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I will be visiting Rome for 4 days in March and staying at the Exedra Boscolo Hotel. It will not only be a short visit, but my first visit to Rome. I am trying to cram in must-see places (so MANY!!! ohmy.gif ) and must-eat restaurants. I would very much appreciate recommendations of places that are in the $50-100pp range and one in the $300-400pp range.

Thank you in advance!! laugh.gif

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http://www.cavalieri-hilton.it/new/uk/index.htm is the website for La Pergola in the

Cavalieri Hilton. This just received its THIRD Michelin star:

( http://www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr...6x%3D22%26y%3D9 )

one of only five in the entire country. (Le Calandre, Enoteca Pinchiorri, Dal Pescatore, Al Soriso) An absolutely outstanding experience that remarkably also has a breathtaking view from out its windows. Their menu, reviews, numerous photos, etc. are linked above. Expect about Euro 150 + wine per person but YOU MUST RESERVE TODAYAND I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. This is an enormously popular restaurant which is considered by almost everyone to be THE destination restaurant in Rome. And this was when it had two stars. Now, with three, it's even more over the top. They speak fluent English, it is EASY to call them and reserve over the phone. But you MUST plan WELL in advance to go here. Frankly, for a Friday or Saturday you may be looking at months for a reservation, for a weeknight a month or less. But try: this will be the experience of a lifetime.

A step below this is La Rosetta as well as Agata y Romeo. Both are considered among the three or four best in Rome; both are several steps below La Pergola.

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La Rosetta is quite fine. The mixed seafood antipasto consists of about 13 small plates. The risotto or pasta that follow will not be quite as good as the antipasto. If you go for a whole fish or other entree, you will not be able to walk. Very fun place as well.

I loved Agata e Romeo but that was 6 years ago so take it for what its worth.

We love Checco er Carretiere in Trastevree. Extremely traditional Roman food plus fresh seafood. Ver reasonable, well under €100pp even with good wine and seafood. Get a mixed raw seafood appetizer and their seasonal veggies are incredible.

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You guys (Joe and Dean) have been great with the Florence suggestions, and now Rome.  Any can't miss spots in Venice?  I'll be in all 3 places come July.

Alle Testiere is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I first posted about it on CH over five years ago and no one had ever heard of it. Today it is a rarity that any commentary about Venetian restaurants does not include it. Unfortunately, it's no longer the personal find it once was; half of the seven or eight tables will have diners speaking English. Still, it is a Great restaurant. Casual, informal without a menu. And very fairly priced. Excellent preparations of seafood. This is Frommer's on it:

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/venice/D54379.html

Da Fiore was also a real favorite when I first went in the early '90's. Then Patricia Wells called it the "best restaurant in Italy" in the mid '90's or so and their prices went up. Dramatically. It's still excellent but I view it a bit differently at $400 for two rather than $150-$200. Still, worth a visit.

Perhaps the only restaurant in Italy that is better than Rome's La Pergola is Le Calandre in Rubano which is a suburb of Padua, about 25 miles west of Venice. It is easy to get to (two turns from the Autostrada) once you leave Venice. You could even take a cab. They also have about ten or so rooms in a hotel they own. Unfortunately, this is now the most difficult reservation in the entire country. You MUST reserve at least two or more months in advance for a weekend and one or more for weeknights. Alle Testiere and da Fiore are also difficult reservations but not quite as bad. Calandre, for me, is similar to Maestro. Three and four hour tasting menus for E150-175 that are truly creative experiences. Massimiliano is the youngest three Michelin star chef ever. He has 12 in his kitchen cooking for 28 to 30 people! www.calandre.com Everyone in their dining room speaks perfect English yet the room will be mostly Europeans.

This is one of Calandre's tasting menus: http://www.calandre.com/calandre.asp?bil=i..._calandre|||ing

Edited by Joe H
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Thanks JoeH! I am on the waiting list for La Pergola...crossing my fingers. What suprises me, (as it did when planning my trip to Paris...I owe everyone a report...sorry :lol: ), is that the restaurants are very responsive to emails and follow-up questions via email. Although calling is probably the way to go, emails are so convenient...I don't have to set my alarm clock to make the call!

Dean and JoeH, from your experience, do I have to make reservations for smaller trattorias or restaurants?

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Usually no but it depends on the trattoria which really is exactly what Alle Testiore is in Venice. By the way, I usually call first and make the reservation and then send an e-mail to confirm. It's been my experience that many restaurants wait several days before responding to an e-mail. Outside of the largest cities you can often get into even the best restaurants with little or no advance notice. There are exceptions (i.e. Le Calandre outside of Padua and Dal Pescatore near Mantova) but I think that reservations usually are not as hard to come by in Italy as they are in other countries.

Good luck with La Pergola-even call them the day you arrive in Rome and ask again, even if they will allow you to come very early (i.e. 7). This is a Great restaurant and really worth the effort.

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I have a bunch of restaurant recommendations for Venice linked to my website. I love Vini da Gigio, La Frasca, La Cantina, Do Mori, Vini da Pinto (cheap but good a rarity for Venezia and Fiaschetteria Toscana.

ETA Anice Stellato!

Edited by deangold
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We'll be in Rome very briefly in March (my first time to Italy). Any recommendations for a quick, late-ish dinner near Termini station?

