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Richard May 20th, 1999 10:08 AM

MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN ROME
 
These are the restaurants I know in Rome. I am not saying they are the best but they are affordable and have a great Italian atmosphere. Most are under $35 per person for Antipasti, Pasta, Entree, Wine, Dessert & coffee. These are all pretty informal tavernas and trattorias and not fancy restaurants (who wants to dress up when they are on vacation anyway). <BR> <BR>I took the liberty of giving them a star rating from one (*) to five (*****). Its just my opinion of the food, atmosphere and service. All the places we ate at had an English menu if you request it (or they automatically give you an English menu if you spoke English as you walked in). <BR> <BR>ENOTICA ANTICA, Via Croce 76A (near the Spanish Steps) - This wine bar was my favorite in all Rome. You can get a great antipasti mista (mixed) plate and a glass of wine from an extensive list for a good price. Great atmosphere, great food. The staff seemed a bit stuffy though. But donŐt worry they are just serving your food, not coming home with you. I ordered two glasses of wine (Barolo & Amarone) an antipasti mista plate, coffee and water (with gas) and it cost $30. On a previous night I got only one glass of cheaper Montepulciano wine with all the other stuff and it was only $15. I give it ***** <BR> <BR>ANTICA TAVERNA, Via Monte Giordano 12 (near the Piazza Navona) - This one is hard to find in the alleys and piazza near the Piazza Navona but worth the search. It has a very friendly and homey atmosphere. Yummy food, great prices. I highly recommend!! We had unforgettable plates of Gnocchi and salads. The waitress suggested a ravioli dish but we did not get it, later while she was eating this specialty as her own lunch, she brought us over a taste and we were very sorry we did not take her advise. She replied ŇGnocchi, Gnocchi, GnochhiÓ as if we were some sort of gnocchi eating maniacs. My recommendation is - if a restaurant suggests the house speciality, get it. We were sorry we did not eat at this one twice. The house wine her is decent. I give it ***** <BR> <BR>GRAPPOLO dŐORO, Piazza della Cancelleria 80 (near Campo dei Fiore) - Its doesn't get more Roman than this. Yes the waiters have a bit of a sluggish attitude but they have been working here since forever! Try to make them smile!! The food had real Italian style too!! DonŐt miss the antipasti mista plate.This one cost us 100,000 Lire for two ($55) and we had all courses (antipasti, pasta, meat, salad, coffee dessert, house wine). I give it **** <BR> <BR>L'INSALADA RICCA (2 locations), Largo Chiavari 85 (near Campo d'Fiore), Piazza Pasquino72 (near Pizza Navona) - We never ate here but there were always hoards of people waiting outside. Must be good. <BR> <BR>FIAMMETTA, Piazza Fiammetta, (near Piazza Navona next to the Genio Hotel) - We ate here reluctantly on the first night we arrived. As soon as we took our first mouthful, we knew we werenŐt in California anymore. We started with the bresaola (cured beef sliced very thin) with rucola (arugula) which was heaven. Then I had a spaghetti in a creamy artichoke sauce and my friend had a pizza covered with cheese and prosciutto. It was all delicious. I highly recommend. I give it **** <BR> <BR>DA FRANCESCO, Piazza Del Fico 29 (near Piazza Navona) - This is the place to eat pizza with the Romans. Get there early because its always jammed at night. We did not know if it was for good food or if the prices were so cheap. This is not a restful place! If you sit outside it seemS like you are sitting in the middle of traffic. The tables are all pushed together so you will be sitting right next to some new found friend. This is how to meet a Roman or a fellow traveler from New Jersey! I think they have an antipasti bar where you help yourself, but we passed (now I am sorry). If you want to avoid the crowds, go during lunch hour. If you want to avoid the cigarette smoke, sit outside. I give it ** (plus one * for a crazy experience) <BR> <BR>LA CARBONARA, Campo dei Fiore 23 - The food is good here but the service comes with an attitude. We had a basic salad and some pasta. This one cost us 39,000 lire ($21) for lunch for the 2 of us. I must admit we were not inspired so we did not order very much. The location is good to sit a while and have a light lunch while you watch the locals shop at the outdoor market on the Campo dei Fiore. I give it *** (minus one * for attitude plus one * for outdoor seating). <BR> <BR>LA GENSOLA, Piazza della Gensola 15 (Trastevere) - We walked far to find this recommended Sicilian restaurant. This place wasnŐt very busy. Maybe it was because it was more pricey than the other Trastevere restaurants. Maybe it was the bad lighting. The location wasnŐt near the heart of all the other Trastevere restaurants (see Al Fontanone). La Gensola is a good chance to try Sicilian food. The menu here was a bit different than other restaurants in Rome. My friend had a mixed seafood risotto that he is still dreaming about. I canŐt remember what I had but I do remember the beautiful Italian woman who was sitting at a table near us. I give it *** <BR> <BR>AL FONTANONE, Piazza Trilussa 46 (Ponto Sisto, Trastevere) - We loved this homey trattoria. The service was friendly and the food was just like momma used to make. I loved the staff and the way they treated you like family. Warning! The house wine was awful. We called it ŇVino du DraculaÓ because It tasted like blood, order a bottle instead, or better