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Restaurants in Parioli/Salario/Flaminio
The Troiani Brothers, who created Convivio Troiani, opened this discreetly elegant Corso Francia place in June 2006, apparently to vent their fish-cum-sushi lust. And to produce fresh fish that was in fact fresh (not always standard in Rome). For starters, consider the alici fritte in crosta di pistacchio (fried anchovies in pistachio crust). The vermicelli alla carbonara di mare and gnocchetti di Fiuggi con cozze e pecorino are just what they sound like: Italian (and Roman) meat and tomato pasta dishes transformed into fisherman’s friend delights. There’s Fritto Acquolina, which deliciously produces olives, baccalà (sald cod), gamberi (shrimp), triglie (mullet), merluzzetto (gilded cod).
On the simpler side, dishes such as tagliolini with scampi and cherry tomatoes make their mark without filling. (On the non-fish side, the olive ascolane are delicious, by the way; so are the cheeses.) Fiuggi-born chef Giulio Terrinoni, not yet 35, has no tuna or anything else that keeps — the idea, bene o male, is from sea-to-table. This in turn keeps the menu contained, which is pleasantly helpful when it comes to making up your mind. Dinner will run you €70-90 with wine (a fine list), but if it's fresh fish you want, book ahead here. Menu changes depending on fish availability. — Angela Della Notte
This actually started out quite modestly in the 1960s as hearty, inexpensive trattoria for local Pariolini. Times change. Now lofty and upscale (owned by Marche-born Cristina Milozzi, who transformed it), Al Ceppo is as good a spot as any in Rome for a power lunch or dinner. Everything (place settings, service, presentation) is immaculate, perhaps depriving the place of a slice of Roman soul it’ll never get back. Cuisine is Italian (veal, beef, fish; the usual pasta dishes) with a rich continental twist (fusilli, terrines, white chocolate). The grill is good, churning out an array of strong grilled fish. Expect to pay up to €100 a head. Reservations recommended; online booking available. — Cristina Polli
Alfonso Iaccarino’s restaurant insider the super-posh Aldrovandi Palace Hotel in Parioli is stylish and costly (the top suites can run more than €3,000 a night). Iaccarino’s background (he masterminded Michelin-starred Don Alfonso) is the Amalfitano south and the menu shows it. Pomodorini abound, red and ripe. The risotto ai frutti di mare feels straight-from-the Amalfi coast. In the middle there’s rabbit and other game, borrowed surreptitiously from Tuscany. The high manners (cloches over the pasta; no-price menus for women guests) comes at a high price — €120/140 a head and up (what do you expect for raved-about stockﬁsh and red pepper cannoli). Lots of Russian spoken in the lobby, which says a lot about the life and times of Rome circa 2008. — Cristina Polli
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Busy and casual posh, the tiny bistrot bottiglieria and lunch joint packs in neighborhood locals and a slew of businesspeople from the center. Menu combines Italian with continental (and a Scandinavian accent) — example: Insalata di pollo caramellato al miele and patate al cartoccio, which are baby baked potatoes. Lunch is packed. Italian diners usually drop in after 10 p.m. Open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., the late closing a plus in a town that nods off early and gets up late. Expect to spend up to €35 a head. — Cristina Polli
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Eye-candy galore at this upscale and stalwart Parioli staple founded in 19569. Father-son team of Italo and Fabrizio Santucci, both elegant mainstays, attracts a dressed-to-kill crowd as appetizing to behold as the food is to good eat, and the food is exceptionally and reliably well-rounded.
Recommended: Canelloni, tortellini aurora (tomato cream sauce), carpaccio di provola affumicata (provola, pomodoretti and balsamic vinegar), melanzane alla parmigiana. Also, cold roast beef (thin and tender) and straccetti, thin beef slices with arugula and balsamic. Beef cuts are uniformly well-chosen and simply presented (rare in Rome) thanks to the grill. In season, always go for the tartufo pasta, though it'll cost you (€30 and up). No pizza here! Try Fabrizio's cheese cake. Or the homemade tiramisu Open all year round, seven days a week. Reservations recommended. A great people-watching summer spot. — Angela Della Notte
Sardinian fish spot, but filled with Romans who love the bottarga (dried sea bream eggs, coated in beeswax for safekeeping) over spaghetti, the wonderfully fresh seafood salad and the tiny vongole veraci. Noise almost ruined dinner. Insist on a quiet table. Remember, seafood only! Book ahead. — Suzanne Dunaway
Casatua is located on the now-ultra hip Via Flaminia Vecchia that over the last decade has gradually gained traction. The Ponte Milvio neighborhood now teems with restaurants, bars, discos, a sort of carnival of twenty-something nightlife minus Campo de' Fiori drunkenness. What makes this slick, modern place engaging is that it doesn't really try too hard — to its credit (it's located across the street from the River Palace Hotel and Villa Brasini).
