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Wonderful Short Trip to Roma in the Monti Area

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Mar 19th, 2015, 07:41 AM
  #1
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Wonderful Short Trip to Roma in the Monti Area

Just back from a lovely but all too short four day trip to Rome. We chose to stay in the Monti area this time for a change from the usual Piazza Navona / Campo di Fiori area and we were NOT NOT NOT disappointed. Thank you to all you wonderful fellow Fodorites that answered my questions pre-trip and gave me ideas of where to stay and where to dine. I will basically just list the places we ate/drank and our hotel and if anyone has any specific questions afterwards, I will be happy to try and help.

HOTEL : Hotel Artorius
Via del Boschetto 13
Monti

We were basically very satisfied with this hotel. The street and the area are beautiful, the room was very clean and large by European standards. Bed was comfortable, sleep at night was peaceful and we heard NO noise at all, neither from other guests nor from the outside (and we were there over a weekend and I know there were plenty of people outside). Kudos for that.

The hotel has basically no lobby. You walk into a small area and then from there into an even smaller area which is their reception desk. All the service people we met were very helpful and sweet and that was great.

On the OTHER hand, breakfast at the hotel was no less than ATROCIOUS and AWFUL. The choice was large but it seemed like they chose the worst possible quality of each individual type of food offered. Cappuccino was tasteless and bad (in Rome??? in Italy??) and seemed watered down. The only tasty food was the pastries. And the elderly gentleman who was in charge of the breakfast was also a bit eccentric and not terribly interested in the guests I believe.

To be fair, I must also write that towels are very thin and should desperately be exchanged and there is a need for some expert hand in small repairs and cleaning in the room (such as duct tape on a part of the bathroom door frame and dirt left probably from people's hands touching the light switches and electrical outlet surroundings).

But none of these things, save the breakfast which really needs to be bettered, would prevent me from recommending this hotel or choosing it again. It ticked all MY boxes, i.e. was in a great location both street-wise and sites-wise, it was very clean and comfortable, and the price was very very reasonable.

Next I will begin on the restaurants / bars.
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Mar 19th, 2015, 03:55 PM
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So glad to hear you loved the area. I've been to Rome many times, usually staying right in the center, or in Trastevere. Read some good things about Monti so I'm staying in a B&B there for four days in Oct. Not long enough I know. Anxious to hear about more of your time there.
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Mar 19th, 2015, 03:59 PM
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We're staying in Monti in May and am happy to hear that you enjoyed the area. Please do share other details of your trip!
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Mar 20th, 2015, 12:12 AM
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Our first meal on this trip was at a place that is well known to a lot of Fodorites and I had read and heard about it for many years. But never had the chance to try it.

After we checked into our hotel, we immediately went off on foot and ended up in the Pantheon area. It was a gorgeous day and I knew that of the four days we would be there, this was going to be the nicest in terms of weather so I did not want to "waste it".

I was not particularly looking for Armando's but "our paths crossed" and being 1:00 PM I decided to go in and ask if we could have lunch. Although the restaurant was not full, they told me they had no room till 2:00. I said no problem and we said we would come back at 2:00.

Meanwhile, we trolled the shops and bars in the area, stopping of course at Tazzo d'Oro and since it was quite warm, I decided to try their famous coffee "slush" with whipped cream. It was very delicious and it was nice to sit around there and admire the store and its wares.

DA ARMANDO AL PANTHEON
Salita de' Crescenzi, 31, 00186 Rome

I was surprised to see that this is a very small place and a typical Roman trattoria. The food was good, portions quite large and service was fine. We had a cacio e pepe dish, a griscia dish (which is basically cacio e pepe with some added heavenly bits of guaincale sp??), and shared a veal and baked potatoes for our main. A half liter bottle of wine and coffee rounded out the meal and I am glad we finally had the chance to eat here. I would definitely recommend for lunch. Don't know if the prices are higher at dinner.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 02:41 AM
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Armando is a very typical roman trattoria, possibly the best in the historic center. Yes, gricia is cacio e pepe plus guanciale. Prices do not change between lunch and dinner anywhere, except at lunch some places have set menus that are more economical than if you took the plates individually, and these menus are very often only for lunch.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 07:20 AM
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Just around the corner from our hotel on Via Panisperna, we found a wonderful little bar/snack place that eventually became "our" almost nightly place to visit.


BARZILAI BISTRO
Via Panisperna 44, Rome

We enjoyed lovely early evenings (aperitivo time) in this place. It had a great atmosphere, wonderful service, excellent food (think a bottle of wine from a great wine list plus cheese plates, salumi plates, salads, small warm quiches, etc.). It is just across the street from the apparently much more popular, noisy and terribly crowded Ai Tre Scalini. We enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine each evening, choosing from a wonderful selection of reasonably priced wines, plus a plate of cheeses, salads, etc. and enjoyed it tremendously. Service was wonderful, English spoken to a fair degree depending on who your server is, and a very memorable experience.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 07:44 AM
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We had lunch at L'Asino d'Oro for several reasons :
1) it was almost exactly across the street from our hotel
2) we had read and heard great things about it
3) we wanted to try the 13 Euro lunch that included a primo, secondo, dessert and even a glass of wine

L'ASINO D'ORO
Via del Boschetto 73, 00184 Rome

We chose this as our lunch place on a Saturday. Immediately I became "suspicious" when we did not get a menu for this special lunch deal. I asked our server and he said "oh yes, we stopped this lunch deal on February 1st, and we now serve lunch only on Saturdays and AT OUR EVENING PRICES!!". Well that was a bit of a shock but since I still wanted to try the food, we decided to stay. Having had a few meals already in Rome this time around, and seeing that we really could not finish our portions, we decided to take one portion of each of the courses we wanted and share them. Here, in THIS restaurant, it turned out to be a mistake, since the portions were very small and very pricey.

