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Rome reservation check

Husband and I will be spending 3 nights in Rome this month, one of which is my birthday. Staying near the Pantheon and have reserved dinners at Armando al Pantheon, Pierluigi (b-day dinner), and Roscioli Ristorante. We're not in search of modern cooking on this trip, just the equivalent of what in France would be 'bistro cooking.' I would welcome comments on these choices, keeping in mind that we prefer not to travel across the city for meals. Thanks!

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  1. First of all, happy birthday!

    I think you've made excellent choices. You've managed to pick restaurants with great food, all near your hotel and all quite different from one another.

    I love Pierluigi, and think it's the perfect spot for a b-day celebration. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the price. The only thing I don't like about Pierluigi, is that if you don't know what you are ordering, the dishes can add up and get a bit out of control price wise. This tends to happen with the seafood antipasti and with the fish. So if the waiter says "would you like a little seafood antipasti' ask him to be more specific and make sure you get the price for each item. That said, it's all very good!

    Some of my favorite dishes there include: sopressata of octopus; spaghetti alle vongole; scampi risotto;

    For photos of this dishes you can see my blog post on it:

    Have a great time!


    1. I think you'll find Armando to be very much what you are looking for in the equivalent of bistro cooking. The food is fresh and simply prepared. The service is professional but easy going. You order, they bring your food. No pretenses ant you are made to feel comfortable. If you like desserts, order the torta antica Roma. It's a simple piece of cake, but it is delicious.

      Buon compleanno!

      1. Thank you both, I was hoping these were good choices. Spaghetti alle vongole on a terrace in Rome on my birthday. Priceless! (Well not quite; thanks for the heads up about cost, Elizabeth.)

        1. All 3 of these restaurants have been discussed here often over the past few years. If you use the Search feature in the upper right-hand corner of this page, you can search for comments on all 3 places. Here is what a search for "Roscioli" yields:


          1. I'm so relieved to see the comments, I have reserved all three (maybe not roscioli, have to check my emails) plus Piperno for lunch after our Ghetto tour and another I think I have forgotten. I'm getting super excited! Now just have to research gelato...

            1. Armando al Pantheon and Pierluigi are excellent choices. For the latter, ask to sit outside in the small piazza.

              1. Two-thirds of the way through, I can say we very much liked Armando and were disappointed in Pierluigi. At Armando we shared an antipasto of anchovies and endive layered and baked, had two pastas, spaghetti carbonara and fettuccine with chicken livers and gizzards, and shared a secondo of sausage and chicory. All were excellent and tasted authentic. The other diners shifted while we were there from mostly American to mostly Italian speakers as the hour got later.

                At Pierluigi we shared the octopus sopressata and each ordered a single fior di zucca. The octopus was good but oddly enough battered and had virtually no taste of the anchovy said to be within. Against my better judgement we allowed ourselves to be talked into the baked orata with potatoes and other vegetables. The waiter swore if we didn't like it we wouldn't have to pay for it. We didn't like it.

                It was distinctly over-cooked and we picked at it until it became obvious to both of us that we weren't enjoying it. With more than half remaining on our plates the waiter noticed we weren't eating it and asked why. We told him and he scooped up the plates without a word. The bill later reflected a charge for half. Fair, we thought.

                The setting was lovely, we sat on the terrace, the initial interchange between us and the waiter was fine but we were rather ignored in between courses and the in between times seemed unduly long. One doesn't want to rush through a meal but we waited quite a while for our pasta with shrimp, which we had ordered between the antipasti and the orata. I feel like I'm piling on to say the pasta needed to cook maybe 30 seconds more to have reached the al dente level.

                The clientele was a mix of foreign and Italian, again shifting to Italian after about 9:00 p.m. It was clear that many diners were known to the management

                All in all, not the meal we had hoped for. Roscioli tonight.

                6 Replies
                1. re: poppy quince

                  Glad you enjoyed Armando and appreciate the full descriptions! LIttle confused about your pulpo and the fior di zucca at Pierluigi? Surely you meant that the zucchini flower was battered and should have had the anchovy inside?

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Yes, Jen, that's exactly what I meant, sorry for the mis-typing. Our last dinner in Rome was at Roscioli where we enjoyed the meal. I remember especially the anchovies with butter on dark bread. Can you see the anchovy theme?

                    1. re: poppy quince

                      yes I did and can relate. Im looking forward to trying the indivia dish when we are able to get back to Armando's.

                  2. re: poppy quince

                    Sorry you didn't like Pierluigi. Not really clear why you are saying that the fiori di zucchini was 'oddly battered." Do you mean it had an odd batter? Or you expected it not to be battered? They always are. And the amount of anchovy is traditionally very minimal.

                    Glad you liked Armando. I'm heading there right now!


                    1. re: minchilli

                      The batter was rather thick and not crisp. In the past I've had it very light and crisp, more like a tempura than a thick batter. Maybe a different style?

                      1. re: poppy quince

                        I think the "tempura" version is the odd man out here. At least in my experience.