yet get a smooth Peroni Beer. The food here was a bit salty, maybe you can ask for less salt.... The menu is typical Roman and I liked the crowd that was eating there. IŐd give it 3 stars but since the atmosphere and service was so friendly i give it ****. <BR> <BR>GIOLITTI, Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 (near Pantheon) - They are many Gelaterias around Rome but as far as I am concerned this is the only one in all of the world. Giolitti has so many flavors that one trip would be a crime. I particularly like the ÔrisoŐ (rice) flavor with little bits of rice in it. The lemon and the cassata siciliana which has bits of candied fruit in it were also a treat. Oh yes they have Gianduia, chocolate, tirimasu and a wealth of other flavors. For those who are foreign to these kind of places in Italy, first you pay for the size gelati you want at the front cash register (no matter when we went there was always the same woman there. I donŐt think she gets a day off. Try to may her smile...). After paying you join the hoards of people at the counter waving their receipts in the air waiting for their gelati treat. Forget about your manners here, push your way to the front and motion to the server like everyone else does. They stay open real late so donŐt worry about visiting after dinner. I give it ***** plus one * for original flavors! <BR> <BR>TAZZA d'ORO, via degli Orfani 84 (near Pantheon) - Although I did not get anything here my friend did. The Tazza dŐOro is a coffee bar which serves a frozen coffee flavored granita type beverage with whipped cream (no, this is not a Starbucks Frappucino). On behalf of my friend i give it ****. <BR> <BR> <BR>SOME NOTES ABOUT ITALIAN RESTAURANTS... <BR> <BR>-Try to sit outside if smoking bothers you. Italians smoke like fiends and obviously nobody told them it was unhealthy. As as a non smoker you are the minority. DonŐt be surprised if your waiter is smoking or if you see the cook smoking in the kitchen. RELAX, FORGET IT, this is not California. When in Rome..... <BR> <BR>-Sometime people bring their dogs out with them. Even worse, sometime a pigeon or two wanders in for some crumbs. <BR> <BR>-Drinking the house wine is always a chance. Sometimes its good and sometimes it sucks!! Bottles of good wine in restaurants are usually inexpensive and around $10-15 to order. This is in sharp contrast to the cheap "house wine". Look around and see what others are drinking before you order. But if you are just looking for a buzz, get the house wine. <BR> <BR>-Italian restaurants add 1000-4000 Lire (.50-$2.00) to your bill for bread and cover. You need the bread, so donŐt worry about it. <BR> <BR>-DonŐt feel obligated to order every course. Sometime pasta and salad are enough with a dessert. We often shared a pasta dish and had our own entree, or got our own pasta and shared a pizza. This is a good way to keep your food bill down! <BR> <BR>-Wander through the narrow streets and alleys looking for quaint little places which are off the beaten tourist path, The service will be friendly and grandma is probably cooking in the kitchen. <BR> <BR>-Forget what you know about pizza. Italian pizza is not like your local Dominos. There are very imaginative with the combinations and toppings. Pizza was always different and a treat in every restaurant. Look around and see if everyone is having pizza. If they are GET IT! <BR> <BR>-DonŐt expect huge overflowing Ôsuper sizedŐ portions when you get your order. Italian restaurants give you just a ÔnormalŐ portion size. Remember pasta isnŐt the only thing you are eating you will want to order a salad, some antipasti or meat too! <BR> <BR>-Eat a lot of gelati. <BR> <BR>-Stop by the local markets and delis to get salami, cheese and breads to eat at your hotel or on the plane ride home. Make everyone on your jet jealous!! <BR> <BR>-Taste every pastry you see! <BR> <BR>-Avoid any restaurant which is empty or has a guy planted outside to coax you in. <BR> <BR>-Eat a lot of gelati. <BR> <BR>-Restaurants in tourist areas are either lousy or overpriced. Especially near the Spanish Steps (pricey) and the Vatican (pricey and lousy). If you are hungry near the Vatican get a snack and save you money for a great meal when you get back into central Rome. <BR> <BR>-Eat Gnocchi at lunch on Thursday and fish on Friday. Its a tradition. <BR> <BR>-Cappuccino is a morning drink usually not drank after noon. Try a espresso Macchiato instead after dinner if you cannot drink the espresso straight up. <BR> <BR>-Try an after dinner digestivo amaro like Montenegro (from Bologna), or Ramozotti (from Milano) or Averno (from Sicily). You will quickly become addicted (and drunk too). <BR> <BR>-WhatŐs with all the Chinese street vendors that come in restaurant and try to sell you stuff? It annoying. Usually two or three will approach you while you are eating to sell you roses and all sorts of nasty Chinese JUNQUE. If you want a lighter where the penis of a little boy statue shoots a flame to light your ciggy, by all means call then over to your table!Otherwise reply to them with a firm "NO, GRAZI!!" or they will not go away! <BR> <BR>-Get a good map. Rome is a maze of twisting streets, alleys and piazzas. <BR> <BR>-Enjoy what you can, when you get home it will only be a memory. <BR> <BR>DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE A FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN ROME WHICH IS GOOD, ATMOSPHERIC AND AFFORDABLE? HAVE YOU EATEN AT ANY OF THE RESTAURANTS LISTED? IF SO ADD THEM TO THE LIST AND RATE THEM WITH ONE TO FIVE STARS! <BR>

