I recently spent 10 days in Rome with two 17 year olds. I pulled together a list of restaurants from this board and had reservations at all the places before we left. The hotel manager at our hotel (Roma Boutique) made all the reservations for us. This posting is just a snapshot of our experience. I'll list the restaurant, contact info, and a few notes of what we ordered. Although we like wine, I'm not an oenophile and tended to order a carafe of the house wine.
Colline Emiliane, Via degli Avignonesi, 22; 06 4817538. Near Piazza Barberini. Excels in traditional Emilian recipes. Excellent pastas and known for boiled meats with green sauce. Staff speaks enough English to help with menu. I had the pasta with ham and my daughter had tagliatelle with mushrooms--both were excellent. On a previous visit my husband enjoyed the boiled beef with green sauce.
La Campana, Vicolo della Campana, 18; 06 6867820. Near Piazza Navona. The girls love Caprese salad and ordered it at every restaurant we ate at in Rome. They thought the mozzarella here was the best--so creamy and flavorful. There is one waiter who speaks English and helps with the menu and ordering--take his suggestions! He order ravioli stuffed with artichoke and a silky red sauce for me, my daughter had vegetable soup, and our other traveling companion had chicken with sweet peppers. All three dishes were excellent. With a Caprese salad and a carafe of house red the bill was 75 euro.
L'isola della Pizza, Via degli Scipioni, 47; 06 39733483. Near Vatican. Perfect spot for pizza a block or so from the Vatican Museum entrance. Three competent pizzas, wine and the usual caprese salad for 34 euro. Very casual, relaxed place to recoup over a late lunch after the Vatican crowds.
F. Lli D'Angelo, Via della Croce, 30. Near Spanish Steps. DISASTER. We spent the morning at Villa d"Este in Tivoli and were tired and hungry when we arrived back at the Spanish Steps metro stop. We did not have restaurant plans on this day, so we just stopped at one of the tourist spots in the shopping district at the Spanish Steps. Knew it was a mistake when we noticed that a glass of house wine was 6 euro. We each ordered a pasta dish and the caprese salad (i told you they literally ordered it everywhere we ate). The pastas all arrived ice cold and beyond edible even as hungry as we were. We each took a bite or two and then asked for the check. Without comment, the waiter deleted the pastas from our bill. So, the bill for the salad, bread, water and wine was 22 euro. Terrible place to eat, but I commend the waiter for not charging us for the terrible uneaten pastas.
Pizzeria da Baffetto, Via del Governo Vecchio, 114; 06 6861617. Near Piazza Navona. and Baffetto 2, Piazza del teatro di Pompeo, 18. Near Camp de Fiori. Pizzeria da Baffetto is only open in the evening and does not take reservations. The line was probably 25 deep when we arrived, but it was worth the roughly half hour wait. Best pizza we had in Rome. The four cheese was deliciously pungent with gorgonzola and the spicy salami great. Baffetto 2 is fine, but we thought the pizzas were simply not as good as the original. It is open for lunch, though, and even on Easter Sunday.
Le Fate, Viale di Trastevere, 130; 06 5800971. Trastevere. We took a cooking class in this charming restaurant that specializes in organic ingredients from Lazio. The class, taught by Chef Andrea Consoli, in his very small kitchen was well worth the 50 euro. We prepared, from scratch, artichokes roman style, tagliolini carbonara, saltimbocca alla romana, and a chocolate souffle (molton chocolate cake). It was the best carbonara of the trip. Chef Andrea speaks beautiful English and is familiar with ingredients readily available in U.S. supermarkets (his girlfriend is from Michigan) which I found to be quite helpful. We went back to Le Fate one evening when we were meeting friends. Our party of 10 enjoyed it although I must say that the service, while friendly, was not exactly attentive. This is a small restaurant, maybe 15 tables, and is worth a visit.
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9. 06 6798643, Near Colosseo. Great Meal! I had Paperdelli with sausage and pork rib, my daughter had fava bean soup, and our friend had raviloi stuffed with mozzarella with a silky pesto sauce. We shared a warm pear cake for dessert. Oh my, I really enjoyed this place. A perfect place for a relaxing lunch after taking in the sights of Ancient Rome. With two salads, bread, and wine the bill was 57 euro.
Vineria Salumeria Roscioli, Via dei Giubbonari, 21. 06 6875287. Near Camp de Fiori. Walk through the small deli in the front and be prepared for an excellent meal. My daughter who has been living in Spain for the year was desperate for red meat-the waiter served her a beautifully grilled fillet with roasted potatoes, not on the menu, that satisfied her this evening. Maybe not overtly "italian" but just what she craved. I had the carbonara which was excellent although the pasta at Le Fate was better (maybe because we had made it just an hour before). Our traveling companion didn't see anything on the menu that struck her, so the chef prepared fettuccine with shrimp and it was perfect! The wine selection is incredible, something like 900 Italian wines. I took the waiter's suggestion (sorry I don't remember what it was) and was not disappointed. We started with an assortment of cheeses, hams and salamis ( of the waiter's choosing) and a caprese salad with mozzarella that was out of this world. This was our most expensive meal at 163 euro for four of us, but worth it. Must have reservations here. This was our second time here and had the same waiter who spoke perfect English. You just tell him what you're craving and it arrives!
Crispi 19, via Francesco Crispi, 19. 06 6785904. Near Spanish Steps. Our hotel manager suggested this place for dinner on Easter Sunday, our last night in Rome. We were not disappointed. I had pumpkin risotto with crispy artichokes and sashimi tuna. This was an excellent dish with perfect texture. I'm sorry to say that I forgot to note what everyone ordered, but everyone enjoyed their meals and desserts were great--I just can't remember what they were. We took the waiter's suggestion on the wine and had a lovely bottle for 18 euro. I will say that the menu was italian mediteranean, but the presentation felt american. I can't put my finger on what made it so, but on our last night it was rather comforting. I will definitely try this place again. A bottle of wine, waters, 3 starters and 4 secondi plus 2 desserts and the bill was 163 euro.
We also enjoyed gelati at Gelateria Frigidarium, Via del Governo Vecchio, 112 (next the Pizzeria da Baffetto), and at Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario, 40.
Our first afternoon in Rome, we took in the late afternoon sun on the Il Palazzetto Terrace overlooking the Spanish Steps. We had stayed here on our visit to Rome in May 2009 and loved it. The wine is expensive, but well worth it for the view and lovely location.