La Pergola Restaurant Rome

Oct 26th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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La Pergola Restaurant Rome

Hello Everyone, I am writing so that no one makes the BIG mistake that I made. This restaurant is billed as a 5 star gourmet restaurant. It is SUPER expensive. Well, I thought that this would be a once in a lifetime experience for my Mother and I....afterall, how many middle class people would get this chance, so we went for it! We made a reservation well in advance, otherwise you do not get in. What a HUGE disappointment! HUGE HUGE HUGE! We paid over $500 for a meal that wasn't any better than what you could get in any ordinary restaurant anywhere. Without going into detail, my main course was the Sea Bass. It was paper thin, barely cooked, zero flavor and I understand that a gourmet restaurant is not about quantity, but cold??...under cooked and paper thin without ANY flavor! Do not, do not, do not waste your money, the experience is not worth it. My Mother eats anything and loves all food, the appetizer she ordered was SO salty that she couldn't eat it - there were many other people in that restaurant just like my mother and I. (middle class, looking for a first class experience) I sure wish that someone else would have spoken up so that I could learn from their mistake...please learn from mine. I have had better food from room service at the Holiday Inn and I am NOT being sarcastic. If you think that service is worth $400 then your experience will be worth it because the service is rediculously attentive and excellent. They start you out with a WATER menu, yes, a WATER menu, it is about 15 pages come on. It is a MAJOR rip off, if you don't believe this, go ahead....go, but be honest to yourself after the experience and write about it so others won't make the same mistake. ROYAL RIP OFF!!!
gldnk9 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Just for a good frame of reference, what $500 a meal restaurants have you really enjoyed?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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The most memorable meals we've had in Rome and elsewhere in Italy have not been in the highest rated or necessarily even well known restaurants. We're not foodies and wouldn't even contemplate a dinner that cost the two of us more than $200 at the very most.

But I'm sorry you and your mother had such a disappointing and expensive experience.
Jean is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Hello glldnk, clicking on your name I see that you have only had three post on Fodor's, this post, another post about LaPergola and your post about the hotel in Florence.

How about a trip report? I know you never posted before your trip to Italy which is fine as possibly you just read various posts here to help you plan your trip.

But again, how about a trip report..there must be some parts of your time in Italy that you enjoyed I would think.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 27th, 2007, 02:27 AM
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>>>my main course was the Sea Bass. It was paper thin, barely cooked, zero flavor <<<

Yesterday, I cooked fish for dinner and I tried to make it exactly like this: paper thin, barely cooked, delicate flavor - which is quite difficult.

Last week, I had slipper lobster at a gourmet restaurant and I praised the chef. And he replied "yes, I am proud that I succeeded to keep it glassy".

What I mean: You need a trained tongue to acclaim this type of cuisine.

My personal experience is: In La Pergola, I had the very best dining experience in Italy. And judging from the OP's description, it became even better since them.
traveller1959 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2007, 02:34 AM
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I, too, am sorry you were disappointed. But I also wonder about your experience with restaurants of this tier....

Why does having a water menu upset you? Most diners in Italy order bottled water so why not take it a step further and offer a vast selection from which to choose? On another post you complained that the wine list was a huge volume..many diners would appreciate having so many choices...

Why did you choose La Pergola for your splash-out in Italy? (I have never been but admit that I was never drawn to the place, preferring less fussy food in Rome..)

Again, I am sorry for your bad time. And would like to learn which other places in that range you are comparing this one to.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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gldnk9, by chance did your mother communicate with me (Caprianniversary) on La Pergola? I'm very sorry you did not enjoy your experience there; however, the tasting menu my wife and I had in September of 2006 was wonderful. I personally looked forward to the water menu and knew in advance it was to be presented at the table. There are no comparisons in the USA to Italy for the quality and scope of mineral waters. Here's a good article:

