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Rome Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


mogsob
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I am planning a very short trip to Rome in February to see Scotland play Italy at Rugby. This match takes place every two years in Rome, and I am trying to find a restaurant that we enjoyed eating at very much indeed on a previous trip. I was sure that at the time (possibly around 4 years ago) it had a michelin star, but I don't recognise it on the current list. From a vague feel of where it might have been on a map, and some other clues, I am now thinking that it was Il Convivio on Vicolo dei Soldati. Can anyone confirm whether this is a place that lost a star, (which would double-check my thinking) and if so whether that indicates a real sea-change at the place that would counsel against going there? Perhaps I'm wrong about the star - any feelings on how this restaurant is currently performing and whether I should I go back?

Catherine

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If you are going to Rome for a rugby international and looking for somewhere to eat, this might interest you. George Hook, Irish rugby pundit, former coach of the US Eagles, etc, etc but above all these days a bon vivant, gives an enthusiastic recommendaton to Ambasciata d'Abruzzo on the Via Pietro Tacchini. Whateverabout his views on rugby, I've found him dependable when it comes to food - in fact people who write about rugby are usually well informed on where to eat but sometimes hold the cards close to their chest.

Haven't been there but trusted family members say that it's a great restaurant, for the food, the athmosphere and the friendliness of the people - it's on my list for a future trip. As you might expect from the name, there'll be plenty of Abruzzo wines and I guess lamb.

The website is http://www.ambasciatadiabruzzo.com/index.php?cmd=contatti.

It's within walking distance of the Stade Flaminio so maybe you should book if you want to go there on the day of the match. You might find that Aquila rugby club will be occupying a fair few of the tables already.

Edited by kerriar (log)
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I quite enjoyed il Bocconcino which is just near the Colosseum. It's in a side street away from the main roads but it is really simple and really quite a good restaurant. I'll hunt down the address again if I can find it. La Rosetta was good too but a little overpriced I thought.

Here's the address

Via Ostilia, 23

00184 Roma, Italy

and the website

http://www.ilbocconcino.com/

Edited by roosterchef21 (log)
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From a vague feel of where it might have been on a map, and some other clues, I am now thinking that it was Il Convivio on Vicolo dei Soldati. Can anyone confirm whether this is a place that lost a star, (which would double-check my thinking) and if so whether that indicates a real sea-change at the place that would counsel against going there? Perhaps I'm wrong about the star - any feelings on how this restaurant is currently performing and whether I should I go back?

Il Convivio has lost a star, but I am told on good authority that we shouldn't be deterred. There was some sort of mixup. I'm just reporting what I was told, but in any case, I would certainly not hesitate to go there.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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I quite enjoyed il Bocconcino which is just near the Colosseum. It's in a side street away from the main roads but it is really simple and really quite a good restaurant. I'll hunt down the address again if I can find it. La Rosetta was good too but a little overpriced I thought.

Here's the address

Via Ostilia, 23

00184 Roma, Italy

and the website

http://www.ilbocconcino.com/

I know many people have liked this place, and it's listed in the SlowFood guide, but Franco and I have tried it twice, wanting desperately to like it because it's cute and two minutes' walk from home, but we just think it's pretty bad. Blah food and a general air of confusion.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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Il Convivio has lost a star, but I am told on good authority that we shouldn't be deterred. There was some sort of mixup. I'm just reporting what I was told, but in any case, I would certainly not hesitate to go there.

Well, I think that's the final clue - I've booked a table. Many thanks for the guidance, just what I was looking for,

Catherine

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  • 1 month later...

I will visit Rome this June, stay for three nights, with two kids at 2 and 5 but with very sophisticated tasting buds. Looking for advise of avoiding tourist traps, since we prefer to beat the crowd for early dinner, the usual follow the local trick does not always apply. I found a book "Food and Wine Rome", published last year, with raving reviews on Amazon. Wonder what anyone here think about the book or other restaurant guides in Rome.

Any suggestions good quality neighborhood restaurant are welcome, we are willing to spend but not fancy Michelin star type with the 2 year old boy (my daughter ate at Arzak when she was less than 3 but boys are different animals). We will stay in an apartment off Via Veneto, near American Embassy, walking a mile for dinner is not a problem but need to avoid rowdy places.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@ Kyeblue: although I don't eat much (if ever) around Via Veneto, I often stay near Via XX Settembre and have seen a small, simple seafood restaurant on the South-West side of Pzza Sallustio that always seems busy - it's on my list for a future visit, and within an easy walk of Via Veneto. I don't have a name, but it's the only place on that side of the piazza and has a small wood and glass frontage with a hand-written menu board. This might help?

