Over the years, i have gained innumerable insights from chowhound boards and probably not given my share back. Thank you to the many on this board who understand how precious a meal, any meal, can be when you want to experience something worthwhile and only have a few short days in a wonderful city with literally thousands of places to choose between. I Don't know how many tourist traps or hyper-inflated hot spots i have avoided over the years, largely due to the help provided in forums like this one. So, i thought i would post thoughts on this trip and the places we visited - maybe someone will read it a year from now and gain some benefit.
First up: armando al parthenon. We had lunch at this small, wonderful, classic trattoria near the pantheon run by a warm and friendly family. The short menu reads like the greatest hits of Roman pasta with a few well-executed second courses and a delightful artichoke contorni. We had, in order of preference, amatriciana (outstanding guanciale with tomato - just the right amount of kick from the hot pepper), carbonara (creamy and delicious guanciale, eggs and cheese) and cacio and pepe (simple and satisfying). But, the declared first course winner was the farro soup with guanciale and tomato, a perfect blend of flavors and textures. For seconds, we had veal roast with potatoes (nicely executed but not particularly memorable), grilled lamb chops (excellent flavor) and chicken with peppers (best order - outstanding flavor). The artichoke contorni was delicious and worthwhile. Desserts favored the tira misu - expertly done. Wine was a sicilian blend of organic wine. Exceptional value at 45 euro. Reservations required for both lunch and dinner - you know a place is special when there is a line outside waiting the place to open at 1230pm and the first four parties in line are rejected because they don't have a reservation. But this is easter in rome. Next up: dinner tonight at L'Asino d'Oro.