The set-up: due to the lack of cheap, direct flights from Madrid to Rome we'll be getting in to Fiuminico around 7:30PM just to meet up with others the next morning to rent a car and head for the countryside. We may just stay at the airport to avoid lugging bags back and forth. If we time it right we should be able to take a train into Termini (getting there 8:30 or 9:00), have a quick meal, and make the last train back to the airport (leaves 10:45 or so).

So, any recommendations for good, cheap, delicious, and preferably within walking distance to the station?

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Tasting.

Have a great time!

Dinner at La Pergola was fabulous! I strongly recommend it to anyone planning a visit to Rome. Each dish was intricately executed, refined combination of different flavors and textures, without being too overwhelming. The service was impeccable--I would say similar to Per Se but not like Le Bec Fin. Chef Heinz Beck stopped by each table and answered questions, etc. We took a break between our cheese and dessert courses and strolled along the balcony of the hotel...a must do if you are visiting the restaurant...the view is amazing!!

(I would post pictures but am having attachment issues)

Carpaccio of scampi on lime gelee with papaya, caviar, and tequila ice crush

Tagliolini with broccoli and clams

Fillet of sea bass filled with king prawns and asparagus with crispy lemon bread on green tea sorbet

Pigeon Breast on warm oranges with mulled wine sauce

Variation of duck liver on grape consomme--the best foie gras in my life!!

Braised beek cheeks

Selection of cheese from the trolley

Grand dessert

Other places we tried were: Dal Bolognese, Duo Ladroni, Agustarello a Testaccio (do visit for a local experience and stewed oxtails--one in coffee/cinammon and red wine and other in white wine and rosemary), Pizzarium (when visiting the Sistine Chapel) and Girarosotto (good tuscan steaks and open on Sunday).

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I posted over on eG and did not get much of a response so I will try over here just in case. I am going to be in Italy for 2 weeks next month, spending a week in Rome and the other driving around Abruzzo and Molise. Any chance that you folks can point me to places that I should try in the later two regions? Much prefer to know about small regional places versus the *'d up ones.

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Over at eG, you're contending with the fact that the same sort of request comes in regularly, so even the most knowledgeable folks don't bother to reply. On top of that, Alberto, the only one of the two hosts who was ever active on the forum, has resigned after a long period of being too busy or completely without a computer. So nothing gets pinned anymore.

I'd advise you to just plod through those pages upon pages in the Italian forum, including a recent "Cooking and Cuisine" thread on Lazio**; if you have the wherewithall, I am pretty sure there are restaurants there. Andrew Fenton, an archaeologist living in Rome, links his own blog to his posts and some are about food, though I don't know that he goes to restaurants much. (Molto Mario has some good info, too, and cf. travel recommendations on the Babbo web site.)

Otherwise, look for Slowtravel, a branch of Slow Food where members post responses to restaurants.

I picked up a remaindered copy of Fred Plotkin's "gourmet" guide to Italy after the Buford signing at P & P last night. Title of the book aside, Plotkin's someone I trust. Book's divided into Italian regions with lots of info on each, including Abruzzo & Molise. PM me if you can't find a copy (the PB was remaindered since a new version is out, or due, I suspect. Warning, it is nearly a decade old and I just consulted someone else who said that when he used the book 1 1/2 years ago, many of the places listed had closed). Also, David Downie's cookbook, Cooking the Roman Way has much fairly recent info. There's also a Gourmet issue devoted to Rome, March 2003.

Not the same as personal recommendations from DonRockwellians you trust, but there are posts here on Rome. ETA: I just looked at your eG post and I suspect silence may be due, instead, to focus on Abruzzo & Molise. Any particular interest in that region?

**Note the links at the beginning of the thread since there are tons of Italian web sites devoted to regional food. About.com is not tourism-driven and may include suggestions for places to eat.

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"I posted over on eG and did not get much of a response" - It was I who did answer your query, and urge you to visit Ribo for a great meal and great experience as well. Maybe you should start an "Abruzzo and Molise" thread here? Molly

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Any particular interest in that region?

Thanks for the info! I have been able to locate a ton of info on Rome, via eG, SlowTrav, etc., but info on Abruzzo and Molise is severely lacking. There is some info in the Michelin Green Guide that I have, but I am hoping to find some more. I figured this was not a normal area of request on the eG Italy board and hoped that I would get some info.

As for interest in the area, Mom comes from that area of Italy and I made a short trip there a few years ago to see some relatives. I really enjoyed the scenery, food, and lack of crowds of tourists and I wanted to spend time on this trip seeing different parts of the region.

I will look for that Plotkin book.

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Also, look in the cookbook section at bookstores for Micol Negrin's Rustico. I've seen it at some of the local Border's. Plan on bringing something to jot down notes.

This fairly recent cookbook is organized by region, offering recipes from primi through dolci followed by recommendations of places to eat and shop for culinary supplies (including food). I'm pretty sure that Abruzzo and Molise have their own, separate chapters even though Anna Del Conte, for example, says that the political division of these two regions is artificial; their cuisines are virtually identical.

Ms. Negrin is married to an Italian-born chef and runs her own culinary tours that feature different regions of Italy. I've tried only a couple of recipes (literally) and one is something I will make again and again until I get sick of it.

Here's the link to her web site. I've clicked on the page for Abruzzo where the bottom of the page probably has the same info you'll find in her published chapters. Look for the list of regions at the top of the page and you can switch to Molise yourself.

