this. Here is one sample, if no one else comes by to comment on Pierluigi

                    1. re: bcc

                      I do my best proof reading after I've hit Reply. I ate at Pierluigi with pleasure Easter Sunday evening. Give me a few days to write a review.

                      1. re: sidcundiff

                        Thanks, we'll go for it when we're in Rome in May.

          3. To answer your question clearly then yes, Eric is probably right to swoon over La Pergola. It's a three star restaurant all the way. But when you ask 'is it the Tour d'Argent of the Eternal City' then I think I'd say also yes. In that the Tour d'Argent is probably the last place I'd send anyone wanting to get the best of what's going on in the Paris restaurant scene at the moment.

            If what you are looking for is high end dining, with all the bells and whistles, then yes, by all means go to La Pergola. I've eaten at La Pergola, and think it was a great experience both in terms of food, setting, service etc. I'm less a fan of Agata e Romeo and haven't eaten at Il Pagliaccio in years.

            But I have a hard time sending people to these places in Rome, since there are other, less expensive places (like, for instance, Metamorfosi, Glass and Marzapane) that are creative but much less expensive.


            1. We had the most amazing tasting menu dinner at La Pergola several years ago.... It is in our top 5 with the newest addition being Saison in San Franscisco.

              I would love to get back at any price point... Good luck with the banker!

              1 Reply
              1. I really have a heard time recommending La Pergola having eaten there last September. There was a dish that my fiancee and I had a hard time finishing it was so bad. The rest of the food was good, but that is the best I could say. Nothing was life changing.

                4 Replies
                1. re: redsoxfan027

                  hey would be good to hear some more about your recent Italy trips!!

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Hi Jen -

                    You are absolutely right - I have been meaning to write about my Amalfi Coast/Rome from Sept 2013 and Piemonte in March 2014 trip. I will have that up soon. We are heading back to Paris, Amalfi Coast and Tuscany/Florence for the honeymoon in Sept so I will have even more to write about soon!

                    1. re: redsoxfan027

                      wow, sounds really wonderful! - and congratulations! look forward to hearing about it!