Also, thanks to DaleJ for recommending Pizzaria Remo, via G. Branca, Testaccio. This was a very buzzy and very Roman place full of locals (and me) on Tuesday night last week. The Tables are crammed together, but the service was good (in that there was no hussle to order or clear the table - despite the queue outside). The baccala' was huge (think UK Fish & Chip shop portions) and a little stodgy, but the dimensions took the breath. A fiore di zucca was likewise gargantuan, and an excellent example. The pizza was very good: my companion had Pizza fiori di zucca which looked excellent - my cappriciosa was very good, but above all it was the great atmosphere that marked this place.

I also went to Baffetto 2 with a friend - this ticked many of the boxes above, although it was not as busy as Remo, nor as packed as the original Da Baffetto. This too was good pizza, with very good service - but a little more relaxed (on Sunday evening) if you want less bustle; it's also just North of Campo dei Fiori if you want to be more accessible to the centro storico.

And to add my thoughts on Il Bocconcino: I've visited twice and not been over-impressed. It was fine, but nothing more than that in my opinion.

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@ Kyeblue: although I don't eat much (if ever) around Via Veneto, I often stay near Via XX Settembre and have seen a small, simple seafood restaurant on the South-West side of Pzza Sallustio that always seems busy - it's on my list for a future visit, and within an easy walk of Via Veneto. I don't have a name, but it's the only place on that side of the piazza and has a small wood and glass frontage with a hand-written menu board. This might help?

Kropotkin, thanks for the lead. this board moves so slow compared to the other board but it is not dead yet. In this case, Google street view actually helped me finding the name of the place you mentioned, Cantina Cantarini, as it does not show up on google map. But consequent google search leads to quite a few reviews, including a one on Timeout. They serve meat first three days of the week and fish the rest. Definitely will check out, as fish is alway good for me.

Also, Antonello Colonna now offers Saturday and Sunday brunch at 28 euros, sounds like too good a deal to pass. has anybody been there?

And I bought David Downie's Terroir Guide (funny that the first two of the series are on italy but not france as the name may indicate), actually a very nice read, and his review is very down to the earth, and clearly point to the aspects of the restaurants that I may not like.

Edited by kyeblue (log)
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Yes, Cantina Cantarini, that's the place. I've never eaten there as I've failed to get a table three times now on week-nights as it was full (while surrounding restaurants were empty)... so I'm assuming it must be decent.

Let us know how it is - if you get there!

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We are heading to Rome for a few days the first week of June YAY...

I am making no plans at all, we will see what we see and eat what we eat.

Does anyone have a set of "rules" for choosing the best of what we find? I have seen - get out of the main plazas - don't go for places with picture menues - don't go for places with multiple translations of the menu in the windows....any other tips my dear friends?

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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We are heading to Rome for a few days the first week of June YAY...

I am making no plans at all, we will see what we see and eat what we eat.

Does anyone have a set of "rules" for choosing the best of what we find? I have seen - get out of the main plazas - don't go for places with picture menues - don't go for places with multiple translations of the menu in the windows....any other tips my dear friends?

tracey

Hi Tracey -

We went two years ago and planned quite a few days around restaurant recommendations from egullet and a few other sites. I just kept a list and would try to find a recommended rest close to where we were when we got hungry. However, there were days where our itinerary didn't allow this and we got burnt several times. Got charged ridiculous amounts for soda at one place and wine at another. Most places, we asked for the house wine - decent and reasonable. But one tourist place near the Colosseum charged almost $100 bucks for a bottle of wine that waiter said was the house wine. Most spur of the moment restaurants in tourist areas were terrible and outside were fine, although not as good as the researched ones.

Have a great time!

Edited by llc45 (log)
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The last time I went to Cantina Cantarini, which I used to think was adorable and genuine, I thought it was pretty pathetic, and the time before that my Italian dining companions were totally underwhelmed. In any case, it doesn’t have fish every day. The system is, or at least used to be, that certain days of the week were for fish, others for meat. I forget which days, exc presumably Friday can be counted on for fish. It gets very crowded and is in a nice piazza with tables outside. It stands out for being an old-style trattoria and a bargain in a high-rent neighborhood, but it's not a gastronomic destination.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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I am making no plans at all, we will see what we see and eat what we eat. ...

