American & other food in Rome??

Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM
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From one of my trip reports:

*Ristaurante Tre Archi, on via dei Coronari 233. Here is a local place even though it is very near P. Navona. Businessmen come in and silently dine alone, night after night. Local couples come in and quietly dine on the good simple food. Not much on atmosphere, but with the good food and professional service, it is a good place to dine alone if you feel squeemish about that. Really excellent minestrone soup, roasted vegetables, fresh fish. (and chicken)
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:38 PM
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Every butcher shop I have seen has raw chicken.

You can write down all the meats you like in Italian and then just show it to the butcher.

Same with vegetables.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:39 PM
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"Appears we can agree that you have different taste buds than we do! Aren't the differences of humans a wonderful thing!"

No need to be passive-aggressive. I read your post and all your explanations. I still find it baffling and confusing.

People have given you some great suggestions. I think you've painted yourself into a culinary corner and convinced yourself that there isn't stuff besides pizza, pasta, and panini. I like the suggestion of avoiding the tourist-class restaurants and seeing what else is out there.
MikeT is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Hi Julie:
I find most Italian restaurant menu's similar to what we eat in the U.S. Salads, steaks, lamb, soups, cheese, fruit.
It seems like most major Europeans cities have all the chain restaurant too. They shouldn't be that hard to find.

I would look for a good restaurant guide which will probably have sections by type of food, and/or ask the hotel "locals" what they recommend.

I crave Mexican food when we travel (like we can get on any corner in our city). So I know how you feel!!
nanabee is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:42 PM
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I've been to Tre Archi 3 times and love it. It's in every Rome trip report. The have wonderful spinach souffles.

Julie, I was born and raised in Texas and am well aware of the variety of food here and in the countries I have visited. I will say that you should not compare eating a different kind of lettuce to eating the balls of what ever animal you were referring to..that's not what I'd call branching out and trying something foreign. I'm simply saying that you don't have to limit your eating to a potato when there are many things like steak and baked chicken on the menu.

Also, in every restaurant I can recall, they always have grilled vegetables that you can order as an appetizer. I always get that to start off with and they never fail to please. So, now you know how Rome is and you go with your eyes wide open. Hopefully we won't read later about how horrible your trip was because there was no ice berg lettuce. I hope you find something good.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Wow, some great options; lots of them! We really appreciate your help.

SeaUrchin, thanks for the dining info. We don't really get pasta-ed out at home. We love American Italian. We just don't like "naked" pasta, which is what we found in Rome. Of course, Italians don't like all of the "stuff" we put on our pasta dishes.

Casa, funny about your Chinese experience in Italy. We found a Chinese place in Venice & ate chicken fried rice. I can guarantee you it was not chicken! But we liked it.

Thanks kopp for the supermarket info. That will be a big help. Is your Pantheon area grocery one of those or in addition? By the way, are you a southern gal, maybe a Georgia peach?

travelnut, I read the description of your dining offers to DH & he was very pleased. Sounds like his kind of food! With that & Hard Rock & apartment cooking & some Italian food (yes, we do eat it sometimes), we will have variety.

But if anyone knows of any others, please post - just lets me encourage a longer trip!

Thanks, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:50 PM
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We're just back from Rome. My husband (Texan) after about a week said no more tomato or mozzarella. He was so happy to eat at the Pantheon McDonald's that night!

Our first night we went to Insalata Ricca near Piazza Navona. We had big salads that came with dressings. Not you American choices, but not oil and vinegar either. they had a huge variety and we were pleased. Jack had a steak that was thin and plain and tasty. Nothing "italian" about it if that makes sense. Just normal food.

There is the Big Apple Restaurant (close in name) off of Piazza Navona.
Go to Tre Scalini corner, then head up the little street. It will be on the left hand side. We almost ate their
since it was July 4th. An American menu.

There was an Irish Pub near the Pantheon as well, but it seemed to me that there was alot of Italian food on the menu.

I didn't have my McDonald's breakdown for another week. One night in Lake Como it was a big bag of burgers and a ppv movie.

Good question and I like the thread.

Our first meal back home was buffalo chicken wings and Bill made fajitas.

But we're missing Italy. I've been making Caprese salads for lunch and Bill is making veal chops for dinner.
GranthamMommy is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Julie, your last post has me really confused. You like American pasta but not Italian pasta? I thought all the pasta, panini and pizza was the problem.