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Have you tried the Gambero Rosso web site? If you know some Italian, you can register and search for restaurant and travel information by province. I always buy their current guide when we travel to Italy, as it's not available in the US, and follow their restaurant suggestions with great success. Their "red" restaurants - "oscar for quality and price" - are standouts. We go out of our way to try them and are never disappointed! It so happens that there are currently 3 of them in Molise: Risorta Locanda del Castello in Bojano, Civita Superiore; Vecchia Trattoria da Tonino in Campobasso; and L'Elfo in Capracotta. They probably have web sites, or I could give you more info if you want to PM me. :unsure:

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Hello - does anyone have any more budget-friendly recommendtions for Rome? We're heading there in November, and it's never too early to start planning meals! La Pergola is not in the budget...prefer to stay in the 30 euros and under pp range for traditional, local, authentic eats. Staying in the Campo de Fiori area, but perfectly happy to roam. Thank you!

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I was in Rome in May 2006 and had an amazing time. The food, at times, was amazing, but there was a good deal of disappointment too. My main suggestion....just stay aware from any restaurants close to a tourist attraction. I know, it sounds obvious, but I can say that those places almost always suck. High prices, Americanized food, just plain awful.

My two suggestions for Rome include La Tartaruga and Antonio's (sometimes referred to as Antonio al Pantheon). They are completely different, but both are great. La Tartaruga is small, quaint but elegant, amazing food and great service. It is hard to find, but well worth it. Trust me, I have sent numerous people there and they all adore it. Antonio's is bigger and busy, crazy waiters running all over the place, but it has a big family feel. Bigger portions than most places we went to in Rome, very seasonal. A guy came in and sang for 20 minutes and everyone sang along, so you have to be in that type of mood.

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I was in Rome in May 2006 and had an amazing time. The food, at times, was amazing, but there was a good deal of disappointment too. My main suggestion....just stay aware from any restaurants close to a tourist attraction. I know, it sounds obvious, but I can say that those places almost always suck. High prices, Americanized food, just plain awful.

My two suggestions for Rome include La Tartaruga and Antonio's (sometimes referred to as Antonio al Pantheon). They are completely different, but both are great. La Tartaruga is small, quaint but elegant, amazing food and great service. It is hard to find, but well worth it. Trust me, I have sent numerous people there and they all adore it. Antonio's is bigger and busy, crazy waiters running all over the place, but it has a big family feel. Bigger portions than most places we went to in Rome, very seasonal. A guy came in and sang for 20 minutes and everyone sang along, so you have to be in that type of mood.

Thanks for your help.

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My main suggestion....just stay aware from any restaurants close to a tourist attraction. I know, it sounds obvious, but I can say that those places almost always suck. High prices, Americanized food, just plain awful.

That's clearly a gross generalization. I was in Rome last year and we ate at Restaurant 34 (a couple times, actually), very close to the Spanish Steps, and it was fantastic, was fairly priced, had locals as patrons, and I would return on my next trip.

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On Monday I returned from twelve days in Italy, most of the time was spent in Florence, however that portion was bookended by trips to Rome. Our first great meal in Rome was found at a homey little place called Trattoria Da Paulo. The restaurant has no printed menu, and the owner or his son will tell you what they are serving that night. The veal chop was as good as any we had on the rest of the trip, and the sauces that adorned the pastas were outstanding. My gnocchi was a little dense, but it was dressed by the most delightful ragu.

On our second night in Rome we had a great meal at Piperno. The first standout dish was their specialty, whole deep fried artichokes. These large globes are deep fried whole minus the choke. They were spectacular, not in the least bit greasy, and without any of the bitterness normally found in an artichoke. The other dish of note was the lamb offal. To my disappointment the nasty bits did not come out deep fried, but more as a stew. Wow was this good, none of the bits were overcooked and the sauce provided a nice foil to the gaminess of the organ meat (which included brains, kidney, liver, and other unidentifiable parts). The round out the dish it also contained perfectly cooked bits of artichoke.

Our last dinner in Italy was on a Sunday night, not normally an easy night to find somewhere decent to dine out in Italy. Our hotel recommended a Sardinian restaurant called La Barca. It is located near on a quiet side street between St. Peters and Castel S. Angelo. When you walk into the restaurant you are greeted with tanks of very active crustaceans and a display of whole fin fish that would make even the best stocked fish monger green with jealousy. The service at La Barca was the best that we experienced on our entire trip. I started with a sea bass crudo that was offered a great contrast in flavors. Not so much the sweetness of the fish against the acid of the lemon juice, but the light and refreshing taste of the lighter portions of the meat against the gamey and challenging tastes of the darker portions. It was a great way to start a meal. My wife’s octopus salad was tender and not in the least bit fishy, however, there were some pieces that had an off putting texture, but these were easy to identify with a poke of the fork so that they could be cast aside. My next course was a fried seafood platter that was a large dish of perfectly cooked small fish, squid, clams, and an octopus that was the size of my pinky nail. The little octopi were unbelievably good, I would be more than happy to dine on an entire plate of those little guys, but I had to make due with just four of them. The little smelt like fishes were equally as good. At the end of the meal the waiter put down four shot glasses and a bottle of lemoncello, grappa, and a blackberry liquor from Sardinia, all of these were complimentary with the meal. I tried all three, the grappa was a reasonable example (not too much jet fuel flavor, but no real nuisance either), the lemoncello was as good as any I have had, but that means nothing since I still found it too sweet for my taste, but I really fell in loved with the blackberry elixir.