The décor is minimalist without Spartan exaggeration. There's a main lounge, a semi-upper level, and a balcony floor. None of it feels cluttered. Summer brings outdoor seating on a pebbled patio that has the flavor of an upscale Japanese garden. Ownership is young, with the wait-staff (also young) in tune with food choices and casual mood.
The mood matters because you're not going here for the best food in Rome. Instead, you get fine semi-nouvelle cuisine, Roman and international, that’s mostly workmanlike and sometimes very good indeed. A recent visit (the restaurant opened in 2007) yielded an appetizer of morsels of scamorza wrapped in bacon that was as simple as it was delicious. Equally tasty was a flan of zucchine. Each ran an affordable €8. On the pasta side, bombolotti cacio e pepe was hearty, though maybe a bit heavy on the pepper.
The main courses are anchored by a true standout, the tagliatta di manzo with roast potatoes and balsamic vingraitte. What makes this tagliatta so endearingly good is the beef, slender, tender nuggets cooked to your liking, coupled with the sweetness of the balsamic. It's knockout good. Other grilled dishes, including the simple battuta di manzo (ground beef) is tasty and tender.
A cotoletta alla Milanese was big enough to serve three, overlapping the plate, also with delicious tomato and balsamic. Unfortunately, the breaded veal was on the dry side, undermining what should be a "soft" dish. The stracetti di manzo al rosmarino put the Milanese to shame. Entrees run between €17 and €24.
Desserts include fruit, apple torte, fonduta di cioccolato and tiramisu (each hyper-rich). Wine list is ample, with low end and high. In a few words, a sweet and classy place with above average food and affordable prices (calculate €50 to €70 a head, depending on wine). Great for a date. Has a Facebook page. Oh, beware of mosquitos, who love late spring and summer dining, and diners. — Cristina Polli
Da Maurizio e Natalino
Longstanding meat and fish place (family managed) that’s exceedingly simple but ranks solidly with the city’s best in terms of reliability. Go with foods from the grill (Natalino prepares the chateaubriand). Fish pastas are also first-rate. Back room is partly al fresco. — Cristina Polli
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Self-styled West Coast bar and grill that shimmies. The crowd is fantastic to look at: models and hotties (male and female), soccer players, cigar-toting metrosexuals. But what keeps customers coming back is the unerringly good cuisine. For starters, "Angus" tartar is heavenly, so is the West Coast Sushi and Spring Salad (€8.50). The Argentine beef is nicely presented with grilled chicken slices. There's Timberland Quail and a "Zinafandel faux-filet." Be prepared to lay down the cash (Lobster Spaghetti runs you €16) — €50/60 a head is a low-end safe bet with wine and dessert. The bar is a hit and you can dine there if you wish. Oh, the "Duke" of the name is Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian surfing and Olympic swimming champion who ruled the waves 100 years ago. Reservations recommended. — Cristina Polli
One nice thing about Gaudì is that it’s almost always packed. Not exactly a cheering advertisement for most places, but it works just fine here for two reasons. First, it’s a good housekeeping seal. Second, it’s cheering. Packed is when Naples-themed Gaudì seems most full of life: kids, dames, a casual crowd. Pizza’s the thing here, but ordering is really fun. Each table is its own red-light district. Translation: You flick a switch to let waiters know you’re ready to order. Try pizza Sorrento with mozzarella, arugula e pommodorini. Nice terrace. No reservations on weekend nights, so go early (8 p.m.) or expect to wait. The restaurant is located on the first block of Via Salaria, just past Villa Borghese. Open all of August, a nice treat. — Cristina Polli
Though a bit of a dive (be prepared for the teenage crowd on the weekends), if you are really hungry and want a hearty full-course meal for under €12 (including a glass of wine), this is a great place to go. Serves abundant portions of classic Italian food — there is always rigatoni all'amatriciana, cannelloni, cotolette, a selection of fish, and chicken with oven-roasted potatoes. — Kristine Crane
Elegant little restaurant/pizzeria in a verdant, upscale north Rome neighborhood, Jacini is located next door to a cineplex theater and has nice outdoor seating. With a young owner and young waiters, it serves solid food (fish and meat are outstanding) and has the advantage of a being on a quiet piazza. The kind of place that leaves you saying, "They do it right!" Pizza in evenings only. Open until 11:30 p.m. — Cristina Polli
