Trip Report - Rome June 2022

I’ve really benefitted from all of the knowledge and travel experience over the many years of posts on the board, so I hope some words on our recent experiences help going forward. We made it to Italy this year, after having to cancel our 2021 trip at the very last minute. What a joy to be able to get there this time around.

We flew in and out of Rome (direct from LAX via ITA, which worked out really nicely), and we ended up spending several days total in Rome. I love the city, so no complaints on my side. We had a side trip to Chianti, then a longer trip to Umbria, and so we ended up staying near both Trevi Fountain and then Campo de Fiori which let us experience slightly different locales, though both are in Centro Storico. We had apartments in both spots, chosen for location but also for late cancellation policies, just in case. It’s 2022, after all.

Rimessa Roscioli - Excellent and interesting wines by Coravin, which was a big part of the attraction. We had an exciting 2009 Gravner Ribolla Gialla orange wine to start, then 2017 Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo a 2010 Barbaresco (relatively light, but a good initial red for us) and finished with 2015 Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Food was strong too, Carbonara and beef dishes were standouts. A summer amatriciana was good and sophisticated, but I prefer the traditional prep with good toothsome pancetta over what we had here. Tiramisu for dessert was light, excellent and not too big, which was just what we needed. They have both a tasting menu and an a la carte option, which is what we took. But the wine was the star. Perfectly nice outdoor area likely set up for pandemic, this was just perfect for an initial night. The menu here is a lot more limited than the main cafe/deli Roscioli has, but I wasn’t sure how the outdoor dining worked there, and liked the coravin program Rimessa has. This was totally worth the food tradeoff for me, even though I miss the amazing dried tomato/mozzarella, the mortadella and traditional roman pasta at the deli. Next time.

Armando al Pantheon - went for lunch, sat in a small outdoor covered area where we had to wait a bit for our table, but all was fine. We had a really nice 1/2 bottle white they pulled out for us when I asked for something more full bodied to carry through what we ordered, not sure what we ended up with (a fiano if I recall right) but was good for lunch. As when we were there last, they have stuff off the list that they can bring you when you ask what you want. Great carbonara, amatriciana, and solid veal saltimbocca. But pastas were truly great versions of the dishes. Lots of previous recs for this spot on WB, and where we learned about it before our first visit in 2018. Now it is famous for being on the Tucci show and people are waiting an hour plus for a seat in case there are no shows. Make res the day they come up on the website (30 days out?) if you plan to go.

Pipero - this was planned as our most special dinner for our first few days in Rome, and it turned out to be a great choice. I was with my late teen aged son - the modern style of the restaurant decor and the small whimsical (yes) touches there made for an interesting vibe that was not stuffy at all, and piqued his interest. The food was truly great, included 3 pasta courses, and was quite a bit of food without being too much to fully slay us. They worked with us to design our courses, which I truly appreciate. The amuse course was 5 or 6 small bites arranged all across the table, a serious, full on oasis of goodness after our 2 year-plus dearth of fine dining. A freaking joy. Beef tartare was interesting and tasty, though I didn’t love the grassy sorrel on top. Anchovy risotto, carbonara, and a surprisingly great tagliarini with a yellow pepper sauce were excellent midpoints, and the beef main also was strong. Pre-dessert had some flavors that were refreshing and new - a citrusy tropical frothy whipped sorbet, like a sorbet float. Wine pairings went from great to ok (there was an overtly oaky red blend with the beef that wasn’t amazing for me) but made for a more interesting meal. Service was friendly and on point all evening. We had a slight miscommunication on one of the courses which was really my fault and it was handled with complete grace with a genuine intent to leave us fully happy - this is really commendable on their part. While we were inside to enjoy the restaurant in full, we were pretty far from all other tables and there are not all that many seats, regardless. Pipero was a real winner and I’d recommend it in a second.

Colline Emiliane - What a great spot - we went for lunch on a Sunday. Small, and all indoors it was one of the few for this trip. I would say half tourists and half Italians. Menu is not too complicated, wonderful food from Emilia Romagna. We had lasagna which was a special (very similar to what they make at Angelini Osteria here in LA), wonderful tortellini en brodo, and a boiled beef dish with salsa verde. Beef was good but we’d have been better off with more pasta, made fresh in house and the real star here. Very nice wines by the glass and professional service from staff that seem like they’ve been there forever. I’d say don’t miss it, especially for something different than the big 4 Roman pastas after you’ve been enjoying Rome for a few days or more.

