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Rome Restaurant Suggestions


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#1 Nancy S.

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 10:08 PM

I'm planning a holiday in Rome and trying to decide where to have dinner over the course of a week. Right now, a potential itinerary includes: All'Oro, Hosteria Glass, L'Arcangelo (for their gnocchi on Thursdays), Antico Arco, and Sforno. I would be grateful for advice, possible revisions and other suggestions. Many thanks in advance.

#2 nuxvomica

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 01:30 AM

oh, I love Antico Arco. If you like offal, Augustarello in Testaccio is great for lunch - and not far from Volpetti, a great food store. The pajata pasta was fantastic, all the pastas were terrific. Roscioli for lunch or snack (cheese/meats), dinner was fine too but i think it works better for lunch. Obika had some incredible buffalo burrata.

I haven't been in a couple of years but can ask a friend living there about anything new worth checking out.
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

Everything is always OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.

#3 Nancy S.

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 01:56 AM

oh, I love Antico Arco. If you like offal, Augustarello in Testaccio is great for lunch - and not far from Volpetti, a great food store. The pajata pasta was fantastic, all the pastas were terrific. Roscioli for lunch or snack (cheese/meats), dinner was fine too but i think it works better for lunch. Obika had some incredible buffalo burrata.

I haven't been in a couple of years but can ask a friend living there about anything new worth checking out.

Excellent. Many thanks.

#4 Steve R.

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 02:01 PM

Ginny and I just got back a couple of weeks ago. First of all, there's a "blogger" who also does food guides for Rome and Florence who's worth reading: http://www.elizabeth...illiinrome.com/ Then there's the granddaddy of all CH posts (from opera singer "tenortom" on the W.Coast) that I thought was fun & informative reading as well: http://chowhound.cho...m/topics/793982 On that thread is not only "tenortom's" requests and then his retrospective loooong review, but posts by mfant (Maureen Fant, who lives there and does shopping/cooking tours), "vinoroma" (wine tasting person in Rome who seems to have a great rep.) & Eliz. Minchilli. He also references Katie Parla (sometimes NYT reviewer) & Charles Scicclone (NYC wine person whose wife writes Italian cookbooks), whose writings are worth checking out as well. Enough reference material?

At any rate, we went to Perilli twice and really liked the place (in Testaccio, an informal trattoria that's been there for many years, with a very local following... almost next door to Volpetti (the Zabar's of Testacchio)). We also went to Checchino dal 1887 (also in Testaccio) and were less impressed, more due to the empty place and perfunctory service that night (I think they were sulking) than the food, which was good. The wine list there, as "tenortom" states, was great. May be worth a shot, although I'd hit Perilli instead if you care more about rustic traditional food (we do) than more upscale versions with great wine. We also liked La Campana and Da Giggetto quite a bit. Both of these are long standing places well written up in every guidebook, so you dont need my "what to eat" review" here (unless you want it, then pm me).

I know that most eG and MF folks are skeptical about CH (at best), but the Italy board is good. Maureen Fant links her posts to her blog which, in turn, has a listing of her favorite Rome places. Others like Jen Kalb (right here in Bklyn) are frequent flyers and knowledgable.

Feel free to get in touch if you want details.

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#5 Steven Dilley

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 02:22 PM

I tend to agree with Nux but would argue Roscioli for dinner is a must. Well-curated menu, great wine list.
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#6 nuxvomica

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:46 PM

I tend to agree with Nux but would argue Roscioli for dinner is a must. Well-curated menu, great wine list.

ahh, yes, i forgot how great the wine list is. (and Casa Bleve, too, iirc.) we liked the food at Roscioli but there were strange delayes between courses and forgotten dishes - our Roman friends were furious with the waiter(s?) giving attitude. it's possible we were starving. but once i was up to my ears in Radikon and white truffles, i really didn't care :lol:
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

Everything is always OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.

#7 Orik

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:11 PM

We also went to Checchino dal 1887 (also in Testaccio) and were less impressed, more due to the empty place and perfunctory service that night (I think they were sulking) than the food, which was good. The wine list there, as "tenortom" states, was great.

...

I know that most eG and MF folks are skeptical about CH (at best), but the Italy board is good. Maureen Fant links her posts to her blog which, in turn, has a listing of her favorite Rome places. Others like Jen Kalb (right here in Bklyn) are frequent flyers and knowledgable.

Feel free to get in touch if you want details.


The wine list (or what remains of it) at Cd1887 is about the only good thing about that place that seems to be in serious decline. Service is as you've described, anything you're not supposed to see (like what's under the tablecloth) is very dirty and the food was just not as good as it should be. I thought I'd posted about it in more details, but looks like it was just:


2000 Accordini Amarone "Il Fornetto" is so big it might make your head explode, and not something I'd usually order or drink, but it was ideal with forgettable and highly seasoned food.



