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ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

Old Jan 26th, 2007, 01:20 PM
  #81  
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Love the report too. Euro 350 a night for a hotel is too much! Lucy
 
Old Jan 26th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Another day, another meal. Thanks, ekscrunchy.

ggreene, the only time I stayed at Del Senato I wasn't footing the bill. We stayed in a junior stuite with Pantheon view and I really liked it. Would I have liked it for 340E/night? That's another matter altogether. Ultimately, though, it depends on how much that money means to you. There certainly isn't a shortage of very nice hotels in Rome. Have you looked at anything other than the Eden, the Locarno and the Senato?
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Leely,

We haven't looked at too many other places, because we got great reviews of the Senato and the Locarno, and we had the Starwood deal at the Eden. We have definitely decided against the Eden due to horrible reviews on tripadvisor and this forum. The Senato just sounds so amazing, but I agree, it seems like they quoted us a very, very high price. Maybe because they know it's for our honeymoon? Or because it's high season?

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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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I think a hotel would have to rain chocolate cookies from the ceiling for me to like it at 340E/night. But I'm a cheapie!

Great location...hmm. What about the Minerve? What are they running for your dates?

Also search here for Rome hotels and see if anything appeals.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Greene, honestly I think that price is too high. Yes, you have the view, and the people are charming, as is the whole property. But you are not going to be sitting in your room staring at the view enough to warrant that high a price. And I am sure there are other hotels with lovely views of piazzas. Remember the rooms at the Senato are rather small. We paid 225 Euro and I thought it was high but worth it for the view. But you are talking about so much more than that...have you written to them directly and asked about the price?
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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It is hard to believe Greene can not find nice places cheaper in september. May be the dinner table brag value is playing a role in selection. Ekscrunchy your reports are as crunchy as your name. Keep them coming.
 
Old Jan 27th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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Thanks, Rhapsody..will get to the rest of Wednesday very soon...the more I write the more I long to be back in Rome!

Here is another related book, on the food of Rome; I don't own it but have heard the author speak and he sounds credible:




http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Roman-...F8&s=books




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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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After the tour of the Torre Argentina site and a visit to the cat sanctuary, we wandered north towards the hotel, browsing in one or two of the food shops along Via di Torre Argentina. (These shops are very convenient to the Albergo del Senato; we would buy supplies here later in the week for an alfresco (yes, in mid-January!) picnic on the hotel rooftop; there is also a small alementari right on the Piazza della Rotunda)

By this time, I needed a jolt of energy. Happily, the world-famous Sant Eustachio cafe was just off our direct route back to the hotel on the piazza of the same name, so we stopped in for their celebrated Gran Caffe at the bar. I can't say I've ever had better coffee and we would pay a few more visits before the week was over. They also sell their coffee beans and various coffee-related candies and accoutrements.

When we finally made it back to the Senato, we realized that we had not made dinner reservations, thinking that the large lunch in Orvieto would suffice for the rest of the day. Not a chance. So about 7pm, I asked the front desk to phone a couple of places to reserve a table. No luck. Everyplace on my various lists that was within an easy walk of the hotel was booked until at least 9:30. That was just too late for us that night, so we accepted a recommendation with some trepidation from Luca at the front desk and he booked a table for us at the Sant Eustachio restaurant, not to be confused with the Cafe on the same small piazza.
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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The Ristorante Sant Eustachio (the address is Piazza del Caprettari, 63; adjacent to the Piazza Sant Eustachio) looked like the kind of place I would normally avoid. It was a bit too gussied up with white tablecloths and "decor." It is difficult to explain, it was just a feeling I had. Things began to look up when I noticed that most of the patrons at the other tables were speaking Italian. A number of the diners were wearing suits and appeared to be businessmen.

And on to the meal, which was quite decent:

The restaurant is known for its fritti, according to Luca at the Senato, who counseled us on what to order, so we obliged with an order of mixed vegetables and fried mozzarella. Crispy zucchini flowers and cheese were very good but the oil did not seem totally fresh to me.

