December 28, 2014

Wining & Dining in Rome


It almost goes without saying that you can't visit Italy without encountering at least one spectacular meal.  We enjoyed our favorite meal in Pompei at Hostaria Plinio, but Rome brought their A-game with great cuisine and superb service.  Sadly, as per typical DanTrina foodie-fest-coma-fashion, we neglected to think about taking pictures of our meals until, well, our plates were nearly clean and the point moot.

However, there were a few stand-out meals we wished to share, some with our own photos and some used with permission from similar bloggers' experiences at various Roman eateries:


(C) Expat Gourmand  Photo not from Babbo's.
Ristorante Babbos

After a delayed arrival in Rome (thanks to the mind-blowing punctuality of the Italian public transportation system, cough-cough), we were famished and desperate for food.  A recommendation from our hotel's concierge brought our empty stomachs to Ristorante Babbos, a few blocks northwest of Termini station.  A small fence separated the tables from the street in this restaurant's charming outdoor setting, and waiters in white coats and towels draped over their arms served us ice-cold water and tasty Italian wines.  We began our meal with bruschetta, which may actually have bested what we enjoyed in Pompei.  Danny silenced his hunger monsters with a large margherita pizza, and I satisfied mine with a plate of lasagna.  We had no complaints with the taste or the portions, but it didn't wow our taste buds as much as the bruschetta.  Overall it was a solidly enjoyable meal, but it did not prove to be our best in Rome.

Price range: $$
Appetizers: 5-6 euros
Pasta dishes: 9-10 euros
Pizza: 8-10 euros
Beer: 3-4 euros (per glass or half liter)
Wine: 4-5 euros
Service: 5 out of 5
Bang for your Buck Value: 4 out of 5
Location: Via Volturno 13, in the same block as the Piazza delle Finanze



The Steak House
TripAdvisor Site

Don't let the name of this restaurant turn you off as being inauthentic - we ate at this restaurant twice during our five night stay in Rome, and other than street vendors and Hostaria Plinio in Pompei, it's the only place we enjoyed enough to revisit while in Italy.  In spite of the generic, almost American-sounding name, the cuisine at this establishment was intrinsically Italian and mouth-wateringly good.  Between both our visits, we enjoyed spaghetti, lasagna, alfredo, bruschetta, pizza, and copious glasses of wine.  The lasagna was the best:  generous inclusions of beef, the perfect ratio of cheese, and pasta at the perfect point of tenderness.  Danny's serving of spaghetti with shrimp was also praise-worthy, and the olive-oil coated, garlic tomatoes were the perfect side dish.  The service was prompt, attentive, and not over-bearing.  Most of the waitstaff appeared to speak English, or at least know enough to interact with guests.  However, we noticed that nearly half of the patrons were Italians enjoying a meal there, too.  While not a four star restaurant, the Steak House proved itself a purveyor of affordably-priced, delicious Italian food.  If staying in the Termini/Esquilino area, we would highly recommend a meal or two here!

Price range: $$
Appetizers: 5-6 euros
Pasta dishes: 8-10 euros
Pizza: 8-10 euros
Beer: 3-4 euros (per glass or half liter)
Wine: 4-5 euros
Service: 5 out of 5
Bang for your Buck Value: 5 out of 5
Location: Via Montebello 77




Osteria Allegro Pachino Ristorante
TripAdvisor Site

The ill-fated order of saltimbucca
We stumbled upon this restaurant in a side alley off the Trevi Fountain.  The place was obviously geared towards tourists - our menus were entirely in English, although TripAdvisor pictures seem to indicate that they offer bilingual menus which would've proved helpful for my particular experience here.  As our menus were entirely in English and my knowledge of culinary descriptions is limited, I ordered a "traditional Roman veal cutlet."  Oh, if only the menu had included Italian, then it would've stated the dish as being saltimbucca - a name I recognize and food I highly dislike!  When the food arrived and I discovered my error, it was too late in the night for us to order another dish.  I filled up on bread and a few bites of Danny's delicious spaghetti with octopus and mussels dish (picture at top of blog post) before we departed.  I'm sure the saltimbucca was good, but even the best saltimbucca dish in the world is not going to sway my opinion.  Service was adequate, although the food seemed to take longer to appear than at other establishments.  The food was slightly overpriced, but not as badly as you'd expect from a restaurant merely 92 meters from the Trevi Fountain.

