Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rome Recap - Food

Restaurant in Trastevere
Before getting into particulars, it's worth sharing some common sense advise regarding planning travel to a place you've never been.  Get some local insight.  A month or so before departing, we contacted American journalist Amanda Ruggeri.  Mandy lives and works in Rome, loves good food and shopping, and shares a love of authentic experiences.  Her blog, Revealed Rome, is a wealth of information on everything from getting around the city, skipping lines at sights, and where to find that perfect dress.  Her one hour consulting sessions are bookended by an email exchange to set needs and expectations, and a follow up that includes her incredibly practical guide to seeing the sights, eating, and shopping in the Eternal City.  Worth every penny.

While we ate out every meal for a week, there were only a handful of do-not-miss restaurants.  Rome, like New York or any other large city, has its gems, but most of the places we were steered towards served up routine, forgettable cuisine.  Some notable exceptions follow.

Pastificio

Pastificio - Down home pasta shop close to the Spanish Steps that serves up lunchtime prepared pasta.  Simple, basic, and the best pasta in town.  Four Euros gets you a heaping plate and a plastic cup to serve yourself some wine.  Popular with construction workers and suits alike.  Via della Croce 8



Palatium - This sleek, hip enoteca just off the main shopping drag of Via del Corso has a terrific wine list and an even better kitchen.  Hard to believe it's run by the regional government - everything here is sourced from Lazio.  Fantastic dinner kicked off by a dreamy zuppa fagioli (white bean soup, pictured below). Via Frattina 94

Open Baladin -This micro brewery near the Campo di Fiore served us the best meal of the trip: grass-fed Piedmontese beef burgers.  Extraordinary beers in a wine-open, cool setting.  Wow. Via degli Specchi 6

Deliciousness at Open Baladin
Dal Maurizio - Though this place is in the heart of Orvieto, it's worth mentioning here because the truffled porcini ravioli alone could be worth the one hour train ride from Rome.  Intense, magical, and sublime.  Via del Duomo 78.

Zuppa fagioli at Palatium
These places were so good, even a complete snob would be happy filling a week's worth of meals here. By contrast, a couple of joints that turned out to be over-hyped: Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio and L'Asino d'Oro in Monti.  We were really looking forward to Flavio, but ended up so disappointed. Abrupt service, truly mediocre meal, and quite expensive.  As for L'Asino, it was servicable, but unremarkable.  Can't win them all.









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