Carciofi alla Romana. The waiter acted disappointed when I ordered this instead of the carciofi all Giudia, which is fried. So he brought me two artichokes, the Carciofi alla Giudia as a gift of the house. He was right; the artichoke alla Romana was so-so, not even close to the goodness of the one at Armando. But the artichoke alla Giudia? It was smashing! Excellent!

For main course, my companion chose vegetable soup, sopa de verdura which he pronounced as very good, and I agreed.

Spaghetti alle vongole. Spaghetti with the tiny clams, a dish often found on Roman restaurant menus, although I am not sure where the clams actually come from these days. Never mind whether or not they were vongole verace...the dish was excellent.

With the usual water, wine, and cover, the total came to 50 Euro. A place to keep in mind if you stay at the Senato and do not want to walk far. They have shaded tables on the piazza out front but these were not in use on the night we were there. Not wonderful but surprisingly good.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 03:23 AM
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After dinner, we wandered through the streets to the historic Giolitti gelato and pastry cafe on via Ufizzi Vicario. And here I inagurated my new favorite flavor combination: Amaretti with chocolate. Be careful: the panna man has a fast hand and if you don't stop him he will slather your cone with fresh whipped cream. (I was not fast enough!) Giolitti is one of several excellent gelaterias near the Albergo del Senato. The others include Gelateria della Palma, which has a few outposts in Rome.

Tomorrow: Private forum tour with Sandi_Travelnut and her husband followed by lunch on gnocchi day.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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The next morning at 9am, we joined Sandi and her husband, Michael for a private tour of the Palatine Hill and Forum with licensed guide Francesca Caruso.

[email protected]

This proved to be one of the highlights of our week.
Sandi has already given the details better than I can in her report. We had made several previous forays to the Forum, during which we wandered about clutching a guidebook, trying to make sense of what lay before us and, at times, straining to hear the commentary of other English-speaking guides.

This time, our experience was completely different. Francesca presented the Forum in context and, without spitting out a lot of dry facts and dates, she wove a spell of what life was like during the period.
I was sorry whe the tour ended, about 1pm. We paid half of the total cost, about 70 Euro, and it was well worth the price. Francesca is the leader of many of Rick Steves' tours in Rome and is highly qualified and personable. Her English is impeccable.

The day before, we had phoned for lunch reservations at Da Nerone so, after the conclusion of our tour, we walked from the Capitoline Hill, stopping to visit the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Victor Emmanuelle "wedding cake" monument, past the Colisseum and up the steps and to the Via della Terme di Tito, where Hostaria da Nerone has occuped #96 since 1929.

We were looking forward very much to sampling two dishes that we had enjoyed at two previous meals here a few years back. One of these was gnocchi, so we schduled our lunch for Thursday, the traditional gnocchi eating day in Rome. Da Nerone serves gnocchi two different ways, alla Romana and with a tomato and meat sauce, "al sugo."
The other dish that I had enjoyed twice in one week here was the spaghetti with clams.

These dishes would serve as our main course for this light lunch. Nerone features a long, two -tiered antipasti display from which I selected artichoke alla Romana for an appetizer.

I was disappointed with the artichoke. This was partly my fault, because noted to myself when I selected it that it looked just like the ones bathed in sufnlower oil and sold at many alimentari. (They are also easy to find here in the US at Italian food shops, as they are imported into the US in bulk) Sure enough, I tasted it and knew I had made a mistake in ordering.

En route back to the table from the washroom, I noticed two gentelmen seated before two sublimely delicious looking artichokes. Wait a minute!!! I immediately asked the waiter about them, only to be told that yes, my artichoke was indeed marinated in sunflower (girasole) oil and it was the one listed on the menu from the antipasti bar. The gentlemen were eating Carciofi all Diavola which is not on the menu and which is cooked in olive oil.