I can't really agree with you about the Italy CH board, a lot of it is recycled from posters who have been giving the same recommendations since they've lived there several to many years ago, and when we were planning a trip I don't think any of the good addresses we got in Rome or Tuscany (well, relatively good in the case of Tuscany) were from CH. E.g. Roscioli was never mentioned there prior to the trip despite making the rounds on various blogs and on the very good Terroir series guide (food, wine, rome).

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#8 fentona

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:39 PM

oh, I love Antico Arco.


I also really enjoyed Antico Arco (though that was five years ago); it strikes me as a more MF-friendly place than many Roman restaurants.
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#9 Steve R.

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:34 PM


We also went to Checchino dal 1887 (also in Testaccio) and were less impressed, more due to the empty place and perfunctory service that night (I think they were sulking) than the food, which was good. The wine list there, as "tenortom" states, was great.

...

I know that most eG and MF folks are skeptical about CH (at best), but the Italy board is good. Maureen Fant links her posts to her blog which, in turn, has a listing of her favorite Rome places. Others like Jen Kalb (right here in Bklyn) are frequent flyers and knowledgable.

Feel free to get in touch if you want details.


The wine list (or what remains of it) at Cd1887 is about the only good thing about that place that seems to be in serious decline. Service is as you've described, anything you're not supposed to see (like what's under the tablecloth) is very dirty and the food was just not as good as it should be. I thought I'd posted about it in more details, but looks like it was just:


2000 Accordini Amarone "Il Fornetto" is so big it might make your head explode, and not something I'd usually order or drink, but it was ideal with forgettable and highly seasoned food.



I can't really agree with you about the Italy CH board, a lot of it is recycled from posters who have been giving the same recommendations since they've lived there several to many years ago, and when we were planning a trip I don't think any of the good addresses we got in Rome or Tuscany (well, relatively good in the case of Tuscany) were from CH. E.g. Roscioli was never mentioned there prior to the trip despite making the rounds on various blogs and on the very good Terroir series guide (food, wine, rome).


I dont know if I'd paint with that broad a brush. First of all, you guys are much more traveled than most and I think folks like myself need more basic referrals from those who live there and make a living guiding visitors to food, shopping and wine. I dont know Nancy S., so I'll assume she might be in my general league.... that is, far from a novice or Zagat's person, but not a frequent flyer to Rome either. Overall, you and Sivan are more information sources than you are my equal and if a friend was going to many places I'm sure you're well acquainted with, I'd add you to the list of those whose brain should be picked. In other words, I probably wouldnt refer you to CH if you told me you were off to Rome next week.

That being said, here's a link to Elizabeth Minchilli's current blog post. http://www.elizabeth...illiinrome.com/ Note that its featuring the former sous chef of Antico Arco and his current gig at Metamorfosi (a pretty current hot recommendation, no?). And further note that she is writing about a hamburger tasting.... how much more au current can you get? :blink: Ginny and I have benefitted from the CH Italy board on each of our trips there over the past 5 years or so. At least we think we did... granted we may not have hit the new hip top places thru the CH threads or the blogs of those we listed, but we got the Maialinos and Babbos & even a Roberta's or two, and that'll do for us.

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#10 Nancy S.

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:55 PM

A few weeks ago I discovered Eliz. M.'s blog and Katie P.'s blog. Both seem to be excellent resources. Many thanks for the comments here as well.

#11 Chambolle

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:28 PM

would argue Roscioli for dinner is a must. Well-curated menu, great wine list.

I was at Vivant (Paris) today, yet again.

I just happened to ask David (Pierre's sidekick, a great fun, bushy-haired, mustachioed French guy who even used to work at Ten Bells in NYC) if he knew Rome well.

He said no.

Unfortunately Pierre wasn't in.

I asked David if he knew some good places there. Just one good address, a bar a vins or something. I asked him to throw Chambo just one lousy bone. Something I'd really like.

He says: Okay, I'll give one address.

He wrote down one word: Roscioli.

I nodded as I stuffed the paper into my pocket.

By the way, I just emptied my pockets.

#12 Chambolle

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 02:09 PM

I have fuzzy memories of a specific trip to Rome that I made just over 10 years ago.

In May of 2001, Wine Spectator* had an extensive, photo-laden article devoted to Roman Wine Bars.

I was living in Paris at the time. Heck, what a great excuse to have a quick Roman Holiday, me thinks.

Me did.