The first rule is Do your homework. The footloose approach you describe is guaranteed to make you waste a number of precious meal slots. There is very good food in Rome, but Rome has been fleecing tourists for millennia. Your breezy optimism suggests you have never been here before, which is all the more reason to be prepared.

In addition to having a decent list of places in your pocket, even if you don't want to plan when to go to them, you should also have done some reading about what the typical Roman dishes are. Also, carry a mobile phone. When you get hungry, call a place on your list to make sure they're open and have a table. You don't have to reserve very far in advance in Rome at average places (half an hour is often sufficient except on weekends), but it helps avoid disappointment.

The lower rung of tourist places is easily identified by blackboards outside, preprinted menus with way too many dishes listed, and a waitperson standing outside inviting you in. The more insidious type of tourist trap is harder to identify till you're inside, and sometimes till the bill comes, which brings me back to doing your homework. In general, the guidebooks and boards like this list restaurants that are, if not always brilliant, at least honest. The hotel concierge may have his own reasons for recommending a place. Savvy choosers look for corroboration. The concierge may recommend a good place, and you'll know it if someone else has recommended it too.

Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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Maureen -

Your recommendations helped so much when I went and I religiously read your blog for months before I went. We stayed in Testaccio in an apartment and I was able to anticipate what I would find in their market. Based on the research I did here and elsewhere, I had a list of really terrific places that we would never have a change of encountering otherwise. An example is the Innocenti Biscottificio Artigiano bakery in Trastevere. I found it described on 101cookbooks.com. It was tucked away on a litle side street that a tourist would never find. We walked by it few times because it was kind of hidden. My family still talks about sitting in the park with a view of the city and eating the most delectable cookies and biscotti. Ditto a restaurant in Testaccio that was recommended on egullet.

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Maureen, your honest critical opinions are always invaluable to the community on this or the other board. I am still doing some research on what to eat but have some solid ideas from Downie's book. I will have a very short stay in rome over a weekend (from Friday evening to Monday morning, 6/18-6/21) and with two young children (so that we need to avoid restaurants that are too formal, or too jammed or too slow). What I do not want to miss are roman specialities at their (relatively) best, if fits the season, such as artichoke, zucchini flowers, puntarella, porchetta, maiale in tegame al latte (I am a big fan of the pork cut of the neck), abbacchio, and Carbonara and Amatriciana, wild strawberry, feel free to add if I missed some thing. I also miss fresh fava bean but doubt it will be in season in June. I never saw them in NY, maybe I should plant some in my backyard. The budget I will feel comfortable is between 100-150 euro for two adults and two young children, including a bottle of moderate wine. I think that we would like to stay in the center for most part but will need to know a few places near Vatican in case we are hungry when visiting there. Also, is Antonello Colonna's Saturday/Sunday brunch worth going?

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Ok Ok...I will try to plan. I have spent about 40 hours reading hotel reviews trying to find one in my budget and location, I think we are going with Hotel Milo 2 blocks from the central train station.

I was originally planning a trip to Sicily but my husband started asking if we were going to get to see the Colosseum and the Vatican and the Forum and... We are now going to Rome and Naples, 3 days and 4 days respectively.

I don't have great food memories of Rome because I went on a Highschool trip and places that can serve 75ppl aren't very good. On that trip we had one afternoon in Rome for a free meal, and I did manage a Gelato somewhere near the Hollywood Hotel. I remember most of my meals from that trip - Milan to Sorrento due to how bad they were and my inexperience with food at the time,(like when I ordered a ham sandwich...the only ham I knew was pink and wet)

Last night my husband asked if I had any "people" in Rome since we had so much fun meeting John Talbott in Paris

Tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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It is always a real treat to read Maureen Fant's comments. Maureen, you've given me good advice over the years in your old New York Times articles and in your wonderful 2000 paperback "Trattorias of Rome, Florence, and Venice"! Many of your suggestions are still great. I'm glad to hear that Il Convivio is still excellent, as that has been my favorite restaurant in Rome. For quite some time I've been meaning to post my impressions of several restaurants from a visit to Rome last February. So better late than never:

I was taken by friends for lunch to Tram Tram, in the San Lorenzo area near the Sapienza University department I was visiting. A wonderful meal: Puntarelle alla Romana (unfortunately, kyeblu, I think this delicious salad vegetable is already out of season for your visit), Minestra di Broccoli e Arzilla (a fish soup with broccoli and skate), and Involtini di Spada (little roulades of swordfish with some sort of vegetable filling). All delicious, served in a very friendly, completely informal manner. Three of my companions at this meal live in Rome and this is one of their favorite places.

