Some notes on where we ate on our four day trip to Rome....we were on a budget but we still ate pretty well! See my blog for photos and links and more info on Rome: http://www.eatdreamtravel.com/2012/06...
Some of the highlights:
1. Trattoria Cavalier Gino (Da Gino)
We walked in here for a late lunch and we immediately felt at home. They were so welcoming, and the restaurant was definitely filled with a lot of locals. We even saw the old man who must be Gino come over to sit and talk to people at one table. We ordered cacio e pepe pasta (as we did everywhere), and it might have been the best here, with the cheese making this wonderful velvety sauce. The portion was too big in my opinion, since it's a starter, but what can you do? They were out of the veal dish Sam wanted for his main, but he ended up with veal with mushrooms which was very good, and I had chicken stewed with sweet peppers, also wonderful. We also had a great side of swiss chard. I would definitely recommend this place. It's tiny though, so if you're going for dinner you probably need a reservation.
2. Dar Poeta (in Trastevere)
This one has been written about in a lot of places, but I'll chime in and say that I though the pizza was great. The crust was not too thick, not too thin, and it had a little bit of char to it. Lots of topping possibilities, but I recommend the super buffala with buffalo mozzarella, artichokes, and olives. The first time we tried to go on a Saturday night there was a two hour wait, but on a Monday night on the early side we were able to walk right in.
3. Il Fico
We ate here our first night because we were attracted to the lovely outdoor terrace in a narrow quaint street. The food turned out to be quite good too. We had our first cacio e pepe of Rome (oh how I LOVE that dish)...and I can't actually remember what else we ate!
4. Ristorante San Michele
We weren't planning to go here; it wasn't on our radar at all. But we were walking by and Sam smelled the grill and he said ok, we have to go...and so we went. There were some really good things, and some not so good things, but I put it on here because the good things were really good, and it had a great atmosphere. It was a Sunday night and the place was full, but they sat us without a reservation. One area is outside in a garden, but our table was inside. But it didn't really feel inside, as it was all glass covered with plantings all around us, which was nice.
We started with a vegetable plate and a grilled artichoke, which were good, and of course, cacio e pepe, which was excellent. Then Sam had lamb chops that he adored, while I thought my swordfish was overcooked, but I didn't have the heart to send it back. I ended with a slice of chocolate cake.
5. Forno Campo de Fiori
This wasn't quite what I had expected when people recommended it, but we had a really good sandwich with I guess what is called "pizza bianca" - sort of like focaccia bread, with mozzarella cheese and zuchinni. A great place for getting a quick snack or light lunch to go.
6. Shawarma Station
Not the best middle-eastern food I"ve ever had, but if you want something different than Italian food, and you're on a budget, it's a good place to go. We ate so much food we never even got hungry for dinner.