Price range: $$
Appetizers: 6-7 euros
Pasta dishes: 9-11 euros
Meat dishes: 12-18 euros
Pizza: 8-10 euros
Beer: 3-4 euros (per glass or half liter)
Wine: 4-5 euros
Service: 3.5 out of 5
Bang for your Buck Value: 3.5 out of 5
Location: Via dei Crociferi 12/14, less than 100 meters west of the Trevi Fountain



Tre Scalini Cafe
http://www.trescalini.it/en/

Of course no trip to Italy is complete without enjoying some gelato.  Embarrassingly enough, we only had it twice during our entire eight and a half days in Italy!  However, we couldn't have chosen a better gelato cafe in all of Rome than Tre Scalini- as fellow travel blogger Michelle from Malaysian Meanders would agree!  Our method of "choosing" Tre Scalini was simply that we were in need of a restroom and they happened to have one.  Hardly romantic, but certainly serendipitous in a city with notoriously few public bathrooms.  Tre Scalini's cases offered dozens of gelato flavors from which to choose and additional desserts, such as tartufo, to tempt you, too.  I settled upon three scoops of tiramisu, cream, and chocolate in a dish, while Danny enjoyed a similarly chocolate-y combination on a cone, coming to around 4 euros a person.  In a word, the gelato was divine.  If for no other reason, take your wandering feet to the Piazza Navona and enjoy a cone of this ambrosia while marveling over Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers.  It will be a highlight of your trip!

Price range: $
Gelato: 2-6 euros (depending on how many scoops)
Bang for your Buck Value: 5 out of 5
Location:  Directly in front of the Four Rivers fountain in the Piazza Navona on the western side

***


What were some of the food highlights from your trip to Rome?




Linking up with Adelina from Pack Me To for the one year anniversary of #SundayTraveler!

8 comments:

  1. I've never been to Italy! This recap has me hungry for a visit to Rome, just to eat everything. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should! It's a foodie's paradise! :)

      Delete
  2. The fastest way to my heart is through a good plate of lasagna - it's my favorite. Surprisingly, I didn't eat any while in Rome. I had my list of restaurants picked out, but when we got there, we didn't eat at any of those places and instead ate at restaurants that were close to our hotel as recommended by our concierge. But his suggestions didn't disappoint! We stayed near the Spanish Steps and ate our first dinner in Rome at a restaurant called Dilla. It was also full of locals. My parents, Jave and I each ordered different pasta dishes and they were all divine. So when you go back to Rome, be sure to try it. And when I go back, I'll be sure to try the gelato at Tre Scalini Cafe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that must be a huge perk of traveling with more people - sharing all those different dishes! If we were to return, we'd definitely like to stay in a different part of the city and had been eying the area around the Spanish Steps as a possibility. If/when we return, we will check out your recommendation!

      Delete
  3. Some amazing food in Italy alright! Now they just need to work on the customer service ;) Though it's been a few years since I was there (and I've lived in LV since) so maybe it's better now ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had an issue with reaaaaally slow service (and a forgotten beer refill - an absolute no-no) in Pompei, but Rome wasn't too bad. Might be great by Latvian standards. ;)

      Delete
  4. If I were to go back to Italy I think I would just skip all the sights and spend the whole time eating! I love pasta, pizza and gelato! I had the best gnocchi of my life in Florence and an amazing carbonara in Rome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got my mouth watering just by saying "gnocchi." I neglected to have a single bite of it while there! Must rectify that on a return trip!

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.