Another meal I enjoyed on that visit was dinner at la Campana, just near the Tevere north of Piazza Navona: more puntarelle (when in season, I can't get enough of these delicious greens with anchovy dressing), and for a main course, Gallina alla diavolo (pressed chicken with crispy tasty skin). Diners at the next table over were relishing their crispy artichokes and the pastas looked great. As it was a February evening, there were few tourists, but the place was packed and many diners seemed to be regulars welcomed in a familiar way by the waitstaff. This is the trattoria I love -- unpretentious, yet with nice white tablecloths, very local, but with high quality food, good bread, and inexpensive quartinos of house wine. (Both of these places are in Maureen's book, and I liked them very much. What's your opinion now Maureen?)

I can also recommend Monte Caruso Cicilardone, near Santa Maria Maggiore, not far from the Termini station. The food here is not Roman, but is of Basilicata. For lunch I had a simple but delicious zuppa di verdura, followed by involtini di vitello basilicata, which were tightly rolled very thin slices of veal filled with prosciutto and mozzarella with a rich sauce of fresh green peas. I enjoyed the excellent bread with peppercorns and glasses of a greco di tufo from Basilicata. I'd like to try more things here on my next trip to Rome.

Osteria Nerone, in the Monti district on the Oppio hill near San Pietro in Vincoli, was a bit disappointing. The minestrone seemed too pasta-rich, and devoid of flavorful vegetables. The abbacchio was tasty, but perhaps a bit drier than it should have been. Service was very friendly.

A surprise for me was Corte del Grillo, located on the little street that runs behind Trajan's Market. I had walked there at lunchtime expecting to find Papak, an old favorite, but Papak was gone, replaced by this somewhat trendy (and more expensive) place devoted entirely to fish. I decided to try it out, and ordered quite unconventionally the "grande degustazione di antipasti caldi e freddi" followed by spaghetti alle vonglole. The antipasti turned out to be a formidable succession of insalata di mare, skate (warm) in olive oil, eggplant stuffed with fish, grilled breaded fish, and warm octopus, all very tasty and a meal in itself (25 Euros). I almost couldn't finish the spaghetti alle vongole that followed, but in any case, the pasta did not impress me particularly, and was expensive. I'd like to try this place again and order other dishes from the menu.

Finally, a good word for 'Gusto, at least for the branch on the north side of the Piazza Augusto Imperiale in the building with the interesting (if annoying) fascist freeze on the facade. The buffet lunch in the front part of the restaurant at 10 Euros was a great deal. For this price one can take portions of six different dishes, mostly cold, but including a pasta choice, and the price also includes mineral water. The main restaurant, which I've not tried, is much more expensive and features fish.

I'd be interested if anyone has tried these places within the last year and if so, what your opinion is. I'll be in Italy (but not in Rome) in June and will post again when I return.

Edited by vigna (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Recently back from a week in Frascatti. Took in a couple of lunches in Rome, firstly at Ditirambo - near Campo de Fiori. The main reason I ended up here was that I recognised the name from past trips and it had started raining heavily.

We ate Seafood tasting plate and antipasti de casa. Both were ok. The langoustine was a bit overdone and fluffy textured, but the rest of the items (scallops, razor clams and octopus) were ok. The other antipasti featured some quite nice mozzarella and ricotta, some ham and fried zucchini flowers and finally rustic pie. All tasted fine, although the pie was hot with cold spots almost like it had been microwaved.

Next came tagliolini with baby squid and clams. Simply prepared and described as "ok, just ok".

I liked the sound of tortelli of guinea fowl with truffle but they had sold out, so I chose, without adequate consideration, roast beef with potatoes and beans. This was a poor choice. It was fridge cold. The beef the beans and the potatoes, all icy cold. Didn't bother with dessert or coffee. Not the best.

Much better was lunch in La Rosetta.

We ate the E50 lunch menu comprising of five courses and as much bread as you can eat. The bread was much finer textured than the usual rustic slices offered and came with butter, perhaps beacuse we were english, but a little butter was a nice touch.

