I just came back from Rome from a relatively long vacation (see this other thread : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866074)
Sorry in advanced for the long rambling... (days are split between =====, I'll leave googling as an exercise for exact addresses )
Summary: I was mostly very happy with all the food I had in Rome, from pizza to high-end restaurants to gelato; service was good to great in all instances, no issue with my bastardized italian and english... I missed out on a lot of places I wanted to try (both food, wine and museums).
Photo, in order of the text: https://picasaweb.google.com/11644431...
Landed on a sunny saturday morning, after tackling public transportations, I find myself at the door of my appartment waiting for the keys; oh, lucky me, there's a small hole-in-the-wall coffee place, Café Péru (or Bar Giulia?), right smack next door with an excellent cappuccino and espresso done by Daniele; most/all of my morning coffees and breakfast were taken there (cappuccino e cornetto).
After dropping my stuff in the appartment, I'm heading to Campo di Fiore (and Carefour express) to stock up on essentials that I did not really used (came back home with a huge block of Pecorino Romano and a pack of spags!!).
The market is still running at full speed, but I need to eat before...
- Obikà looks nice, and wanted to tried that, got myself a couple of glasses of wine and a simple plate of tomatoes and Burrata; quite nice and fresh and refreshing after a long flight from Montreal.
After lunch, I stocked up on some veggies, fruits and some wines from Il Goccetto (Via dei Bianchi Vecchi); that first night, I intended to eat-in but as it turned out and contrary to what I'm used to, I fell asleep and woke up the next morning!!!
My first full day, I went towards Sant'Eustachio for coffee (my place is closed on sunday), quite full, but that's ok, nice espresso (with sugar).
For lunch, I wanted to try Coromandel (Via di Monte Giordano), small "hipster" place in a semi-basement, I think the chef is a woman (?), and what I had seen on facebook, it looked nice and light. Lunch menu is simple (but dinner look more substantial)
A nice place of gnocchetti "Cacio e Pepe" and a dessert of fresh fruits.
I will go back. There was a table of anglo speaking folks next to me, and one of the woman talked about making food "app" ? anyone here on CP?
In the afternoon, there was a "food demonstration" from the Marche region, with wines, cheeses and different kind of salumi all accompanied by a marching drums band (all dressed in epoch cloths) !!! .
For dinner, I had a reservation at Pierluigi (Piazza Dè Ricci). This was one of the best meal of the trip; perfectly warm night, good food, good wine, nice setting.
Started with a bottle of Grechetto (2011 Piana Dei Castelli Verdicchio Classico Superiore “Vigna delle Oche" Fattoria), fresh, acid, and very drinkable!!
As a first course, I had (or have been suggested) a plate of simple fish carpaccio, 3 different and perfecly fresh fish; with a sprinkle of olive oil and cracked black pepper.
For the main course, as I was single, the selection of "small" fish was limited, but I have a nicely baked Pezzogna served with some oven roasted potatoes/tomatoes and olive; all perfecly cooked and presented.
Dessert (pannacota) and coffee were good but non-descript (IMO).
The only downside of that meal, was that I was eating alone; first time that I felt "sad" at being single... it was just a perfect evening.
Monday lunch after walking and getting lost around the Trastevere area and the Janiculum, I found myself at Ombre Rosse (Piazza di Sant'Egidio) for a simple but very good Caccio e Pepe with pistachios "pesto", quite nice with a small bottle of Frascati.
After getting lost again, I stumbled upon Fatamorgana (near piazza Di San Cosimato); one of many fatamorgana encouter on this trip (Monti and Prati, google for exact addresses)... all nice and good; too many flavors, not enough time.. I kind of forgotten exacly what I had, but pistacchio was one of the flavor, and mint, basil, rosmary, honey ... and sometime fruits and chocolate!!!
Dinner that night (after the expensive pierluigi the night before), I decided to eat-in (and not fall asleep), melon, Prosciutto, salad of fennel...
