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).
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!
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.
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?
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;
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?
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.
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 :-)
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 ;-)
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!
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 :-)
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 :-)
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.
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:
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.
** Checchino Dal 1887
** Gelateria del Teatro
* La Campana
* La gatta mangiona
* Osteria La Gensola
* Forno Roscioli
* Osteria de Memmo I Santori
** Gori Gelateria Artigianale
** Gelato di Claudio Torce
* Gelateria Neve di Latte
* Pizzeria DaBaffeto
* Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
* Enoteca Corsi
* Antico Arco
* 00100 Pizza
** Palatium - Enoteca Regionale del Lazio
** L'Asino d'Oro
* Hostaria Nerone
* Armando al Pantheon
** Dal Quagliaro
** Trattoria da Danilo
* Flavio Al Velavevodetto
** La Taverna dei Monti
* Domenico dal 1968
* Profumo di Mirto
* Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi
* Caffe Camerino
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