Following on from my previous post where I talked about our stay in Rome last weekend, here are some of our dining highlights for you to try!
Where we ate
Il Salotto Lounge bar & Restaurant Sapori del Lord Byron, at the Hotel Lord Byron (for my full review of the hotel, please see my previous post here)
After arrival, we headed downstairs to the lounge bar for a pre-dinner bottle of bubbly. The lounge is beautifully decorated, as with the rest of the hotel, with sumptuous furnishings & paintings in an Art Deco style. It is restful and cool, in dark, rich colours.
Taking advice from the barman (who later told us he has worked at the Lord Byron for 15 years), we chose a bottle of Cuvee Annamaria Clementi Ca’ del Bosco, 2004, an elegant and mature Franciacorta. This came expertly served with the perfect amount of elegant nibbles & blinis. If you would like more details of the wine, click the name above which will take you to the data sheet on the Ca’del Bosco website.
It was the perfect relaxation time in a cool quiet lounge after our flight from Amsterdam and taxi ride.
When we came down for dinner, we basically had the whole place to ourselves, which was an unexpected luxury for us – maybe not so good for the restaurant business!
The menu has some interesting dishes, with a mix of traditional and more contemporary options. I had the beetroot carpaccio salad to start, then a lovely spaghettoni dish. I usually find two courses are enough for me in Italian restaurants, especially if I have a dessert! Everything was fresh, perfectly cooked and tasty.
The barman I mentioned is friendly, relaxed, and very knowledgable around the wine cellar and list, as well as an excellent host at dinner. Unfortunately even he couldn’t persuade us to drink grappa after the meal!
We discovered that this restaurant was once Michelin starred, and very popular with the rich and famous in its day. I hope that it returns to this status at some point under Executive Chef Jean Luc Fruneau. It’s well worth a visit whether staying at the Lord Byron or otherwise for a luxurious dining experience.
Casina Valadier, Piazza Bucarest
This was our second time dining at Casina Valadier, a beautiful 19th century building in the Villa Borghese park. We previously dined in in the Restaurant Vista, which has incredible views from the third floor. This time, we were on the first floor, the Terrazze floor, in an outside area, with a view over Rome and St Peter’s Basilica. It was the perfect spot in such balmy weather.
After a cold glass of Pommery Brut, I had a baked buffalo ricotta, which was really good, but I hadn’t really looked properly at the menu and later realised that it had courgette flowers in it. It was a bit too floral for me! We shared a first course of delicious fusilli pasta, and then I went for the sea bass medallion. It was all well presented and delicious.
The recommended wine pairing of Venica & Venica Ronco delle Mele Sauvignon 2016, went perfectly with both main courses.
I would highly recommend Casina Valadier for dinner with a view in a beautiful location.
Ristorante Il Falchetto, Via di Montecatini,12
We first discovered this restaurant in late 2015, when looking for a lunch spot after sightseeing and shopping. It is now one of our firm favourites in Rome. We will never go to Rome without stopping in for a late lunch. You’ll see one of their friendly waiters at the end of Via di Montecatini with a menu, trying to entice you off the crowded hectic shopping street of Via del Corso. My advice is to definitely go in!
Il Falchetto recently celebrated its centenary, and I don’t think it will be going anywhere for the next 100! We love it for the friendly and professional staff, excellent food & drinks, and relaxing family atmosphere and location. We can easily while away 3 hours here ordering various things from the menu and enjoying their impressive wine list!
The menu offers the traditional Italian dishes such as strozzapreti carbonara or lasagne (catering for tourists like us!), made with delicious home-made pasta, as well as more interesting modern twists on dishes from Rome and beyond. One of my favourites is the spaghetti with pecorino cheese and black pepper. I’m getting hungry just writing about it!
The staff mostly know us as we have become regulars whenever we visit Rome, and we always feel welcome! I’ll talk more about them in future posts, but if you see Francesco, definitely mention you know me! 🙂
We had an incredible franciacorta here last weekend, Brut la santissima 2010 (Castello di Gussago / lombardia). If I drank it with a blindfold, it could almost be a champagne, it was so rich and with very soft bubbles. For €35, it’s well worth trying.
Overall – potentially our favourite restaurant in Rome – I’ll be talking about it more in future posts. Do not leave Rome without paying them a visit!
Other eateries worth mentioning on this trip!
Spice & Wine Bistro, Via della Lungaretta
One of those places we just happened upon during a warm evening stroll in the Trastevere area. Tucked away from the main streets in a corner with a nice outside area, which gives the impression of a secret garden. We were given a delicious starter with various Italian meats and cheese. They have a great menu, including pizzas, and the service was very good. They have a surprisingly large wine “bible” and extensive cellar. We chose a nice Flaccianello Della Pieve 2011.
Well worth visiting for a late evening meal and great wine after a stroll around Trastevere
Ristorante Panzirone, Piazza Navona 73
Foodies and purists I’m sure will tell you that the many pizzerias and ristorantes dotted around Piazza Navona are “tourist traps” and not really worth blogging about. In fact, I am a tourist, and we have found some of our favourite meals in Rome by stopping in random little places as we take in the sights.
This is one of our favourites on the Piazza, and we’ve been back a few times. It’s a perfect spot to watch the world go by with a backdrop of the beautiful fountains and the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone (I’ll be covering my favourite churches in a separate post)
Good food, friendly staff, and a nice selection of Italian wines & drinks. They also have water misting fans, which are a godsend in the hot weather!
So.. I hope this gives you some initial ideas of where to eat when in Rome.. Im signing off now for Saturday night champagne time at home, with a lovely bottle of Arteis & Co Extra Brut!
I’ll be posting again soon with details of incredible tours for you to do in Rome (including going under the Colosseum at night!)