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Casina Valadier Review
Every Hollywood movie from Three Coins in the Fountain to the Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone had a scene set here: a splendid pavilion set in the Villa Borghese park and designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier. Fronted by an Empire-elegant portico and home to grand salons that once welcomed King Farouk of Egypt, Richard Strauss, Gandhi, and Mussolini, "the most beautiful restaurant in Rome" finally underwent a major renovation in 2007, with mixed results. The bar area and terrace are still delightful for sipping an expensive, well-made aperitivo but the setting (gorgeous, but even the refurbished interiors could use some upkeep) and magnificent view are not matched by what the kitchen puts out, as quality is inconsistent. Fresh tagliatelle with capon, sweetbreads, and black truffle are truly delicious, but a seafood fregola (Sardinian couscous) is fishy and not Mediterranean-fresh. Main courses are simple, so quality is important, but here again: inconsistent. The wine list is surprisingly moderate on cost and offers a nice variety from up and down the peninsula. The best way to enjoy this spot is to see it both in the daylight and at night, so coming for sunset aperitivi and then gliding into dinner (well lubricated with prosecco?) may be your best bet.
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