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Rome restaurants: research or play by ear?

Rome restaurants: research or play by ear?

Apr 17th, 2007, 07:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Rome restaurants: research or play by ear?

14 more days to go and counting!
I'm wondering if I should now look into restaurants or just play it by ear?
We're not familiar with street names or popular restaurants, but my husband and I do enjoy good, authentic food.
Should I start researching and asking for suggestions? Or play it by ear as we go along the city?
I don't want us to get stuck at an overpriced touristy spot.
Any suggestions??

Sammygrll is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 08:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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To give you one suggestion: Enoteca 313 on Via Cavour near the Colosseum is a nice spot that gets a lot of local business people for lunch. Good local wines and a good selection of cheeses and prosciutto.

If you search this forum, there are tons of great recommendations for Rome.
fakemark is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 10:01 PM
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It could be nice to have some alternatives that are recommended. I have posted this section about eating and drinking in Rome: http://gardkarlsen.com/eat_drink_rome_italy.htm . And you can also check out my interactive Google map on http://gardkarlsen.com/rome_italy_map.htm . There are markers that indicate where the restaurants are located...and the attractions are also marked. Note that you can click on the markers to get some more info

http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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I implore you to research. I brought quite a few recommendations with me, but didn't have exact street addresses for most. We mostly played it by ear...looking for places filled with Italians, avoiding places with menus in 8 languages, etc. Having heard so much about the great food in Italy, I was under the mistaken impression that it would be hard to find a bad meal. I was very wrong.

We had mediocre food at best. I had one dish that was loaded with canned mushrooms. On three occasions, I was served something containing canned black olives. (I couldn't believe it....just a few feet away on the Campo dei Fiori, they were selling beautiful olives, and I was served the cheap canned version.) We ordered a cheese plate and I observed them taking the cheese out of the grocery store packaging.

Here's what I did to avoid a similar experience when we took our trip to Barcelona: I made sure I had street addresses for each recommended restaurant. (I think I compiled a list of almost 60.) Then I photocopied a map, located each restaurant and wrote the name on the map. If a place was far away from anywhere we planned to be, I cut it from the list. Whereever we were at meal time, I could pull out my map and find 3 or 4 possibilities. Our meals in Barcelona were terrific.
missypie is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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Outside of a few places that I personally know of that are good, I'm one of those who likes to wing it. I like to find places, look at them, look at the customers, look at what people are eating and read the days menu. I also like to wander, so recommendations would make me head in certain directions at certain times. The reason I have found many wonderful places is because we wing it.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Even though we always bring lists of recommended restaurants on our European trips, we usually wind up winging it, and are rarely disappointed. In Rome, we stopped in a small neighborhood wine bar/ tobacco shop, started chatting with the locals, and were given a recommendation for a very 'local' type trattoria very close to the Campo di Fiore. Another night, we ate at a tiny trattoria a few steps from our hotel. The only disappointing meal we had was lunch at a very touristy pizzaria just across from the Coluseum.
zootsi is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Sammy-since I love the area around Santa Maria Maggiore, (you will too, when you see it) I can recommend three excellent restaurants on Via Carlo Alberto-both of which are mentioned in guidebooks, and this street is two streets over from your hotel, and just down from SMM.

AGATA E ROMEO-Via Carlo Alberto 45, renowned for their absolutely fresh ingredients, menu changes daily, more an emphasis on meat dishes, but incredible pastas and desserts-this is a more expensive restaurant, but the food is very good here.

If you like seafood, however-you must walk across the street to LA VECCHIA CONCHA-excellent fresh seafood, very crowded with locals and tourists who are staying in the Hotel Mecenante Palace across the street (I like this hotel-as it has a rooftop garden that looks right at SMM and its frescoes). There is outdoor dining here at La Vecchia Concha-and it is excellent.

One other outdoor restaurant, where I dined twice, lovely out on its patio (but don't have the name) is situated right next to the ancient Mecenante monument (which is a round tower like structure used in Roman times-don't know much about it). Wonderful seafood risotto and panna cotta here.

All of these restaurants are right next to each other on the above-referenced street, just down from SMM.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Typo-LA VECCHIA CONCA-is the name of the seafood restaurant I recommend here.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Look up EkScrunchy's trip report that focuses on food. Excellent restaurant recommendations.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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I do a little of both (usu. take some notes from here, chowhound and egullet) and have been generally quite satisfied.

Agree with someone above who suggested you take a look at ekscrunchy's report.
Leely is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Think best laid plans of mice and men.
What works for me is have some places in mind and if you find them to busy\full or for some reason not right at the time then play it by ear. You will find some great places that way just pay attention if the place is empty there is a reason!
JoanneH is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Yes it's true-you can usually have the best intentioned plans of going to all these great places that people have recommended, but in the end, you generally go to some place that catches your fancy whereever you happen to be when you are hungry, or someplace near your hotel.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Oh, and I also try out one of my hotel's recommendations early in the trip. If I like it well enough I either go back or ask them for more recs.
Leely is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Generally, hotel recommendations for restaurants turn out to be quite good, but not always. In Italy, and in particular, Rome, I've noticed that there are rackets set up between the hotel and a particular restaurant to get their guests to patronize a particular restaurant-and the restaurant is not only not so good, it is invariably over-priced to boot; the restaurant needs business, so it sets itself up with the hotel. I've had this happen to friends and acquaintances, so you need to be aware of that as well.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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Of course, we stay in apartments, so there is rarely someone on-site to recommend restaurants. In Florence, there was a pretty abrupt on-site manager. We asked for restaurant recommendations and she said that they were all terrible and that we should cook in our apartment!
missypie is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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If you do decide to take advise an try a highly recommended restaurant, find it in advance and make reservations.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
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