There’s no doubt that Rome is the city par excellence for a taste of the Italian bella vita: sun, sights, good food, good wine…
Guides to steer us around the eternal city, Top 5s, and the “Best” lists are as a result plentiful to say the least. But we are often ultimately confronted with the harsh reality of the check: glamorous Roman holidays are potentially by no means cheap. The “best” restaurants are often unaffordable. Or, quite simply, we pay much more than what the food actually deserved. Here are some suggestions for upscale but honest, well-priced and truly enjoyable eats and drinks in Rome and beyond.
1. Tutti Frutti
Via Luca della Robbia, 5,
This unpretentious restaurant in Testaccio is certainly worth the visit. The food is 100% seasonal and fresh- and did I mention delicious? Let the friendly owner talk you through the menu (in English-albeit broken- too!) and indulge in pizzelle as a starter, and certainly eventually in desert- even simply in vin santo with traditional Italian biscotti and chocolate. Price: approx. 20-30€ per person.
2. La Vecchia Locanda
Vicolo Sinibaldi, 2, Tel. 0668802831
Oddly enough this little place is hardly reported on, which is a shame- or perhaps a blessing- because it is truly worthwhile. Tucked away in a little alley behind Largo Argentina, this restaurant serves quality food full of ambiance. The wine list is excellent, and in the summer you can sit outside and enjoy the breeze. The insalata di polpo e patate is a recommended starter, the trofie are a divine first course and the steak cooked in Barolo is also very good if you’re interested in a second course. La Vecchia Locanda is certainly worthwhile in terms of food, quality and service- and won’t break the bank. Price: approx. 25-35€ per person.
3. La Cantina Tirolese
- Via G. Vitelleschi, 23, Tel. 0668135297
If you’re in the mood for a slightly different culinary experience from traditional Italian fare head to La Cantina Tirolese, a restaurant behind Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Cathedral specialized in Tyrolean cuisine- yes, that means Italo-Bavarian. The restaurant is, apparently, one of Pope Ratzinger’s favorites. Especially tasty are the knodel, bourguignonne, and if you really want to lead your palate to Bavaria the strudel. Price: approx. 25-35€ per person.
4. Lago di Martignano- Enoteca Spirito Di…Vino
Via Garibaldi 43/45, Trevignano Romano. Tel. 069999085
If you’re in the mood for a fun and relaxing Saturday, take the train (Roma-Viterbo line) to Anguillara Sabazia, take the bus (from Lepanto metro stop, for instance), or drive up the Cassia, if you’re perspicacious enough to have rented a car, and head to Martignano Lake, approximately 30 km from Rome. During the summer it is a veritable beach but lucky for us is not as frequented as Ostia or actual seaside, coastal locations. The scenery is beautiful, you can buy a beer in one of the several kiosks and even enjoy a horseback ride from the nearby Il Casale di Martignano farm and bed and breakfast. You can also rent boats to take across the lake.
Once you’ve had your fill of the lake, head to Trevignano Romano, a small lakeside town on the much larger but nearby Bracciano lake and have dinner at the Enoteca Spirito…Di Vino, a delightful little restaurant on the lakeside. The owners are friendly and talkative and believe in the relaxing, slow food experience- be prepared to be there for 3 hours or more. But it is certainly worth it- the starters are excellent of course but the best treat at Spirito Di…Vino is the fiocchetti filled with caramelized pear on a bed of melted taleggio cheese. And not to be missed are the polpette (meatballs) of veal cooked in white wine. The wines are excellent, and the desserts, especially the cialde, deserve to be eaten. Price: approx. 30€ per person.
3 Rome Hotels with a Restaurant
- Hotel Excel Roma Montemario – 4-star Hotel – Room Price €75
- Hotel H10 Roma Città – 4-star Hotel – Room Price €144
- Hotel Holiday Inn Rome Parco De’ Medici – 4-star Hotel – Room Price €130
Photo of pasta by Rev.Santino