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Green T

Via di Pie di Marmo, 28

Tel. 06 6798628

Ambiance/Service
*
Food
**
Overall
*

Price

***

Billing itself in English as a “Gourmet Restaurant,” Green T takes traditional Chinese cuisine to a new level of elegance, more akin to “real” refined Chinese food encountered in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. Adapted to its Roman location, here one does not eat Chinese style—sharing all the dishes amongst the assembled diners-- but rather orders antipasti, primi, and secondi in servings for each individual.

Prices are very high when compared to portion size. The interior is comfortable and somewhat slick post-modern Romano-Japano-Chinese style. When the restaurant is slow, service can be good to excellent. The two owners—an Italian man and Chinese woman—endeavor to attend to each table themselves, letting a plethora of black robed staff act mainly as delivery people and busboys. However, when Green T is busy, having to wait for the owner to come to your table to take the order, including the wine order and the water order and the food order, can cause unpleasant delays. Every restaurateur's necessity of delegating to and training a professional wait staff seems to have fallen by the wayside at Green T.

The food is very good, full of rich flavors, generally well prepared and presented. However, as mentioned, portion size is extremely small, a la nouvelle cuisine. Asked if the 20 euro dim sum sampler would be a good appetizer to split amongst 3 people, the answer was “yes” with the addition of a spring roll order. When the food came, it hardly sufficed and was impossible to reasonably split 3 ways: 2 springs rolls, and one of each of the tiny dim sum, save 6 little triangles of tasty shrimp toast.

The main dishes also arrived on the small side, though generally flavorful. The pork belly in clay pot is excellent. A goose dish was rather uninspired, dry, and somewhat tough.

One high point was the wine suggestion: Rubico's Lacryma di Morro di Alba for 18 euros, an inspiring, perfumed red wine from this little-known grape called “tear drop.”

Da Fortunato
 
Although a recent visit left us less than satisifed, the restaurant we have returned to more than any other in central Rome is Ristorante da Fortunato near the Pantheon. A favorite of celebreties and politicians, here skilled waiters deliver a menu of classic dishes. White table cloths, subdued atmosphere, and generally flawless execution from the kitchen make Fortunato a standard bearer.
 
At times, the place is too staid and food has recently demonstrated less consistency. The risotto with saffron and zucchnini flowers is always good. The galleto al diavolo was uninspired--little to suggest anything but slightly undercooked roast chicken. 
 
Via del Pantheon 55 - 00186 Roma 
Tel 066792788 

While taking a break from visiting the new and intriguing Museo Nazionale Romano Crypta Balbi, we ventured into the pouring rain and up 2 block to Pizzeria Florida, our new choice for the favorite's spot amongst all the little, streetside pizza places in Rome. This is a local favorite too, and the pizza is sold fast enough to always be fresh, with crisp crust. Toppings are varied and interesing; the ingreidents very fresh and flavorful. Examples: ham, fontina cheese, & onions; cherry tomatos and pepperoncini;  fresh mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella. It's located right across the street from the "Cat Forum."
 
Pizza Florida
Via Florida 25, Rome
Tel. 06 688 03 236

Paris in Trastevere di Dario Cappellanti

Piazza S. Calisto, 7/A

Tel 06 581 5378

www.ristoranteparis.com


Nine years of experiencing Paris in Trastevere puts it among the top restaurants in this guide. Elegant dining rooms with wood paneling and lofty painted beam ceilings, delicate sconces, and white table linens—it's a very Roman sort of eatery, but with a more refined sense of place than the majority.


Paris provides very good to excellent service, with waiters not as staid as at someplace like Fortunato's nor too informal. One of the owners wearing a dark brown sport jacket and spectacles usually drifts purposefully amongst the 3 or 4 dining spaces, inspecting the seafood cart or passing a watchful glance across the room. Seafood is a strong suit in this Jewish eatery, given equal emphasis to meat dishes & pastas. The artichokes and fried zucchini flowers—traditional antipasti—come delicately fried in fresh oil. Pastas are fresh, gnocchi and gnochetti cooked to the perfect balance between firm and soft. The gnochetti with ragu di pesce combines the elements of fresh potato pasta, pale, slightly cooked tomato sauce and subtle seafood flavours.


Unlike many of Rome's restaurants, the secondi at Paris maintain the quality and flavour tasted in the primi. Mazancole (a kind of prawn) with a brandy sauce, beef strips with a strong porcini mushroom sauce surrounded by a bed of fresh arugula, cod fish, roast beef (stracotto di manzo) with a red wine reduction, and scallopina with porcini have all proven excellent.



Salita Dei Crescenzi, 31
Roma
Tel. 06.68803034
 
Last afternoon, having succumbed to a traveler's cold, we found ourselves in need of nourishment without the will to cook. We had the night before passed Armando al Pantheon and they were full up, but the place had that typical Roman ambiance and an attractive menu that sticks in the mind. We thus returned for lunch and found one table still open. It turns out to be a charming restaurants, one room, with a clear view into the kitchen and listed in the Slow Food guide to Italian osteria. We had but two pasta dishes--spaghetti with truffles (19 euros) and ravioli al Armando (9 euros) and both were excellent. The spaghetti a very simple preperation of dried pasta perfectly cooked al dente with olive oil, salt, and shaved truffles. The ravioli a delicious construction with champignones and a light-handed cream sauce with cheese.

