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Please rescue my Roman dining experience!

We loved the happy chaos and heaping plates of simple pasta at Le Mani in Pasta, but can't vouch for lunch (were there for dinner).

Mar 22, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

Please rescue my Roman dining experience!

Yes, thanks for remembering and also for the restaurant tip :-) I decided to skip markets this trip because we are short on time (and frankly, I need a vacation from cooking for my 5 family members on a daily basis ;-) We will try to book Armando al Pantheon before we depart - grazie for this tip. By the way, we ate at Roscioli last night and whereas everything was delicious, the Burrata was so good, I nearly cried. Honest to God. Things are looking up!

Mar 20, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

Please rescue my Roman dining experience!

A lot has been said here (thank you), so I'll be brief: we has lunch today at La Campana and dinner at Le Mani in Pasta. Both were excellent in terms of food and experience. Nothing fancy, as you know, but great experience for a visiting foodie in Rome.

PS: we ordered Roman artichoke at La Campana (not fried) and it was far tastier than the fried one at Giggetto... But two artichokes is by no means conclusive. We also ate pasta with pajata (simple, tasty), oxtail and osso buco (a little heavy for my taste but no reflection on the dish... Just personal preference). At Le Mani in Pasta, the simple primi (cacio e pepe and gricia) were delicious and so filling we couldn't eat a second course. At 8-10 euros per plate, the price to quality ratio was great, despite what others have posted here re: Osteria. Oh, and we also really enjoyed a side of bitter chicory sautéed with garlic.

Mar 18, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

Please rescue my Roman dining experience!

Thanks for your replies and suggestions, everyone!!

I recognize that tomatoes are out-of-season. My grievance is that the restaurant used them to compliment a scallop dish (we didn't specifically order tomatoes); and I expect a highly rated restaurant to adapt their dishes to seasonal vegetables. It shows that they care! In all fairness, I should mention their use of eggplant which was the highlight of our meal, even though we ordered seafood dishes. Like I said, they were OK, but for the money - no.

The artichoke at Giggetto were properly prepared, fried commando, they just weren't very tasty. The outer leaves were a little tough and dripping in oil. I am a southerner and don't shy from fatty food, but the taste has to justify the grease!

We have a reservation tonight at Le Mani in Pasta because our proprietor recommended it... But maybe we should go elsewhere..?

No plans for Monday night because I'm not sure what is open.

Tuesday - Thursday we are in Sorrento / Amalfi Coast, Friday we're in Orvietto area for dinner. Suggestions for outside Rome are welcome, too, although I have already pulled names from Amalfi threads.

Next Saturday we are booked at Checcino. Sounds like Checcino is a keeper! We plan to try their famous dishes and aren't afraid of the 5th quarter. Any advice for ordering?

Mar 18, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

Please rescue my Roman dining experience!

Dear Chowhounds,

Today I tried 2 Roman restaurants and was disappointed in both:

- Giggetto (lunch): went to taste their seasonal artichoke and zucchini flowers. Both were heavily fried, a la State Fair Twinkie fried, and left much to be desired;
- Osteria La Gensola (dinner): dishes were passable, but priced at twice their value. To be honest, the pasta tasted like al dente De Cecco with an OK flavorful sauce, not what I expect for $20 bucks a dish... And the antipasto included chopped fresh tomatoes that rivaled any US grocery store for blandness and desecration to a proper tomato.

I did not cross the ocean for this!

Can the opinionated among you please reply with suggestions to recover my food experience of Rome? Or should I save my money for the Italian countryside and stick to affordable pizza while in the eternal city?

Thanks!!

Mar 17, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Mbfant and barberinibee, I appreciate what both of you are saying - taste is definitely a moving target, regardless your culture of origin. It is not necessary to leave your own home to butt up against disrespect for cuisine (and if you have kids like mine, your own table). Poor taste and cultural insensitivity offend me, but people can only grow from where they are planted. Freedom and creativity have this price.

Jan 25, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Thank you for this advice, Elizabeth! The thread has gotten long and I managed to miss it when you posted. I appreciate your generous information :-)

Jan 25, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Personally, nothing tastes better to me than the occasional Coke with a super-sized meal from McDonalds; and that is spoken as a true, normal practice, food snob. I take American pride in avoiding diet drinks when I order fast food (like, 4 times a year); and I apologize when I drink wine from a small tubular glass with almost every lunch I prepare in America. We all have our oddities, irrespective nationality. Thank God ;-)

Jan 21, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Thanks, Zerlina! I will definitely book at Checchino and try the Roscioli on Via Giubbonari. Any idea whether they close on Sunday or Monday? As for markets, I will probably focus on Trifonale due to various positive reviews.

As for errors in my list, yes! Sure. I pulled recommendations from multiple Internet sites and some old-fashioned books. Having never been to Rome, I am ignorant. Apologies to anyone who is offended or misled -- as I stated in my earlier posts, I am not Rome resident and I have never been to any of the restaurants in my list. In other words, use my list at your own risk (as I will be taking the same risk, hopefully mitigated by Chow commenters, at the end of March). No harm intended!

Jan 21, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

No, I missed it - but got it now! Thanks!! By the way, I bought a Slow Food guide to eating in Italy (while I lived there 3 years ago). It's still in my library, but having read and checked up on their suggestions, I think it is fire starter material. I will get a copy of Fred Plotkin instead. Thank you :-)

Jan 20, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Thank you, Barberinibee. These suggestions and insights are helpful. I am looking forward to eating my way around the Eternal City... and know that even the best restaurants have their off nights, so fate will bring what it will :-)

Jan 20, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Thank you, Zerlina! The good news about Rome is that people gush over their experience, so it is obviously a wonderful place. The bad news is that it is very difficult to determine the quality standards of enthusiasts. I will take your advice and focus on Testaccio. Any particular food vendors or restaurants that you suggest in this area? Note that I speak Italian.