We started with a lovely pasta dish with walnut pesto which was truly magnificent. But really really small. They had even already divided it onto two plates for us, and so it looked even more miniscule. We then shared a good lamb shank but it came with a very strange accompaniment of a whole onion with the skin still on, and what looked like it might have been grilled or baked but was still kind of raw and quite inedible. So basically there was nothing in this dish except the lamb shank. We ordered two vegetable dishes to go along with it. One was a brocco-cauliflower vegetable cooked with raisins and wine and was very good. The other was a spinach and chicory dish which was barely edible but I think that is an acquired taste.

We did not want to pass up dessert and we were not all that full since we were sharing courses. So we ordered a VERY rich and chocolaty fudge/cake which was way too sweet and what they called an apple budino (pudding) which was barely passable.

With one glass of wine only and one cup of coffee, the bill came amazingly to almost 70 Euros!!! Remember we were SHARING dishes!!!!

Think well before you choose this place...
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Mar 20th, 2015, 09:46 AM
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Thanks, I was wondering about Armando and hope to dine there when we are in Rome in April.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 09:54 AM
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thanks for your TR, flame. Almost by accident we stayed in Monti on our first visit to Rome and loved it, though for a first visit it was a little bit too far away from most of the things we wanted to see, and we ended up with a bad dose of "Roman Foot"!

we ate near our apartment in the Via Dei Serpenti nearly every evening and I think that the only time we were disappointed was when we went to a restaurant that was recommended in the guide books. The rest of the time the food was great and very plentiful.

I think that you were very unlucky with the L'Asino D'Oro - though it is a little daunting to think that 1st Feb marks the beginning of the tourist season in Rome!
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Mar 20th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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annhig - it did not dawn on me that the reason they stopped this 13 Euro lunch menu is because tourist season had started. I wonder.......

To continue :

A Special Birthday Celebratory Meal
LA TAVERNA DEI MONTI
via del Boschetto 41, 00100 Rome

We originally wanted to eat at La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali and even had reservations. But the day was so rainy that we decided to stay "closer to home" and cancelled reservations at Imperiali (within plenty of time!!) and chose La Taverna dei Monti.

We chose this restaurant to celebrate a birthday on a rainy night this week in Rome. It was close to our hotel, and it looked very pleasant. We were not disappointed.

Our meal was very tasty, my first course lasagna HAD to be one of the best I have ever had. The cacio e pepe was very good and the portions were enormous. We would have been better off taking one portion for two of us.

We had the veal scallopini for second, one made with lemon and the other with marsala wine. Both very tasty, the lemon a bit better. A side of spinach and a side of asparagus. Both were tasty, the asparagus better.

We shared a great bottle of Barbera d'Alba and could not resist finishing off with dessert. It WAS a birthday celebration after all. So a tiramisu and a mont blanc cake were polished off and they were both excellent.

The service and the food were excellent. After we finished our meal they brought out a plate of cantuccini and two different liquors - a limoncello and a melon liquor, both looked homemade. We had to hobble back to our hotel.

An excellent experience and highly recommended.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 01:47 PM
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annhig - it did not dawn on me that the reason they stopped this 13 Euro lunch menu is because tourist season had started. I wonder.......>>

lol, it may even have started just as you arrived!

I'm glad that La taverna dei Monti was more successful - how did it compare in price with the other place?
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Mar 20th, 2015, 01:58 PM
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What other place? L'Asina D'Oro?
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Mar 20th, 2015, 03:14 PM
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sorry Flame - yes, that was what i meant!
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Mar 23rd, 2015, 05:51 AM
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Well, I would say that the food was more "special" in L'Asino d'Oro and more refined. In La Taverna dei Monti, the food was more typically Roman home-style trattoria with portions to match. And yes La Taverna dei Monti was waaaaaaay less expensive
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Mar 23rd, 2015, 11:08 AM
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Flame - it sounds as if I'm a "la Taverna dei Monti" type person.
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Mar 26th, 2015, 02:32 AM
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annhig - indeed.

The only place we visited where we were not satisfied with the food was a place so well-known and recommended. Maybe we were there at an "off" time but really it is the one place I would not recommend at all :


Ai Tre Scalini
Via Panisperna 251

After trying several nights to get past the enormous crowd outside this bar, just to walk down the street, we happened upon it on a Monday late afternoon and saw it was quite empty and decided to finally try it after hearing and reading so many good things about it. Well, the food was really BAD (ordered the gnocchi of the day and was told it was with pumpkin - what they really did was just take a small piece of raw pumpkin and grate it over the gnocchi - blech!!), meatballs in sauce and roasted potatoes. Potatoes were nice but small plates and oversize prices. The only thing good were the apparently homemade taralli they started us out with and the music that was being played. Very '70's and fun. Service was non-existant (and this is when the place was fairly empty - can you imagine on a hopping night?), and very indifferent and I would NOT recommend at all !!
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Mar 26th, 2015, 03:21 AM
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Thanks for the trip report.

Here's an article about the Monti area from the Guardian written in 2012.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...ood-city-guide
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Mar 26th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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Thanks kleeblatt. I think that I printed out ALLLLLLL the articles on the Monti area that I found online and and took them with me on this short little trip!!
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