Eating is, of course, part
of the fun of visiting Italy and Rome offers a great variety
of restaurants. Until recently, the most common Roman dining
experience was that of the trattoria in which nonna served up
old family recipes. That is still available -- and of course
marvelous --but now there's much more to choose from in Rome's
city center. The food world of Rome is undergoing a bit of a
renaissance: old favorites are being remade in modern and slightly
international ways. So, once you tire of pizza and the Roman
pasta standards, try one of the restaurants below for a taste
of the new direction in Italian cuisine. All are tourist-friendly,
centrally-located, and happy to seat single diners.
just a few blocks from the Pantheon, shares a piazza
with the 2nd century AD Temple of Divine Hadrian.
Not bad! Nor is the food. The Osteria dell'Ingegno
offers inventive Roman cuisine and a menu that changes
every month. Prices are affordable and the funky
decor is welcoming. There's a non-smoking section
and a large variety of wines available by the glass.
Lunch is frequented by local business people and
the service is expedited so you can expect to have
lunch and be back out sightseeing in an hour or
a bit more. Linger a bit longer over dinner and
you'll be handsomely rewarded when you leave the
restaurant and get a view of the ancient temple
illuminated in the Roman night. Moderately priced.
Piazza di Pietra 45, 00186 Rome
Phone: 39 06 678 0662
This extremely friendly restaurant and wine bar
in Trastevere is a delight. The food is creative
and seasonal and the young chef, Giuliano Brenna,
often stops at tables to chat with the clientele.
Giuliano and his staff speak English and encourage
diners to linger over dinner. Much more than many
restaurants in Rome which tend to be overly bright
and noisy, Asinocotto offers an intimate place for
conversational dining and fantastic food as well.
Gay owned, managed, and friendly. Moderately priced.
Via dei Vascellari 48, 00153 Rome
Phone and Fax: 39 06 589 8985
Vegetariano Le Cornacchie
a large portion of Italian food is vegetarian, those
in search of salads, vegetables, or variety will
welcome Margutta Vegetariana. There are three branches
of this restaurant, the most conveniently located
for the tourist is that on Piazza Ronadanini, squarely
between the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. At lunch
there's an economically priced and abundant buffet
that offers cheeses, salads, vegetables, breads,
fruits, and desserts. At dinner, order à
la carte from a menu full of pastas, pizzas, salads,
and more. Outdoor seating, air conditioned, brunch
on Sunday. Moderately priced.
Piazza Rondanini 53, 00186 Rome
Phone: 06 681 34 544
Chinese Feng-Shui meets Italy at this new restaurant
near the Campo dei Fiori. The minimalist design
is in splendid contrast to the fabulous Renaissance
palazzo across the street. Food is seafood-based
and quite original. Expect a meal here to be long
and quiet. Open only for dinner -- reservations
strongly advised, especially on the weekends. Medium-high
Piazza della Cancelleria 64, 00186 Rome
Phone: 06 683 01162
Fax: 06 682 118 47
Here, Italy meets New York and only good things result.
Located in a Fascist-built square surrounding the
Mausoleum of Rome's first emperor Augustus, Gusto
is many things in one. There's a pizzeria downstairs
that serves a quick lunch of pizza and has a fantastic
buffet with salads, light entrees, fruits, breads,
and cheeses. At dinner the pizza menu in this area
expands. Upstairs there's a more proper restaurant
that serves inventive Italian cuisine in elegant style.
Next door is a cooking and gourmet store chock-full
of treasures that will tempt both cook and diner.
And around the back there's a cigar bar and a cocktail
bar (get great sandwiches here at lunch). Air conditioned,
outdoor dining, brunch on Sunday. Pizzeria is moderately
priced, restaurant is moderate-high in price.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9
Phone: 06 322 6273
Underwater Rome? The closest you'll come is at Reef
where the bar looks like a fish tank and the rest
of the restaurant resembles a boat and a beach --
all made ultra-hip and cool. The menu -- overseen
by a chef from the Four Seasons -- combines traditional
Italian cooking with exotic seafood. This is definitely
a place to see and be seen. Outdoor dining, air conditioning.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 42-48
Phone: 39 06 68 30 14 30
Cooler than them all is Ketumbar in the Testaccio
area of Rome. This restaurant-bar is in a former papal
wine cellar and shares its location with an ancient
archaeological site. The dark, funked-out atmosphere
is enhanced by windows filled with ancient Roman amphorae
(wine jugs). Ultra-modern environment is combined
with ultra-modern food here to make this THE place
to be in Rome. Don't go before 8:30pm as you'll be
the only one there. Moderate to high in price.
Via Galvani 24
Phone: 39 06 57 30 53 38