I did that trip with zero planning and with zero advance notice. I xeroxed the WS article and proceeded with purpose. I can't remember all them wine bars now - it was surely Cul de Sac, L'Angelo Divino, maybe Enoteca Ferrara and definitely that little hole-in-the-wall Enoteca Il Goccetto on via Dei Banchi Vecchi that were mentioned in that decade-ago article.

The reason why I know Il Goccetto was in that article is because upon popping into the place I said to myself "This is it ? Ugggh." We left shortly thereafter and had to find a place for dinner. Lo and behold, juste à côté, I spotted this cute little place called Il Pagliaccio. We walked in. We were highly impressed by white tablecothes and we dined. We had an excellent modern, French-techniqued meal. What a shock.

I hadn't thought about that place for a long time now. Just for kicks, I googled it. A restaurant by that name still exists. The restaurant has white tablecloths. The restaurant has two Michelin stars today. Yow !

Now I'm curious. Very curious. I just called the restaurant and asked when the current ownership opened the place. They told me 2003. I told them I ate there in 2001 and the place had white tableclothes and the same marble floor pattern back then just like now. They told me that it wasn't them in 2001. Hmmm. I'm sure I ate there in 2001, right ? Intriguing ...

Does anyone know anything about this place ?

http://www.ristoranteilpagliaccio.com/



* I didn't realize what total unmitigated crap that magazine was in my youth. Actually, I kind of did, but their travel articles often were a reasonable starting point for a potential short list of hotels, restaurants and wine bars. I used it as such. I haven't subscribed in almost 10 years.

#13 Chambolle

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 01:21 AM

Considering that my first-hand knowledge was over a year out-of-date, I hedged my bets and I was coy with my prior two posts in this thread. (Of course I knew Roscioli, but I never let my Vivant friends knew that I did.)

I'm now prepared to speak more definitely.

In the pantheon of Roman wine bars, Roscioli is the towering ruler of the Olympic pride.

Frankly, it's much more than a wine bar. Think NYC's Dipalos (the prior incarnation) on Italian steroids with much more product and depth and tables and cooking going on. And plenty of wine to boot. And don't think that they chauvinistically limit themselves to Italian products, because as good as Italian cured meats are, Roscioli is happily procuring from Spain Bellota a lot of the time. And their Bellota prices (31 euros for 150g of 36 month old from one of multiple producers - I think 50g is plenty for a starter for one person) are better than Terra de Bellota (de l'Espagne) in gay Paris. And Roscioli's mozzarella offerings rival Obika's. And wait til I start talking pasta ...

As you well know, Chambo doesn't google for his info. He flies sorties. Hence, a lunch at Roscioli. A pseudo-dinner at Il Goccetto. And quick sorties at Cul de Sac, Angelo Divino, Enoteca Ferrera and others. I'm highly confident that I'm on target. Best I can tell, Zeus doesn't have to worry about any of these (not-so-)young studs knocking him off his mount. And I do like Il Goccetto for what it is. A wine bar with a gazillion wine choices and limited food options. No cooking. Think salumi, cheese, anchovies, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed peppers, etc. Nice and simple finger food.

And I'd dine at Roscioli without hesitation, but then again, I'm Chambo. That said, Roscioli is a relatively rustic, casual affair ambience-wise.


Just got back from dinner at Antico Arco. My three hour dinner there is not normal because the last hour was spent hanging out with the chef and staff. Due to the language barrier, it took me a while to fully break through. But I did, of course :) cuz I'm Chambo.

Net net. I warmed them up and then started digging for treasure. I got them in a group and procured their short list of worthy competitors to modern, forward-thinking Antico Arco.

Their list in sorted order was:

Il Pagliaccio
All'Oro
Glass

The chef randomly added Al Ceppo for a good, solid traditional Italian offering.

That's their list - not mine.

When they got out their laptop and I pulled up this thread and asked them about L'Arcangelo, there was some appreciative nodding. Re Sforno, less so.

How was Antico Arco ? I'm pretty confident that it should be on the short list. It's a charming, cute place with a well-trained and caring staff. That right there is enough for me to forgive some issues. Yes, there were some , but all in all I would return when in Rome. If the place were in Paris, it would have way steeper competition, I fear.

The current chef is young and open-minded and he should continue to improve. He has been there for 3 years.

Chambo over and out.

#14 Nancy S.

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for the details and the recommendations.

#15 Steven Dilley

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 09:02 PM

Interestingly, and I might have mentioned this before, Roscioli has a second, non-Italian wine list as well. Heavy on Burgundy and N Rhone, iirc. Maybe Champagne, too. I recall Roulot and some other solid producers.
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

--H.L.Mencken


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