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Long time lurker, and had lots of great recs thanks to the Rome CH posts so wanted to do a quick report on our trip.
We stayed near Piazza Navona in early July 2018 and are on the road for a very long time. As a result, we didn't get a chance to make many reservations. We tried to call in to Armando but had trouble so just figured we would figure it out as we go. In the end, we entered Rome with a 10 month old baby, no reservations and no firm meal plans. Definitely a first for us but one of the new changes since we have a young baby.
Day 1 - arrived around 1pm, was exhausted. Went to a local pizzeria and had some pizza al taglio. Not sure if it was just the contrast to the mediocre airplane food or the fact that we were really hungry but it was really excellent pizza for the price (about 5 euros for two people). Ended up dropping by for a snack one afternoon.
Day 1 evening - local tourist restaurant, right around our area - nothing memorable but had a 6pm dinner before submitting to our jetlagged bodies.
Day 2 lunch - went to the Colosseum and needed to sit down to lunch and to feed. Went to Hostaria da Nerone which has mixed reviews here but we gave it a go since it was next door. Food was not bad (better than the tourist restaurant on night 1) but nothing to write home about. We found our pasta too salty, but the owner was very friendly, the bread was complimentary, and they even gave us some limoncello after our meal for free. Again, felt a bit touristy and we probably wouldn't visit again unless we were in the area in a pinch.
Day 2 evening - walked in to Emma's Pizza right at 7:30 - still had a few seats for those without reservations but was filling up. Both pizza and pasta were amazing - really fresh seasonal ingredients and actually my wife's favourite meal in Rome. Highly recommend.
Post dinner - went to Roscioli's bakery and grabbed some breads, pastries for a brunch picnic the next day. Grabbed a bunch of stuff for only 15 Euros - was delicious and there was very friendly staff who let our baby try different foods and took time to explain what was in the various items.
Day 3 lunch - Roscioli's bakery
Day 3 dinner - Armando al Pantheon - no reservation, was right next to where we were staying so lined up outside at 6:55 before it opened at 7. They had one last table for the three of us so we were delighted to go for dinner. The poor waiters spend most of the evening just turning people away at the door. Food was fantastic as advertised - delicious Roman classics at moderate prices. Pastas were good, the veal was tremendous and flavourful and the dessert was a surprising highlight. Would recommend.
Day 4 lunch - quick local place on the go. Stopped by Trastevere area for some various street eats including delicious suppli.
Day 4 dinner - Roscioli's - was back in the area as it's close to where we are staying and dropped in at 6:30pm. They had a spot for us at 7pm provided we could vacate the table by 9:30 - with a baby, that wasn't really an issue. We followed Katie Parla's recs to a tee, ordering a couple of the classic pastas, and a couple starters - the mortadella with grated Parmigiano Reggiano was delicious as advertised and the pastas were the best we had in Rome. They do cook them a bit firmer al dente so if you like it "american al dente", then ask for it to be cooked a little longer.
All in all, we had some great meals so thank you to all those on here with the recs. It is possible to eat well, even with no reservations and minimal last minute planning.
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