A stone’s throw from the Pantheon is one of Rome’s most classic restaurants, Da Fortunato. If you want to sit with the power brokers of Italy this is the place for you. The walls are lined with domestic and foreign glitterati including former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. The menu is classic Roman cuisine with an emphasis on the seasonal. I just went with a group of 4 and had some fabulous vignarola, a classic Roman spring dish of fava beans, artichokes, peas and a bit of green onion. Done right it’s delicious and this one was no slacker. Several of us followed with veal meatballs in a delicately spiced sauce that had some of the elements of a bolognese (we noticed carrot, nutmeg, and wine), while others went for ravioli with truffles, capably done and obviously hand-made. With two bottles of wine and dessert we dropped about 60 euros a head. You can certainly get the same quality for about 2/3 the price elsewhere, but you won’t be able to say you ate at the same table as a former president!
favorite places, walks, eats, recipes & more!
Archive for May, 2010
Convivial and hugely popular, this lunch and dinner osteria run by a group of “ragazzi” Italian for young people,is warm and friendly and so small you will be rubbing elbows with your neighbors. Buzzing with action and always packed waiters rush out of the open kitchen with steaming plates of the freshest seafood, home made pastas that rework the traditional greats as well as offer new inventions, and fantastic homemade desserts. Dishes not to miss include a delightful cod and truffle carpaccio antipasto, steamed cod with lemon zest, fresh fettucine and clams.
Open for dinner only, this elegant restaurant situated in a medieval building housing an ancient synagogue. The owner will gladly take you deep below ground to their extensive wine caverns. Family run, white tablecloths but an easygoing atmosphere. A smattering of ancient Roman dishes such as pork with apples or fennel as well as updated classic Italian served with great style.
Exclusive feeling and private with a lovely little enclosed garden area. A stone’s throw from the Trevi fountain below the Quirinal hill, this place stands out due to its refreshing combination of a light and innovative menu concentrating on daily specials. Wild seafood, top-quality meats, great service and an excellent wine list. Fixed price menu or buffet (not Sundays) at lunch. Large daily selection of wines by the glass. Expect to drop at least 50 euros per person.
There are two Boccon Divino restaurants in Rome run by completely unrelated people and they are both excellent. In a palazzo from the 1400′s on the piazza in Campo Marzio, once the ancient training grounds of the Roman army, this charming little piazza with ancient columns holds the excellent Boccon Divino. Outdoor seating, two elegant and refined dining rooms. Updated mediterranean cuisine and a good wine list make this spot near and yet just far enough away from the Pantheon an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.
Near the Vatican Museum where in most places you can guarantee you will eat poorly and pay dearly, is this exceptional ma and pa trattoria. If you’re ever wondering what happened to the Fellini-esque madness of Rome, look no further than this couple who, between the insults and wild hand gestures of an Italian couple straight out of a neo-realist film of the 1950′s deliver up fabulous Roman cooking. The anitpasto alone, with its mountains of mozarella and bruschetta al pommodoro is often enough for a a lunch time meal.
Near Vatican City you can find some of the best, and much of the worst cooking Rome has to offer. Some restaurateurs wait like spiders in their hole to corral you into eating a microwaved pizza for thirty euros. Thank heavens there are a few saints such as Arlů to take us pilgrims into their tender, small restaurants, rest our tired feet, and feed us delicious, soul awakening food.
Close to the Pantheon, this restaurant has a perfect mix of ample outdoor seating with a lovely, classic set of dining rooms, several which look in on the kitchen. Always bustling, and a bit impersonal in its delviery, Macheronni nevertheless serves up reliably high quality Roman cooking in a part of town that can be dicey.
On a side street between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo, surrounded by chique boutiques is this stylish and unpretentious little restaurant that cooks divinely. The seafood plates are consistently great, crowned by their cartaccio, spaghetti and mixed seafood baked in a foil wrap to trap the flavour. In an area choked with mediocre restaurants catering to tourists who don’t know any better, Edy is a real jewel.
This place is something of a secret. We almost feel guilty putting it on this page, because it is a Roman refuge in the heart of the touristic center. Hidden in an alley just around the corner from the charming via dei Banchi Vecchi, a street that sports several great wine bars and a handful of excellent restaurants, is this simple, rustic trattoria with modest prices, simple wine and fantastic food. The joint is always jumping with the boisterous voices of the locals, the ravioli are always excellent, the cheap wine is always drinkable, hell, everything here is good, it’s just authentic roman food for Romans. Get here about 7:45 PM if you want a seat, otherwise you can try and reserve, but your Italian had better be fairly good!