On the same day that we went to La Barca we stopped into a small place called Portifino on Cola di Rienzo for a couple of drinks. Delivered with our beverages was a plate of sandwiches and other treats. Expecting a surprise in the bill if we touched it we let is sit until we could finally get the attention of a waiter, and found out that it comes with all drink orders. The drinks were very reasonably priced for Rome and the cover was only a single euro. The selection was more reminiscent of the savories you would get at afternoon tea than what you would expect on at a street café in Rome, but good and certainly welcomed.

On a pervious day we were wandering around the Coliseum/Forum area taking in the sites when a sudden downpour encouraged us to find somewhere for lunch. I wanted to search out a place that Dean had mentioned to me, but it had already been a long day of walking with little food to provide us with much energy, so we went a few blocks away from the Coliseum in search of a non-touristy place for a bite. We found an enoteca on the corner of Via dei Santissimi Quattro and V. Celiontana. The menu did not have a word of English on it so I knew right away that they did not cater to tourists. The crostini were a selection of an Italian salsa (a bit of heat to go with the fresh tomatoes), one of the better chicken liver pates we had on the trip, and a more than workable olive spread. A platter of olives and preserved vegetables was highlighted by preserved baby artichokes that did not suffer from too much vinegar.

Those were the highlights, now some of the low lights. Needing a little food after our redeye we stopped into an osteria on the corner of Viale di Trastevere and Via Marmaggi. The vegetable soup was fine, however, the pasta sauces were painfully salty, and otherwise bland. Later in the trip we stopped by Il Gelato di San Crispino to have what is purported to be some of the best gelato in Rome. I had a mixture of banana and caramel, the banana was good, but the caramel tasted like nuts nothing like caramel. I tried seven different flavors and found all but the banana to be muted, and all left too much fat on the palette. To make matters worse the staff could not have been more surely, they treated the customers as if it were our honor to be served by them. Don’t waste your energy or Euros on this place.

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Ditto Pool Boy's query -- my parents will be spending two weeks in Rome in March, and I'd like to offer them some suggestions, but the last time I was in Rome, I was a college student (!!!), so, any thoughts? They would in particular, I think, be interested in more low-key, but well-prepared, food. Local flavor is always good!

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I should clarify what I'm looking for too. Non-tourist places. Places off the beaten path are fine (but preferably not requiring a car!) and rather desirable. Places where the locals eat. Menus in English are not desired. Local food. I like all levels of food from joints, to market stands, to outside places on various piazzas to high end fine dining. I am an equal opportunity eater.

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I should clarify what I'm looking for too. Non-tourist places. Places off the beaten path are fine (but preferably not requiring a car!) and rather desirable. Places where the locals eat. Menus in English are not desired. Local food. I like all levels of food from joints, to market stands, to outside places on various piazzas to high end fine dining. I am an equal opportunity eater.

No one ever believes me when I say this, but the Chowhound Italy board is great for this if you know how to use the "I'm in Italy for 3 days, where should I eat"? posts and look for long standing posters who live there answering. Maureen Fant (mbfant on CH) is a regular Rome poster who's a transplanted NY'er, living in Rome for many years, taking groups on tours of greenmarkets and local food places, then back to cook a meal together. Her posts on CH usually cut right to the heart of where locals eat. Example of a recent thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/475581 Another poster is jen kalb, who lives in NYC but seems to be very involved with the slow food movement and know a lot about eating throughout Italy. I've followed her recommendations and have usually found them to be excellent. And here's a thread that has an extremely long but good post by Gypsy Boy: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/467030 Take a look.

We ate well while there in October but did not attempt to spend our 4 nights ferreting out non touristy places. We only wanted to get places that cooked well, even if they did so mainly for tourists. With that in mind, I'd recommend Da Pietro, Via del Pianellari 19, a verrrrry friendly, family run place with excellent breads, gnocchi and house made pastas. Be warned: he calls himself the "King of Truffles" and will upsell everything to get you to put truffles on it for extra $$$. Just politely say no... they're not necessary and actually detract from the food's taste. The food itself is very good. La Campana, Vicolo della Campana 18 is also very nice. We had excellent fried scamorzza, fried brains & artichokes (well I did, she didnt) & other good things. Both are in the Piazza Navona section, north of the piazza around Via d Portoghesi, easily found. Have fun.

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My two suggestions for Rome include La Tartaruga and Antonio's (sometimes referred to as Antonio al Pantheon). They are completely different, but both are great. La Tartaruga is small, quaint but elegant, amazing food and great service. It is hard to find, but well worth it. Trust me, I have sent numerous people there and they all adore it.

Thank you for suggesting La Tartaruga. It certainly is difficult to find, a tiny restaurant located on a narrow street about 10 minutes (walking) from the Pantheon. Blink and you'll miss it. The place is intimate, with a dozen (if that) tables. I liked the wine list: a modest selection of reasonably priced wines from all over Italy. I had a simple meal -- crostini followed by pasta with porcini mushrooms -- and loved it.

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We hit up a lot of places in Rome during our week there earlier this month. I hope to report back on all of it soon, but the standouts were La Rosetta (though I had to sell my left kidney in order to afford it), Dar Poeta (pizza crust is filled with crack, I swear), and virtually every pasta course we had. Disappointsments for Rome were virtually every 'main'/secundi course we had. Not bad, just not memorable or great.