Due to limiting carbs, we limit these items too if we are staying in Italy a while. It is not a problem that I can see.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:34 PM
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The vegetarian restaurant previously referred to in this thread is Margutta on the via Margutta (near Piazza del Popolo). I would describe the food as quite rigorously Italian -- so not an option if you don't like Italian food.

I sympathize with you. I went to Berlin and found I hate German food. I had a hell of time finding alternatives. Fortunately I do like Turkish food and I found an Indian place.

There is a large Arab population in Roma, so you can find Kebabs and tabbouleh if you like that. Just ask around. Chinese restaurants are all over Roma, too.

Try asking Italians. Ask the Romans. They no doubt can point you to Indian places, hamburger joints, rib places, and steak houses. One of the reasons Italy doesn't have a lot of ethnic food is because it not only was an exporter of labor rather than an importer, it just hasn't been an Empire for a long time, or conquered for a long time. If you go up toward Venice and Verona and further north, you'll get that bratwurst you're craving.
fall06 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:48 PM
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I too am baffled but to each their own. Although anyone who would prefer Olive Garden type pasta to what is found it Italy is certainly marching to the beat of their own drummer. The problem with finding a variety of international food in Italy is because Italians LOVE their own food. And they prefer their own region's food to any other region's. And their mother's food to anyone else's. For a Roman, going to a restaurant that specializes in dishes from Emilia Romagna is to try something different. But, there are some international places in Rome that you might try:
Oliphant has been mentioned. TexMex but nothing close to what you'd find in the USA.
Abbey Pub. Burgers, steaks, and chicken fingers.
L'Eau Vive and Charley's Saucerie. French, but not Taillevant.
Margutta Vegetariano. Vegetarian.
Insalata Ricca. A chain. Lots of salads.
Filetarro di Santa Barbara. OK, it's Roman. But the deep fried cod is better than any fish and chips in London.
Maharajah. Decent Indian.
Grinisa is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 03:49 PM
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I don't know if it is good as I haven't been there, but there is a Chinese restaurant on Via Firenze, very close to where it runs into Via Septembre (close to Via Firenze 38).
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:08 PM
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If Italians can LOVE their own food, why can't Americans LOVE their own food? What is the intellectual puzzle here? You should hear Spaniards talk about Italian food. A lot of them hate it -- and vice versa.

fall06 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:10 PM
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PS: Am I the only person talking about Margutta who has actually eaten there? It's an Italian vegetarian restaurant -- lots of pasta, lots of cheese, lots of olive oil.
fall06 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:17 PM
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GranthamMommy, you folks sound a lot like us. Sounds like a great meal you and Bill are fixing too.

SeaUrchin, I'm sorry, my silly sense of humor got in the way. Sure we had more than the 3 P's; that was just a silly joke between the 3 of us. And naturally my husband ate more each of the 3-4 days than potato soup. Obviously that would not hold a grown man all day long.

We love American Italian. But, as I'm sure everyone will agree, they are nothing alike. It's not the pasta; I sometimes even make my own fresh pasta. It's the "naked" pasta in Rome (again, our joke). We, like a lot of Americans, like all of the stuff on & in our pasta, including massive amounts of garlic & other "Italian" seasonings & definintely mounds of thick tomato sauce, usually with meat (not "naked" by any means!).

We went to several of the restaurants that are recommended on Fodors' posts & in our tour books. In fact, we found one in Venice where we ate 3 times. Found a great one on Murano. But at other times, we just got tired of not feeling "enthused" about the meal - not bad food, just not our "preferred" taste.

Then in addition we got tired of the "same" taste, seasonings, lack of seasoning for us. Sure, there is chicken, steak (we never eat steak at a restaurant; always fix our own because we are picky & only very upscale places have good beef), potatoes, etc. But after a week, we wanted "different" tastes/flavors/spices/seasonings - Mexican, Chinese, BBQ, on & on of all the variety of tastes we have in US. We also sometimes wanted what we liked best.

Yes, I agree that when one travels, one should experience the local food. We've done that. I was joking, though obviously not very well, about the Kentucky oysters. Of course, we eat various types of lettace. But, we do not prefer the other types & we wanted what we liked & that is what I tried, & appears have succeeded in accomplishing here - info on non-Italian places to give us variety. We do not feel it is necessary for us to continuously eat less desired food thruout a lengthy stay.