Tuesday was the _unplanned_ Vatican day, I just let my feet do the walking (up and down the San Pietro Cupola!) ; but they had a purpose to go to Sorpasso, pictures on Elisabeth Minchilli's site looked nice and so it was, the main room is at the bottom of the "interior courtyard", but protected by a glass ceiling, which makes the room very bright even if it is at the back of the restaurant.
First course were slices of Mortadella with drizzle of oilive oil and reduced balsamic; nice, I don't usually buy mortadella, but I will get a few slices this weekend.
The main course was a _nice_ plate of Agnolotti in a veal ragu sauce with just enough cheese to make it more creamy!!
In the evening, I was lucky to get a table on the small terrasse of Ditirambo (near Campo di Fiore) Another nice evening and another nice meal; started with a first course of "Sfoglie" with Burrata and dried tomatoes, nice and surprising ( I was not certain what to expect from the menu description). The main course were Faro Papardele with rabit ragu (as far as I remember), very good. All that with a nice bottle of white "SP68" from Sicily's Ariana Occhipinti.
Wow, it ain't gonna stop innit ?!?...
Next day, still don't remember what I did, probably walking around and visiting churches and looking a ruins!!!
But, but I stopped at another "hipster" design place, Urbana 47 (via urbana, Monti), large open interior, with "vintage" furniture and accessories.
The food is simple, fresh and tasty; there was a set lunch menu of 4 courses; first course was a "gaspacho", second course, a cold pasta salad with chick peas, the 3rd course was some kind of potato "flan" (or maybe a "parmentier") with some cheese and some spinach; dessert was (I think) a plum tart.
All was very good, will go back at dinner.
At dinner, I decided to go back to "Il Goccetto" where I bought some wine as they also serve simple food, plates of salumi, plates of cheeses, olives, ... It is a nice place, very close to what I like for a simple meal. The have a small-ish wine by the glass list (white, red, blubblies, ...), If there's nothing to your liking, I assume that you can select any other bottle on the wall. I had a couple of small mozzarella with anchovies, some smoked salmon "involtini" rolled around a blue-ish cheese and a plate of different salume and hams; I had a few different glass of wine, but finished with a nice (or 2) glass of Pinot Noir from Schreckbichl Colterenzio (germanophone north italy)...
I went there 1 or 2 other times for pre-diner drink.
Thursday was a weird day!! I as I was walking up to the spanish steps, I found that I was missing my eBook reader just as I was walking up the spanish steps... kind of pissed about being pickpocketed, I decided to backtrack all the way to the appartment going back to the terrasse I had coffee (with free wifi) on the Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon ... just to find out that I dropped it at my local coffee place just outside my appartment, a big thanks to the crowd there and especially to the staff, Daniele, at the Bar Guilia!!
All that to say that I was still stressed out about that, but luckily, I could sit down at a local tratoria, "Di Giacomo Trattoria la Moretta" (Via di Monserrato), for what it turned out to be a nice lunch, A nice place Melon and Prosciutto and a classic thurday's Gnocchis in a simple tomato sauce all washed down with some house wine. I did not ordered dessert, but I was offered some biscotti to finish up the wine.
For diner, my only pre-voyage reservation, was at Metamorfosi (Parioli).
In a very residential area, for some reason, I grabbed an early taxi and wanted to have a drink somewhere before, but there is not much to do in the area, and the taxi trip took way less time than I expected, anyway, be warned, it looks far away, but it is not really!
As with a multi-multicourse menu it is difficult to describe everything that was served (food and wine)
It was a _very_ good meal, and as much as it is not cheap, it is very fullfilling and worth every penny (or cents).
The bread was very good, 2 servings, one whole wheat small bread and a 3 tier selection or chestnut bread, white bread and an olive rosmary bread (I think), and served with a olive oil mousse.
Mise en bouche: shrimp tempura with a mango sorbet; the shrimp was perfect.
First course: Shrimp crudo with marinated vegetables; very precise.
Second course: raw beef involtini with mushroom in mushroom broth; excellent, especially the broth.
Third course: deconstructed carbonara, with a "fried/puffed" pasta and the 68o egg with a cheese spumante; fun dish, very flavourful.