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We hit up a lot of places in Rome during our week there earlier this month. I hope to report back on all of it soon, but the standouts were La Rosetta (though I had to sell my left kidney in order to afford it), Dar Poeta (pizza crust is filled with crack, I swear), and virtually every pasta course we had. Disappointsments for Rome were virtually every 'main'/secundi course we had. Not bad, just not memorable or great.

I was in Rome last year and Dar Poeta was my favorite restaurant, hands down. The ricotta + nutella calzone was one of the best things I've ever ever ever eaten.

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Great question as I am going in 24 hours and would love some suggestions from great dinners, to great wine to great pizza to great gelato.

Has anyone eaten well in Rome recently? One of my best friends is heading there in May and I'm doing some restaurant research for him. Thanks!

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A year and a half ago, I had lunch at Da Felice, Via Mastro Giorgio 29, Rome (Phone: 06 574 6800). It's a trattoria famous for a number of classic dishes one of which is: tonnarelli cacio e pepe. This is a plate of warm pasta that the waiter prepares at your table by tossing the pasta with cheese and fresh pepper until it creates a creamy sauce that coats every strand of pasta - and is simply delicious! It was one of the best dishes I ate on that trip. They also feature a tiramisu served in a glass that is excellent. The restaurant is closed Sunday night only. Definitely call and reserve ahead.

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I sent an email to my Roman cousin. This is what she wrote...

about your friends...

"matriciano" Via dei gracchi, 55 (near basilica san pietro) tel. 06 3213040

"piperno" Monte de Cenci,9 (quartiere ebraico) tel.06 6880 6629

"bolognese" piazza del popolo tel.06 3222799

"quinzi e gabrieli" Via delle Coppelle, 5 (near piazza del pantheon tel.06.6879389 (really good fish!)

"Trattoria al Moro" 13, vc. Bollette (near fontana di trevi) Tel. 06.678349.

"Nino" Via Borgognona, 11 (near piazza di spagna) 06.6 786752

"Tullio" Via San Nicola da Tolentino, 26 (near Via veneto)

06 474 5560.

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Has anyone eaten well in Rome recently? One of my best friends is heading there in May and I'm doing some restaurant research for him. Thanks!

Was there last two years ago. Volpetti is a great place for food shopping, and an attached separate entrance for lunches.

Dar Poeta is a pizza joint in Trasteverdi that is absolutely phenomenal.

Cavour 313 is a great little neighborhood feeling enoteca with simple little small places and great wine. Highly recommended.

Cecchino 1887 is a wonderful joint, kind of cavernous, for anyone who loves eating parts -- organs and odd bits. Highly recommended.

Capranica - very good for dinner

Terrazza Barberini is a business-y but simple and good joint. Great for lunch.

Tre Scalini is in a huge piazza and is a bit touristy, but the food is good and the people watching is entertaining

Colasanti il-Matrichiano is just north of St. Peters and is thus also possible at times to be touristy, but there are tons of locals there. The food is outstanding, the service is good until it gets busy and then the service sucks. Go when time is not an issue.

La tartaruga cantina - tiny place, family run. Simple and good, with some stuff bordering on awesome.

Honestly though, the food in Rome pales in comparison to some of the other stuff I have tried elsewhere in Italy. That said, Dar Poeta's pizza crust must have crack in it, it is so good. Instead of dessert after two pizzas,m we ordered a third to share. Have fun on your trip!

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We had lunch at Armando three months ago and it was dreadful. Food had little taste and entrees were a gloppy mess - how does the daily special fish come out floating in an insipid tomato sauce with the consistency of a rubber band? Location is good but the food is highly overrated. IMHO far better, off the Piazza Rotondo/Pantheon with outdoor seating, is Da Fortunato.

We had a great meal, again outside, at Piperno in the Ghetto - superb pasta, wonderful fried specialties, a unique seasonal funghi salad and terrific service (esp for Rome which is notorious for ADD waiters). Also, Colline Emiliane, off Piazza Barberini - excellent Bolognese meat sauces and mouth watering meat entrees (far better than Da Bolognese's chic chic effort off Piazza Popolo). Both require reservations and were packed when we were there in the late fall for lunch.

Taverna dei Imperiali is a family run trattoria-level place open seven days for lunch and dinner. Family is welcoming, bi-lingual and the food is pretty good, esp. daily specials. I was dubious but I would definitely recommend the TdI for lunch. Located not far from the Colosseum and off via dei Serpenti (which has the very best coffee in Rome at Cafe Brasil - I have sipped 'em all and this trumps by a mile the usual ones touted by the guide books).

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Has anyone eaten well in Rome recently? One of my best friends is heading there in May and I'm doing some restaurant research for him. Thanks!

My family and I just returned from a Xmas vacation where we spent 4 days in Rome. Without a doubt our favorite meal of the entire vacation was at Ristorante pizzeria la Fraschetta (Via San Francesco a Ripa, 134 00153 Roma, Italy) in Trastevere. It was recommended to us by a friend of mine who lived in the Eternal City for several years. You'll probably have to grab a cab over since it's a bit removed from all the touristy destinations but it is most definitely worth it. Red check tablecloths, garlic hanging from the ceiling, and not a single word of English was spoken by any of the diners around us in the busy trattoria. I don't know if it was in season, but they brought me this amazingly sweet melon blanketed with fresh sliced prosciutto, and my mother refused to share her pasta e fagioli. I still remember my perfectly al dente cacio e pepe and the few bites of my sister's penne arrabiata were equally amazing. The best part? All five of us had apps, pasta, split a few entrees, drank house wine and finished it off with house made tiramisu and I think the bill came to something like $135 euro. If you want something quintessential Italian I don't know if you could find something better.