Now, my son & I are much less concerned about the food than my husband is. Although we too were thrilled to find some familiar tastes. But son & I were delighted to come back 5 lbs lighter! But that does not matter. If it is important to my husband, it is important to my son & I.

I will add that experiencing grand culinary thrills is not high on our list when we travel. We don't live to eat or travel to eat (except New Orleans!). So we just want something that is tasty to us & gets us thru the day. I've read posts on this board that go on & on about wonderful food experiences & I don't relate - especially like the one on cheese!

I can guarantee everyone that we will have a wonderful time in Venice & Rome this year just like we have the last 2 years & just like we have wherever we travel.

Therefore, we are delighted to have alternatives to the local Italian food. Obviously, during 2 weeks in Italy, we will try other Italian restaurants. However, I will not spend 40 euros each just to find a good Italian meal of baked chicken breast. But then that is another Oprah!

I do appreciate everyone's help, advice, & offerings.

Happy dining everyone, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:21 PM
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Again, you are mistaken if you think you have to spend 40 euros for baked are not looking at the right places.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:31 PM
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Your question is interesting. Our family definitely noticed the lack of different ethnic restaurants in Rome, at least central Rome
I know there is a Chinese restaurant on Via Florida right near Via Arenula south of Largo di Torre Argentina because we were staying nearby and walked past it almost every day. No idea whether it is any good.
Our son wasn't a great fan of a lot of the Roman specialties but as others have said he was able to eat roast chicken or steak or lamb and potatoes most places we went.

I don't know about anywhere that sells British fish and chips, but did you try the fried cod --especially somewhere like filetti di Baccala at Largo dei Librari right near Campo de fiori?

One of my guide books recommends Cafe Romano near the spanish Steps as "international" with an "eclectic menu."

I think that if you look for restaurants that specialize in Sicilian or Neopolitan food you will find pasta with tomato sauces that seems "American Italian."

There is also a Spar supermarket on Via dei Cestari just north of Corso Vittorio Emmanuel but I didn't investigate that so can't say what the selection of international food is like there. The Spar that was near the apartment we rented in the ghetto definitely did not have the range described for the store on Via Giustiniani
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:34 PM
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Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but you know you can make salad dressings yourself, right? I never buy any salad dressing in a bottle, always always make it myself (not hard! really) but do not limit myself to vinaigrettes only. Try experimenting at home a bit first; use Joy of Cooking or one of Martha's books.

If you can't find iceberg just the hearts of romaine might work for you. I mention this because it sounds like you miss "crunchy" salads with dressing other than a vinaigrette.

Good luck and have fun.
Leely is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:40 PM
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I don't really have any advice but just wanted to mention that I sympathize with you! I do love Italian food, but find that after many nights of it I start craving different ethnic foods. I'm not as much of a foodie as others on this board, and there are nights when I'm just not in the mood for a 3 hour heavy Italian dinner! What I find strange about Rome, and most of Italy that I've been to, is that unlike many other cities there aren't too many choices outside of Italian. There is that British tea room (Babingtons, I believe) near the Spanish Steps, but we had a bit of sticker shock when we saw the prices so we passed.

tcreath is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 04:42 PM
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I would rent an apartment, shop at the grocery store, and do my own cooking if I felt as strongly about this as you seem to. Some things you'll just have to get over like lack of iceberg lettuce and multiple creamy salad dressings.

In restaurants I would order broiled fish or chicken. As others mention if you can are finding 40 euro meals, you need to look at other types of restaurants.

Lastly, why not go somewhere else besides Rome since you've already been many times before. Someplace outside Italy.
suze is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:03 PM
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I can remember how surprised I was by some Italian foods, the first time I was in Italy. After all, we're Italian. We eat Italian food every night. Or so I thought. My brother said our taste buds were jaded from all the hot peppers and garlic and super thick tomato sauces that we had been eating all our lives. It seemed naked to us, too. I don't feel that way any longer, but your last post brought back the memory.

Oliphant: I've walked by it several times.

Going somewhere and not liking the food: by the time we left Cornwall on our first visit, DH was starving. We were on a budget and kept finding horrible horrible food. Even in recommended places. He started to get cranky because of the food. I was ok, because I like desserts, and the ice cream, cream, butter and cakes kept me happy. He doesn't like sweets, so he was pretty hungry. And we have gone back.

Admittedly, the food in Italy is an attraction for most of us, but I can certainly understand returning to any place where the food was lousy, or not to one's liking, if the other attractions are great enough.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  

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