We've been traveling through Rome, Umbria and a brief stint in Positano the past few weeks and have had a lot of hit and miss experiences despite combing the boards. We've spent a lot of time in Florence and perhaps came to Rome looking for restaurants that have that cozy yet lively atmosphere and great food without pretentious service. We are staying in Trastevere (but will go to any neighborhood) and had one of our favorite meals of the trip at Le Mani in Pasta. The Insalata Polpo e Patate has been our favorite dish of the trip and their pasta with porcini mushroom special knocked us out in the best possible way. The food was excellent and despite being sat next to another American couple with a penchant for talking on their cell phones, we had a great meal.
We also tried Paris but found the food to only be ok (pasta with squid and artichokes was great, fried artichokes were small and on the greasier side), the service to be lacking and the environment stale.
We also tried Mario’s on Via del Moro in hopes of a authentic trattoria experience but found it to be only average.
So chowhounders, I would love your help. I like to keep our meals to less than 75 euros unless there is a wine splurge. I've come to realize that I am willing to pay a bit for atmosphere and liveliness. And by atmosphere, I don't mean stark white table clothes and fancy waiters and while I love the idea of using compact fluorescent light bulbs in commercial spaces, I don't find them conducive to mood lighting. We are more into traditional than innovative in terms of cooking style. Places like Ripa 12 look beautiful but we're hoping for some thing a bit more cozy.
We have three more nights in Rome and are hoping for some really reliable suggestions.
I've read great things about Antico Arco on here and am leaning towards heading there tonight.
I'd like to try Piperno for the artichokes alone. Perhaps it is better for lunch?
Trattoria Mont gets great reviews but I feel like there is nothing to "discover" there in the sense that they have been written up in every book, magazine, website.
also thinking about Osteria al Galletto, Da Sergio, Maccheroni, Da Tonino, Roscioli, Enoteca Corsi and any others that you recommend!
Thanks so much.