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Thank you for suggesting La Tartaruga. It certainly is difficult to find, a tiny restaurant located on a narrow street about 10 minutes (walking) from the Pantheon. Blink and you'll miss it. The place is intimate, with a dozen (if that) tables. I liked the wine list: a modest selection of reasonably priced wines from all over Italy. I had a simple meal -- crostini followed by pasta with porcini mushrooms -- and loved it.

We went by La Tartaruga during lunch and dinner time on a Thursday. It was closed both times. In the evening, we saw someone (the chef/owner?) through the curtains on a laptop at a table by himself. Oh well.

Our favorite "cheap, light meal after eating way too much the night before" spot was a pizza al taglio hole-in-the wall on Via Florida (across from the Torre Argentina "cat sanctuary"). The white pizza with zucchini flowers and anchovies at Dar Poeta was also pretty good, but everything was touristy and mediocre at Da Baffetto.

None of our meals in 5 days of Rome were great from start to finish, but there were some very enjoyable dishes along the way -- the trippa alla Romana (so tender!) at La Buca di Ripetta, the fettuccine with porcini at Trattoria Al Gran Sasso, and the giant risotto ball with meat ragu at Mondo Arancina.

As for the gelato, the concord grape at San Crispino blew away what I had at Capogiro years ago and was by far our favorite (though somewhat pricey given the tiny portions). We also liked the chocolate flavors at Monteforte. Il Giolitti was a distant third. Getting to have San Crispino again at the FCO terminal was a great way to end our trip.

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Our trip was a couple of years ago so I won't try to elaborate too much for fear of poor memory or overstatement, but I thought I'd share the place where we ate b/c several posters have mentioned not have great dining experiences in Rome. We actually ate by far the best in Rome compared to Florence, Positano, and Sorrento (which, food-wise, was a complete whiff), so maybe others will have some luck with these places. I found all of these places from the reviews on the NY Times travel site.

Roscioli Restaurant--I swear I saw this place on No Reservations when Bourdain goes to Rome, but I could be wrong. Simple cooking with delicious ingredients. I think this was my wife's favorite (this place was also recommended by a colleague teaching in Rome and Frank Bruni recommended the affiliated bakery about 15 steps away on another street).

Felice a Testaccio--The raves about this place's Cacio e pepe are not hyperbole. I've never been able to recreate it. There is no printed menu, which was pretty frustrating b/c our server spoke zero English and we spoke less Italian, so we mostly guessed at our meals. But everything we had was delicious. This was my favorite b/c it equated to the quality-to-value ratio that I love about Palena Cafe. It happens to be way out of tourist territory. I actually remember my wife thinking I was an ass for insisting we go there our first night in Rome without fully understanding the bus situation yet. She was probably right. FWIW, a Times author called it "the best trattoria in Rome."

Crap, there was another restaurant rec from the Times that I can't seem to remember the name. If I ever remember it/figure it out, I'll add it later, but it happened to be the most haute/modern meal of our entire 10 day Italy trip and it was really quite good. It was the type of restaurant that took pride in its beautiful platings.

One regret of the trip: not convincing my wife to try Da I 2 Ciccioni. She was certainly intrigued, but she was also 6 months pregnant and thought the trip itself was enough of a chance without wandering into some clandestine illegal "restaurant."

Hopefully something above helps someone else in the future.

Pax,

Brian

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Excellent gelato can be found in the Piazza Navona at Gelateria Tre Fontane. This was the best we had out of significant quantities consumed in Rome, Naples, and Sorrento. The tiramisu is exquisite.

We had our final dinner, and best meal in Rome, at a small trattoria on Via Dell'Orso. It was cold, sprinkling, and windy, so I didn't get a photo of the sign, but if you are heading from the river down Via Della Scrofa, hang a right on Via Dei Portoghesi and it will turn into Via Dell'Orso. After a couple of blocks there will be a corner restaurant in a yellow ochre building with Confederate Jasmine running up the walls, and travertine tile and wood plank floors on the inside. Gorgeous food. Just fantastic. My companion had the pasta carbonara (her favorite) and pronounced it the best she'd had in her life. I had an eggplant lasagna, and spent twenty minutes discussing the method of eggplant preparation with my server. It was like the softest silk with hints of garlic and fruity olive oil, layered with fresh bufalo mozzarella - the kind that is pillowy soft - intense tomato sauce, melted parmesan. *sigh* We got the house red which was a nice Montepulciano, and left in a very happy food coma for about 20 Euro each. Simple food, but prepared with excellent ingredients and great care.

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This is going to be a long one...sorry in advance.

Just off a 10-day stay in the Eternal City. My wife and I are batshit insane, and decided it wouldn't be a big deal to bring a 1 year old to Rome for over a week...it all turned out fine, but boy were we exhausted at the end of the day (typically around 11:30pm).  So first things first: Rome is not a great place to have to rely on a stroller.  One would fare much better in Paris.  Looking past that, you'll find that most (but by no means all) restaurants in Rome are happy to accommodate a very young dining companion, and will often spend so much time with the wee one that you feel like paying them for babysitting services.

