When I would joke about how I’d probably gain 2 kilos while vacationing in Rome, I didn’t/hoped it wouldn’t actually happen. Well, it may not have been a complete 2 kilos, but it’s definitely more than when I left Paris. Mama mia, damn you Italy for having such delicious food!
Although Italy has a reputation for amazing food, I had heard from a number of disappointed foodies that Rome’s food hadn’t quite lived up to expectations. So armed with a couple recommendations from friends, as well as a slew of favorite restaurants written out for me by a nice Italian lady I met on the plane, I was ready to eat my way through Rome. “Pasta, Pizza, Gelato” was our motto on this trip!
Here’s Part One of the list of restaurants we ate at during our four-night stay. With the exception of one restaurant we randomly went to because we were starving and it was close to the Roman Forum, I recommend them all.
Antica Trattoria da Pietro al Pantheon
Via dei Pastini, 125/ Tél: 06 678 99 40
We weren’t quite sure where to go on our first night and were following Rick Steves’ “Night Walk” when we came across Pietro al Pantheon. The food on diners’ tables looked good and when we saw the TripAdvisor “4” rating outside, we decided to have our first Roman meal here. Despite its close proximity to the Pantheon, this small restaurant located on a street that may resemble Little Italy with waiters trying to lure you inside, is filled with tourists and locals.I had a mozzarella caprese salad to start that was satisfying but nothing quite special. However, the pappardelle with mushrooms and tomatos was really good. Rio had the first of many bucatini all’amatriciana and it was one of his top two favorites (read on to find out where he ate his favorite!). Service was the most friendly out of all the restaurants we went to.
Recommendation: Go for a casual and satisfying Roman meal.
Angelino ai Fori dal 1947
Largo Corrado Ricci, 40 – 43a, (angolo Via dei Fori Imperiali) / Tél: 06 679 11 21
This was our least favorite meal in Rome. Simply put, we had a lot of good meals in Rome, and this was the one we liked the least. Actually – we didn’t like it at all. We only came here after a long day of sightseeing elbow-to-elbow with tourists at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum because it was the first thing we saw that looked decent and had outdoor seating. We ordered a pizza and pasta, and both were flavorless. Plus, the pasta was overcooked… overcooked in Italy!! How this has a 21 Zagat rating completely boggles me. Service was fine.
Recommendation: Don’t go, unless you’re starving and desperate after a long day of sightseeing. Just know that you’re “throwing away” a good meal you could be having in a city with such great food.
Piazza Fiammetta, 10 / Tél: 06 687 57 77
The Italian lady I met on the plane recommended Trattoria Fiammetta and it did not disappoint! This may have been my favorite, if not second favorite meal during the entire trip. We squeezed into a tiny white table on the terrace and knew we would be in good hands as all the surrounding tables were full of Italian locals. We started off with a delicious white focaccia that was seasoned with olive oil, salt and rosemary, and for my main course, I had a simple pasta dish with mushrooms that was incredibly flavorful. Sometimes it’s the most basic dishes that can be hard to get right, and this one was perfect!
Recommendation: Definitely go. Many reviews noted that the pizza is really good, so if I return, I’d try that as well. This could also make a good lunch spot.
Ba” Ghetto Milky
Via del Portico d’Ottavia 2A / Tél: 06 68 30 00 77
(FYI – this phone number looks like it has an extra digit, but Roman phone numbers have 9 or 10 digits)
Not only did my client at Chippmunk recommend going to this restaurant in the “Jewish Ghetto”, but the Italian lady on the plane also recommended going to this neighborhood for a meal. So after seeing the Pope (yes, the Pope!!), we walked here all the way from the Vatican for lunch. Both had recommended starting with the “Jewish-style artichoke” as an appetizer, which I did and promptly loved! Seriously – it was so good. When I saw the tonarelli cacio e pepe on the menu, I knew I had to have that too as it’s my favorite dish at Lupa in NYC. Well – I can honestly say I don’t know who serves it better now – Lupa or Ba’ Ghetto Milky.
Recommendation: Definitely go if you’re exploring this neighborhood. Although the food is really good, be prepared for very spotty service (I heard a couple cancel one of their orders since it was the “longest wait they’ve ever had”).