Jan 20, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Thanks very much for your replies! Since you have written, I managed to locate some information on these threads that I was not able to locate last night... I will repost here:

ROMAN MARKETS

Testaccio
Trionfale

Campo dei Fiori

Vittorio Emanuele

Piazza Vittorio

There seems to be a wide range of opinions about which markets are best according to their location, price and quality of food. I guess Rome is a highly personal city (which I am soon to learn), with some lovers of the touristy zones and some haters. Interestingly, I have read many people say that Travestere is the best place for authentic cuisine (and not Campo de' Fiori, etc). But when I mapped the highly recommended restaurants (below), the majority seem to fall in the center of the city - from Campo de' Fiori area to Spanish Steps. What's up with that? Is my list missing some Travestere gems? Or maybe those are the ones that no ones want to publicize, and that is a secrecy I can completely understand having lived in several major tourist areas during my lifetime ;-)

For those of you who get lost in these threads like I do, below is the list that I have assembled, thanks in large part to members of CHOW. One star means good but mixed reviews (or far away from center); two stars means a must. Of course, the stars and notes are entirely my opinion based on what reviewers say -- and I have never been to Rome, I am only speculating and preparing for my trip.

ROMAN RESTAURANTS

** Checchino Dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio 30, Rome, Italy
For traditional roman food, offal - dress smartly and expect to eat oxtail, brains, etc

** Gelateria del Teatro
Via de San Simone 70, 00100 Rome, Italy
The best ice cream in Rome and arguably the world

* La Campana
Vicolo della Campana 18 (Cavalieri Hilton), Rome, Italy
Eat Sunday brunch here

* Sforno
via Statilio Ottato 110/116, 00175 Rome, Italy
Some say theirs is the best pizza in Rome (great dough)

* La gatta mangiona
Via F. Ozanam, 30-32, 00151 Rome, Italy
Another contender for best pizza in Rome. Out of the way

* Osteria La Gensola
Piazza della Gensola 15, Rome, Italy
Supposedly great food in Travestere. Reserve ahead

* Forno Roscioli
Via Buonarroti 46, 00185 Rome, Italy
Excellent, non-touristy (all about the food). Reserve ahead

* Osteria de Memmo I Santori
Via dei Soldati 22 - 23, Rome, Italy

** Gori Gelateria Artigianale
Piazza Menenio Agrippa 8, Rome, Italy
The best ice cream in Rome according to some italians

** Gelato di Claudio Torce
Piazza Monte D’Oro 91/92, Rome, Italy
Real ice cream, a must

* Gelateria Neve di Latte
Via Luigi Poletti 6, 00196 Rome, Italy
Organic ice cream. Out of the way

* Pizzeria DaBaffeto
114 Governo Veccho, Rome
Excellent pizza, centrally located

* Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
Via della Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Roma, Italy
+39 06 679 8643
Still a solid classic

* Enoteca Corsi
Via del Gesù, 87/88, 00186 Roma, Italy
+39 06 679 0821 ‎

* Antico Arco
Piazzale Aurelio, 7, 00151 Roma, Italy

* Settembrini
Via Luigi Settembrini, 25, 00195 Roma, Italy
Some wax poetic, others aren't convinced.

* Pizzarium
via della Meloria 43, 00136 Rome, Italy
Good for not only pizza

* 00100 Pizza
Via Giovanni Branca, 88, Rome, Italy
Great, but out of the way

** Palatium - Enoteca Regionale del Lazio
Via Frattina 94, 00187 Rome, Italy

** L'Asino d'Oro
Via del Boschetto 73, 00184 Rome, Italy

* Hostaria Nerone
Via Terme di Tito 96, Rome

Wide range of opinions.

* Armando al Pantheon
Salita dei Crescenzi 31, Rome
Family-run trattoria

** Dal Quagliaro
Largo Mola di Bari 17, Rome, Italy
Cult favourite in Quarticciolo. Nothing fancy, but very authentic experience.

** Trattoria da Danilo
Via Petrarca 13, 00185 Rome, Italy
Standard home-cooking go-to, but mixed reviews on current quality

* Flavio Al Velavevodetto
Via di Monte Testaccio 97/99, 00153 Rome, Italy

** La Taverna dei Monti
via del Boschetto 41, 00100 Rome, Italy
highly rated, must reserve

* Domenico dal 1968
Via Satrico, 21, Rome, Italy
Good food, Michelin rated, italians like it, not too expensive but out of the way

* Profumo di Mirto
Viale Amelia 8, Rome, Italy
Excellent for seafood

* Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi
Via Santa Maria del Pianto 9A/11, Rome, Italy
Excellent cheeses to bring back to apartment

* Caffe Camerino
Largo Arenula, 30, 00186 Rome, Italy
Wonderful pastries

Jan 20, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

I am renting an apartment in Rome for one week at the end of March. Many of you locals have mentioned that your favorite meals are at home with Romans... and since I love to cook, can you please recommend your favorite sources for fresh vegetables, cheeses, seafood, meats, bread, pasta, wine and other Italian "groceries" ? Where does the Roman hobbyist chef shop? Places to pick up delicious antipasti would be awesome, too. Seasonal tips (what is fresh at the end of March) are especially appreciated! Thank you :-)

PS: We are staying near Piazza Navona

Jan 19, 2012
missy_beauvois in Italy