As is our custom, we rented an apartment rather than getting a hotel.  This affords us the chance to pick a neighborhood (this time it was the Jewish Ghetto), really get to know it, and skip having to stay in the more concentrated tourist zones.  A word about the neighborhood: our apartment was on Via Beatrice Cenci, 2 blocks from Ponte Garibaldi over to Trastevere, and an easy walk to pretty much everything you would want to go to.  I can't recommend the place highly enough.

On to food.  I think the best way may be to list by neighborhood.  I found that the easiest way to organize my thoughts when planning our day.

Ghetto

Sora Margherita: Tiny hole in the wall (literally) serving Roman Jewish style cuisine.  Look for a red beaded curtain with a bench sitting next to it.  Reservations a must (stop by before they open for lunch and you'll see them rolling out the pasta on the tables). Carciofi were not in season so were meh.  Cacio e pepe with ricotta was decadent and crave-worthy, and the meatballs were fantastic.  Very rustic.  Menu scrawled out on a torn piece of butcher paper in Italian only. Not sure anyone speaks English here, but everyone was friendly and helped steer us in the right direction.

Al Pompiere: Just across the alley from Sora Margherita...a totally different experience.  The restaurant is upstairs.  White tablecloths in a beautiful dining room.  Exceptional service from friendly staff.  Sweetbreads with artichokes and baccala alla romana were both stellar.  The menu offers a number of interesting offal dishes including lambs brains.  I would love to go back to explore it further.

Gelateria del Teatro: There are 2 locations.  Ricotta with fig and lavender was my favorite.  Chocolate with wine and other interesting flavors on offer.

Campo De' Fiori

Open Baladin: Kind of in between Ghetto and Campo, this is a temple to beer.  Countless bottles line the wall behind the bar, and there are 40-50 on tap.  The taps are exclusively Italian craft brews.  The menu is an Italian's take on pub grub.  I have heard mixed reviews on the burger, but I was really there to check out the beer, so I stuck to freshly made chips (American style, not British chips) dusted with paprika and served with a sweet, slightly chunky tomato sauce (not as zingy as ketchup).

Salumeria Roscioli: This was our first taste of Rome, and we were pretty sleepy, so my memory is muddled.  Astounding selection of cured meats and cheeses.  Pricy menu that I've heard is executed well.  We stuck to an enormous plate of salumi (I think 6 or 8 meats chosen by the chef) and cheese (4, including a gorgonzola with chestnut leaves that was awesome), and a plate of marinated vegetables.  I've heard service can be atrocious, but they were friendly to the ragged Americans, and brought out some biscuits and chocolate for the boy.  Note: they own a bakery (Forno Roscioli) just across the street with excellent pizza bianca and other breads that they also serve at the restaurant.

Forno Campo de' Fiori: Excellent bakery with my favorite pizza bianca.

Ruggeri Campo de' Fiori: Great store to stop in for meat to be vacuum-packed before leaving.

Barnum Cafe: Small, stylish cafe/cocktail bar. We stopped in for cafe and cornetti, but would've gone back for late night drinks if we were childless.

Ditirambo: This was recommended by an Italian friend who hadn't been for some time...it's probably declined since her visit.  The menu promised greatness, but the execution was muddled.  Pastas that sounded light and fresh were instead gooey and weighty.  The wine list was great, and the amari on offer were well-selected and off the beaten path.  Instead of just bringing out some house-wine swill when I asked for a red, the waiter/manager brought out 3 bottles and glasses for me to taste and decide on.  Same story with the amaro at the end of the meal.  Friendly guy who was really interested in making sure we were happy with our drink choices.  I wish the kitchen would have been on the same level.  Maybe it was an off day, and if you're in the area, I would definitely consider it for apperitivi.

Piazza Navona/Pantheon

Maccheroni: Restaurant in a touristy part of town...maybe the most touristy place we visited.  That said, we ate well: ravioli with zucchini flowers and pasta carbonara.  The carbonara at Perilli (see below) is touted as being the best, but I think the truth lies somewhere in between what I ate at Maccheroni and Perilli.  I like the use of a long pasta at Maccheroni (versus the rigatoni at Perilli), but I appreciated the crunch of the pork at Perilli rather than the chew at Machheroni.

Il Desiderio Preso per la Coda: We were brought here by a Roman business associate of my wife...a small restaurant and art gallery hidden just off the Piazza Navona.  No tourists to be seen, everything in Italian.  Food was fantastic, and not the typical Roman offerings.  We will most certainly visit whenever we are in Rome, and I suggest you do the same.  We started with an excellent soft cheese served with pear slices, honey, and toast.  I had a pasta dish with calamari-shaped pasta and calamari-shaped calamari in a zucchini pesto-like sauce.  Can't comment on dessert.

Bar del Fico: Straight up bar. Great outside space in a tiny square. Stop for an Aperol Spritz after the crush of humanity at Piazza Navona.

Rooftop at Grand Hotel Minerva: Great views from this place in a piazza close to the Pantheon.  Heads up: cocktails are €16 each.

Sant'Eustachio Il Cafe: Coffee shop with above-average coffee.  We started most mornings here, or:

Tazza d'Oro: On the square with the Pantheon.  Known for their coffee granita with (a lot of) whipped cream.  Great coffee in general.

Il Gelato di San Crispino: Excellent gelato chain. My wife's favorite of the trip (we visited MANY more than are listed here).  I had the honey and the vanilla bourbon.