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Ristorante Pierluigi

Piazza de Ricci, 144

Tel 06 688 07879

www.pierluigi.it

At the top of our list in all respects: excellent ambiance & service, superlative Italian cuisine with innovative touches, upscale décor, and a praiseworthy wine program. Each visit to Pierluigi happens by chance, as we stroll down the Via Monserrato, and we recall how much we liked the last visit.

Facing the Piazzaa de Ricci, with seasonal outdoor dining, inside Pierluigi exudes relaxed elegance, with soft tones, brick arch doorways between dining rooms, and fine modern art. As seems to be the case with all great Roman restaurants, the family of the owners is ever present, the father greeting you as you walk in, the son chatting with guests, and the mother strolling through the dining rooms with a warm smile and vigilant eye for all. Skilled waiters dressed in black, multilingual, informed, and professional will provide sage advice on daily specials and recommendations from the robust menu. Seafood is unsurpassed. A tuna tartar showed off the succulent flavours of the pink, very fresh tonno, served on a bed of diced apples with a sprinkle of sesame. The eggplant with buffalo milk ricotta and the Catalan seafood salad, both excellent. The latter exuded robust, clean flavors of warm shrimp, squid, clams, and potato just sautéed with savory olive oil, salt, on a bed of arugula and cherry tomatoes.

Home made pasta with tuna, capers, peperoncini, and black olives: unsurpassed. The risotto a la pescatora, creamy tomato and crustacean sauce, with a couple of whole shrimp tossed in for good measure and flavour. Other classics include Spaghetti alle vongole veraci and a wide selection of fresh fish prepared to your liking.

The wine list results from years of experience in selecting the best from all of Italy's regions, with every selection served by the white shirted sommelier, who also advises every patron, pairing with the food ordered. The list also includes a section of red and white half bottles, perfect for lunch for 2.

Desserts are excellent.

It's relatively rare that we get excited about a menu, but the written offerings at Pizzeria Ristorante La Focaccia had us salivating. The menu of this restaurant near Piazza Navona is extensive, the pizza offerings interesting, the salads wonderful, and many of the fried dishes unique.
 
The food actually lived up to its promise and is highly recommended.
 
The problem: service. Although on our first visit, we were seated and given good service, attentive and pleasant, our neighboring tables who arrived at the lunch rush were not so lucky. They had to wait substantial amounts of time both to order and to received their food. A return for late dinner showed the same--this time for us. One hapless waitress rushed around and had no idea how to prioratize, and she forgot our wine order. If you can, sit outside.
 
So, go for the food, but with patience.
 
La Focaccia
Via della Pace, 11
Tel. 06 688 03312
 
 
 

Ristorante Abruzzi

Via del Vaccaro, 1

Tel. 06 67 93 897

Looking at the menu and the place, we had higher expectations than Abruzzi could fulfill. Service was pleasant, but the food mediocre overall, including some of the “house specialties,” which were lacklustre.

Next time in Rome, consider a jaunt to Rieti, a nearby high Medeival city along the Appenine mountains with some instructive restaurants and comfortable hotels.
 
Check out the incomparable Bistrot of Rieti, operated by the fiery Rita Galassetti, whose creativity sparkles in multi-course fixed menus: web

Bistrot
ritanaz1.jpg

L'Eau Vive
Via Monterone, 85
Tel 06 688010

L'Eau Vive exists a bit outside the usual spectrum restaurants in Rome, and is a nice choice for special occasions. Occupying two floors and several rooms of a Renaissance palace that also serves as home base for a convent, French food—for the most part—is cooked and served by the nuns themselves as part of their order's religious work. This does not mean it's fare for the poor, quite the contrary. Lunch for three with one glass of wine each totaled 130 euros.


The food can be very good—soups (including the unusual lettuce soup), pates, and salads are excellent—but the main dishes follow the style of pre nouvelle cuisine France, with gloppy corn starch filled sauces and somewhat dull flavours. A recent sampling of Tournedos was quite overcooked and arrived warm, not hot. The salad with chevre chaude, honey, and shaved almonds, though, was superlative.


Service can range from excellent to extremely slothful. If the place is full, expect delays. At Christmas lunch, it took 2 hours and 20 minutes for three to have a shared pate sampler, a salad, and a main dish, waiting for 30 minutes to have the cheque delivered after asking three times. The glasses of red wine arrived after the main dish was on the table, and although they rushed out the salads before the table had completed the appetizer, we then waited for half an hour or more to get the main.


Nevertheless, on other occasions the sister servers have been attentive, friendly, and fast. L'Eau Vive carries an unusual mix of the cosmopolitan—with nuns from all over the world, many dressed in the clothes of their homeland—the somewhat retro French food, and the unique surroundings of historic Rome.


