by Mauro Abate
"Via Margutta" (Margutta street,
by Luca Barbarossa)
Perhaps much to your surprise, what is known as "Italian cuisine" is a galaxy
of regional cuisines. Every region in fact has its cuisine, contributing to the broader
one with its own dishes. Probably the most important ones (of course the Italians hardly
agree on this) are those of the region of Naples (pizza, sfogliatelle, pastiera, babà
etc.), Bologna (lasagne, tortellini, ravioli, parmesan cheese, prosciutto-ham, Modena
balsamic vinegar), Sicily (pasta alla Norma, pasta con sarde e pinoli, caponata, melanzane
alla parmigiana, scacciate, cassata etc.), Liguria (the region of Genoa, with pasta al
pesto for ex.), Puglie (Apulia) for its "orecchiette", its whole wheat bread of
Altamura, its very imaginative Mediterranean first courses and fish dishes. The region of
Tuscany is also famous for its steaks (bisteccha alla Fiorentina) and sweets (Saporelli
and Panforte of Siena for ex.), the cuisine of Abruzzi for its meat dishes, the region of
Milan for its "risotto" (rise) and the Christmas cake "Panettone",
Calabria for its very natural products, particularly tomatoes.
The Italian cuisine follows a combination of the following criteria.
Most meals consist of a "primo" - pasta or cereal course -; "secondo" (meat or fish for those who eat it, if not other possibilities): and "contorno", side dish made by cooked vegetables or salad, served separately. Meals can include "antipasto" - hors d'oeuvre", "dolce" - dessert - and "frutta" (fruit). Unfortunately, the nutritional culture of Northern and wealthy countries is taking over, and there is more and more meat in the menu. Although vegetarians find many dishes to eat, and things are better here than Northern European countries, because the culture of the latter is becoming popular, sometimes a first course followed by a simple salad or "contorno" (side dish) and cheese / omelet is the only option for vegetarians.
While top-range restaurants generally have adequate wine lists, "trattorie"
and "osterie" generally have a limited selection, and you will see the same five
- six brands mostly of white wine wherever you go. Most people ask for "vino
locale", or "vino della casa", generally white wine. The most popular white
wine in Rome comes from the Alban Hills, or Castelli Romani. It is called "Vino dei
Castelli" in Italian. There are several brands, very similar, the best perhaps are
Marino and Grottaferrata, and especially "Gotto d'Oro". It must be served
Our intention is not to make a comprehensive list of restaurants, nor to report the most famous, fancy (and expensive) ones, but to report about restaurants that we think have quality for the food, atmosphere and service, and which also give value to your money. Some of them offer a 10% discount to Roman Homes customers, for which you need to show your rental contract or our business card. Many of these restaurants are hence off the beaten tracks. As soon as we will discover new ones, we will inspect them, report about them, and we will try to make the owners apply a discount for our customers. So if you have any suggestions about a special restaurant that you have discovered, please let us know about it at our usual E-mail address: email@example.com. Also restaurant owners who think that they have the above criteria can write to us asking to be included in the list, and we will contact them to inspect their service.
While wondering around the area, which stretches from Campo de' Fiori, across the Piazza Navona to the Spanish Steps, you will soon discover many of the treasures of the city. This is area is culturally, historically, artistically and architecturally compelling and will consume your imagination immediately. The area is referred to as the "Tridente" of the historic centre of the city and it is here that you will find a vast array of fantastic "trattorie", "pizzerie" and "ristoranti". We recommend the following as they offer the best and most authentic of Roman and Italian cuisine.
Trattoria "ANTICA TAVERNA", Via Monte Giordano, 12 (Tel. 0668801053, open 12:00 noon until 24:00 midnight, daily). This is a very popular little trattoria that serves a variety of meat and fish dishes cooked according to Roman, Tuscan and Ligurian recipes. This family run trattoria offers attentive and friendly service and an intimate environment which favours relaxation and long Roman lunches. The average price for a meal (consisting of four courses including wine, bread and a service charge) is 50,000 Ital. Lira for fish (app. 24 US$ or 26 Euros) and 40,000 Ital. Lira without it (app. 19 US$ or 21 Euros). Roman Homes customers receive a 10% discount upon presenting our business card or contract agreement.