I would add that the views of Rome from La Pergola are divine, which is something one does not get in the USA. You are paying not just for food and service, but atmosphere. In that light, I would say perhaps La Pergola may be better for a date with a spouse or romantic interest for which the ambience is more suited than going with a brother, a sister, or parent, for example. This restaurant isn't a 5 star gourmet restaurant. It is one of a very few in the world that has 3 Michelin stars. On the other hand, I can say that my wife and I paid 1/10th the cost for a meal in AnaCapri on the Isle of Capri that was as good as what we had at La Pergola (for food) but nothing nearly so good for romance and wine and food pairings. I wouldn't have missed La Pergola and am glad we went. It is not something which I would repeat precisely because of its expense but, to me, it was worth every Euro!
CapriAnniversary is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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Sorry, I have to disagree with gldnk9. La Pergola is one of my favorite restaurants, not only for the service and unbeatable view, but also for the imaginative menu and excellent preparation.

If gldnk's menu was similar to mine when I last ate at La Pergola in September 2007, I was sceptical about the sea bass carpaccio on the tasting menu but found it delicious (it wasn't a main course).

However, on my most recent trip I was unable to get reservations for La Pergola because they are booked full so far in advance. Maybe it would be a good thing if gldnkì's negative review chases some people away.
CMSbelt is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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My one experience was wonderful! Glad someone else enjoyed it as well. It was over the top expensive, I admit, at least for my financial abilities--and that was before the slump in the exchange rate. I would, however, go back in a heartbeat. What a romantic setting, with great food, great views!
CapriAnniversary is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 02:58 AM
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I had to update this thread with this recent review of a dinner at La Pergola, from Chowhound:
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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Interesting review. Thanks for posting the link, ekscrunchy. The writer gained points with me when he related that silly water course to PT Barnum. I like it when someone amidst an absolute rave admits when "enough is enough".
NeoPatrick is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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You're welcome, Neo. I thought it was worth posting in light of what I thought were rather uninformed and probably unfair comments that had been posted about La Pergola on this and at least one other thread here..

I wish you a good holiday season....I hope you are planning something interesting!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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" . . . (B)ecause for some of us - this is theatre, ballet, opera and a meal all wrapped into one," is the perfect summary of dining at La Pergola, as stated in Chowhound's review. Thank you, ekscrunchy, for that link. And, I should add that in the wine pairings as we had for our evening, we were introduced to a wine that is unimaginably lovely: Donnafugata's Ben Rye, a passato dessert wine from the island of Pantelleria. We subsequently bought six bottles of the 2006 vintage (3 glasses from Gambero Rosso), based on that experience and enjoyed them immensely, both in giving them as gifts and having at table with tiramisu', a sublime pairing. Every bottle we drank was a pleasant reminder of La Pergola. I'd love to go back again, but, that was a once in a lifetime experience as it is truly expensive as Chowhound's review intimates. Those of great wealth can eat there at will. For those of lesser means, the wonderful memory of the one time will last forever.
CapriAnniversary is offline  
Dec 19th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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We loved La Pergola. After looking thru water menu (it took me a few minutes to realize it was water) I asked for salt menu. They immediately came with tray with many small hills of different salts. More fun!! Yes, over the top but for a special occasion. Now op should try Fat Duck outside London for another special meal.
Elainee is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Ha! Somehow I don't think the OP will be headed for the Fat Duck anytime soon! Who cares if they give you a water menu or not? You don't HAVE to order a 100-euro bottle of water any more than you HAVE to order a thousand-euro Barolo from the wine list!

I would have loved to see that salt tray!

" I have had better food from room service at the Holiday Inn..."

Must not have been a Holiday Inn on the Jersey Turnpike!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 20th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Have been there only one - a business meal, and while it can be somewhat pretentious - that is the norm for restaurants in that price range.

I can understand that this could be disconcerting - and even seem silly - to people who haven't dined before in very upscale places. Also, food selections may be different, preparations may be different (my mother was once served lamb not brown all the way through and sent it back as uncooked - she would never be happy with the rare I order). I think it's a pity that someone who likes the food at a holiday inn would spend the money to go to La Pergola - where obviously she wouldn't be happy for a number of reasons.

IMHO food at any holiday inn is edible - at best - and not to be compared to that at any real restaurant - even local neighborhood places here in NYC (where the chefs shop for fresh foods daily) even though dinner may not cost much more than a holiday inn.
nytraveler is offline  

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