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Report 1176: September Song: High Notes of a Few Precious Days in Italy

By Roz from Massachusetts, Fall 2006

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Page 15 of 16: Where we ate in Rome: Food, Glorious Food

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Arugula pizza at Pizzeria Tempio di Mecanate

I've already mentioned the fabulous Panella bakery and the Pizzeria Tempio di Mecanate off via Merulana. Here are some of the other places we ate in Rome.

L'Orso 80: Our most fun meal, since we were part of a Slow Trav GTG there (thanks, Brenda BGE for organizing it!). We had the always-wonderful and never-stops-coming antipasto with plenty of wine and good company. (Incidentally, I just noticed when compiling resources for this trip report, that L'Orso 80's web site actually has a link to a previous trip report of mine where I raved about its food, under the title "Slow Travel Trip Reports".)

Colline Emiliane, via della Avignonesi 21, near Piazza Barberino. We got to relive some tastes of last year's trip to Emilia Romagna with the very good lunch we enjoyed here. Nice chewy bread and two delectable pasta dishes (pumpkin ravioli and tagliatelli with pancetta) for €25.50 with beer and wine.

La Cicala et La Formica (The Ant and the Grasshopper), via Lenonina 17. A pleasant casual lunch outdoors on a quiet little street. I had pasta with swordfish, and DH enjoyed rigatoni arrabiata. €28 including €12 for vino.

Al Pompiere Via Santa Maria dei Calderari 38, in the Ghetto. The quiet and refined, high-ceiling dining room seemed to be a favorite lunch spot for businessmen of the quartiere. In fact, the only jarring notes were from the executive type across the room who had a cell phone in each hand, both ringing constantly. We don't eat much fried food, but made a very worthwhile exception for the specialties of the house -- fried artichokes and zucchini flowers. Spaghetti carbonara completed the meal.

Enoteca Monti: Via G. Lanzi, not far from our apartment. We were pretty full after a rather heavy lunch, so opted for a light supper at this wine bar. The salad of greens, pear and pecorino, with a very nice glass of wine, was just right.

Melarancio, via del Vantaggio 43. Most of the restaurants near the Piazza del Popolo were jam-packed with tourists at lunchtime. But Melarancio, where we'd had a great meal two years ago, was practically empty when we reached it just before 1 pm. We wondered if there was something we didn't know about Melarancio, but the fact of the matter, it seemed, was that most of the tourists just hadn't heard of it, or it wasn't close enough to the main drag to attract them. By the time we left, after enjoying our best meal in Rome, the place was full of locals. We both had an encore of the wonderful sea bass with perfectly browned, paper-thin potato crust that I remembered so fondly from our previous visit. At €15 a serving, it was more than we usually spend for lunch, but worth every penny. It was one of those dishes -- utterly simple and utterly delicious --where you just keep moaning about how good it is with every bite. The wine was quite a bargain -- a not-bad white for only €2 per half liter.

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