Dan May 20th, 1999 02:39 PM

Your advice to "wander the side streets and alleys" to find places off the beaten path reminded me of a place my wife and I happened upon. It's called "Ecce Bomba" and it's located in a side street off Piazza Navona - as I recall, the street begins beside the big church (Santa Agatha??) on the Piazza. We enjoyed a very good and reasonably priced meal. It was family-run, with friendly service. I hadn't been feeling well and at dessert time requested tea with honey. The waittress disappeared out the front door and returned a few minutes later with a half-empty jar of honey - she had gone to her home to get it for me, and did so with a smile. I'd give the place 3-4 stars. <BR>

Paulo May 21st, 1999 04:15 PM

I'll add my 2 cents although I've not been to Rome in almost 2 years. I also haven't been to some of the recommendations below in the last 5 years. <BR> <BR>Price ranges have been updated by using info availbale from many sources (guides, net, newsgroups, friends that have been more recently, etc.). Beware that fish in Rome normally adds some to the bill. Prices are prp person for a complete meal (copperto, antipasto, primo, secondo, dolce, caffe and 1/2 bottle of house wine). Dining in 2 normally saves some because of plate sharing. The lunch bill should normally be not more than 65%. <BR> <BR>over Lit 100,000 <BR> <BR>* AGATA E ROMEO (Via Carlo Alberto 45 - Tel. 06/4465842, closed on Sundays and for lunch on Mondays). Although the neighborhoods of Sta. Maria Maggiore, and the street in particular, are not what one could call Rome's prime, the place is one of Rome's best. It certainly is the best we got to experiment. The place is very elegant and well kept. Cuisine is the traditional Roman somewhat criatively modified to use the quality ingredients available in the markets/season. Very fine wine selection. Reservations are essential. <BR> <BR>* IL CONVIVIO (Via del'Orso 44 - Tel 06/6869432, closed Sundays and Saturdays for lunch) Reservations a must because it's very small. Classical and Roman Cuisine with a new, creative touch, specially regarding the use of herbs. Probably one of the best in town for a romantic evening. <BR> <BR>from Lit 75,000 to Lit 100,000 <BR> <BR>* PAPA GIOVANNI (Via dei Sediari 4 - Tel 06/6865308, closed Sundays) Traditional Roman and Regional cuisines revisited criatively. Rustic but very elegant ambience. Very good wine selection. <BR> <BR>* CHECCINO DAL 1887 (Via di Monte Testaccio 30 - Tel 06/5746318, closed Sunday evenings and Mondays) Traditional Roman and Regional cuisine. Surprising ambience in the excavated cavern in Monte Testaccio. Also outside tables. House specialities are dishes that include less than noble parts of beef (tripe, tail, marrow, etc). But don't be scared, there are plenty of more "normal" dishes. Reservations mandatory. <BR> <BR>* SABATINI (Piazza Sta. Maria in Trastevere 13 - Tel 06/5812026). Roman cuisine and seafood. One of our preferred spots in Rome to dine outside, overlooking the charming piazza, the fountain and the beautiful facade of the church, and watching its hustle-bustle. If you can't find a table outside the price is too salty for my taste. We usually have fresh fish. <BR> <BR>from Lit 40,000 to Lit 75,000 <BR> <BR>* PICCOLA ROMA (V Uffici del Vicario 36, Tel 06/6793546) - typical Roman cuisine in the heart of the historic center <BR> <BR>* AL CEPPO (Via Panama 2 - Tel 06/8419696) Ideal to experiment if you book the last available schedule at the Galleria Borghese and don't want to go back to the hotel before dining. Regional cuisine from Le Marche. Delicious pasta and meat dishes. There's a big fireplace inside where meat dishes are prepared. Outside tables in summer. <BR> <BR>* GRAPPOLO D'ORO (Via Palestro 4/10, Tel 06/4941441) This is just a bit more expensive than its mate at the Piazza della Cancellaria, but undoubtely much better. The cuisine is mainly marinara (seafood). <BR> <BR>* NINO (Via Borgognona 11 - Tel 06/6795676) Near piazza di Spagna, we liked it so much some years ago, that we dined here 3 nights in a row. Cuisine is Italian, mainly Tuscan. Dishes are plain but of highest quality. Very professional waiters. <BR> <BR>below Lit 40,000 <BR> <BR>* CANTINA CANTARINI (Piazza Sallustio 12, Tel 06/485528) - Located between the Via Veneto and Piazzale Porta Pia, this place serves regional cuisine from Le Marche and seafood/fish twice a week. There are tables outside. <BR> <BR>* DA GINO (Vic. Rossini 4, Tel 06/6873434) - Very good traditional Roman cuisine/fish in this characteristic trattoria. The beautiful frescoes give it a nice touch. Very good service. <BR> <BR>* ABRUZZI (Via Vaccaro 1, Tel 06/6793897) - This place is located at one side of Piazza SS Apostoli, just a short walk from Piazza Venezia. Its very good regional cuisine from the Abruzzo and moderate prices make it a students' choice. <BR> <BR>* GINO IN TRASTEVERE (V della Lungaretta 85, Tel 06/5803403) Fish/Pizza. This is the place where we got the best spaghetti alle vongole veraci in town. <BR> <BR>Paulo <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