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Here’s great fun for groups and kids. You sit down and are immediately deluged with sausages, bread, cheeses, ricotta, and various other antipasti. Then the pasta and meat show up. Don’t worry, you can also order from the menu. The mood is informal and the food wonderful. Just don't expect to run your own show, since the proprietors have their own ideas. — Suzanne Dunaway
Prati has come a long way as a residential venue. Once a working class "suburb" of the city center, it turned chic about 1980 and now houses politicians and artsy types. Which admittedly can and does send prices soaring. Opened in the 1950s and in famiglia for several generations (Arcangelo Dandini is the owner), this place may not look like much from the outside. The food is made to please the locals, and succeeds, which is high praise in a demanding hood. Try the lamb with roasted potatoes, puréed capers and pecorino dolce. Ziti pasta is mixed with candied lemon, mint and a slices of ricciola. — Cristina Polli
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Chef Marco Salis and Sambi Gaetano Lovatelli D'Aragona (a fine wine man) have created a stylish little spot located in Rome's Flaminio section near the popular Auditorium. "Metodo Classico" refers to the traditional method of making champagne but in this case it's the restaurant's quaintness that's classic. Dining here makes you feel like you're in your living room, book nook or maybe even a cozy country inn. The tables are limited (45 covers), the arrangement minimalist, the service keen but unobtrusive. Best of all, it's affordable. Pasta runs €9, main courses €14-to-28.
Salis has a conoisseur's affection for fresh seafood, with a new offering daily (apart from fettuccine agli scampi, the surf selections vary). Pasta has the staples (amatriciana and cacio e pepe) while the meat section includes two tender chianina beef cuts (filetto and tagliata), ossobuco and a savory Tagliata di pollo al rosmarino (breast of chicken flavored with rosemary).
The wine and spirits list is extensive. Again, pricing reasonable: You can eat as easily for €35 a head as you can for €50, depending mostly on wine choices (a bottle of good Falanghina or a decent pinot nero each run you €13). Great bread. All in all, delightful. — Angela Della Notte
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The Parioli neighborhood was among Rome's first certifiable upper middle class (read affluent) districts to keep up with centro storio Joneses has produced a hefty slew of good but overpriced nouvelle restaurants. "Molto" a recent entry (it's really a reinvention, since the restaurant was around in a more modest incarnation). Everything here is based on pandering to an accessory-oriented crowd, Parioli's show-offy obligation. One enormously good and smart selling point is a open-hearth grill — a rarity in a city of small spaces and smaller kitchens. Piglet, rabbit, duck breast, and chicken all get their turn. Sit on the patio and enjoy them. Let's be cleat: These people know what they're doing. The hyper-trendy look got its "Architectural Digest" write-up, and rightly so. But it boils down to price, which is lunch-and-dinner high (and the clientele probably wouldn't want it any other way, since money is its own show in this part of town). If you want to compromise, try Sunday brunch, which runs about €30 a head. — David R. Deropolous
Osteria del Cannellino
This charming, family-run, trattoria is located at Ponte Mollo near Via Flaminia. A lovely, well-cooked buffet is inexpensive and the a la carte menu includes strascinata alla trasteverina (the leaf-shaped pasta is the surprise house specialty) and a delicious minestra di farro e fagioli. Vitello alla fornara was moist and served with perfect, peppery wedges of crisp potato. Other treats include involtini al sugo and tortino di melanzane con pomodoro fresco. Wines are not marked up unreasonably. — Suzanne Dunaway
This excellent pizzeria and restaurant in Parioli is open 12/7 — not bad for Rome — and serves the multitudes (literally) seeking lunch and dinner in the Piazza Ungheria area (including Via Salaria and the zoo). If you just finished cocktail partying at the U.S. Embassy residence but want more, try it. Tourists roam in at 7 p.m., the hip local crowd at 10. Most pizzas between €7 and €9. Unlike some places of this kind, the non-pizzeria fare is honest and good. Great steaks. Friendly staff, including a rugby-loving owner. Outside tables summer and winter (heated) to a help out smokers. Reservations necessary after 8:30 p.m. and on weekends. — Cristina Polli