Monti (Near the Forum and Colosseum)

L'Asino d'Oro: Pretty well-known place that has the best lunch value in town.  â‚¬13 for a set 3-course menu (3 savory courses) with water and a glass of wine.  The menu changes daily.  Highly recommended for lunch, and the regular menu looked fantastic.  Next time we'll go for dinner.

La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali: Small family-run trattoria.  Could've been a tourist trap, but was absolutely wasn't.  Fantastic food (order off the specials menu).  We started with a pancotto with chicory, beans, and tomato that I could have eaten 3 pounds of.  We shared an excellent version of amatriciana and a pasta with prosciutto, sage, and pine nuts that stole the show.

Urbana 47: Easily the worst meal of our trip.  We thought we'd branch out to this place that sells itself as a locavore joint with all produce and meat carefully sourced from local farmers.  The ingredients were all extraordinarily fresh and top notch, but were sadly ruined by a kitchen that didn't know what to do with them, and service that boggled the mind (2 hours in, and we still hadn't gotten more than our appetizer course).  My wife had a pasta with sardines and fresh figs (very odd flavor combination that didn't come close to working...it was missing salt and acid, and even then may not have come together).  I had fish that had been cooked to the consistency of cardboard.  We normally would have sent everything back, but given the time, we just wanted to get out of there. I've seen this place recommended by some pretty knowledgeable people in Rome, but I would steer clear.

2Periodico: Great cafe/bar.  It seems small up front, but there is a huge back room with loads of mismatched vintage couches and chairs.  We only stopped in for a beer, but we liked the scene.

Fatamorgana: Gelato.  This was my favorite of the trip.  Very interesting flavors using whatever herbs and other ingredients are in season.  I had basil/walnut/honey and almond/coriander that were outstanding.

Trastevere

Osteria La Gensola: They specialize in seafood, and they do it well.  We started with a fantastic sea bass ceviche with coriander seeds and a dish of sautéed chicory, potato, tomato, and bacon all topped with runny egg.  Both were tough to follow, but were topped by an excellent spaghetti alle vongole and spaghetti with sea urchin roe.  This was lunch, and we were too full to move on to secondi, but there were several fish preparations that sounded great.  All around amazing meal...definitely a place to return to.

Roma Sparita: We were brought here by some Italian friends who used to live in the neighborhood.  It's insanely popular, and reservations are a must.  Although they bill themselves as a pizzeria, the pizza is terrible (we ordered a margherita for our son).  The real draw is the pasta cacio e pepe served in a crispy parmigiano crust.  Outstanding.  We also enjoyed a giant portion of excellently grilled beef served rare with arugula, lemon juice and parmagiano.

Forno La Renella: Small bakery with excellent pizze al taglio (by the slice).  All sorts of toppings.  Filled with locals picking up bread for dinner.  I preferred the pizza bianca from Forno Campo de' Fiori, but this was by no means bad.  Open on Sundays.

Enoteca Trastevere: We stopped in only for a couple glasses of wine on the patio, which was pleasant.  Can't comment on the food, but it seemed filled with mainly tourists.

Ombre Rosse: Great bar playing punk music instead of the ubiquitous, terrible house music.  Several beers on tap, a few wines by the glass, and plenty of liquor.  Small outdoor sitting area.  Mainly youngish locals.

Fior di Luna: Another small gelato place.  Very into their natural ingredients.  Didn't care as much for the texture of the gelato here, but it was better than the icky touristy places all around the Centro Storico.

Testaccio

Perilli: A real-deal old school Roman trattoria.  No English spoken within a mile of this place, and no desire to help you out.  We went for the legendary carbonara, which is served with rigatoni.  I appreciated the crisp of the bacon, although several pieces were just on the other side of burnt.  The cacio e pepe was great as well, with a tanginess to the cheese I didn't detect at other places.  A pasta with oxtail ragu was okay, but nothing to write home about.  Definitely try the punterelle.  The roman artichoke was okay, not great.  Roast suckling pig was fine, although the crispy skin was rendered soft and mushy by smothering it with a sauce before bringing it to the table.  The bits without the sauce were great...seasoned similar to porchetta.  Grilled sweetbreads were served simply, and were either nicely done or very dry, depending on the piece you got.  An uneven meal, but a nice window into a traditional neighborhood place.  Reservations highly recommended.

Pizzeria Da Remo: Rated by many as the best version of Roman style pizza (see also: Pizzeria ai Marmi in Trastevere).  Mobbed with locals, but they turn tables fast.  Another highly kid friendly place, even though no one in the restaurant spoke any English.  The waiter actually took his own belt off to fashion a little seatbelt for the high chair, and insisted on not only bringing the boy his own small pizza marinara, but then cutting it into small pieces for him.  Roman pizza is extremely thin-crusted and crispy.  We really enjoyed our margherita and pizza bianca with zuchhini flowers and anchovies.  Suppli and other fried things were good as well.

Giolitti: Super old school gelato.  The original one is in the Centro Storico, but we happened by this place on the walk home from Da Remo.  A good, solid place for standard flavors.

Monteverde

La Gatta Mangiare: Neapolitan style pizza and excellent fritti.  It's pretty far out, but easy to get to if you hop on the #8 streetcar.  All the fried things are excellent, and shouldn't be missed.  The pizza is a great version of the neapolitan style, though I was happy to find that my favorites in the DC area stood up well against it (Pupatella & Menomale).

We hit a number of other places that didn't warrant mention, but if anyone travelling to Rome has any specific questions, I'd be happy to try to answer or find someone who can if you email me.

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