Fourth course: pasta course, spagetti in an oyster "sauce"; light oyster flavour was just nice.
Fifth course: big black ink pasta sheet surrounding a "stuffing" of some sort with sweet red pepper; first time I've had ink pasta; that was nice.
6th course: Risotto with veal crudo and pistachio, nice and light (yeah) with a fennel/dill flavour, nice presentation.
7th course: French lobster, just broiled and served on a bed of hot stones; nice presentation with a safe flavour.
8th course: meat course, I forgot what it was !!! sorry!!! all I remember that it came with a small bag of spicy puffed rice!!
pre-dessert and dessert : white chocolate candy and deconstruced fruit salad and some petits fours with the coffee (I was starting to be tipsy!!!)
I have the 5 wine pairing with the meal; don't remember all the wines I had:
Prosecco Valdobbiadene, a French pear cider, Roero Malvira Trinita, La Monesta Camerte.
Everything was good, no bad or funky flavour.
The only weird thing was that the restaurant was empty (3 seats that night!!) and made the whole meal a bit of an introspection and at the end a small chat with the next table, a couple from New York. Talking to the sous-chef (dude from sweden or danemark?), he told me that it was unusual, but maybe it was because of the "Taste of Roma" event.
Taxi back home (BTW, a taxi ride in Rome, half-drunk is a bit like a roller coaster ride!!! :-) )
Friday was a bit of a recovery day!
A nice coffee a the next door and off to the testaccio area and the new market, quite a nice place they have there, mix and match of different sellers, a few meat counters, a couple fish places, ... I like it.
Walked around the Hippie bio-market area (La Citta’ dell’Altra Economia) which is kind of scary empty post-industrial place with nearly crumbly buildings with no real indication what is there and if it is open or closed or even alive! (they had open air exhibition from this guy http://www.out-door.it/artisti/zedz/ )
After that, I kind of got lost trying to find 00100 pizza, IT IS NOT WELL ADVERTISED (as is a lot of places in rome), but I found it...
Got myself a couple of Suppli and some "Greenwich" pizza ... nice, simple, tasteful... I like the concept, I wish we had something like that in Montreal.
At night, I think I fed myself on Aperitivo and Gelato after that.
Saturday, I wasted myself in the Forum, it is kind of big and large and unless you bring food with you, you have to get out and fuel yourself before continuing (but I don't think you can come back again?)
I tried getting into Cavour 313, but it was closed (14:45!!!)
I was lucky to find a nice Osteria nearby, Osteria della suburra di Silvio (via urbana, 67); again a nice lunch meal, no frills food, Melon and Proscuito and a nice plate of tagliolini alla Gracia, simple, well made and all washed down with a pitcher of "Frizzante" wine!!
Finished the meal with a gelato at the nearby Fatamorgana.
Went for a Aperitivo at the Pantheon and really tired, and, hey I'm on vacation, I crashed at home and slept 12 hours straight, missing out on saturday diner!!
For my second Ruin day, I stopped at a pizzeria in the Monti area, Trattoria Pizzeria "Il Tettarello", I think it was my first "roman" pizza, thin crust with a simple filling of spinach and a bit of peperoncini, slighly burned side, yummy, it was quite a large pie.
Sunday night is always a weird night, looked at the minchilli and parla iphone apps; decided to head up to Trastevere, Wow, lot of people in the street!!
I was getting tired with all the walking around ruins, so I grabbed at table at the first place I recognized, Bir&Fud, I'm not a big fan of beer (I don't drink enough of them), but I wanted to try some local italian beers, 2 white beers, including one with low alcohol which was very refreshing (I forgot the names), I should have gotten a bottle to bring home.
Got myself some suppli, a big portion which filled me up too much to fully enjoy the very good pizza (tomato, cheese and anchovies) ( in retrospect, I should have asked to take out the leftovers for breakfast the next morning).
Nice place, nice service.