Richard May 24th, 1999 09:33 AM

This makes me want to start planning another trip....

Mark Hinckley May 25th, 1999 09:37 AM

Sabatini isn't the only restaurant on the Piazza di Santa Maria di Trastevere. Galeassi is also very good indeed; their house wine is the best Frascati I have ever tasted. Nine of us ate lunch there (outdoors of course) on a Wednesday in July 1996 and each of us ordered something different. Unanimity on two things, though: the food is EXCELLENT and the prices (for Rome) reasonable.

Sue Jun 19th, 1999 01:32 PM

Hi, just returned from Italy, when in Rome we had a great dinner at the IL RISTORANTE 34, food was excellent, first night ate at OTALLO ALLA CONCORIA, not that great, both within walking distance from the Spanish Steps. I would say in the average price range.

Rod Hoots Jul 7th, 1999 07:31 PM

On a recent trip to Rome, we ate at the Ristorante Tiffany, Via Ludovisi 39-41, about a block from the U.S. Embassy. Had the best seafood risotto in all of our 52 years of living in and visiting Italy. <BR>

Ellen Jul 8th, 1999 01:54 PM

Sue- <BR>I also ate at Il Ristorante 34 and remembered it fondly! We went there several times because it was so good!

Ed Jul 8th, 1999 07:14 PM

A second for Paolo's mention of Ristorante Abruzzi. It's been an exceptionally good value for over thirty years that we can account for. Few tourists ... if you see some they've probably wandered in accidentally. <BR> <BR>More suggestions on Roman food and restaurants at http://twenj.com/romerests.htm <BR> <BR>Ed

richardab May 31st, 2000 03:34 PM

I thought I would bring my old posting back to the top for those of you traveling to Rome this Summer. Most of these places should still be great! <BR> <BR>Also, visit my new websight for more info on my travels to Rome. <BR> <BR>http://home.earthlink.net/~richardab/index.html <BR> <BR>The sight is not completely finished yet but follow the path; <BR> <BR>enter&gt;fly&gt;europe&gt;rome <BR> <BR>ENJOY and email me to let me know what you think! <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

George Jun 1st, 2000 06:18 AM

Just back from Rome and another huge vote for Il Ristorante 34. Located about half a block down from the Spanish Steps on Via Maria Fiori (I think). Best meal we had in Rome (several times). Our waiter was Lorenzo. First time in we asked for his recommendation and he said "trust me," and took over. We did, and we're glad. He concocted a fabulous meal which cost us maybe $60 per couple with tons of food and wine. When we came in a couple nights later we were greeted as old friends and had a second fabulous meal although totally different. We stayed across the way at Hotel Piazza di Spagna which I would also highly recommend. Great location,affordable, very quiet and right in the middle of everything.