Another lesson was brought home to me: LOOK AROUND AT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE EATING BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR SELECTION. If you don't see something on the menu, ask. And do not necessarily think that the selections on the antipasti bar are the best things to eat before your meal.

The meal continued with the gnocchi al sugo, which my partner deemed not as good as he had remembered. And my spaghetti con vongole had far more clam shells than actual tiny clams, although it was tasty enough.

I am sorry to say I have to give a thumbs down to Da Nerone, although those artichokes all diavolo looked outrageous. Next time we will take our Thursday gnocchi, and all that goes with it, someplace else.

After lunch, we wandered back to the hotel where one of us opted for a rest and ekscrunchy set out for the bright lights of the Via Condotti and the Via Fontanella Borghese shopping areas.

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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Ooops. I totally goofed. Too much time has passed since my trip that I am forgetting one of the highlights of the trip.

At Da Nerone, I wanted to try the pajata that Franco had been enthusiastic about. So we ordered a half-portion (easy to do in most restaurants; another thing to keep in mind if you want to try many dishes) of Pasta with pajata. (For more on this see the discussion on the Rome: Easy Side Trips thread).

Pajata is the intestine of a suckling lamb and an example of the popular Roman dishes made from the "Fifth Quarter" that had their genesis in poverty; these were the bits of the animal not used in more sumptuous dishes. (Oxtail is another Roman example). The animal retains the mother's milk at the time of slaughter and this turns to a delicate cheese-like substance when cooked.

THIS DISH WAS WONDERFUL. Very delicate meat melded with the cheesey milk and served over a cut pasta in a tomato-based sauce. I loved it. Not in the least bit off-putting for the squeamish. One of the best dishes of the week and I don't know how I'd forgotten it momentarily.

If you want to read more on this, you have to scroll down in this thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34895007
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34895007

Lunch at Nerone cost 37 Euro with wine.

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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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This report is exactly what I need for my trip....

Thanks and please keep posting..

Sudhin
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Ek's posts are addictive and she is doling it out in little doses!
 
Old Jan 28th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Ek, Your enthusiasm has convinced me. The next time I'm in Rome, I shall have pasta with pajata. That and coda alla vaccinara, thus doing my duty by the quinto quarto.

I'm sorry your lunch at Da Nerone was otherwise disappointing, but it confirms my own experience there. Maureen Fant, who lives near it, and other regulars may eat well there, but it seems to be an iffy proposition at best for the rest of us. Fortunately, there are many restaurants in Rome that have consistent standards for everyone.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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bookmarking -- I love your restaurant information!
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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bookmarking ,

... plus we are headed there on Wednesday for a four day getaway... I will provide some more feedback on any experiences mentioned here plus others.

Ekscrunchy has done a wonderful job of sifting, sorting and tasting. We ,too, try to cross multiple sources of trusted info to avoid disappointment.

Viva Ekscrunchy, Italia, e SPQR !
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Eloise you are right. Too many other places to investigate. And I cannot say I wasn't warned. I read a couple of less-than-positive comments on various food talk sites about Nerone. And when I told our Foro guide, Francesca, that we planned to have lunch there, she told me that she has not returned there due to a negative experience during a meal with Rick Steves, of all people. She told me that she felt the owners were less than forthcoming about the pricing on the antipasti "buffet."

Well, I heard "Rick Steves" and gave an inward shudder and pressed on. It turns out that I should have heeded her advice, but that is all in hindsight. Live and learn. Maureen Fant really plays it up in her book, which is where I read about the place years ago. Well, goodness, she lives in the neighborhood! Not that Nerone is awful. Not by any means. It is just as you said, there are so many really excellent places; I will not be returning. But that pajata was REALLY good!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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1. GREAT report!

2. Bookmarking.

3. I'm going to Rome in October. When should I book the Scavi tour?

Grazie!

Monica
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Try booking it now. I got the tickets a couple of weeks after I first contacted them but that was for January.

I am glad you enjoyed the report so far, Monica. I've long enjoyed your writing as well. Stay tuned...
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