On monday, I got all over the place and luckily not at the MAXXI museum as it was closed! but I was near a subway station and rolled up to Pizzarium, no need for an introduction, just to say they have a way too nice selection of pizza and it was a bummer to not be able to try more of them, and since it quite "far" from everywhere else, not an easy commute to go often! (but it is 1 minute from the subway)
Got 2 "flavours", a lamb pizza and a simple vegetable pizza; the crust was perfectly tender, light and crusty, and the toppings _very_ tasty!
In the evening, walked around the Piazza Navona area, tried to get into Cul de Sac, but the table offered was not to my liking (a bit in the way); so continued wandering up to Tonino's; got lucky and got seated fast. Ooohhh they have Tripe, never tried tripes before; and surely I will tried them again! Tender, and meaty with no "offal-ish" side-effects. served, I assume, traditionally with a tomato sauce. Dessert was a big portion of Tiramisu.
Fun place, easy, simple...
Last day in Rome, let's make it count!!!
Making my way towards the Musei Capitolini, I saw one man, who turned out to be one of the waiter, preparing vegetables outside the restaurant, spinach and zucchini flowers; The restaurant is Gigetto. Returned after the visit to grab a couple of classics I did not have yet; the Roman fried artichoke, loved it, not certain exactly how to eat it, but not much was left in the plate at the end; but I misordered the other dish, I had my mind on the Carbonora, but my mouth said Alla Gricia instead!!! no biggie, the dish was very nice.
Ended up with "Fraize-mit-ice" (this is how my sister and I called it when we traveled to northern Italy when young, eons ago), Strawberries with ice cream.
Ended my stay in Rome with maybe the only slight "downer", Roscioli.
I wasn't sure what to expect; other than I want to have a nice bottle of wine and some charcuterie with it.
I was seated downstairs (which I did not no existed), and I was alone for some time, and that was kind of weird; but it filled out.
I ordered a bottle of wine, a "ES Primitivo di Manduria 2010 DOC Gianfranco Fino" which was a way too BIG wine for me, at 16.5% alcohol it kind of just made me drunk too fast, not like with a normal progression of alcohol of a "normal" wine (12.5% or 13%) does.
Don't get me wrong, the wine was very good.
One the food side, I ordered a selection of high-quality Prosciutto selection, hand sliced; at least I got something closer to quality to Spanish Pata Negra, very nice, and got better as they tempered;
Finished with a plate of stuffed pasta with fresh Porcini! I was too full at that time to fully appreciate the quality of the dish. (downer).
That's all about it...
Some generic notes...
In general, I've had good to great coffee, from Cappuccino to Espresso and Macchiatto, even around the big Piazza ( Navona, Farnese, Piazza della Rotonda). There was one exception, at a "cafeteria" near my place, on a sunday, crappy espresso, but I was there for the free wifi (the price you have to pay to stay connected!! :-) ). It's fun to watch the "indigenous" come in and order their coffee, all have a different variation and it seems the coffee guy rememebers it all; he even remembered that I order cappuccino!
I tended to accept the bread service as a form of included "tip"; instead of leaving an extra tip at the end. (if that makes sense)
Most of the wine (red, white and frizante) I had at lunch time was house wine and it was very good at the price point it was, and being single, most restaurants do not have 1/2 bottles; so it is a good choice.
I tried 3 (or 4?) different gelateria during my stay, Frigidarium (near piazza Navona), Fatamorgana (different locations) and Del Teatro (Via dei Coronari)
They all have quite a large selection of flavors, I was quite hapilly surprised about that. In general, the quality was there in the most adventurous flavours as well as the more traditional flavours.
Best thing invented ... :-) sitting down, order a drink and come in some small bytes, more or less fancy depending on the bar; from peanuts to small sandwiches or bruscheta...
My 2 good places were the Caffe Farnese and the Caffe della Pace (via della pace); but sitting in front of the Pantheon with a Spritz Aperol is quite nice!!!
I used a lot the Elizabeth Minchilli and Katie's Parla Food applications; most of the time offline and it work good enough; but sometimes because the streets are weirdly numbered, I walk in the wrong direction looking at the number on only one side of the streets... :-)
Thanks again for the recomendations ...
I will be back ( I threw a coin at the Trevi Fountain)