All’s Fair in Love and Food: Dining Adventures in Rome, Italy

Here’s a ranking of our dining experiences in Rome. Enjoy!

(There’s an issue with the spacing between paragraphs. Still trying to sort it out!)

12. Dar Poeta

Vicolo del Bologna, 45/46
00153 Roma
Italy
Located in the yuppie neighbourhood of Trastavere, this place was the most difficult to find. Twice we walked past what we thought to be a back alley leading to a dead-end, until we finally decided to just walk through it and voila, (night)life on the other side!
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We didn’t make a reservation and waited around 15 minutes for a table. Anyway, dinner consisted of overpriced bruschetta and decent but ultimately forgettable pizza. It was like a bland chick flick. Thank goodness gelatarias stay open till late.

11. Mamma Angela’s Trattoria

Via Palestro, 53
00185 Roma
Italy
My cousin and his girlfriend were also touring Europe, and our paths crossed in Rome.
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Carbonara, a Roman specialty. When in Rome, right?
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Hello Vongole. Would you like some pasta to go with your clams?
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Unfortunately, our meal ended on a flat note with dessert. The pasta dishes were decent enough, but this tiramisu was just too dry to be satisfying.
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Ah well. It’s the company that matters! And they have Wi-Fi, which is a touristy bonus, I guess.

10. La Taverna dei Quaranta

Via Claudia, 24
00184 Roma
Italy
With only three days in Rome, it was really important that we didn’t have to wander too far away from the major attractions to hunt for our meals. It was equally important that we didn’t wander into any (tourist) traps. La Taverna, about 200 metres away from the Colosseum, struck a good balance. We made a reservation for lunch, since it was possible to do so online, but it wasn’t necessary as there was hardly anyone else around when we arrived.
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The house wine was fairly inexpensive at 3 Euros for a small carafe. Edwin stuck to his belief that cold fizzy drinks are the only thirst quenching liquids on the planet.
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Bucatini all’ amatriciana, another Roman specialty.
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Fritto di baccalà mele e zucchine (fried cod, apples, and zucchini)
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Petto di vitella alla fornara (veal)
The food wasn’t mind-blowing, but was lovely nonetheless. We didn’t dine at the really touristy establishments, but it’s probably safe to say that this will be better than any restaurant with a statue of Julius Caesar and overly enthusiastic waiters.

9. Gelateria Valentino

Via del Lavatore, 96
00187 Roma
Italy
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Right now I’m reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert for the nth time, and I regret not going to San Crispino which is just round the corner from this one. To be fair, it was raining heavily, and I was still recovering from the disappointment of the Trevi fountain being covered up and closed for renovations.
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Drowning my sorrows in gelato. And a dose of Audrey Hepburn.

8. FaFaMi

Via degli Ombrellari, 7
00193 Roma
Italy

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Our first proper meal in Rome was in a paninoteca not far from the Vatican. I loved the seafood panino and didn’t care much for the mortadella, while it was the other way round for Edwin. So it worked out.

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We also ordered a side of fried vegetables (fritti), which was basically tempura without the sauce. Good for two to share, three even.

Desserts were also available, but we didn’t bother as a gelataria was just round the corner. And it would be sacrilege not to indulge in gelato on a hot day in Italy.

7. Hedera – Sweetness & Co.

Borgo Pio, 179
00193 Roma
Italy
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About 20 metres away from FaFaMi was Hedera. We had the limone, which we ate while admiring Castel Sant’Angelo from the outside.
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Maybe everything in Europe is expensive because the view is included in the price.

6. Venchi

Via degli Orfani, 84
00186 Roma
Italy
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We stumbled upon the Pantheon on our way to dinner. I know, how do you stumble upon something as colossal as the Pantheon? But when you’re two lost people in a city for the first time, anything can happen. All roads may lead to Rome, but it isn’t particularly helpful when you’re actually in Rome. Two things were clear: (a) we were only slightly off the intended path, and (b) I needed a pre-dinner snack.
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I didn’t know it at the time, but Venchi is actually a large corporation with stores all over the world. What I also wasn’t aware of is that it’s available in Hong Kong and Singapore. But would that knowledge dilute the experience somehow? Oh well. It’s good-tasting gelato, and that’s all we need to know, really.

5. Punto Gelato

Via dei Pettinari, 43
Roma
Italy
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Melone-flavoured gelato is always a good idea, especially on long walks on warm nights.

4. Gelateria La Romana

Via XX Settembre, 60
00184 Roma
Italy
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We went there before visiting Galleria Borghese, and then again after. To be honest, service wasn’t great, but what brought us back was the generous serving of gelato.
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Plus it tasted great, of course.

3. Tazza D’Oro

Via degli Orfani, 84
00186 Roma
Italy
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Another gem that’s steps away from the Pantheon, Tazza D’Oro serves delightful coffee and pastries. Its location makes it perfect for breakfast or a quick snack before visiting surrounding attractions.
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A cornetto is the Italian relative of the croissant, and is a breakfast staple. Fresh pastries in the morning? Don’t mind if I do.

2. Ristorante Santa Cristina al Quirinale

Via della Cordonata, 21-22
Roma
Italy
Now this place would be the antithesis of touristy, despite being in the midst of fancy pants hotels. It seemed like we were the only non-Italian speakers in the room. Maybe that was why the service was… almost non-existent.
The food, however, was a different story.
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We didn’t have much pasta while in Italy, but this had to rank right on top. I lovingly savoured every mouthful of the zucchini pasta with crispy little zucchini flower bits. I think part of the appeal was how unique it was. And why not? It’s about trying dishes that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
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We’re big on seafood, so a seafood platter is always a winner.
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Tiramisu? , certo! This was the better tiramisu we had in Italy, as it easily beat out the one at Mamma Angela’s. However, the best tiramisu we had during the trip was in Paris (surprise surprise).
By the way, the accompanying dessert wine was really strong. It was a good thing our apartment was just minutes away!

1. Pinsere

Via Flavia, 98
Roma
Italy
If you could only eat one thing during your stay in Rome, this is the one. Navigating the curved cobblestone streets of Rome on an empty stomach is an absolute torture, but Pinsere is the pizza equivalent of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Or the light at the end of the tunnel. The bountiful harvest after a year of toiling in the fields. You get the idea.
Last I checked, they’re only open from 10am to 4pm, and it was chaos when we were there during lunch hour. Loud, haphazard queue, no seating area. Dine standing up, or buy to go. (I recommend dine-in for optimum freshness and awesome-ness.) It’s strictly no-frills, but you’ll survive.
There’s a menu, but it’s mostly decorative. Just go to the counter and point to whichever pizza that catches your eye. Till this day I have no idea what we ate. But it was divine, and that I’ll always remember.
The pizzas cost an average of 4 Euros, and the staff was incredibly friendly, fluent in English and French and who knows what else. Which only adds to how amazing this place is.
But the best part?
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THIS.
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AND THIS.
Feast your eyes. It’ll have to do until the real thing.

 

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2 thoughts on “All’s Fair in Love and Food: Dining Adventures in Rome, Italy

  1. Pingback: Cheesy 7 at Pizza Hut | Thoughts and Things

  2. Pingback: Interview with Thoughts and Things | bluebalu: Living in Hong Kong

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