We spent 4 days in Rome, with my Roman friend Sara's recommendations in hand and the Eat Rome iPhone app at our fingertips. We ate very very well. Where to begin?
Fatamorgana was our favorite, although we did not try Il Gelato. Fatamorgana's hazelnut was the most hazelnutty and their gelato the most thick and creamy. It was also the only place I was even remotely tempted by the other flavors. Even Gelato del Teatro, praised for the nut flavors in the Eat Rome iPhone app, did not come close to Fatamorgana's hazelnut. Luckily, Fatamorgana has expanded and now has shops in many neighborhoods. We were reluctant to eat any other gelato after discovering Fatamorgana (hence our failure to make it to Il Gelato).
We tried both Roscioli and Forno Campo de Fiori, and our favorite pizza bianca/pizza rosso in Rome was... Pizzarium. I found I prefer the slightly chewier version of pizza, so Roscioli and Forno CdF were a little too flat/crusty for my taste. Trying each of these pizzas was really fun, so I would encourage visiting foodies to conduct your own comparison and make an adventure of it.
Taverna Trilussa - we had a good dinner here, with the highlight being the Roman oxtails. There is so much emphasis on Roman pastas, and not much mention of other Roman dishes. The oxtails were meaty and had been braised in a tomato/pine nut/raisin sauce. It was one of the better meat dishes I've had in Italy.
La Rosetta - we had their 45 euro set menu seafood lunch. The seafood was pristine, but the preparations were not particularly special. We started with oysters (excellent) with a mignonette. Then we moved on to a plate of 3 crudos. They were all tasty, but not any better than other good crudos I've had. We finished with a grilled fish filllet served with steamed green beans. The service was excellent, and the quality of the seafood was high, but I was hoping to see more of the chef in the dishes.
La Gensola - this was our best meal in Rome. We started with scallops drizzled with cuttlefish ink and a sea bass ceviche, both excellent. I noticed the ceviche was much less acidic than the mexican and peruvian ceviches I've had in the US. Then we moved on to spaghetti - one with clams and one with sea urchin. The sea urchin spaghetti was a revelation. Since our exposure to sea urchin was limited to Japanese preparations, we were almost speechless. I will be seeking out this dish in Italian restaurants in the U.S. I hope it is not too impossible to get right. Finally we had the red head-on prawns and also the grilled calamari. The prawns were so sweet and the juices inside the head tasted like the lobster bisque we had at Pierre Gagnaire two weeks earlier. The type of prawn and the flavor profile must be unique to the local? waters.
Roscioli wine tasting room - not technically a restaurant, but we enjoyed the wine tasting and the accompanying food. We felt they did a great job of sourcing high quality products from various parts of Italy (proscuitto, mortadella, cheese). Also, I loved the crispy pork bits in their amatriciana. It's a great place to learn more about Italian wine paired with tasty bites.