Trattoria Penestre - This is a great spot in Ostiense, a mix of tourists and Romans, interesting menu and a lot of natural wines - which I don’t normally love - but by the glass all was fine and I’m sure they’d have swapped something out if not. This is a more relaxed, newer, “now” type restaurant away from the tourist center. Menu was not huge but had more than enough to like. We had a nice salad with watermelon, a pasta, and a great dish of duck with peaches that was memorable. Really nice outdoor area, we met a dog that was a vizla named Leonardo (so Leonardo di Vizla…).

Piperno - This was part 2 of our Rome trip, after my son and I got back from Chianti and a 3 hour drive, and my wife and daughter flew in that day and had been awake for many hours. I wanted a place with a really nice patio, good food and strong service, and that’s exactly what we found. Patio is really nice, tables in a quiet open space between other buildings and nicely laid out. We started with artichokes alla giudia and squash blossoms with ricotta and anchovies, and a perfect, balanced white in 2019 Colle Nobile Grechetto di Todi. Not a world beater but a great choice for the moment. I had scottadito which were very nice and the others were happy too. Great service, great patio, fried artichokes - it was the package.

Mercato Testaccio - We ended near Testaccio after a morning tour, so this was an easy walk and turned out to be a great choice. It has many stalls with food - we had an excellent tube pasta amatriciana and a ricotta ravioli in a light sauce from Le Mani in Pasta . This was really way better than you’d ever expect from a stall, and maybe 5 euros a serving. Also a fantastic beef sandwich that I had them spice up from Mordi e Vai. This place is well worth a stop if you are anywhere nearby for lunch. Our guide told us about other places too, which we’ll have to hit next time.

Pianostrada - beautiful patio with twinkle lights, more modern small plates menu. Food was good, but not outstanding. We had a zucchini pasta and a rooster/chicken dish that were more memorable, and not sure exactly what about the place didn’t register with us, but we all just found the entire experience fine. Maybe its that it felt more like an LA restaurant than what we’d been experiencing so far, maybe the high quality of lunch that day, or what we ordered - it’s a spot we wanted to like more. Maybe another time it’ll stand up better. Go for the patio, stay for the rooster? Hmm…

Enoteca la Torre - This was our last dinner before leaving Rome for Umbria, and it was fantastic. Where Pipero was modern, Enoteca la Torre was pure palatial, literally in a palazzo from the 15th or 16th century, and more formal to match. Food, course pacing and service were all excellent. We also had to adjust the tasting menu slightly for our eating needs, and they rolled with it wonderfully. There was a memorable amuse of fish inside a fried, fine potato crust in the shape of a spoked wheel - a play on fish and chips that was a great start. Rare duck breast, an excellent buckwheat pasta with rabbit, one of the best beef dishes I can remember having - in a wonderful crust with a layer of herbs underneath that coated the beef, very satisfying. 2 dessert courses, with rum baba as the final dessert. We had Billecart Salmon rose to start, then a white on a recommendation from their long list that was zippy and a great match for the courses it went with, and finally 2013 Fontodi Chianti Vigna del Sorbo to go with the main and take us out. Tables very far apart, plenty of space and elegance throughout. This was a really great choice for our last night - highly recommended.

Osteria del Sostegno - this was the more traditionally Roman spot we chose for our last night in Rome when we returned for one night before our flight out early the next morning. Small, with intimate seating, they’ve set tables outdoors in the narrow alley that leads into the restaurant proper. Food was great and true to form - we had amatriciana and cacio e pepe, and I had a very good pollo cacciatore. Friendly service and good wine - we had a 2010 Felsina Fontalloro that was well priced and drinking well, too. A solid choice before a long walk to gelato.

We had coffee, lunches and stops at many places near where we stayed that I’d recommend - Near Campo de Fiori - Forno Campo de Fiori for pizza - especially pizza rossa with just tomato sauce, Antica Forno Roscioli for pizza and rustic pastry, Cafe Roscioli for coffee in the morning. Near Trevi Fountain - Pane e Salame for big and reasonable salumi platters, and Trecaffe for good morning coffee not far away.

Over the nearly 7 days total in Rome, we went to a number of wine spots from time to time as we were nearby. All were the kinds of places with interesting lists and low prices that I wished I could walk to in LA!! Il Goccetto was a spot on late night stop - I had a glass of SP66 and the kids some orange wine they really liked, we enjoyed all outside on the cobblestones and talked. Cul de Sac had a very long list and had a very nice outdoor area near an old statue, even though there was traffic not far away it didn’t feel like it. Achilli Il Parlamento also was a nicer stop, good outdoor area and some more famous names by the glass. We were having dinner like moments later so we didn’t try their canapes, but would have liked to.