Trattoria dal Cav. Gino
Vicolo Rosini 4
Tel. 06 6873434
 
Down a little side street off the Piazza del Parlemento is Trattoria dal Cavalier Gino, which we went to and then walked away having spied the sign NO CREDIT CARD. We sprinted to a cash machine and returned, immediately offering up that we had no reservation. We had to wait about 5 minutes while one waiter finished serving birthday cake to a small family party--out soon-to-be table was the cutting board--and we were seated.
 
The ambiance is very much Rome a la 1963--the year the restaurant opened--with sayings about wine and Italian landscape scenes painted on the walls. The place is clearly loved by locals and we tried to primi and two secondi: spaghetti a la corbonara, spaghetti de la casa; beef involtini with tomato sauce, and roasted lamb. All were good--the house spaghetti and the lamb were excellent--perfectly prepared and bursting with flavor. Service was friendly and generally prompt. The house wine by the carafe--a Tuscan red--was quaffable.  We also had a controrni of cold green chard with lemon. The total bill was a little over 50 euros for 2, including 1 litre of wine.
 
Unfortunately, on a second visit--with reservation--both service and food fell below par. This time the gnocchi were too soft and the tomato sauce dull; the main dishes uninspired. A different waiter provided decent service, but his plate suggestions stunk.
 
Recommended by Slow Food.

Cafes
 
Great place to have coffee or glass of wine: Antico Caffe della Pace, Via della Pace, 3-4-5-7, tel. 06 6861216

An elegant tea room that also serves wine by the glass, sweets, and snacks is located inside the Palazzo Pamphilj Doria: Caffe Doria di Ottavio Rossetti, Via della Gatta, 1/A, Tel. 06 679 3805.

A tourist restaurant with good service: Ristorante Maccheroni, Piazza delle Copelle, 44 Tel. 06 68307895.
 
Do not expect spectacular or fresh food, but rather consistent tourist fare, mostly “classic” Roman dishes. Service is efficient and friendly, atmosphere standard, with sprawling dining areas downstairs and more quaint trattoria atmosphere at ground level. Open 7 days a week, year round.

Ristorante Federico I

Villa della Colonna Antonina, 48

Tel. 06 678 3717

www.federicoprimo.it

This seafood eatery caters to tourists as well as locals, and though the menu always enticed we had avoided it as a likely “tourist trap” for some time. There's a deck area just off the street for outside dining and a bright, elegant interior.

Though based on only one visit, the cuisine ranked highly: fish ravioli with orange sauce, seafood risotto, and gnocchi with tomato sauce were all good to excellent. The classic thick tuna fillet with tomato sauce, capers, and delicious tiny black olives counts among the best seafood secondi we've had. The potato crusted Bronzino was also excellent. A third dish that seemed intriguing, thin swordfish filets with fresh grapes, lacked flavor and seasoning.

Multilingual and charming waiters dressed in Italian suits provided excellent service once you pardon their eagerness to push extra dishes. “The tip is not included,” they inform you upon receiving the bill.

The wine list needs some work—most entries are quite pricey and numerous items have been scratched off the menu. There's a big Chianti section. We tried a vermintino (Mancini) for 22 euros that barely passed muster: flabby and washed out.

Ristorante Toscano Il Buco

Via S. Ignazio, 8

Tel. 06 679 32 98

The flavors of Tuscany carried to Rome: game, unique filled pastas like Nodini, hearty sauces like wild rabbit with tomatoes, excellent contorni, pheasant, grilled porcini mushrooms & meats. The waiters are friendly characters , including the amiable Alfredo. The wine list is well chosen, and one can ask for good suggestions.


This is the restaurants section of the destintion guide, for Rome restaurants, trattoria, osteria, etc.

Rome Restaurants: Dining in Rome

Rome Kitchen Stores

Rome Museums of Gastronomic & Culinary Interest

 

Rome Guide Home

Osteria (plural osterie). A tavern or humble restaurant where wine is served as the main attraction and tasty food is prepared to wash it down. In certain cities there are now very upscale restaurants that call themselves osterie, so if there is a pricey menu displayed, you are not in a real osteria. These are great places to meet and enjoy the company of Italians you would never encounter in your customary travels as a tourist.

Ristorante Restaurant. In general, this is a more formal establishment with waiters, printed menus, wine lists, and so on. This does not make it better than a trattoria or an osteria, but the style of eating is often more ambitious, and prices are correspondingly higher.

Salumeria (or salsamentaria). A store that sells cold cuts, including salami, prosciutto, and other sliced meats. Cheeses might be sold as well. A lot of salumerie also carry olives, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplants, onions, peppers that are preserved either in oil or vinegar. This is a good place to put together a tasty, all-purpose meal or to buy delicious if somewhat-fragrant ingredients or food to take on a train trip.

Trattoria (plural trattorie). One of the most popular eating institutions in Italy. A trattoria is usually family-run, and the food and service are usually more casual than in a ristoranti but also warmer and more personal. Clients become regulars at trattorie because their tastes and preferences become known, and they become part of the family.     MORE