Eating our Way Through Roma

As you can see, I’ve put blogging on the back burner… I’m just entirely too busy relaxing and doing the tourist thang. However, between waking up at noon and eating like a swine, I have found the time to blog about our time in Rome. Yes, its tough being me… but once we get home, Stephan and I will be working non-stop for several months.

Rome is an amazing city, and the history there is just fascinating. When you see the Colosseum, which is probably one of the most well known structures in the world, it takes your breath away. You just sit back and wonder how the hell this was built back circa 70 AD. The architecture of Rome is simply gorgeous. Every direction you looked, there is a beautiful sight. We touched on all of the main tourist spots, Colosseum, Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica, etc… but spent the majority of our time on the side streets, just wandering and drinking in all that is Rome. Four full days was the perfect amount of time to spend there and see everything we wanted to see. Also, the weather in September is magnificent in Rome!

One of the totally unexpected moments of our trip was seeing Al Pacino and Robert De Niro at the Rome Red Carpet Premier of Righteous Kill. The event was held in the theater around the corner from our hotel, and we were fortunate enough to arrive there right before Pacino and De Niro arrived. What are the odds of seeing two of my favorite actors TOGETHER… in Italy… bliss I tell ya. I can’t wait to see the movie now!

About the food… Although I did tons of research beforehand, it was difficult to stick to the list of restaurants I had hoped to try. Unfortunately, when you’re walking around Rome, looking at the amazing sights, you get hungry and it is easy to make the mistake of stopping to eat somewhere that preys on tourists. This is where you will get a mediocre meal that costs MUCH more than it should. We found that if we got hungry in a heavily tourist area, it was better to grab a gelato and take time to find a good place to eat. Perhaps this is not the healthiest alternative, but it sure was yummy!

In choosing restaurants to eat, we were looking for traditional but casual Roman fare, preferably with good prices. Its easy to find good restaurants that cost an arm and a leg, but my mission was to find some that were actually well priced. Our best meal was at Antica Boheme, which was just one block from our hotel. We had an amazing dinner with three courses including wine for about 35 Euros per person. Trattoria Lilli was a very close second. Two traditional dishes to try are gnocchi and spaghetti carbonara. I tried them both… a few times. It just so happens they are two of my favorite pasta dishes.

Check out some photos we took of food below, and more amazing photos of Rome on Stephan’s blog.

Gnocchi with Bolognaise

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Spaghetti with Bolognaise

Bruschetta

Restaurants to avoid: ANYTHING close to the major sights of Rome. If the menu has pictures on it… keep walking. If the English translation is perfect… keep walking. If there are large posters of Coca-Cola… keep walking. If everyone is speaking English or another language other than Italian, keep walking. Lastly, if the waiter comes out of the restaurant and tries to get you to come in… run, don’t walk away.

Signs of good restaurants: Small restaurants on side streets. I don’t mean a side street the Colosseum is on… but maybe a 15 minute walk through winding streets. Go inside and look at the patron’s plates… listen to the language spoken. Since we were in Rome in warm weather, most restaurants had outdoor seating, which made it easy to survey the plates and listen to the language.

Next week, we’re going to Photokina in Cologne and a quick stop in Amsterdam, then we’ll be back home the following week.