If you are staying in the Campo de' Fiori area you may like to try the trattoria "DA GIULIO" situated just after the Church of Santa Maria in Monserrato, in Via della Barchetta, 19, Tel. 0668806466 (from 12-3:30 p.m. and from 7 p.m. - midnight). This is a favourite of many artists and the Roman avant-garde on one hand, and by Vatican Monsignors, Bishops and Cardinals on the other hand. It offers a variety of interesting antipasti, pastas and main course dishes. Specialties include home made gnocchi with truffle, gorgonzola cheese, pesto or ragu', tagliatelle with mushrooms, saltimbocca and fresh fish either grilled or baked. The hospitable owners have been running this trattoria, situated in a magnificent sixteenth century palazzo, with wooden beam ceilings for many generations. Prices are very reasonable and the food is delicious, in the range of the Antica Taverna (please read above). Outdoor dining in appropriate weather. Roman Homes customers receive a 10% discount upon presenting our business card or contract agreement.
We also recommend "Trattoria Da Luigi" in Piazza Sforza Cesarini, 24. (Tel. 0668885945/ 066864777 open 12.00 noon until 24.00 midnight, closed on Mondays). This trattoria offers a superb and extensive menu of meat, fish and vegetarian food and has an impressive list of fine wines. Da Luigi is centrally located in a piazza just off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele but it manages to retain a sense of tranquillity and peace. The average price for a meal is 40-50,000 lira (19-24 US$ // 21-26 Euros). Roman Homes customers receive a 10% discount upon presenting our business card or contract agreement.
If you like fish then LA TORRETTA is the place for you! It is located in Piazza della Torretta, 38-40, in the vicinity of Via dei Condotti and the Spanish Steps. (Tel. 066833494, open 12.00 noon until 24.00 midnight, closed on Tuesdays). This restaurant also offers a multitude of meat and pasta dishes to tempt your wallet. The "spigola" or sea bass is particularly delicious and the friendly and helpful owners will take pleasure in attending to your every need. The average price for a meal is 40-50,000 lira (19-24 US$ // 21-26 Euros). Roman Homes customers receive a 10% discount upon presenting our business card or contract agreement.
Although you will not receive a 10% discount like the restaurants mentioned above We would like to recommend the following places to you, as they are situated around the Centro Storico, provide great food and service.
SORA MARGHERITA situated in Piazza Cinque Scole, 30 (Tel. 066864002) For lunch only. This restaurant is one you should not be missing if you like Roman Jewish cuisine. Less famous then others, hard to find (it does not even have a sign), it is attended by the Roman Jews, and connoisseurs. It offers the complete variety of Jewish cuisine, beginning from the famous fried artichokes (Carciofi alla Giudia). The price is very low, app. 30-35,000 Ital. Lira (app. 14 US$ or 15 Euros), giving value to your money. This is why they said they could not offer a discount to our customers (rock bottom price). Great place to explore for cultural reasons. Pay attention to find it, as it is not easy.
PICCOLA ROMA situated on Via Uffici del Vicario, 36. (Tel.
066798606) For lunch and dinner. Following the Roman cuisine, they offer many meat
dishes, but also good first courses, and have also a good wine list. The average price for
a meal (consisting of four courses including wine, bread and a service charge) is 50,000
lira (app. 24 US$ or 26 Euros).
