Here is a quick rundown on the places in Rome we ate/drank at during Christmas week. If I could give just one piece of advice, it would be: get Katie Parla’s app and read her blog. Her write-ups were uniformly spot-on. Our only truly bad meals were at places she did not list.
So, in no particular order, with stream of consciousness notes:
Antico Arco- dinner on Christmas. Initially stuck at a table in alcove. Asked to move and they were incredibly gracious, moving us to a central table in main room which was very cool space. Food was very good to excellent (cacio e pepe overly cheesy; fish bland; pigeon and veal wonderful), wine selection was excellent, and service was friendly and technically superb. Highly recommended
Nonna Betta- dinner on Christmas Eve. Super (touristy) friendly service. Food was very good. Lentil soup, cacio e pepe, tuna, and beef were all excellent.
La Taverna del Ghetto- lunch. Meh. Room depressing, service kind of surly, food edible, but just. NOT recommended
Roscioli – dinner, multiple cheese, meat and wine purchases from deli, multiple purchases from Forno. A must-go restaurant. Food was superb – pastas and fish particularly notable. Service was not “friendly” but nonetheless excellent and respectful. Forno was just around the corner from our apartment so we there daily for excellent bread – and the pizza rosso was fantastic. Can’t say enough good things about Roscioli and Roscioli Forno. Highly recommended.
Ai Marmi—dinner. Excellent pizza in the traditional style (crispy around the edges, softer in the middle). Sausage was superb. Very drinkable table wine, great atmosphere, tons of locals on a Sunday night.
Pallatium – lunch at wine bar/restaurant in touristy area by Spanish Steps. Surprisingly nice – great, airy modern room upstairs; good service (but no English); very good food and great wine by the glass with generous pour.
Trattoria Der Pallaro – “dinner” at the worst restaurant ever – seriously. This tourist trap was unbelievably bad – food inedible, room depressing, populated entirely by tourists – and the only wine I was served in Italy that was literally undrinkable. We were with a group of eight and the feeling was unanimous – laughably bad. NOT recommended.
313 Cavour – lunch at wine bar in Monti, very short walk from Colosseum. Recommended by our Colosseum guide so I was wary – but it was charming with very good food and superb wine by the glass. Turns out it is listed in Parla’s app – but we didn’t know that until afterwards.
Antica Enoteca- dinner. Food was barely edible, good wine selection, a tourist trap by the Spanish Steps (albeit a somewhat charming room).
Pizzarium – fantastic pizza by the slice at mobbed takeout. Quite different pizza than Ai Marmi – a bit thicker and more uniform with unusual toppings. All were excellent but, surprisingly, the plainest (margherita with extra spices?) was the best. No English spoken but hipster servers were nice and incredibly patient. Highly recommended.
De Teo – dinner at “locals” tratorria in south end of Trastevere. It was mobbed but we appeared to be only non-Italian speakers in the place for dinner Very friendly and helpful service, food was good to very good, wine list was excellent and reasonable – including ½ bottles which I thought was unusual but appreciated. Very enjoyable.
L'Asino d'OroMonti – lunch on a side street in Monti. Without regard to the price, one of the best meals we had in Rome. Charming, modern room, incredibly friendly waiter, superb food. Consider the price – 12 euros for three courses, an amuse, glass of wine and water – and it could be the best deal in Rome. Note that, for whatever reason, while we were there mid-afternoon they turned away a few Americans while letting in Italians – but they were super nice to us and nobody is mistaking us for Italians. Highly recommended.
While we drank wine at every restaurant, we went to these places for drinks only, no food.
Open Baladin – beer bar. Dozens of beers on tap and probably 100 by the bottle. Went solo in the afternoon a couple of times and sat at the bar. Bartenders were very friendly and knew their beer. Went at night with a big group and place was mobbed - we had to wait to get in. Party atmosphere, younger hipster crowd, appeared to be mainly locals but very comfortable for our group of middle aged Americans. All beers were 5 euros, which is a good deal if you are getting a craft ale and probably not so good if you’re getting a Peroni or the like. Note that the burgers looked excellent (although we didn’t eat there). Highly recommended.
Cul de Sac – wine bar. Went solo in the afternoon. Sat outside. Great people watching on small piazza off of Navone, Great wine by the glass with a generous pour, service was bordering on surly but acceptable.
L’Angolo Divino – wine bar. Went solo in the afternoon. Wanted to like this place because the room was nice and the location was quiet yet super close to Campo. But the bartender/proprietor was super-surly, the by the glass selection was small and mediocre, and the pour was short. Not recommended (although I think it’s a Parla choice) .
Gelateria del Teatro – not the one on Via di San Simone but the one south of Ponte Sisto on lungotevere dei tebaldi. Went there twice – fantastic gelato with nice people behind the counter.
Fior de Luna – In Travestere. Excellent.
Il Gelato di San Crispino – by the Trevi. Mediocre at best.
Happy to answer any questions about any of these places –just let me know.