Firstly we had three very delicious oysters.

Next, a plate of three parts - tuna with strawberry vinegar and thyme - grilled octopus salmorglio sauce and potatoes - fried calamari with zucchini strings.

Pasta was rigatoni with grouper, tomato and salted ricotta. This was really good.

Next came John Dory "acqua pazza" style with potatoes. I love john dory so I was very happy.

Dessert was panna cotta with wild berries. A couple of coffees a bottle of prosecco and some water made for a very satisfying couple of hours.

It was all very delicious.

Martin

Martin

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  • 4 months later...

My wife and I are taking our honeymoon in December, and will be spending a week in Rome (and a week in London and one in Florence...rough life, right?). I studied in Rome for a semester in 2002, but that's 8 years ago now (!) and, of course, I was a callow (and broke) undergrad. I'm only marginally less broke now, but I know for sure I'm a better eater (just ask my scale), so I don't really trust my food memories from that trip. My two favorites were Remo (glad to see it's still good, according to this thread) and Taverna de' Mercanti--has anyone been to the latter recently?

Apart from wanting a report on an old haunt, I was hoping to get a rather more concise list of places to try than this whole 13-page thread can provide. A few names keep popping up--La Pergola is out of our range, though we do want to do at least one more formal/upscale meal; is Agata e Romeo the spot for that? Otherwise, what are the best mid-range, classical Roman spots, right now? (We'll be staying in Trastevere but don't mind traveling for a great dish of amatriciana.) And, for those who have been during la stagione natale, are most restaurants open around Christmas? Also, what's Roman winter food like? Any chance there will be artichokes available?

Thanks in advance for your help! I promise to report back after the trip!

"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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  • 2 months later...

We are heading to Rome for a few days the first week of June YAY...

I am making no plans at all, we will see what we see and eat what we eat.

tracey

I am off to Rome for 5 days on thursday.

I was planning to take this approach, as I don't have an itinerary of places to visit. But the comments rooftop got to this statement has made me think otherwise.

Thanks for changing my mind on that at least.

I'd better read this huge thread!

Edited - quoted wrong reply!

Edited by offcentre (log)
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Okay, I haven't quite finished reading this thread yet, but I have a list.

I will be in Rome over this weekend (thursday to monday) with the family, which includes a 2 year old and a 6 year old.

We will be going to the usual tourist areas. Staying at Residenza Cellini on Via Modena next to Repubblica metro. Breakfast in hotel, more often than not lunch on the go or a picnic, and casual dining in the evening.

Here is my list, garnered from this thread, slow food site and a couple of others. It's a bit short on deli-style places I think, so tips on good places to pick up a slice, or some good bread and cheese etc. If there's any glaring omissions I'd like to hear of those too. Plus if anywhere is too formal, or not appropriate for kids of our age I'd appreciate striking a few off the list too. I guess the fact we want informal will mean cost will be low to medium - I don't want to pay more than 35 euro per person, plus wine.

The list is long as I don't care to plan too much, so imagine we'll be somewhere, realise we're hungry, refer to list and find closest suitable place.

Ah...localities may not be accurate but not to worry, I have a thumbnail map from google next to each one on the list!

Vatican

Pizzarium

Osteria dell'Angelo

La Credenza

Villa Alda

Fata Morgana

Pantheon

Matricianella

Da Armando al Pantheon

Del Cavalier Gino

La Vecchia Locanda

Trastaverre

Dar Poeta

Antico Forno

Testaccio

Agustarello

Pizzaria Remo

Felice

Ne Arte ne Parte

Campo de Fiori

Ditirambo

Monserrato

Da Baffetto

Da Sergio

Centro Storico

Trattoria da Gino

Palatium

Colloseo

Il Bocconcino

Trevi

Trattoria ai Monti

L'oste della Bon'ora

Zaraza

Pommidoro

Trattoria Monti

Trattoria Cardona

Tram Tram

I fancy a mooch around the ghetto at some point - is there anything on my list in that area?

If anyone fancies answering any of the above questions I'd be grateful!

thanks

Edited by offcentre (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

So, how was the trip, offcentre?

I've just come to the thread to start thinking about a trip we're making in the spring. We're staying Campo de Fiore and will be looking for eats there, or nearby. A mix of casual and upmarket.

John Hartley

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