Sally Jun 7th, 2000 03:15 PM

To top so I can find this later to show to my husband for our trip in Oct. Thanks for all great restaurant ideas; we should be able to feast in style come October.

lisa peretz Jun 8th, 2000 07:47 AM

My husband and I returned two weeks ago from Rome and we had a very different experience than most of you at Il Ristorante 34. It was extremely touristy, so much that even the waiter didn't seem to be Italian. The dish I ordered was very oily and we were both put off by the Asain woman selling tacky, plastic gimics who wondered around the restaurant. I'm glad you a ll enjoyed it. Who knows, maybe we hit it on an off night. But, I can tell you it was completely the opposite of Vecchia Roma in the Jewish Quarter. It's a family owned, completely romantic and charming spot. We ate outside in the quaint piazza Campitelli among candlelight and the food was absolutely authentic and unbelievably good. The owner's daughter was very friendly and came over to our table to chat about the menu. This was more the authentic, delicious, totally atmospheric dinner I had in mind. Happy Eating!!

richardab Jun 19th, 2000 08:17 PM

actually lisa, your experience sounds typical. some italian food seems to swim in oil, just don'yt eat the oil! concerning those chinese street vendors, they are unavoidable. why don't restaurants just tell them to stay out? it is best to greet them with a firm "NO GRAZI!"

Doug Weller Feb 25th, 2001 03:55 AM

Abruzzi, already mentioned. Had lunch there this week -- delicious roast lamb, tender and flavourful. Friendly waiter. Didn't see any students. <BR> <BR>Dar Poeta, a great pizzeria in Trastavere -- you'll need a good map to find it though! <BR>Vicolo del Bologna, 45 (06 588 0516) <BR>Bus to Piazza Sonnino. My notes said not open Monday, but we went Sunday night without booking and couldn't get a table, so went there Monday night! <BR>Pizza was fabulour, and for dessert we had a Bodrilla pizza, which is very thin apples slices and something like Cointreau -- sounds strange but it was great. We also had some nice tartufo, finished off with Limoncello. Great atmosphere, very friendly young waiters. <BR> <BR>If we are really talking about food, I had a fabulous porchetta sandwich near St. John's Lateran -- opposite it there is a tram stop on the Via Carlo Felice(trams are a great way to get around) and at the tram stop is a porchetta stall (roast pork, but there's something extra that made it special). If you like roast pork, you'll love this. <BR> <BR>Eat a lot of gelati. <BR> <BR>Eat more gelati. <BR> <BR>Have I mentioned gelati? <BR> <BR>And then there's tartufo, don't miss that.

mary Apr 9th, 2001 09:04 PM

I just returned from Rome and used two of richard restaurant recommendations. His descriptions were right on ther money!<BR><BR>We ate at the Antica Taverna and Fiametta and both were as authentic Italain as you can get. I don't think anyone make better pasta. Richard has some pics of these on his websight. Check it out!<BR>

Ursula Apr 10th, 2001 03:16 AM

Jessycat buon giorno! <BR><BR>What's up in Eugene?<BR><BR>Beside riding in a nice silver Mercedes, did you also go to a nice restaurant in Rome?? ;-)<BR>

Len May 21st, 2001 08:51 AM

For great homemade pasta try Piazza Di Spagna. It's in a little side alley near the Spanish Steps (obviously). Next to Via Condotti. The owner was a sweet old man who actually sat with us as we ate. He introduced us to his wife and gave us several different antipasto to try. The Bruschetta was amazing! Try the Carbonara, a Roman staple, but the best I tried was here. Also the Canneloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta and a wonderful pomodoro sauce on top. Awesome! Of course the Gnocchi is not be missed either, but I could eat Gnochi everyday. And I almost did!

Audrey May 21st, 2001 11:41 AM

I cannot believe that I did not see this post when Richard put it up in 1999. We left for Rome 8 days later!! We never did find a great restaurant in Rome - I am printing this out to take with us next time! <BR> <BR>I totally agree with the "wander with your nose" method of finding a restaurant, unfortunately for us we didn't learn this until we got to Venice. <BR> <BR>Which brings me to another thing that I've learned the hard way: make a note of the name and address of these out of the way places. Although you may be completely in love with the restaurant/museum/shop, by the time you retrace your steps to the hotel - memory fades. Write it down, with details - or get a brochure, menu, napkin - anything to remind you. We found the most incredible restaurant in Venice while we were wandering - I could not remember the name to save my life, too bad. <BR> <BR>Audrey

kenny Dec 19th, 2001 05:55 AM

Does anyone know where there is a good restaurant in the area of the collesseum?


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