We did activities too (it wasn’t all food, really). Since we’d been to Rome before, these were not the most common, “bucket list” sights and experiences, but were all really enjoyable. We took a street art tour through Joy of Rome with our guide Francesca that was a major hit with the family and won me lots of points (which I quickly spent on more food and wine…). We spent time in a couple of palazzos with interesting art - Palazzo Colonna which is only open on Friday and Saturday mornings, and Palazzo Farnese which houses the French Embassy and is not the easiest to reserve but was well worth the effort, with a ceiling fresco rivalling the more famous one in the city. We also went to MAXXI, a world class contemporary art museum and Centrale Montemartini which has antiquities in a former power station. PM me if you want to know more about any of this.

It was great to get out for a nearly normal vacation in Europe after 2 years plus!! Can’t wait to go back, maybe even before the next major global event…


Oh I am soooo hungry now! Thanks for the tour!

Thank you for the great notes, I am sure they will prove helpful! [cheers.gif]

Awesome report and thanks for taking the time to share. Some great new finds for me. Looks like you enjoyed Armando as much as we do. Their wine list while not huge has some really nice wines and good pricing. I remember they turned me onto a really nice white as well. Just didn’t write it down, doh !

This is awesome. Am visiting in late Sept and will look into these!

Here are some impressions from my recent trip:

Tried to eat at Enzo 29 in Trastevere, but the line was like waiting to see David. We hopped right next door into Cecilia which was splendid. They like the theatrics / modern interpretations on a lot of their dishes but the food backed it up. Small but thoughtful list.

We were staying close to the Vatican and so had to go to Panicifico Bonci. Even though it purportedly received some food show hype, it backed it up. Splendid Roman style pizza, great bread, no frills counter service.

Near Campo di Fiori, we had lunch at Luciano, who is well known for his Carbonara and Cacio Pepe. Both did not disappoint, but I will warn you, they are BIG and heavy dishes.

Panthen Espresso-off: betwen Sant’Eustachio and La Casa dell Cafe . The former is decidedly modern, with super heavy crema and an almost hazelnut aspect to it to complement a standard espresso biterness. Definitely polarizing. Cassa dell is more classic Italian espresso. Chacun a son gout…

Our most disappointing meal was at Salumeria Con Cucina Roscioli. Our friends booked it as it gets a lot of hype in the restaurant community and was probably on a travel show or two. Food was sub-par; several dishes really missed (their modern take on ceasar was poor, the branzino excessively salted, asparagus soup was bland). My wife told the waiter about the fish and he was decidedly uninterested. Huge ‘baller’ wine list albeit with some really good stuff. Great scotch selection as well. Todos gringos inside :grimacing: Wouldn’t go back.

Taverna Lucifero was pretty good. Our frineds are friendly with the proprietor so they wanted to visit. Great tartufo menu, lower frills, good vibes. The proprietor is a super social polyglot, engaging with tables as friends. He asks for your preference in wine and brings bottles. I wasn’t impressed by a barberra but enjoyed the cab he poured us.

In terms of cocktails, we really enjoyed the Jerry Thomas speakeasy. Superb drinks, warm environment, friendly service. In a great area if you’re bar hopping. Salotto42 is a sceney club/lounge near Trevi. Avoid.

Il Goccetto which Jack referenced above is mana from the gods. They have some absolute steals on their bottle list. Highly recommend a visit.

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That’s a real shocker about Roschioli. Been there half a dozen times, always one of my favorite meals. That being said, pasta is the thing to get. Best carbonara in Rome.

Hard to tell from your post whether the waiter understood your issue, did you send the fish back?

I would do that even if I didn’t expect it to be removed from the bill.

Not sure about the current list, but always gound plenty of value items on the list as well.

Also sorry to hear of your poor go at Roscioli. We loved it, despite the gringos (I resemble this remark), and the service was outstanding. Our waitperson even brought us a complimentary plate of exquisite Spanish dried beef to have with our Barolo.

re Roscioli, part was certainly user error w/r/t what we ordered

@Faryan_Amir-Ghassemi sounds like you had a great trip and so glad to hear about the places you went to!

Roscioli “the main” is definitely polarizing. When we were there a few years ago I liked what we ordered but we kept it very simple to deli items mostly, and pasta. I found it crowded and really bustling even in the back of the main room where we ate. It was for lunch, and we were very much there for the food and vino, but it wasn’t a restful stop for us, really more like food-frenzy. Even though the food wasn’t mindblowing, and they didn’t have all of those crazy meat/cheese items to choose from, I thought Rimessa was a much more enjoyable experience all considered.

We have to check out some of your other finds when we make it back.

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