Going on holiday with my mum doesn't necessarily make for extravagant food choices. She's a GP by profession, so sees a lot of people throughout the year come back from trips abroad (or just out) with a multitude of food related ailments. So Rome was a bit of a carousel of pasta and pizza. A mix of good and bad pasta and pizza, with a few supermarket bakery items thrown in, and cake. And gelato. Because you can't go to Italy and not have gelato.
Our hotel provided us with breakfast, so that was one less thing to think about. I've worked out that my inability to decide on places to eat is practically genetic.
First up was our first night, and in all honesty it was pretty bad. We were tired, hungry travellers looking for something that wasn't too much stress, swept up in the charming swirl of outdoor seating and an English speaking waitress.
AKA we fell into the tourist trap about 50 metres away from our hotel. Oops. The first waitress we met was lovely though, she gave us a list of places to go and see.
I can't remember the name of the place, but it was on a corner of one of the narrower streets leading along towards the pantheon, the seating was split between the outside and inside and the wait for our food was terribly long. We ordered 3 fairly simple pizzas to start the trip off with - mushroom for me, vegetable for my sister and my mum had something with rocket and tomato - and even though they were cooked from fresh they were not exactly worth the euros they were billed at. It was generally a really bad dining experience and the waitress we actually had serving our table clearly didn't want to be there. Not the best way to start eeey. The pizza's photographed well though!
day #2 - lunchtime: pasta set menu
Lunchtime at our first full day was a chance for us to try a 'fast menu'. We were somewhere between the Pantheon and our hotel, as I was desperate to go and placate the dissertation fairies and do some work, and my sister wanted to continue exploring. We settled for fattioncasa because the sales pitch of the guy by the menu was better than the others, and the food looked quite nice.
The lunch deal was bruschetta and any of the pastas plus a drink, and we found out inside it was any of 5 pasta's... so not the one my mum wanted, which wasn't brilliant. But it wasn't cold, the food seemed to be coming out quickly and food. So we ordered 2 carbonaras for mum and sister dearest, and I had a spaghetti dish with a spicy tomato sauce and veg.
Unfortunately, neither of my travelling companions are understanding of the 'LET ME TAKE PHOTOS BEFORE YOU EAT' thing and uh, so no shots of their bruschetta or carbonara. The starter was all the same: dressed tomato on uh, slightly over-toasted bread. I do love tomatoes though. Then the pasta arrived and about 10 minutes in we were all gasping for water. So much salt.
For 10.50 euros I wasn't expecting a ridiculous amount, and the food was piping hot and clearly coming out fresh, but it still wasn't setting our palettes alight with OO YES ROME FOOD. We settled on supermarket salads for tea.
day #3 - lunch: supermarket vegetable bakes. much yum.
day #3 - dinner: risotto
Our third evening had us sat in Napoletano's outside dining area, cosying up to the pillar of fire (heater) and looking out onto the Pantheon. Napoletano's is really a pizzaria, steakhouse and lobster specialist (apparently), so all of us went for ... decidedly none of that. My sister and I had risotto - mushroom for me, four cheese for her - and mum had salmon pasta. It was really, really nice. No extra salt, no cold and no surly waitresses. The sky was beautiful and we watched the couple next to us order about 300euros worth of food and drink.
day #4 - lunch: supermarket olive breads. much much yum
day #4 - dinner: gnocchi & other pastas
The evening of day 4 had us embracing more pasta dishes: mushroom ravioli for my sister, pesto sauce-d spaghetti for mum, and I decided to go against the grain and get some gnocchi. I hardly ever get gnocchi in the UK so thought I might as well get some Roma style. It was served in a simple tomato sauce but it was really tasty. The place we were in was really quite small, long and thin and busy, but the staff were lovely and both mum and my sister were really pleased with their choices too. Still started eating before I could take photos though.
ICE CREAM BREAK:
Day 4 was the day we got gelato. From one of the gelateria's on Via dei Pastini, where two scoops was priced at 2.50euros. I love pistachio ice cream, so I got some of that with vanilla to balance, and my sister got banana and stracciatella. The gloves are hers not mine.
day #5 - lunch: vegetable filled flatbreads from the bistro next door
day #5 - dinner: pizza explorations take 2 with calzone
As indecisive as the three of us are, we decided to let the waiters on the street pitch their restaurants to us and choose the most compelling. Er Faciolaro won by offering us free champagne, so uh, yeah. Their restaurant is really very good, they have a 4 star trip advisor rating. Deciding it was time to try the pizza thing again, we all opted for some of that stone-baked goodness: calzone for me, a cheesy thing for mum and some vegetable offering for my sister. The service was fabulous, really fast and high energy and everyone looked like they were having a fab time. Compared to the pizza on the first night, everything was so much better, and really tasty. woo. I was running on practically empty DSLR battery so didn't get any of the inside of my egg, ham and mozzarella calzone, bummer, but we were all really hungry.
They also gave us bread for the table in the service charge which some restaurants don't, and along with the free champers they provided us with a free limoncello shot too. That was a fun night.
day #6 - lunch: more flatbreads from the next door bistro
day #6 - dinner: final pasta showdown
place: Hostaria de' Pastini
We were never any good at choosing things on the menu that the restaurant was supposed to be good for, considering this last place was a pizzeria and we decided the pasta was what we wanted. Though all the food coming out of the kitchens looked ace. The decor in Hostaria de' Pastini is somewhere between a pale orange and salmon, and I found that quite... odd? I wasn't used to anything like that, but they had the largest Easter Egg I ever did see propped up towards the back of the restaurant. Our last battle with pasta went like this: carbonara for me, tomato and vegetable for my sister, and a simple tomato sauce for mum, with extra tomatoes. It was all really, really lovely. Would definitely eat there again.
bonus round: cafe angelina
To satisfy my sisters tiramisu craving, we stopped by Cafe Angelina on our last full day before heading off to the Gallery Borghese. The cafe is beautiful, and the cakes and desserts on display were nothing short of artwork. She got a very fancy looking tiramisu in a jar, and I got a dessert that I honestly don't know the name of, but it was covered in dark chocolate and had pistachios and cream inside. Want it again, please.
And that was all the food we had! Other than stocking up on sandwiches before our flight, of course. Things that I've learned from this trip: it's hard to take photos of food when people have already started eating; entirely salmon decor does not make a brilliant lighting situation.
Hopefully if I go back to Rome soon I'll get better food pictures~ and get to try a lot more!