RISTORANTE "PIERLUIGI" situated in Piazza de Ricci, 144. Tel. 0668800778 / 779, closed Monday. For lunch and Dinner. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
RISTORANTE MONSERRATO situated on Via di Monserrato, 96,Tel. 066873386. For lunch and Dinner. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
SETTIMIO AL PELLEGRINO situated on Via dell Pellegrino, 117. For lunch and Dinner. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
DITTIRAMBO situated in Piazza della Cancelleria,74 (Tel. 066871626). For Dinner only. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
GRAPPOLO D'ORO situated in Piazza della Cancelleria, 80 (Tel. 066864118) opposite Dittirambo's. For Dinner only. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
L'INSALATA RICCA situated in Largo dei Chiarvari, 85 (Tel. 0668803656) and also on Piazza di Pasquino,72 (Tel. 0668307881). For lunch only. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
PARIS situated in Piazza San Calisto, 7e ( Tel. 065815378). For lunch and For Dinner. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
LA POLLEROLA situated in Piazza della Cancelleria. For lunch and Dinner. The price is in the average of the restaurants presented above.
In the quarter you will find many restaurants. Of course you will find all the Italian ones that your heart desires, from cozy family run "trattorie" and "pizzerie" to fine "ristoranti", with all the regional variants. You can also find other cuisines (French, Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc.). And there are also many "gelaterie" (ice cream cafes), bars, pastry shops, wineries for connoisseurs, "torrefazione" (special bars where you can drink or even buy the coffee specifically ground and toasted by the house). You really have the embarrassment of richness. And if you feel like cooking at home, not only you will find normal supermarket (in Via del Boschetto towards Via Nazionale, to the right: "Margherita"), fruit shops, but also cozy, old-fashioned grocery stores in Via dei Serpenti.
If instead you're thinking of having pizza, we recommend "Chicco di Grano" (Wheat Grain), in Via degli Zingari 5-6- 7-8, corner with Via del Boschetto 115-114 (tel. 0647825033). They prepare nearly 30 different types of Pizza with wooden fire oven, according to the Neapolitan tradition, not the Roman. We recommend Neapolitan pizza as opposed to the Roman (it is quite hard to find the former in Rome, and you will generally have to surrender...when in Rome...). In the Neapolitan pizza the dough is let aside to raise, the pizza is thicker and more dressed. "Chicco di Grano" also prepares 40 different types of Bruschetta, a Roman specialty of grilled bread dipped in olive oil and garlic (with many variants). Also this restaurant offers a 10% discount to Roman Homes customers. Again, you will need to have the rental contract with you, or our business card.
What is the difference between a Roman and a Neapolitan pizza? They are nearly totally different things. The Roman pizza is thinner, the dough is prepared in a slightly different way because it is not left aside to raise. The Roman pizza is slightly less dressed too. There is an eternal dispute on which one is better. Given the name of our company ("Roman Homes") we should support the Roman. Actually we prefer the Neapolitan, which is the authentic Italian pizza. In Rome you can find it only in selected places. Try for example:
CIRO Via della Mercede 43. It is between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.
PIZZARE' situated in Via di Ripetta, 14,
(Tel. 063211468). For
lunch and dinner.
If you want to try the Roman Pizza, then LA RUSTICHELLA (Pizzeria and trattoria)
is a good place for you. It is situated in Vicolo della Cancelleria 13 (Tel.
0668803786). Please refer to the description in the restaurant section. To receive a 10%
discount please show the owners Stefano or Fabrizio our card or contract.
An intermediate variant between the Roman and Neapolitan can be found at "Chicco di Grano", in the Monti quarter (please look the relevant page), also with 10% discount. The pizza is also very large.
We will report only the ones we strongly recommend.
- Marino: "Checco e Nello", Via Nettunense Km. 2. Once you are in the Via Appia, after the ring, going to Albano and Castel Gandolfo, when you arrive in Frattocchie you should turn right and take the Via Nettunense. After 2 kilometers you reach a little village called Castelluccia. After 400 meters to the right you find the restaurant, which offers a similar service to Romoletto. Try particularly the great pastas, particularly Ravioli ricotta e spinaci, and also all the grilled specialties, particularly "Scamorza ai Ferri" a special cheese grilled with Bruschetta - delicious. Details of the phone n. will be given soon.
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