Quick Rome Report
I just returned from Italy and read so many suggestions from Chow that I thought I would report. I had the pleasure of dining at several of the places on your list and here are my reviews:
1. Armando al Pantheon: the gnocchi al gorgonzola was heavenly! We were also very pleased with the Spaghetti con tartufo and a veal dish whose name escapes me. Fabrizio was wonderfully hospitable and accomodating! It was the perfect first meal in Rome!
We missed our second night's dinner at Checchiono...next time hopefully! We had also planned to have a Sunday lunch at Coline Emiliane and much to our disappointment, found that they were completely booked around lunchtime. We began wandering and stumbled upon a place called Terrazza Barberini (we were lured by their lovely rooftop terrace) and had the most delicious ravioli I have ever tasted. I believe it was ravioli with speck and porcini.
2. Mondo Arancina for rice balls and pizza before heading to the Vatican. I highly recommend the spinach and mozzarella rice ball!
3. On our third night, we dined at Al Ceppo. Everything about this upscale meal was exceptional. We drank several bottles of wine that evening, but the dishes that I remember were a) the antipasti dish consisting of egg and black truffles. b) a primi of tagliatelli alla carbonara and white truffles c) veal sweetbreads. Excellent!
4. Our last dinner was at Antico Arco - loved the more modern atmosphere of this restaurant. We went on a Monday night, and it was incredibly busy and service was extremely slow...as in, the waiter took almost 45 minutes to take our wine order...aside from that, the highlights of the meal included the cheese, compotes and bread antipasti, pappardelle with a white duck ragu, Risotto with cheese and red wine sauce, Spaghetti with pecorino cheese and artichokes, and the veal cutlet with potatoes & this salty lemon sorbet! Oh - and their molten chocolate dessert was perfect!
Hope this helps!