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Restaurants in Rome...


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.

Osteria dell'Ingegno
This restaurant, 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. Closed Sundays.
Piazza di Pietra 45, 00186 Rome
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

Margutta Vegetariano Le Cornacchie
Though 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
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 in price.
Piazza della Cancelleria 64, 00186 Rome
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
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. Prices high.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 42-48
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
39 06 57 30 53 38

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